Category Archives: Art

Back to Civilization

After desecrating the Lincoln statue, I had to make amends by visiting the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Lincoln’s Tomb. This we did on our return trip to civilization.


Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Traditional Road Trip Photo

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Ernie

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Waffle House Turtle

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Springfield

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
The Lincoln Family

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Booth

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Lincoln Portrait

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Generals

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Douglass

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
White House

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
“War is old men talking and young men dying…”

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
I don’t really know this guy.

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Old State Capitol (Where Obama announced his run for the White House.)

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Teresa

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Presidential Library

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Presidential Museum

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Statue

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Lincoln’s Tomb

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Lincoln’s Final Resting Place

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Inside Lincoln’s Tomb

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Inside Lincoln’s Tomb

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Lincoln’s Tomb

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Lincoln’s Tomb

Visiting Springfield was an incredible experience. I highly recommend it to anybody that can make it there. You don’t even have to be a history nerd.

Down South – Day 2

On Saturday we visited a tobacco farm, went to Newson’s (home of the famous hot dog sauce), visited Paducah and then ate at Lambert’s. The impetus for this trip was the PostSecret display at the Paducah Art Gallery. The display was certainly worth the trip.


Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Teresa and Ernie

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Tobacco Barn

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Ernie in the Tobacco Barn

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Tobacco Farm

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Tobacco Fields

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Tobacco Farmer

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Ernie and Teresa

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Tobacco Field

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Hanging out with Tobacco

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Teresa taking a picture with the camera phone.

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Ernie showing some tobacco tools.

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
I couldn’t stop thinking about tomacco the whole time I was there.

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
The Gravity Pull Hill

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
The Gravity Pull Hill Mailbox

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Newsom’s

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Newsom’s (Also home of some tasty ham)

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Some Peaches

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Kentucky Prison Farm

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Barges

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Taking Some Pictures

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
The Art Gallery


Camera Phone Picture

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Ernie

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Lambert’s

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
90 Minute Wait at Lambert’s

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Y’all is not a word.

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Check out the size of that ham!

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Very annoying detour.

There was a 90 minute wait at Lambert’s and it was well worth the wait. If you are ever in Sikeston, Missouri do yourself a favor and stop there and eat. It is incredible.

The South – Day 1

Friday was day 1 of my odyssey to the South. I took a few pictures. Here are some of them.


Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Lunch

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Superman II Astronaut Costume

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Superman Museum

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Teresa

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Classic Family Portrait

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Metropolis, Illinois

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Superman Statue

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Superman Statue and Teresa

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Superman Statue

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Superman

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Reflection

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Metropolis

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
I like big statues.

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Small Baptist Chapel

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Knuckles on Praying Hands

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Cross from Southern Baptist Church

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Whitehaven

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Whitehaven Windows

Kentucky Vacation - 2008
Kentucky Dam

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Day 1 of the trip ended with a meal prepared by Ernie that included the largest potato I have ever seen (to the best of my knowledge, not grown near a nuclear power plant) and some tasty pork steak.

That night we loaded back up into the car and toured Ernie’s town of Kuttawa and the nearby town of Eddyville. We experienced a gravity pull hill and then drove around a maximum security prison.

It was a good first day.

Albia, Iowa

I drove to Albia on Sunday to watch Elainie play softball in the Little League State Tournament. I was honestly expecting to only watch one game because they were playing Grand View. I can never recall a Boone team beating a Grand View team. But it happened. Boone beat Grand View 9-6. They played Monroe County in the title game and fell 7-1.

Here are some pictures from the day.


State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia
Not going to make a play on Elainie’s monster smash!

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

Albia Rose

Albia Rose

07-20-08

Albia Rose

07-20-08
Great Raspberry Shakes!

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

There is one other thing. It is traditional to paint your vehicle to support your kid’s team when they go to tournaments. I understand that. However, there needs to be some common sense exercised.

For example. Say you have a daughter. Say that daughter is a pitcher. Say that daughter strikes people out. A reasonable thing to do would be to paint a couple “K”s on your van because the “K” is the symbol for strikeout in score keeping.

Now think about it. Just off the top of your head, what amount of “K”s would you not want to paint on your van.

Has it come to you yet?

Figured it out yet?

Have that answer yet?


State Tournament - Albia

Yeah, that seems like a bad idea to me. Even if there are 3 outs in an inning.

For the record, this van was from Wisconsin and not Boone.

Resurfaced

As I have slowly been going through some stuff, I came across some art from a couple of my friends that was buried by time. I’m glad I found this stuff.








You might look at this stuff and wonder if I was hanging around a mad scientist like Dr. Trahan (sp?) or the criminally insane, but in fact I used to hang out with geniuses. Not just insane geniuses, but your ordinary, everyday geniuses.

The Other Art Festival

Last year I went to the Des Moines Arts Festival downtown. I can’t say there was a single thing that impressed me. Only things that left an impression on me. The biggest impression that I left with was the thought, “Wow, no need to go to this thing again.”

What I didn’t know or didn’t realize was that at the same time that the Des Moines Arts Festival is going down, there is another affordable art festival going on at the State Fairgrounds. On Saturday I met Shannon down there to check it out.

I learned a few things. I learned that there was more and more interesting (and utilitarian) things at the State Fairgrounds. Shannon had told me that this festival was considerably more affordable.

It certainly was more affordable. Although neither of us bought anything (unless you count the pie pan that Shannon bought for a friend) there were many things I considered buying. I heavily considered buying a painting of a cow or a pig. I also considered buying a letter opener from Shannon’s legendary knife guy. I had heard her spin many a yarn about his knives for quite sometime now, so it was exciting to actually see him in person. He does make beautiful knives, but I couldn’t pull the trigger on the deal. I already have 3 letter openers at home that I don’t use.

I also learned that Shannon is big into mixed media. I also learned that her hyper-organized mind is drawn to art that is very structured. I on the other hand do not like that much structure in my art. I also revealed a strong affection for paintings that could be found in children’s literature.

There are times that I consider trying to have a booth at an art festival. What I noticed from looking at the photographers that were set up was that they all seemed to have a specialty. There was the person that did flower pictures. There was the person that did Iowa landscapes. There were people that had pictures of specific foreign countries. There was a person thats specialty seemed to be splitting landscaped up into three separate pictures.

There was a person whose specialty was making photos look like paintings.


Cross Hatch Flower
Something like that.

There was a person whose specialty was desaturating everything in a picture except one thing.



Something like that.

Another person made photomosaics.


Photomosaic
Something like that (Hope you can recognize the original image.)

It is a big file! Over 26MB. The tiles are from pictures I took in June.

Fortunately nobody was there with what is well known to be my specialty.


Godzilla Bird's Eye View

So looks like I would not have any direct competition if I got a booth there next year.

I also snapped a couple of photos on my return journey to my car.


06-28-08

06-28-08

06-28-08

06-28-08

I will return to this festival in the future. Despite the lack of a single black and white photograph of a naked chick on a beach holding a sword and flowers.

Too Hot for Photobucket

I’ve been thinking on a topic lately and I’ve come to the conclusion that I just need to write about it and then be done with it. I’ve been thinking about junk in art. Not refuse or garbage, but the male productive organ or the penis. I will refer to the penis as junk for the rest of this entry to prevent some people from giggling while they read this treatise.

When it comes to junk, I’m not all that different than most men. The only junk I’m really interested in is my own. However, through a series of events and a trip to Fort Dodge I’ve been a little more interested in junk in the world of art. To put more succinctly, why is the world so afraid of junk? To whittle it down a bit more, why is the world so afraid of gypsum junk?

I first came interested in the Cardiff Giant several years back while reading a US News and World Report on hoaxes. Although on the surface, the Cardiff Giant hoax was not as interesting as the Breatharianism Cult, but it had Central Iowa connections, so I was interested.

Near the end of the 19th Century a man (described as either an atheist or agnostic depending on the source) went to hear a preacher speak. The preacher relied heavily on a segment of Genesis that says that giants once walked the Earth.

This lead to a dispute between the preacher and the man about how literal one was to take the Bible. The preacher insisted that giants walked the Earth and that they were 12 feet tall. The 12 foot part the preacher said that he “just knew”.

The man left the revival meeting and got an idea. He went to Fort Dodge and bought a big block of gypsum for a barrel of beer. He then took the gypsum to the nearest railhead (Boone) and shipped it to Chicago. In Chicago he hired a man to sculpt a giant.

His exact orders were: “Make me a naked giant! Make him look like he died in agony.”

After the sculptors were done the man took the giant to his cousin’s farm in New York where they buried it. They waited almost a year and then the cousin ordered a new well to be dug right where they had buried the giant.

The well diggers found the giant and learned men and fools came from all over the country to have a look at the giant. There was a great debate at the time about whether or not the giant was a petrified man or an ancient statue. The man and his cousin began charging people to see the giant.

After the man and his cousin had made a tidy fortune on their con, the truth was discovered. People still came to see the giant though.

The original gypsum giant resides in a museum in Cooperstown, New York. Fort Dodge had a replica made and it is housed in the Fort Dodge museum. Since I don’t think I will be making it to New York at any time in the near future, Baier and I conspired to make a pilgrimage up to Fort Dodge to see their version. This trip came with the nice little ancillary benefit of annoying Russell who hates Fort Dodge despite the fact that he is a Dodger.

I knew that the Cardiff Giant was anatomically correct (to an impressive degree) because of some of the reading I had done on it in preparation for the trip. I did not expect that this one section of gypsum that made the Cardiff Giant a man would be somewhat controversial.

I for one don’t really desire to see junk. However, I don’t see anything wrong with including junk in art. It is the way that we are constructed. There is no reason to pretend that we are not.

However, about a week before the trip it came to my attention that not everybody wa comfortable with the junk of the Cardiff Giant just being left out there blowing in the wind, so to speak.

I was talking to Shannon about the trip one night. She told me that Living History Farms has their own version of the Cardiff Giant that they brought out for special occasions. She knew the guy that had sculpted their giant. Their giant was more “modest”.

The word modest has a few different definitions. Since I don’t have any problem with showing junk in art, I immediately glommed onto the definition of modest that relates to size. He was more modest meant to me that LHF had decided to reduce the giant’s endowment. I did not question her at the time.

The day of the big trip arrived.

Baier and I loaded up into the Rideshare van. We made a stop at the Whistle Stop Cafe for breakfast and then headed north towards the Cardiff Giant.

When we arrived at the Fort Dodge Museum we made a pact that the Cardiff Giant would be the last thing that we would see.

We ambled through the rest of the museum letting the anticipation build. After a couple of hours the Trainwreck that I had knocked down at the Whistle Stop came back on me and I visited the little boys room.

While I was enjoying the environs of the Fort Dodge Museum bathroom, Judas Baier broke our pact. When I began walking across the Fort’s courtyard he came strolling towards me from the corner of the fort that houses the Cardiff Giant exhibit. I cold feel that he had betrayed me.

“I couldn’t wait, I had to sneak a peek.”

“What? You jerk. We had a deal.”

“All I can say is there must be a very happy stone lady out there somewhere.”

So it was true. The Cardiff Giant was a giant among men in all conceivable ways.


Cardiff Giant Road Trip

Cardiff Giant Road Trip

Cardiff Giant Road Trip

If I had immediately published this entry as soon as I returned from Fort Dodge I would have never even considered blurring out the junk of the Cardiff Giant. To me it is just art and it is just junk. It is natural. I blur it now because I know that the Cardiff Giant’s junk is a major threat. How or why? I don’t know.

However, as the days wore on the word “modest” began to dig at me. It was one thing to not make the giant anatomically correct. I began to wonder if what Shannon meant by modest was that they had simply deprived the Giant of his manhood and never gave the Giant at LHF any junk.

The Fort Dodge Museum had already committed this heinous crime by not making the Cardiff Giant in the Cardiff Giant gift set anatomically correct.


Cardiff Giant Road Trip
Crime Against a Statue

I don’t get it. If I pick up a knockoff of Michaelangelo’s David, they don’t get rid of his junk. What is so dangerous about the junk of the Cardiff Giant?

My imagination began to work at a feverish pitch. I decided that LHF was a museum and it is my belief that a museum pursues truth. Sometimes truth is a big gypsum junk. Maybe some people have a problem dealing with it, but that isn’t the problem of the museum. A museum has to sometimes be in your face with the truth, yes even if that truth is a big gypsum junk.

So I decided that when Shannon said modest she must have meant that they shrank his endowment. This set my mind racing as well. Why would you do such a thing? Who would do such a thing? Do you have to have a meeting to do such a thing? Or can the sculptor make a unilateral decision?

In my mind I see the sculptor looking at his block of gypsum. Then he looks at a blueprint with dimensions. Then he looks back at the block of gypsum. Then he stares harder at the dimensions of the Giant’s junk.

Then he scoffs to himself and says out loud: “I don’t think so buddy. 3 inches is more than enough.”

But what if it wasn’t the insecurity of the sculptor that lead to the Giant being robbed of his manhood. What if this was a committee meeting? I have sat through a ton of meetings lately. I have no problem imagining the leader of a meeting standing in front of a group.

“The next thing on the agenda is deciding on the girth of our Cardiff Giant replica’s junk.”

“Why are we discussing this, shouldn’t we just use the same dimensions as the original Cardiff Giant?”

“It has come to the committee’s attention that there are people out there that are not comfortable with the giant being so giant.”

“Isn’t that just their own immaturity. I mean it is just junk.”

“We are a family museum.”

“Then what is family friendly. 3 inches, 4, 5?”

Then a vote would have been taken on the matter and a few inches were lopped off.

I contacted Shannon to find out exactly what she meant by modest. As it turns out, modest to LHF means that the Giants is “covering his junk.” I have to confess, that possibility never once crossed my mind. I don’t like it any better than what I thought had happened, but at least nobody had looked at the Giant and willfully denied his his full endowment.

A few days later I was talking to Baier and filling him on the definition of the term modest. As it turns out, he was talking to his wife about the Cardiff Giant. When she was in High School they took a field trip to the Fort Dodge Museum. The corner that housed the Cardiff Giant was roped off. They were denied access.

Unbelievable.

What is the deal? It is just a statue. The Baiers hail from Audubon. That is a town that houses a 40 foot tall anatomically correct bull statue. A statue with junk isn’t new to them.

I finally had decided to come to peace with the world and its anti-Cardiff Giant junk crusade. Then one thing happened. While I was preparing for this blog I uploaded a full body picture of the Cardiff Giant to Photobucket. Photobucket is where I house all of the pictures I embed in blogs.

I had some busy days and nights and I posted some less ambitious entries in its stead. Then yesterday when I went to Photobucket to upload some images I saw a shocking thing. My full length picture of the Cardiff Giant had been deleted because it violated some part of the licensing agreement.

“This was the most unkindest cut of all.”

So now I blur the junk of the Cardiff Giant and I house the images on my own server. I am probably on some FBI watch list now. Great.

I worry now that we are heading towards that future world that was predicted by the prophetic film Zardoz. A world where junk is considered evil.

Memorial Day and the Crystal Skull

Memorial Day wasn’t really meant to be a good-time-feel-good holiday. It was established to honor Union Soldiers that died in the Civil War and was first known as Decoration Day.

Regardless of its original intentions, this solemn holiday has become a chance for most Americans to barbecue and enjoy a 3 Day weekend. I’m not different than most Americans. I just wanted to have a good time on Memorial Day.

My day started out good enough. I watched 4 straight hours of Animal Planet with Alexis in the morning. Jay came over and we had tacos and nachos for lunch. Then we headed over to the Cinemark to catch a matinée of Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull with Derrick.

+++SPOILERS+++

Usually I’m not the type of person that gives away spoilers about movies. I want people to see movies on their own, but this is one movie that I don’t feel the need to protect any of its secrets. This movies is a piece of garbage.

I’ve alway been a big fan of the Indiana Jones movies. Sure Temple of Doom blows a little bit, but the other 2 are excellent. Crystal Skull is an insult to all 3 of those movies.

I didn’t understand why so many Star Wars fans were upset with the prequels that came out a few years back. True, they weren’t very good, but the first 3 Star Wars movies stunk as well. What was the big deal? Instead of 3 movies with terrible acting and writing now you had 6 of them. Star Wars fans should have been elated.

I still don’t understand Star Wars fans, (there are certainly much, much better science fiction movies out there, I refer you to the two that Stanley Kubrick made 2001: A Space Odyssey and A Clockwork Orange just for starters) but now I can relate to them a bit. I’ve seen a movie franchise that I love torn to shreds before my very eyes.

On Sunday when we were driving down to The House of Bricks Willy told me that Crystal Skull was not very good. I told him that I could handle it if it wasn’t very good, but I would not be able to handle one thing. If they tried to set up a series of sequels starring Even Stevens, I would be angry. I would leave the theater in a rage.

I should have seen the warning signs. Even Willy would be the first to admit that I have much higher standards for movies than he does. The dude loves Van Damme movies!

Despite my bold proclamations, I left the theater angry. In fact, I haven’t been this angry leaving the theater since I sat through the misogynistic propaganda piece masquerading as entertainment known as Sin City. I was madder than when I left the theater after Transformers. Another example of taking something I loved from my childhood and making it suck. Incidentally also starring Even Stevens.

The one good thing I can say about Crystal Skull is that they didn’t end the movie by setting up sequels for Even Stevens. They came close. They made you think that is what they were going to do. At the end of the movie Indy’s hat blows off a hat rack and rolls to a stop at Even Stevens’ feet. As he bends over to pick up the hat, Indy picks it up before him and puts it on his head. Me physically vomiting in the aisles was averted.

I suppose that I don’t have time to write on all the things I hated about this movie, because there are so many of them. I’ll try to keep it to just two.

ALIENS!!!!

Are you kidding me? Could Lucas and Spielberg not turn the last Indiana Jones movie into a science fiction movie? I now fully expect that the next Spielberg WWII movie to involve aliens in some way, shape or form.

CGI!!!

CGI has already, for the most part, ruined most summer movies. It was as if they had missed the point of the first three movies. They were an homage to old time serial movies and they were done with trick photography and stuntmen. Crystal Skull is an homage to the other 3 movies basically, only with way too much CGI. I should have known it was coming when the first shot of the movie features a CGI prairie dog.

My day was ruined from that point on and I don’t think that there was much that could have happened to turn my day around.

+++SPOILERS OVER+++

My day did turn around though. I headed out to Roland for Monica’s barbecue. The only low point of the barbecue was having Happy Birthday sang to me for the third time in 8 days. I’m glad I won’t have to hear that again for some time. Although Monica did make me a sweet Jello birthday cake.
































I don’t really like getting presents all that much. Unless it is something the person has made, like a sweet painting or piece of stained glass or cake or rhubarb pie or a card.

Teresa sent me this birthday card.








There is the occasional exception. Sara got me this sweet gift:




The camera is 30 years old and still is in its original box. This will look great on my shelf of old cameras.

Des Moines Art

I went down to the Des Moines Art Center for the first time since maybe the 6th grade on Saturday.

I met Stephanie and her friend Katie down there. I was impressed with the collection that Des Moines has and was doubly impressed that it was free. We had about 2 hours to spend in the museum and I don’t think that it was enough time. I think I’ll have to go back there again in the future so I can spend more time with certain pieces.

I found plenty of pieces that I loved and plenty of pieces that I hated, so by my definition it was a successful trip.

Like most art museums, they don’t let cameras inside, but below are a few pictures from outside the museum.


























Looking at the pictures I took I’m reminded of the old quote:

“Art is man’s nature. Nature is God’s art.”

I did find a very cool non-art thing at the Art Center, but it seems that most people with whom I share this find, in turn have a reaction that ranges between revulsion and apathy. I’ll keep that find quiet for now.