Personal Photo Project of the Week #48

I’ve finally distributed almost every last 2011 Photography 139 Calendar. Allow me to explain what images were used and I will include the briefest of notes on the pictures.

This year, the calendar was a little bit more of an adventure than usual. The printer from the last two years baled on me. I couldn’t find the kind of paper that I have used the last couple of years. The paper I used was too thick to duplex. In the end though, it all came together and a perfectly acceptable calendar has been produced.

Here are the pictures:

2011 Calendar - Front Cover
Front Cover

This picture was taken at the Iowa State Fair. I like to photograph one of the flower gardens at the Iowa State Fair every year. I have to confess to being a little disappointed with the garden this year, but I have no doubt it will be back to its full glory in 2011.

2011 Calendar - January

This picture was taken in my backyard. It is actually connected to the August picture. I purchased a bouquet of flowers for the August photo. Then I waited for the flowers to die and photographed them for the January picture.

2011 Calendar - February

I found this frog in my favorite frog finding spot – Lost Lake in Ledges. He was surprisingly brave for coming from a race of creatures that are notorious cowards.

2011 Calendar - March

Sara was with me when I took this picture down in the Papajohn Sculpture Garden. This is the only picture in the calendar that was taken with the aid of a photo assistant.

2011 Calendar - April

This lonely farm scene can be found between Boone and Ames on US30. There is a secret to how this picture was produced, but Photoshop isn’t that secret.

2011 Calendar - May

Even though I drove to Pella in a rainstorm to photograph their tulips, I found my best tulip picture in my Grandma’s front yard.

2011 Calendar - June

On a road trip with Mom and Teresa to State Center, I must have taken at least 300 pictures of roses, but it was this picture of a rose leaf that stood out as the most memorable image of the day.

2011 Calendar - July

I visited a couple different wild daisy patches, but the daisy image that made the calendar was found in my Mom’s yard. It was my belief that after “The Solace of Ordinary Humanity”, I couldn’t possibly take a better daisy picture, but I took camera in hand to photograph daisies to figure out a birthday present for Jill.

2011 Calendar - August

This is the only image from the Random Weekly Photo Experiment to make the calendar. This picture was taken in the middle of the Winter with a daisy bouquet. This image is hanging in Kelly’s salon – Salon 908.

2011 Calendar - September

This picture is meant to be parody. Nobody else in the world will understand that, but believe me, it is meant to be parody. This is also the only picture in the calendar that is manipulated by Photoshop in a meaningful way. This hibiscus grows in my Mom’s yard.

2011 Calendar - October

In retrospect, I’m not sure this picture belongs in October, but it is too late now. This picture was taken near the sewage treatment center in Boone. I hope that doesn’t take some of the romance away from it.

2011 Calendar - November

I photographed this lily in my Grandma’s flower garden. She planted so many lilies that she wasn’t sure what colors were even going to come up.

2011 Calendar - December

This is a picture of my Grandma Bennett’s Bible.

I have only 1 stated goal for the 2012 calendar. There will be a picture of an iris in it. Jen’s favorite flower is the iris and it is the one flower that I can’t figure out how to photograph. I will meet my adversary head on this year and 1 of us will fall.

Slice of Life Vol. 30

It is my habit to not comment on the pictures I post in this project, but I’m going to make a small exception here.

In the first couple of pictures, Carla is sitting on the old abandoned well in the basement of our old house on 415 Greene Street.

I was never allowed to even go near this well because my Mom feared that I would fall in it and be lost to the ages.

The fact that Carla was allowed to sit on this means 1 of 2 things to me:

1. She was the favorite child.
2. She was the expendable child.

I’m not sure what is the correct answer, but I’m fairly certain that my Mom never saw these pictures.

Slice of Life Volume 30

Slice of Life Volume 30

Slice of Life Volume 30

Slice of Life Volume 30

Slice of Life Volume 30

Slice of Life Volume 30

Slice of Life Volume 30

Slice of Life Volume 30

Slice of Life Volume 30

Slice of Life Volume 30

Slice of Life Volume 30

Slice of Life Volume 30

Slice of Life Volume 30

Slice of Life Volume 30

Slice of Life Volume 30

A couple of more observations.

Usually there is always a ton of Alexis in Carla’s childhood pictures, but I’m struck in these pictures how much Johnathan there is.

Don’t be surprised when I steal some of these mirror ideas in the future.

Proust No. Eight

1 word or short phrase answers for the rest of the questions.

Your favorite virtue?


Your favorite qualities in a man?


Your favorite qualities in a woman


What you appreciate the most in your friends?

Follow through

Your main fault?

Disinterest in money

Your favorite occupation?


Your idea of misery?


If not yourself, who should you be?

My better self

Where would you like to live?

In the country.

Your favorite prose authors?

Your favorite poets?

Your favorite heroes in fiction?


Your favorite heroines in fiction?

1 of my own creation.

Your favorite painters and composers?

Painter: Klemmer


Your heroes in real life?

My friends

Your heroines in real life?


Your heroines in World history?

Any woman that lives under sharia law.

Your favorite food and drink?

Oklahoma Joe’s and Pepsi

Your favorite names?


What I hate the most?


World history characters I hate the most?

Any tyrant

The reform I admire the most?

Health Care

The natural talent I’d like to be gifted with?

I’d be satisfied with being as good at basketball as I used to be.

How I wish to die?


Your favorite motto?

Matthew 6:21

That concludes my look back at 2010.  We may have to do this again next December.

Proust No. Seven

Becky Perkovich correctly gave 1 of the 4 possible correct answers to the Christopher D. Bennett Trivia Question:

Q: What is Christopher D. Bennett’s favorite movie?

A: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

Proust Quote

“Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible.”

Confessions Question

Your idea of happiness:

2009 Answer

Proust Questionnaire Number Ten

When Becky chose her question she said that she hoped to get a “real answer”. It is the kind of disrespect that would normally cause me to cancel her email subscription to this journal.  However, since it is the Christmas season, I will allow it to slide.  All of my answers are real and real is a stupid word.

Actually, it has nothing to do with the Christmas season.  I just sat through an Advent Study where there was frequent discussion about how we become “better people” and have more “peace” during the Christmas season.  I couldn’t really relate to the conversations and hardly ever contributed because I don’t feel that I have more peace or become a better person during Christmas.

I can’t figure out if that makes me an absolutely terrible person or a person of unsurpassed greatness. These are the only two options.

As this question relates to 2010, this question will need to be thought of as “what made you happiest in 2010?”

That is an easy question to answer: Evie.

To extend the answer to this question just a little bit, let me tell you a few tales.

I’ve known for quite some time that Jen and Derrick were trying to have a baby, but the thoughts of me seeing them as parents didn’t really start to materialize until early January.

I was at Derrick and Jill’s parent’s house for Marla’s birthday party.  Sort of.  I was kind of a late addition to the invite list.

Nothing earth-shattering happened while I was there. I would find out later that before my arrival Derrick and Jen had told his parents and Jill that they were pregnant on that night, but my arrival had extinguished all the conversation about the baby. They must have hated me for showing up, but this story is about me and my happiness.  It was the first time that I noticed that Jen was not smoking. I noted it, but didn’t jump to a conclusion.

Later in January Derrick, Jen, Sara, and I attended a Brandi Carlile concert. It was the time of year where we were starting to make plans for the big Iowa State-Kansas State game in Kansas City. We had attended the game the previous year.  Despite some awkwardness to the previous year’s trip (staying at the Bates Hotel, my cousin offering us drugs), I was looking forward to making the trip this year. Possibly with the addition of a couple of new people.

I was talking about how we would make this year’s trip better while we were parked in Sara’s driveway when Derrick utter the following cryptic line:

“I’m not sure if we will be able to make the trip to Kansas City this year.”

He would offer no explanation.

Before the Brandi Carlile concert we dined at the Gateway Market. I noted that Jen drank water.  Jen still was not smoking. In fact, Derrick had yet to have a cigarette.

During the Brandi Carlile concert, Jen went to the bathroom about 14 times.

I was certain now that Jen was pregnant. I waited for the rest of the night for the announcement. I was certain that this was the perfect night to make the announcement. I was certain that they wanted to tell Sara and I together.

The night ended without an announcement. I went to bed confused.

That week I met noted filmmaker H. Richard Stauffer.  He is Frank’s friend. He was working on a musical number in the area.  He invited Jesse and I to come watch him in action on his set. We agreed.

The next day, Sara announced that she would be in Ames for clinicals on the exact same day that Jesse and I were going to be watching the great H. Richard Stauffer in action.  I have had a goal of photographing him since I first met him, but that is a story for another day.

We set up a lunch meeting with Jen and Derrick. I resolved to shaft H. Richard Stauffer because I was pretty sure that at this meeting Jen and Derrick would announce a pregnancy.

I was right, as I sat down at the table, Derrick said: “Hey Chris, we won’t be able to go to the Kansas State game this year. Jen is pregnant.”

There was merriment.

We made an appointment to photograph the happy couple before they became a couple “plus one”.

1 of 6

The next happy moment came a few months later. I’m not sure of the exact month, but I know that it happened before Jen, Derrick, Sara, Cousin Amy and I ate at The Open Flame.

I plopped down on the chair in the Gorshe living room and for the first time I saw a blob on the television that would turn out to be Evie.

While we waited for Sara and Cousin Amy to arrive, we watched the video 3 times. Then we watched it twice with Sara in the room and Cousin Amy waiting for us in the car due to her cat allergies.

I would watch the video a few more times a few weeks later when Jill was back in town. It never really got old. Nor did the gnawing feeling that the video could use background music ever go away.

The next joyous moment came in late August. I have never been to a baby shower, but I got talked into co-hosting a shower with Sara.

My part of the shower was to make sure it was cool enough for guys to attend plus make whatever Sara wanted to happen magically happen. I believe I came through on both fronts.

Gorshe Baby Shower

Gorshe Baby Shower

Gorshe Baby Shower

Gorshe Baby Shower

We found time to cram in one last photo shoot of the Gorshes before the blessed day occurred.

5 of 6 Alternate

Then there was nothing but waiting.

The Iowa State-Kansas State football game came. This was very close to the due date. I was worried that the baby would come while I went down to Kansas City to watch the game. Not really sure why I was worried. It is not like I had a job in this process, but I was antsy nonetheless.

Then my fears seemed to be coming true.

Derrick texted me: “Are you in Kansas City?”

I texted Jill that I was in Kansas City and never heard back.

These two incidents are seemingly innocuous, but in the mind of a…. well in my mind, they spelled “baby on the way”. Let me explain.

Derrick never texts. Derrick is the Chris Bennett of 2007. He hates texting. He can’t stand it when other people text him. It costs him money because he doesn’t have a text messaging plan.

Only once before this day had he text messaged me. That text consisted of scatological humor. In fairness, it was a parody of scatological humor. I believe Jen had to help him send this text.

It seemed very strange to me that out of the blue he would send me a text message. I responded back in the affirmative. He never wrote me back.

Why had he texted me?

I also make a habit of sending text updates about Iowa State games to Jill. She always texts back with appropriate responses: “Yay!!!” or “That’s terrible.”

Why had she not texted me back?

The answer seemed obvious to me. Somewhere in the Mary Greeley birthing center, Jen was bringing the newest Gorshe into the world. Somewhere on I-35, Jill was speeding down to Ames to see her niece or nephew for the first time.

I watched the entire game with this feeling in the back of my head that as soon as the game was over I needed to get back to Ames.

After the conclusion of the game I called Derrick. To my great surprise he answered his phone. He didn’t have any news. He was just genuinely interested in whether or not I had went to Kansas City.

The great rush back to Ames was called off. Jason and I went to Oklahoma Joe’s for supper and the best barbecue I’ve had in my entire life.

I had made plans with Jen and Derrick and Sara for the following Tuesday night. We were going to give them the baby advice book that Sara and I had put together with pictures from the Baby Shower.

Then Tuesday came along. I spent the morning at work texting Jill about the new Maroon 5 album.

Then Derrick called.

“We aren’t going to be able to do dinner tonight.”

“Why is that?”

“We’re at the hospital. Jen’s having the baby.”

I spent the rest of the day texting Jill, all the while dancing around the only topic that could possibly be on either of our minds.

A little after 4 Derrick called with the joyous news. Evie was born healthy (like a lot babies) and adorable (like very few babies).

I just kind of stared at the clock at work for the next couple of hours waiting for Sara to arrive.

Finally 6 o’clock came. Sara showed up. I sent 1 last text to Jill that I was leaving work and going to the hospital. I figured that was safe ground.

She texted back how excited she was to be an aunt and it was a relief to finally be able to talk about it.

Sara and I got to the hospital and got to see and hold Evie. This was my happiest moment of 2010.






Of course we also got to take this picture too:

6 of 6 Alternate

This concludes the wordy portion of the Proust Questionnaire for 2010. Congratulations to Jen. She just became the 5th person to reach the 100 journal entries about her plateau.

RWPE #51 – Peace of Mind

There were more submissions for PEACE OF MIND than I expected with the business of the holiday season. That is pleasing to me. Here are the submissions:

Christopher D. Bennett

Dawn Krause

Mike Vest

Shannon Bardole

So it has come down to one final theme. Then this project has officially ran its course. 52 weeks. 52 random pictures.

Here is the final theme:


I think this is a great theme to end year 1 of this project on. It is a very broad theme. Everybody has an eye or two. Everybody knows at least 1 person with an eye or two. There is a holiday this week, but it is a meaningless holiday, so I hope there are plenty of submissions.

Movie Reviews: Love and Other Drugs and The Fighter

Movie – Love and Other Drugs

Director: Edward Zwick (Blood Diamond, Legends of the Fall, Glory)

Writer: Charles Randolph (The Life of David Gale, The Interpreter), Edward Zwick, and Marshall Herskovitz

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko, Brokeback Mountain, Zodiac) and Anne Hathaway (The Devil Wears Prada, Bride Wars, Brokeback Mountain)

Theater – Cinemark Movies 12 – Ames, Iowa

– Nader Parsaei

Food – Probably, but can’t remember.

Intellectual Honesty

I love Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway. Particularly Anne Hathaway. I probably even like the Princess Diary movies more than I should.


With the obvious exception of Glory, I don’t think that Edward Zwick can make a superior movie. I think he can make good movies, but they fall just short of great because he has tendency to allow the movie to break down into its weakest elements in the third act. Blood Diamond is a prime example. It starts out so intelligent and then turns into a run-of-the-mill action movie in the third act. You don’t leave the theater angry, but slightly disappointed by the wasted potential.

Synopsis from IMDB

Maggie (Hathaway) is an alluring free spirit who won’t let anyone – or anything – tie her down. But she meets her match in Jamie (Gyllenhaal), whose relentless and nearly infallible charm serve him well with the ladies and in the cutthroat world of pharmaceutical sales. Maggie and Jamie’s evolving relationship takes them both by surprise, as they find themselves under the influence of the ultimate drug: love.


Once again I left the theater disappointed by wasted potential. Gylenhaal and Hathaway give full effort and they certainly have chemistry, but this movie is schizophrenic. It doesn’t know what it wants to be and instead goes in a hundred different directions.

The filmmakers clearly wanted to make a modern day Love Story and so they did aspire to great things, but since part of the movie is comedy and part of it is super serious it just feels very disjointed.

An example is a great scene where Jamie goes to a meeting that is sort of a support group for people suffering from Parkinson’s. While Maggie is finding out that she isn’t alone in her struggle with Parkinson’s, Jamie is talking to the husband of a woman suffering from Parkinson’s. I wish I could find a snippet of the dialogue so I could copy and paste it.

The scene is a real eye opener and shows Jamie that being with Maggie is going to go down a very negative road as her health degenerates. It is a great scene as a stand alone, but in the movie it feels slightly out of place.

I think this movie had a lot of potential, but it tries to be too many things and ends up being not much of anything.

Great characters and great actors though.


3.0/5 Caramels

Buy on DVD

Not likely, but I would watch it again.

2010 Ranking

I don’t know that it particularly ranks anywhere. Maybe 2nd best Romantic Comedy that I’ve seen this year.

Bonus Information

Really nothing to report.

Movie – The Fighter

Director: David O. Russell (Three Kings, Spanking the Monkey, I Heart Huckabees)

Writer: Scott Silver (8 Mile), Paul Tamsay (Air Bud). and Eric Johnson

Starring: Mark Wahlberg (Boogie Nights, The Departed, Planet of the Apes), Christian Bale (The Prestige, The Machinist, The Dark Knight), Amy Adams (Junebug, Doubt, Enchanted) and Melissa Leo (Conviction)

Theater – Cinemark Movies 12 – Ames, Iowa

Companion – Mom and Nader Parsaei

Food – I don’t think so…

Intellectual Honesty

Amy Adams is by far my favorite actress. I would watch her in virtually anything. I’ll even slum and watch Talladega Nights now and again because of the small role she has in it. I don’t even hate myself in the morning. I had very high hopes for David O. Russell after Three Kings, but then he disappeared after I Heart Huckabees bombed.


I really want to hate Christian Bale because he is such a doucher in real life, but he is always great and he makes such great movies. I’m never excited for a Mark Wahlberg movie because he is so hit and miss. He can be brilliant like in The Departed or terrible like he was in The Happening.

Synopsis from IMDB

A look at the early years of boxer “Irish” Micky Ward and his brother who helped train him before going pro in the mid 1980s.


This movie is dominated by great performances. Christian Bale deserves the Oscar for his performance as Dicky Eklund, a drugged up-washed out former boxer living off the glory of once knocking down Sugar Ray Leonard. He is followed around by a camera crew that he thinks is doing a documentary on his boxing comeback. In reality they are doing a documentary on “Crack in America”.

Dicky isn’t the main character in the movie. Dicky’s young brother Micky Ward is the main character. Dicky, along with the rest of Mickey’s family are hurdles that he has to hurdle to have a chance at an actual boxing career and an actual happy life.

I bring up Dicky first because he absolutely steals the movie. That isn’t to say that Mark Wahlberg is bad as Mickey Ward. He isn’t, but Micky is the simplest character in this movie and he is upstaged in nearly every scene.

Almost as great as Bale is Melissa Leo as Alice Ward, Mickey and Dicky’s mother, that uses Mickey (by “managing” his boxing career) to support the rest of her worthless family.

A particularly great scene in the movie is when Alice goes to get Dicky out of a crack house. She is crying behind the wheel of the car when Dicky starts to sing. He wins her back and damn it, no matter how much you hate him for ruining Mickey’s life, he wins you back too. Dicky makes bad choices, but he isn’t a bad person and you want to see him succeed almost as much as you want to see Mickey scrape off the barnacles in his life.

Amy Adams is wonderful (would you expect anything less) as the woman that tries to help Mickey steer his life in the write direction.

Without giving up too much of the movie, one of my absolute favorite scenes in the movie is when Dicky gets out of prison. He is cleaned up and intends to stay cleaned up. It is the scene where he tells his friends from his crack den goodbye. It is understated and brilliant.

The boxing scenes are by far the most realistic boxing scenes I’ve ever seen portrayed in a movie.

My only real complaint about the movie is that I would have liked to have seen more out of Wahlberg’s Ward.

4.0/5 Caramels

Buy on DVD

On Blu-Ray the first day it comes out.

2010 Ranking

3rd Best Movie of the Year. Behind Inception and The Social Network.

Bonus Information

There is a ton of profanity in this movie. Despite that fact, my Mom still liked the movie, even though she hates profanity.

Proust No. Six

Dawn Krause correctly answered the Christopher D. Bennett Trivia Question:

Q: Christopher D. Bennett bowls on Monday nights. What is the name of his bowling team?

A: Patio Pros.

Proust Quote

“Time, which changes people, does not alter the image we have retained of them.”

Confessions Question

For what fault have you most toleration?

2009 Answer

Proust Questionnaire Number Sixteen

I have thought about this question for a small amount of time now and I’m pretty sure that my answer isn’t the same as in 2009. Mostly because I haven’t had to deal with that fault very much in 2010. Although I’m not sure I dealt with it much in 2009 for that matter.

The best I can do is just start writing. See what spills out of my brain. Then you will be responsible for scooping it up off the floor and we will call it an answer.

It is easy to list the faults of others that bug me to no end. I can’t stand laziness. I can’t stand ignorance. I can’t stand dishonesty. I can’t stand tardiness. I can’t stand boringness. I can’t stand cliches. I can’t stand unoriginality. I can’t stand neediness. Worst of all, I can’t stand bad taste. I would probably be willing to hang out with somebody that was lazy, as long as they listened to good music and watched good movies. Somebody that reads bad literature and watches reality television has a longs ways to go in being a proper human being in my eyes.

If I was more of a magnanimous person, I would hate my own faults. I don’t hate my faults.

There are three really good reasons for why I don’t hate my own faults.

1. My faults make me who I am. They might make me who I am as much as my good qualities make me who I am. Maybe even more so. Humans are are a cynical bunch and they usually see the bad in people before they see the good in people. I’m not sure if this is instinctual or a defense mechanism that allows humans to reject other humans before they are rejected, but I see it happen on a daily basis.

“I mean, could you really imagine me hanging out with somebody like her… she thinks Desperate Housewives is cerebral television!”

Think about it. How often do you hear gossip (another fault I hate) about other people?

“I heard that Joe was completely faithful to his wife last night. Plus, while he wasn’t canoodling with some hussy in a cheap hotel,  he helped his children with their homework. Then he shoveled his elderly neighbor lady’s sidewalk. She didn’t even ask him.”

2. I have perfectly good excuses for my faults. I eat too much. Yeah, but that is because I’m living life and I have so many people in my life that are such good cooks that it would be a crime to let their good cooking go to waste.

I don’t exercise enough. Yea, but I just don’t have the time. I’m going to shaft on a friend because I need to go spend an hour in the weight room? I know I could lose some fat, but at the same time I worry about becoming one of those guys that is too ripped. I see them at the gym (when I go) and they don’t look like happy people. It is possible. I have a real quick learning curve. I might do a set of squats one night and wake up the next morning looking like Lou Ferrigno.  Nobody wants that.

I spend too much money on movies and music. Do you seriously think that is a concept?

I buy books and never read them. Well, they should have been written better.

I’m an elitist. That is a flat out lie. Just because my standards make it look like you don’t have standards doesn’t make me an elitist. It means you need to try harder.

I don’t write enough.  Yeah, I’ve also never killed a man in Reno just to watch him die. There are only so many hours in a day and I waste about 6 of them sleeping.

You can justify anything. Yeah…. and?

3. Having faults gives me places to improve and allows me to connect with other people that possess similar faults on a base level.

I think the best way for me to answer this question (since it is the Christmas season) is to answer the question which cardinal sin is the easiest for me to understand.


Excessive sexual thoughts.  I’m not sure what would be defined as excessive. However, I don’t really have much toleration for rapists or people who touch little children.


Failure to use one’s gifts. I’m sure there are people that would accuse me of this sin, but truthfully I’m not as talented as you think. (Also why Pride isn’t a big problem for me.) I really hate laziness. I enjoy having a good time. In fact, I enjoy having a great time. However, there is also a time for work and I can’t stand the lazy guy on the crew.  I think you will note that many of my friends are hard workers. Yeah, there is Willy. The truth is he only cultivates an image of laziness. Nobody is lazy that runs 100 miles a week. Sorry Salmon.


I just had a brief email conversation this week on Pride and why it is considered the Great Sin. There was a small amount of debate on whether Pride was really all that bad.  My answer is “YES”! Pride is the desire to be more important or attractive than others, failing to acknowledge the good work of others, and excessive love of self. I absolutely cannot stand the “one-upper”.  “Yeah, that is good pizza, but back in MaComb…” I don’t mind confident people, but people that are so arrogant that they can’t acknowledge the greatness of the other people lucky enough to share their air, can bugger off this mortal coil.


To resent that another person has something that your are lacking. This is a more understandable sin for me. I don’t struggle with it personally, but I can understand how somebody can look at me and feel that somehow they were shorted. They didn’t get my deep reservoirs of talent or incredible good looks. In fact, (due to my incredible humility) I try not to shove my greatness in the face of other people. We are all lesser creatures in some regard.


Inordinate and uncontrolled feelings of hatred and anger. I know quite a few people that have anger management issues. While I understand that there are proper times to be seething with rage: the ref blew a call and cost Iowa State a game, Congress won’t pass a bill to provide health care for 9/11 First Responders, somebody touched your Godzilla without asking (begging for) permission… But there are other times in life where you find yourself surrounded by cops because a friend called a ticket nazi a “soulless mother fudger” and you are given two choices “let it go or go to jail”.  These are situations created by Anger that I don’t find it so easy to tolerate.


Excessive or rapacious desire and pursuit of wealth, status, and power. I’m not too keen on this one either. I have a long standing hatred of rich people. Probably why I know so few of them. I guess that leaves…


The over-indulgence and over-consumption of anything to the point of waste. I have no choice to be most forgiving and tolerant of this one. I’m American.

Christopher D. Bennett Trivia Question

Since most people are probably already neck deep into Christmas activities, I’ll make this one extremely easy and I’ll accept up to 4 different answers. I’ll give extra credit for anybody that can come up with all 4 acceptable answers.

What is Christopher D. Bennett’s favorite movie?

Proust No. Five

Jason Baier correctly answered the Christopher D. Bennett Trivia Question:

Q: What brand of camera does Christopher D. Bennett

A: Sony. I also would have accepted Minolta with a lengthy explanation of how Sony bought out Minolta. If anybody would have listed Sony, Minolta and Holga, well there wouldn’t be words for how I would feel about such a person.

Proust Quote

“Only through art can we emerge from ourselves and know what another person sees.”

Confessions Question

The military event I admire the most:

My 2009 Answer

Proust Questionnaire Number Sixteen

This answer won’t make me popular.

I’m actually quite surprised by this question being selected. I’m not really big into the military. I don’t even have much of a family history of military service. My Grandpa Bennett was too young to serve in WWI. He was too old to serve in WWII. My Grandpa Paris served in WWII. Stateside. As a cook. Even though he was entitled to a full military funeral:  The folding of the flag and the Three Volley Salute and the playing of Taps. None of these things were done at my Grandpa’s funeral. This still burns some members of my family. I bring it up not to tear old wounds, but to show how military isn’t a big part of my family’s existence.

The one member of my family that had extensive combat and military experience was my Uncle Dean. He served in Vietnam and he was exposed to toxic chemicals that slowly ravaged his health and finally extinguished his life.

I don’t even have many friends that have military experience. Even one of those few friends had a terrible experience in the military. Ending with his bunkmate committing suicide.

Even when it comes to war movies, my favorites are decidedly anti-war: Paths of Glory, Full Metal Jacket, Apocalypse Now, Hotel Rwanda, Three Kings, Schindler’s List.

I’m not anti-military, but I also don’t get all jonesed up about the military.  I understand that its existence is a necessary evil, but at the same time our military is way too large. Do you realize that if you take the actual numbers, over 50 cents of every tax dollar spent goes to support the military? You’ll see figures that put it at 20 cents, but those numbers misrepresent how Social Security (among other things) is funded.

All things considered, I would rather 50 cents out of my tax dollar be spent on helping sick children. Helping sick old people. Helping sick middle-aged people.

Maybe a dime or so could go to keeping the military industrial complex welfare machine alive. Many of our technological advances have come through military research after all.

I understand that we need a military. We need it to press our (read Corporate America) economic interests in the world. It is also used on some level to protect us from the evil forces of today. Although if you told me after the Cold War ended that a few years later we would be engaged in a seemingly neverending War on Terror, I would have said, “Shut your mouth George Orwell!”

While I am very pleased with the recent retraction of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and I admire the heck out of Iowan and Medal of Honor winner Sal Guinta, the military event that occurred in 2010 that I most admire was the ending of military operations in Iraq.

The war began in March of 2003. During its peak, there were 165,000 American soldiers in Iraq. About 4,400 American soldiers died in Iraq. We will never know for sure, but it is estimated that 100,000 Iraqis were killed. Don’t just skim past that number. Where I come from (a little place I like to call Christianity), a human life isn’t less valuable because it isn’t American. Or Muslim for that matter.

I make this a separate sentence because I want to make it clear that I don’t consider the waste of life to be anywhere near on par with the waste of money, but as I write this the war on Iraq has cost this nation $747,323,475,195 and made us not even the slightest bit safer.With lack of Wall Street regulation and mind-blowing levels of corporate greed as contributing factors; our economy has been a casualty of this war.

With the ending of military operations in Iraq, there are less than 50,000 American troops left.

I know that is still a huge number and I know that we aren’t going anywhere. Just like how we are still in Germany, Japan and Korea. However it is a movement in the right direction. A movement to hopefully returning the United States back to being a nation of peace. A move back to being the “city upon a hill.” Yep, that is Jesus talk.

Christopher D. Bennett Trivia Question

Christopher D. Bennett bowls on Monday nights. What is the name of his bowling team?

Leave your answer in the “Comments” section of this journal entry.