Category Archives: Art

Mt. St. Helens Anniversary

On May 18, 1980 three things happened.

1. Mt. St. Helens erupted.
2. Stephanie Kasper was born.
3. I turned 5.

5 years earlier I was born.

A cousin of mine once gave my two sisters and I the very backhanded compliment that we turned out pretty well considering the white trash from which we came.

I don’t want to dwell on that story and its obvious hypocrisies. I use it to illustrate a point. If I ever become a person worth remembering historians will note that on the date of my birth my parents were at The Hillbilly Auction.

Now I wasn’t born at The Hillbilly Auction. Although that would have made a great story. It will be noted by some future scholar that even “Greatness” can come from such humble roots. “Christopher D. Bennett’s mom went into labor while she was manning the antique booth at The Hillbilly Auction” the future narrator of a documentary will intone while on the screen will flicker an actress playing my mom in 1970s garb sitting in front of a camper with a bunch of antiques sitting on a table in front of her clutching her stomach. An actor portraying my dad will come out of the camper and rush to her side.

I don’t know if there will be actresses portraying my sisters. I don’t know if they were there. I should look into that. I want them in the documentary even if they weren’t there. A pig tailed red headed little kid to portray Teresa. A dark skinned black haired actress to portray Carla. It seems like I’m missing a perfectly good opportunity to post pictures of them from their childhood. I’ll have to look into that too.

Well 33 years later, I can’t return to The Hillbilly Auction. Instead, I witnessed the evidence that my niece Alexis is a hooligan.

Just look at this vandalism!

Although I do approve of her use of colors, but the message is so cliche. I will expect better from her in her future acts of vandalism.

I also took a ride down to Jester Park in the Howardmobile. My car decided to no longer have brake lights. I’m going to need to do something about that in the near future. Any way, check out some pictures.









It was a perfectly adequate birthday. I also got this sweet birthday card from Teresa. I need to scan that and post that at some point in the future.

Lessons Learned in a Giant’s Town

On May 10, 2008, I loaded up into the famous Rideshare Van with Baier and we headed to Fort Dodge to tour the Fort Dodge Museum and see the “Real” Cardiff Giant.

I already knew that there would be a certain amount of controversy surrounding the trip and the Cardiff Giant due to the Cardiff Giant’s phallus. However, I will delve more deeply into the realm of the Cardiff Giant and his junk later. Today I just want to cover some of the salient points of the trip.

We did some important things like:

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge
Take the Traditional Road Trip Photo

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge
Pretend to be Repentant Prisoners

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge
See the Cardiff Giant

However we also learned a few things on this trip.

heck out the “Conditions for Employment for Teachers” in 19th Century Central Iowa.

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge
Like you can read that! Stop squinting!

Since you can’t read that, let me start out by saying I know some womenfolk that I hold in very high regard. Some of them its even for their morality. But I don’t know a single womanfolk that could hold to these standards or would even bother trying.

Conditions for Employment

  • Must not dress in bright colors
  • Dresses must not be more than two inches above the ankles
  • At least 2 petticoats must be worn (I’d kind of like to know why that matters.)
  • Petticoats will be dried in pillowcases (Again, why does that matter?)
  • Teachers will not marry
  • Teachers will not keep company with men
  • Will not get into a carriage or automobile with any man, except her brother or father
  • Teachers are expected to be at home between the hours of 8 pm and 6 am.
  • Teacher will not smoke
  • Teacher will not play cards
  • Teacher will not dye her hair under any circumstance (Not even if dressing as Ginny Weasley for Halloween)
  • Teacher will attend church each Sunday
  • Teacher will either teach Sunday School OR sing in the choir
  • Teacher will not leave town without permission of the Chairman of the School Board
  • BUT THIS ONE IS BY FAR MY FAVORITE: Teachers will not loiter at ice cream stores

Another lesson learned on this trip is that the man who carved the “Real” Cardiff Giant looked eerily similar to Donald Pleasence’s Doctor Loomis character from the horror movie classic Halloween (1978).

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge
Dr. Loomis

Haddonfield isn’t all that far away. I bet Smith’s Grove isn’t that far away either. Perhaps he just swung over on his breaks.

Even though I haven’t watched a horror movie in many a year now, I still have thoughts like this running through my head (in Donald Pleasence’s voice) when I look at the Cardiff Giant:

I met him, fifteen years ago. I was told there was nothing left. No reason, no conscience, no understanding; even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six-year-old child, with this blank, pale, emotionless face and, the blackest eyes… the *devil’s* eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized what was living behind that [Giant’s] eyes was purely and simply… *evil*.


– I- I watched him for fifteen years, sitting in a room, staring at a wall, not seeing the wall, looking past the wall – looking at this night, inhumanly patient, waiting for some secret, silent alarm to trigger him off. Death has come to your little town, Sheriff. Now you can either ignore it, or you can help me to stop it.


This isn’t a man.

A final non-gypsum-phallus related lesson we learned is never eat at the Fort Dodge Bonanza, no matter how nostalgic you are feeling for the old Ames Bonanza. The high point of that meal was watching an employee refill the buffet with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth.

There are many more pictures posted in the famous Photography 139 Gallery in The Cardiff Giant Road Trip Album:

Cardiff Giant Road Trip


There are some bonus pictures in the Friends Album that you have to be a Registered User to see. There might have been some rules violations in those pictures and I don’t feel right posting those for the whole world to see after the Museum Director asked to buy some pictures off of me.

The Big Jesus

Last Friday Jesse and I embarked on a road trip that we lovingly named The Big Jesus Road Trip. Our final destination and epoch of the trip was a 33 foot tall stainless steel Jesus statue.

A plan was hatched and a route was devised. The plan was set in motion. Considerations were made. Including starting the road trip by listening to the Audio Adrenaline song Never Gonna Be As Big As Jesus.

I could move to hollywood (yeah)
get my teeth capped i know i could
be a big star
on the silver screen
just like james dean
i could be a star
i could climb the corporate ladder

maybe be just like the beatles
melodic rocking heavyweights
i could learn to sing and dance
if i only had a chance
i could be a big rock star

i could be anything i wanted to
i could do anything but one thing’s true
never gonna be as big as Jesus
never gonna be as big as Jesus
never gonna build the promise land
but that, that’s all right,
o.k. with me (bop bop bop bop ba dop, ooh!)

i could build a tower to heaven
get on top and touch the sky
i could write a million songs
all designed to glorify
i could be about as good
good as any human could
but that won’t get me by

But in the end, we just headed out on the open road to the sound of the Taurus.

The Big Jesus Road Trip
The Open Road – Highway 17 – Goodell, Iowa

We passed through the following cities:

  • Stanhope
  • Webster City
  • Blairsburg
  • Belmond
  • Goodell
  • Klemme
  • Ventura
  • Clear Lake
  • Miller
  • Duncan
  • Britt
  • Algona
  • Cylinder
  • Emmetsburg
  • Mallard
  • Pocahontas
  • Cherokee
  • Meriden
  • Cleghorn
  • Remsen
  • Le Mars
  • Merril
  • Hinton
  • Sioux City
  • Lawton
  • Moville
  • Correctionville
  • Early
  • Lake View
  • Auburn
  • Carroll
  • Glidden
  • Jefferson
  • Grand Junction

We did important things like:

The Big Jesus Road Trip
Take the Traditional Road Trip Photo

The Big Jesus Road Trip
Visit the Surf Ballroom

The Big Jesus Road Trip
Visit the plane crash site that claimed the lives of Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritichie Valens

The Big Jesus Road Trip
Feel the pain of finding out that the World’s Largest Cheeto had been kidnapped.

The Big Jesus Road Trip
>Feel the thrill of seeing the World’s Largest Cheeto when the waitress brings it out for a special appearance.

The Big Jesus Road Trip
Meet this awesome guy!

The Big Jesus Road Trip
Kiss the Blarney Stone

The Big Jesus Road Trip
Got a honk and a wave from the friendly folks in Mallard

The Big Jesus Road Trip
See the world’s ugliest statue.

The Big Jesus Road Trip
See the Big Jesus (and Mary too).

The Big Jesus Road Trip
See the Sgt. Floyd Memorial.

I hope to go into more detail about the trip in the near future. Until then, you can check out many, many more pictures from the trip in my Photography 139 Gallery.



This has been bothering me for awhile. There are these giant cutouts near the intersection of Highways 17 and 141. Does anybody know why these things exist and what it is that they are trying to promote?






Somebody please tell me about these things.

The Future of Gaming

I don’t know anything about the world of gaming, but Eric and Suzie are inventing a new board game. I have no doubt that they will do a bang up job in the creation of this game because it is something that they both hold a passion for and nothing in this world helps you see with more clarity than passion. Not even bifocals. Take that Ben Franklin!

I was privileged to view the initial piece of art from their game. I think it is pretty sweet, check it out:

Suzie even composed a little poem to celebrate my unshackling from the US Department of Education’s oar.

Paying less means spending more.
And sometimes knowledge seekers
can become the debtors’ whore.

It seems as if I am suddenly surrounded by poets and that is a good thing because I admire poets. I only wish I could be one.

Incidentally, anybody that knows a reason why I’m not worthy of a poetic tribute should keep said information to themselves. Things will correct themselves in due course. I will be worthy of poetic tributes in the future.

It is Official

I really wanted a glow in the dark brain for this blog, but that is not to be. So instead I will use an image from the Jay Janson Archive.

So why is there a picture of brains in this blog? Today I wrote out a big fat check to the U.S. Department of Education and told them to get off my back forever. William D. Ford, I am not your boy any longer.

File Photo

Although the check has yet to wind its way through the U.S. Postal System, it is only a matter of days before that B.A. Degree in Political Science (with a Minor in History) from America’s premiere Land Grant University is officially mine. I wish I could show you a picture of it, but I have no clue where it is hiding itself.

I might not have the best brain I know, but let me quote the Beach Boys and talk my brain up a little bit:

She’s got a competition clutch with the four on the floor
And she purrs like a kitten till the Lake Pipes roar
And if that aint enough to make you flip your lid
There’s one more thing, I got the pink slip, Daddy

Jack Trice Wallpaper

My friend Shawn is a badass graphic designer. He recently made a new wallpaper featuring Jack Trice. You should know who Jack Trice is and if you don’t, then I have failed you as a friend.


He is the man in this statue.

Jack Trice was the first African American to play sports for Iowa State. During the first half of his first game, Trice suffered a broken collarbone. He continued to play during the third quarter, until he was thrown on his back and trampled by three Minnesota players. He died three days later. Four thousand students and faculty members attended his funeral service on central campus.

Before the night of the game he wrote this letter to himself on some hotel stationary:

My thoughts just before the first real college game of my life: The honor of my race, family & self is at stake. Everyone is expecting me to do big things. I will. My whole body and soul are to be thrown recklessly about the field tomorrow. Every time the ball is snapped, I will be trying to do more than my part. On all defensive plays I must break thru the opponents’ line and stop the play in their territory. Beware of mass interference. Fight low, with your eyes open and toward the play. Watch out for crossbucks and reverse end runs. Be on your toes every minute if you expect to make good.

Below is a small version of Shawn’s Jack Trice Wallpaper.

Some other exciting news about Shawn (the former drummer of UnHingd) is that he has a new band up and going. They have yet to pick a name, but they are planning to be playing a show near you by April.