Carroll County and Crawford County Auxiliary Images

When I went out to harvest the town signs of Carroll County and Crawford County, I did both counties in one swoop. I didn’t actually need many signs from either county, so I was about to pick up most of them going south through both counties along 141 and then get the last couple missing towns coming north back home.

Here are some of the non town-sign pictures I took on this road trip:


Carroll County
The person that lives here has to be fascinating.

Carroll County
I miss the days this didn’t apply to the Men’s Basketball Team.

Carroll County

Carroll County

Carroll County
If you can’t read the plaque in the background this is in memory of an Army Veteran that was killed in Afghanistan.

Carroll County

Carroll County
Sculpture Garden in Coon Rapids

Carroll County
If you’re sculpture garden doesn’t include a dinosaur made out of old farm elements, this guy is out!

Carroll County

Carroll County

Carroll County

Carroll County

Carroll County

Carroll County

Carroll County

Carroll County
I don’t wanna brag, but I’m pretty sure I could break out of here.

Carroll County

Carroll County

Carroll County

Carroll County

Carroll County
Carroll County Freedom Rock

Carroll County

Carroll County

Crawford County

Crawford County

Crawford County

Crawford County

Crawford County

Crawford County

Crawford County

Crawford County
Crawford County Freedom Rock

Crawford County

Crawford County

Crawford County

Crawford County

Crawford County

Crawford County

Crawford County
A terrifying baby Jesus.

Carroll County

Carroll County

Carroll County

Greene County

Greene County
Because St. Patrick’s is on the National Registry of Historic Places, so is this outhouse.

I can’t wait until this weather is better and I can hit the open road again. It looks like this weekend is a real possibility. As I type this, the current temperature -21 degrees. The wind chill is -38. There are rolling blackouts all across the country because southern power grids aren’t designed to handle running this many furnaces at once. But it might get into the +30s this weekend. You know it has been cold when you have to differentiate temperatures with a + sign.

24 thoughts on “Carroll County and Crawford County Auxiliary Images”

  1. – The Carroll County Freedom Rock has a machine gun on it?
    – It is in keeping with almost every picture above it.
    – Deb’s Corner’s Coke sign has a superfluous apostrophe in “its.”
    – “The Loaded Goat” sounds like it could be an interesting pizza place, but I’d not step foot in a town where everything has to do with guns to try it.
    – Was there a soldier carrying another soldier in the traditional nativity? I’m trying to remember.
    – That baby only wants you to say his name because, if you say it three times, he’ll eat you in your sleep.

  2. Are you familiar with the Freedom Rock thing. It is about military veterans and the military does frequently carry guns.

    The Crawford County Freedom Rock also has a machine gun on it, I think. Now, I don’t normally pay that much attention to the Freedom Rock. Just recently started do at least one picture of them, because each county has one. At least I think they do by now.

    If Deb’s Corner served the superior Pepsi products, I’m sure that they would have gotten the punctuation correct. If you really want your head to hurt, try to figure out what the rules are for punctuation and capitalization on town signs.

    You’ll be glad to know that The Loaded Goat is not in the same town as the Carroll County Freedom Rock. The Carroll County Freedom Rock is in Manning. The Loaded Goat is in Aspinwall. But none of the pictures in Manning involve a gun, except the Freedom Rock. Which is confusing because I didn’t label these very well… or really at all.

    However, I think you would be disappointed by Chub Pocket Pizza. I think it is just a frozen pizza that bars can warm up. I’ve seen it advertised at other west Iowa bars. But I haven’t had it, so maybe it is fantastic.

    Yes, the weird Denison nativity. Jesus grew up to be a Navy Seal. Surprised you didn’t know that. It is in the Republican Bible.

    I have no doubt that the baby does eat people in its sleep. Terrifying.

    My greatest regret about this little road trip is not getting my lazy butt out of the car and at least going inside that beautiful outhouse. Although I doubt it makes compost.

    Speaking of superfluous punctuation… one of the podcasts I listen to occasionally reads from the novel that Ben Shapiro wrote and constantly mocks his overuse of commas. Makes me, self conscious, about my use, of commas.

  3. Yes, but there are so many other things besides just carrying a gun that are large parts of military life (I obviously don’t know this firsthand). The Story County one, for example, features airplanes. With guns, but not that you can see. I admittedly am not into the whole freedom rock thing personally, there seem to be a lot of better ways to honor veterans, but it just seems pandering to these particular counties to focus on the guns.

    Pepsi may not be able to hold a lot of moral high ground so far as typos go, what with one of theirs costing $32 billion and ending in deadly riots ( https://medium.com/better-marketing/pepsis-40-billion-typo-caused-deadly-riots-3d671295d1bd ). I’ll take Deb’s misspelling any day, especially if it involves me getting my hands on an ice cold bottle of Diet Coke. However, I will say, here’s the hierarchy:

    Diet Coke > Pepsi > Coke > Diet Pepsi

    Diet Pepsi is maybe the worst drink in the history of the world. They keep putting out versions with lemon and vanilla to make it taste less like battery acid, but they keep ending right back up with the same terrible taste. But Pepsi “fat” or whatever they call it is much better than Coca-Cola “fat,” which is saccharine sweet and you can feel your teeth rotting out of your head. All of these are better than Mt. Dew or Diet Mt. Dew, which is for people in arrested development from their teens who still like to assume they’re “extreme” by drinking it. They’ll start putting out a Diet Mt. Dew Osteoporosis version eventually so that all of the “extreme” Gen X elderly can avoid diabetes AND it killing their calcium absorption.

    Well, that does clarify things! I had thought there was just an entire town with machine guns taped to their picture windows or something. That’s incredibly disappointing about Chub Pocket Pizza. Which is also incredibly unfortunately named, unless you’re going for a “Big Johnson t-shirts” kind of thing.

    Our subdivision doesn’t even allow us to put up a shed in our backyards. So it definitely wouldn’t let me make and put up a non-working version of this outhouse back there. Which I would empirically love – I’m not a fan of most “too precious for words” yard items, but that one would be quaint, beautiful, and still non-traditional enough to be interesting.

    I am positive that I over-comma. I feel like, if I’m in doubt that someone will understand my clause, I throw in one. Jane Austen over-comma-ed, so I figure if it’s good enough for her…

  4. Let me get this straight, because there happens to be a gun on the Freedom Rock, which is what people in the military use, when in combat situations, that is pandering? I’m not the largest Freedom Rock fan, but these painting are hardly “focusing on the guns”. They happen to have guns on them. Which is consistent with military experience.

    Also, the Story County rock does have a gun on it.

    Pepsi can trigger riots, because they have a navy they can send in to put it down.

    I don’t even drink enough pop to be really passionate about Coke vs. Pepsi these days. I just don’t understand why diet pop even exists. It is worse for you than the non-diet pop, so what is even the point?

    I don’t know that I’ve ever had Diet Pepsi, but the worst drink in the world is ginger beer, followed closely by grapefruit juice, followed by beer.

    And diet drinks actually increases the risk of diabetes. It doesn’t decrease it, so Gen X better lay off the Diet Mt. Deew Osteoporosis.

    Last week, I did buy pop for the first time since the pandemic started. Most of it is sitting in the pop overflow “bucket”, but it there is some ready to go into the fridge next time I have a can or two. This isn’t pizza Friday, so not sure when that will be this week.

    But I might be wrong about that frozen pizza and Chub Pocket. I decided to research it a little bit. Looks like in Vail, there is a bar restaurant called The Chub Pocket. So, they most some how distribute their pizza to a couple of other places. They serve drinks in fish bowls on Fridays.

    But what few pictures I can find, the pizza looks good. I’d get your expectations back up. But my guess is that it is still best to go to the one in Vail.

    Do you pay a Home Owner’s Association fee? I think the anarchist part of me could never live anywhere where they tell you what you can and can’t have in your yard. You do your thing in your yard. I’ll do my thing in my yard.

    That is probably the first and last time that anybody compared Ben Shapiro to Jane Austen.

  5. I find the idea of the Freedom Rock at all to be somewhat pandering. The guy doesn’t do it out of the goodness of his heart – he charges each county $5000, plus paint and travel/lodging. That has garnered him $495,000 that could instead have been used for actual practical purposes for the veterans (medical care, psychiatric care, food for those displaced, etc). It could even have gone towards a plaque that listed veterans for each county. Instead, this guy started doing a few and making some money, and it essentially held all of the other counties hostage until they also paid him a bunch of money. (The rocks themselves are quite costly.) In order to keep that whole particular situation continuing, I do think he puts some of what the counties want to see on them – Boone has a train, etc. A lot of soldiers deal with guns, but there are entire portions of the “armed services” who aren’t actually armed. Personnel from JAG to KP don’t take a gun to their position – but guns are going to play well in Iowa. He’s also attempting to roll out this profitable “freedom tour” to the rest of the US – you’ll likely not be surprised to find out that most of the states who have signed on largely are red gun-lovers. https://www.thefreedomrock.com/50statefreedomrocktour/

    I don’t hate the Freedom Rocks, but I don’t care for them. It’s performative politics. “We care about vets – but not enough to actually cover things like care for PTSD. A GUN ROCK sounds much better and more visible.”

    I prefer the taste of Diet Coke, so I drink it. That’s really all of it.

    I’m intrigued by the Chub Pocket (which is not a sentence I will ever say aloud) – but I fear it’s still frozen in order to get to the various bars. When I was young, Community Tap Pizza in Ft. Dodge was AWESOME — it’s had a large falling off of quality over the years, but the in-person still far surpassed when some bars like Okoboji Grill tried to carry it (I may be the only one who remembers that, because it was personally horrifying). They froze it and it tasted even worse. I have no idea where Vail is, but I may indeed go to that Chub Source on this one.

    We do pay an HOA fee. So not only do they tell us what we can and can’t have in our yards, but we PAY THEM to tell us that. So that’s logical. My dad still has a whole lot of farm boy in him, and can’t even deal with the City of Ames regulations surrounding their backyard – I think he’d lose his mind if he was in an HOA.

    I will take that as a challenge to find another Ben Shapiro/Jane Austen crossover.

  6. You definitely either did some research or have some knowledge on the Freedom Rock Project. I’m going to say, first of all, you have to appreciate the hustle. He flat out puts it out there that part of the reason for this project is to support his family. Again respect the hustle.

    While I agree with you 100% that more money needs to be spent on taking care of issues like PTSD, I think that is also an argument that you will find people using against funding NPR, Public Television, and virtually all public art. They could have used the money to fill the pothole on my street… blah, blah, blah.

    If the question is, are they any good? As art? I think he has greatly improved on this front over the years. I remember seeing one of the first Freedom Rocks. In fact, I think it is the very first one, near Greenfield. Shannon and I stopped there on the way to Corning to visit her brother once. It was just really bad. Regardless of subject matter, it just looked really bad.

    I remember posting a picture of it on Instagram and saying something about how “it wasn’t my thing but I like the fact that it exists” Or something like that. Not a full-throated endorsement, but not a full on takedown.

    Now, I rarely get comments on anything I post on Instagram. Back then it was even rarer. Back then I was lucky to get 5 likes on an Instagram post. (Now I’m lucky to get 10, woohoo!) Some guy (that I don’t know) was offended by whatever it was I said and left a comment like, “The guy on the rock is more of a hero than you will ever be.”

    I think I commented back something like, “I’m sure you are right.”

    Or I might have just ignored it. My main social media policy is not to engage with trolls.

    But either way, I think he has gotten better. I actual liked the Jasper County rock, which does have a gun on it. A musket, I do believe.

    I think you might be overstating, the red politics of the states on the tour. Washington is bright blue. Minnesota is a dark blue. Wisconsin is purple. But Nebraska, North Dakota, and Missouri are a radioactive red. I wish Iowa was purple again. Actually, Nebraska is trending a little purple with Omaha. But the rest of the state, is Husker Red.

    But at the end of the day, I don’t think it matters much if I like it. I don’t think it matters if you like it. I think it only matters if veterans like it. Since, besides meaning to support the artist’s family (again, respect the hustle), it is supposed to honor them. And the truth is, I don’t know if they like it or not. I’ve never asked a veteran what they think about it. But I think I will.

    For the most part, I always error on the side of wanting more public art. As long as it isn’t 100% propaganda like the Trump wall. Okay, I would support 100% propaganda if I agreed with it. Shepard Fairey come to Boone!!!

    But one more Freedom Rock story. I actually stopped by the Freedom Rock in Boone when it was being painted. The artist happened to be there. He had signs up that said not to talk to him while he was working. I mean, you have to respect the hustle.

    As for diet drinks, I have tried a few over the years, but the only ones I ever found bearable are Diet A&W and Diet Dr. Pepper.

    Vail is really easy to get to. Go to US30. Head west. When you see a town sign for Vail, you are there. It is probably about a 90 minute to 2 hour drive to get there. Chub Pocket can’t be hard to find. Vail only has a few hundred residents.

    But your frozen experience with Community Tap Pizza makes me less likely to buy a frozen pizza from The Adobe. I need to get a pizza from The Adobe soon. This isn’t Pizza Friday, so maybe next Friday.

    I’m with your dad. The only way I would ever join a HOA is if they mowed my lawn and did the snow removal from the driveways and sidewalks. Otherwise, they can bugger straight off.

    Would it be too harsh if I hope the next time Ben Shapiro and Jane Austen have a crossover, it is because they are both dead?

  7. Sorry for burning through responses today. I am heavily procrastinating a project I don’t want to do.

    I do get the whole thing with supporting his family – but man, almost half a million from Iowa just for painting 99 rocks (which is wildly smaller than a mural, so it can’t take that long) has to qualify as a racket even more than a hustle. I don’t blame a guy for doing whatever he can for his family, but it just seems to border somewhere on price-gouging. I suppose someone else should come out with a competing freedom rock so Guy A doesn’t have a monopoly, and cut costs. Then maybe they could have an IPO and get stockholders. I may be overthinking this.

    You’re correct – my opinions on it don’t matter at all. Just explaining my comment of “pandering.” I don’t even know that it’s the most accurate word, at least alone – certainly “exploitative” at this point. And art IS art – even if I think it’s crappy or exploitative, it’s still art. (See previous conversation on Jackson Pollack.) I hope that vets enjoy it, but I do wish we treated them better, whether it’s in addition to or instead of these rocks.

    I’ll have to see if we can’t make this Chub Pocket thing happen as a family at some point (probably eating it in the car or at a park rather than in a bar, I’d guess). Theirs looks like a deep dish, I think?
    Jon and I hit Mabe’s Pizza when we were in Decorah a couple of summers ago when I photographed a wedding. It reminded me how much I love good thin crust pizza (even though theirs isn’t particularly thin). I miss Old George’s.

    Yeah, I’m not entirely sure what even happens if you don’t give money to the HOA? But now that I think about it, I think we HAD to sign up and agree to pay when we bought our house? I feel confident there was a form for it. I’m not sure if they sue you, if not? Ours largely takes care of the pond that is in our subdivision, and they do a lot of stuff in the runoff areas behind all of our houses. All of our backyards sort of slope down to a ditch in between each row of houses, to avoid flooding. They plant wildflowers in there and burn/maintain them, which is apparently incredibly expensive and time-consuming, and I guess a lot of people have really strong opinions on how that should go. I do not, I will trust the wildflower experts we have and hire. I’d focus time more on the fact that we have insane cow poop levels leaching into the pond from the ISU farms, and maybe figuring out a mitigation strategy for that – the levels are high enough that dogs can’t get anywhere near it.

    I don’t think that’s too harsh at all. Really one of the only other option would be that Jane Austen had reanimated as a soulless zombie, which would also be accurate but not the desired ending.

  8. I would love a competing Freedom Rock guy. Maybe the Liberty Stone.

    “Hey, if another town in your county got the Freedom Rock or you can’t afford the price tag, get a Liberty Stone!”

    In fact, I would put a Liberty Stone in my yard. Everybody in your neighborhood should get a Liberty Stone!

    10% of your proceeds when you buy a Liberty Stone going to mental health benefits for veterans.

    Liberty Stone, not your dad’s patriotism!

    There could be a name for this type of thing. I’d call it Vetsploitation.

    Back when I used to be on Breitbartbook, people used to do this thing that I would call classic Vetsploitation. They would post something that said:

    “Repost this is you support our troops. I bet we can’t get 100 people to do it.”

    There were similar ones that deal with loving God. They always pissed me off when I saw them instantly. More than somebody that posted 750 pictures of their vacation. Pick like 5. Post those.

    Any way, do people still do that?

    As for the Chub Pocket, I’m not sure if it is deep dish. The pictures I saw are hard to tell, but it definitely isn’t thin crust.

    I actually went up to Decorah for my 2019 Birthday Road Trip with Jesse. We didn’t go to a wedding, but visiting a couple of waterfalls. I love Decorah. Absolutely beautiful part of the state and a really cool town. As it so happened, we also ate at Mabe’s Pizza.


    Birthday Road Trip - Cruddy Cell Phone Pictures

    I didn’t love Mabe’s. I don’t scream out in the middle of the night thinking about it, like I do Pickle’s and Zeno’s. But I thought it was pretty good. I’d eat there again.

    But when I miss thin crust pizza I miss how good Bellucci’s used to be. I could murder a Thompson Special right about now. If it was as good as used to be. I’m not sure they are even up at all now. I think they are waiting for the pandemic to pass before opening again. I’m not sure, I haven’t been in a couple years.

    Have I mentioned I really want a pizza from The Adobe?

    You want to talk about a racket. That is HOA. Bethany used to live in one in Minnesota before she wised up. But they mowed the grass and did snow removal. It was also what I would call a duplex, but what in Minnesota the call a Twin Home for some reason.

    But the real racket? Somebody is getting paid to plant wildflowers. WILDFLOWERS! Do they not know what the word “wild” means.

    I was going to be jealous of your pond until the cow poop thing. Where is all the cow poop even coming from? Is there fish in the pond?

    Is there sign warning dogs to stay away or dogs just naturally know. Cause I don’t feel like Naima would naturally know. Does the sign reference cow poop, cause if it does, that is a great sign. I’m not saying I would steal a cow poop sign, but at the same time, what is the neighborhood watch situation around there?

    I know there is an ISU farm behind Jen and Derrick’s but they have sheep. Also apparently a dog that rounds the sheep up that apparently leaves the farm and hangs out in their yard every once in awhile. Apparently sometimes (I used to know the dog’s name) needs a break from them sheep.

    I listened to a co-worker tell me how interesting Ben Shapiro is once. That ended with me knowing that his co-worker is uninteresting.

    Same person once told me that Alex Jones doesn’t “literally mean zombies”. Is that why they think people think Alex Jones is a moron. Because he things zombies are real?

  9. I love the idea of the Liberty Stone! We need to float this idea to your guy who does the painting of the snow. Help him monetize his skills, stick it to Big Freedom Rock, and actually help out veterans. How can this go wrong?! It’s a ripe market, he can get in on the ground floor!

    They still do that same form of Vetsploitation (and Christiansploitation, and Childrensploitation) on QBook. I have a very sweet aunt from Texas who falls for it all of the time. I tried to send her a link to an article on how it’s used for data mining, but it didn’t matter. I don’t know how to tell her that God probably doesn’t care if she shared a Facebook post within ten seconds of seeing it. Nor does the entire currently employed armed forces. Make a $5 donation to the VA every time you see someone share one of those instead, it will make a lot more difference.

    I would not say Mabe’s is the best pizza I’ve had or anything, by a long shot. I feel so bad, I can’t provide any commentary on The Adobe or Pickle’s or Zeno’s, as we haven’t been there. I think we drove to try to go to Pickle’s one time, but it was closed by the time we got there, so we ended up eating at the Hardees in Story City on the way home. I have a confession – I’ve only had Belluci’s about twice, and they were both probably fifteen years ago. I remember CDS served some for the entire second shift once, and then I went with my parents once. I loved it, but just usually opted for something delivery. I tried calling them a couple of months ago to do carryout, and didn’t get an answer or a machine – I don’t know if there just wasn’t anyone there due to pandemic, or if they just were busy, or what. Their Google Business page wasn’t really updated, but that wasn’t incredibly surprising.

    HOAs really are a racket. Our first place we owned was a townhouse in Nevada. It was in a little strip of townhouses, and there was an HOA. We paid so much a month (I want to say $50) for them to mow and remove snow, in addition to taking care of the exterior of the buildings/grounds. It was cheaper than most, but not great quality. Several of the units tried to band together, but the guy who was the builder was just punishing in how he squashed it. It was too profitable for him to let the residents take over. I’ve never heard the phrase “Twin Home,” but I guess it sort of makes sense with the Minnesota Twins? That’s the only affiliation I can think of.

    I agree on the wildflowers! I guess the regular old wildflowers that they bulldozed over to make the trenches aren’t hardy enough, so they planted and keep planting new ones. I don’t entirely understand how this is efficient.

    It may be sheep poop in the pond, and then some fertilizer from the ISU farms? Or just sheep poop? Jon went to that HOA meeting and told me about it after, so I may have a few of the details wrong. There is a sign warning the dogs who can read signs to stay away, which seems very helpful. I try to take a daily walk around that pond when it’s not winter (the sidewalk around it isn’t maintained at all in winter) – there are poor dogs who live within a bone’s throw of that pond who do not get to enjoy it as a dog should get to enjoy a pond. I just looked through my phone photos of the pond from various walks, and I think it just said “Keep Animals Out” or something like that – I am positive I would have taken a photo of a cow poop sign. Or some of the neighborhood kids would DEFINITELY have stolen it, if an enterprising adult on a walk hadn’t first.

    Those sheep are constantly watched by my kids whenever we go to State Street! It’s neat that Jen and Derrick’s family get to be so close to them – I had no idea there was a canine sheepherder! That’s awesome – and even cooler that the Gorshes get to befriend it. I have a feeling there is going to be one young Gorshe twin or another trying to climb into the sheep pasture by the time he turns five. Charlie FOR SURE would.

    I don’t think Ben Shapiro is even interesting to Ben Shapiro, do you? I bet even he realizes he’s just a chore of a human being. …They think that everyone’s objections to Alex Jones is that they think he really believes in zombies? And if we just understood he is using it figuratively, all of his nutjob, dangerous conspiracy theories would be just fine?

  10. I think when Liberty Stone gets big, we should have Tom Selleck do the commercials. He is so good, that he almost makes me think reverse mortgages aren’t a scam.

    The artist’s name is Don Hughes. He’d probably be really good at it.

    If I donated $5 for every time I saw one of those shame posts, I’d be broke. Broker. Brokest?

    And that is what I really hated about them the most is the stinger at the end, “I bet 100 people won’t do this.” It is like the chain letter of the 21st century. Do chain letters still exist? If not, I’m going to bring them back!

    Pickle’s, Zeno’s, and The Adobe are all amazing. Although The Adobe is probably a little more of an acquired taste. Meaning I can imagine somebody not liking it. But I can’t imagine somebody not liking Zeno’s or Pickle’s.

    For example, their specialty pizza might sound gross to most people:

    Buffalo sauce, all meat, jalapenos & Alfredo sauce.

    SO GOOOOD!!

    I’ve never had a bad pizza at Zeno’s, but the one I dream about at night is there BBQ Brisket Pizza:

    Provolone, sriracha bourbon sauce, pizza sauce, brisket, peppadew peppers, and red onions.

    I have a friend that works for the railroad that brings me one every once in awhile when he has been stationed in Marshalltown.

    Pickle’s is also incredible and I have never had a bad pizza there. But my favorites are their taco and their bacon cheeseburger. They serve the pickles on the side.

    If Pickle’s went out of business, I will sob uncontrollably for a day. But back before the pandemic, I never went there and it wasn’t packed.

    I don’t have any theories on Minnesotans. They call lots of things stupid things. It is their nature.

    That really sucks about your pond. If I was paying an HOA fee, I would want use of that pond. My dog would definitely want use of that pond. Does it have fish in it? They better build you guys a community pool to compensate.

    Will the pond someday be usable or will it always be a toxic cesspool?

    Wildflowers. I won’t hate on somebody who’s job it to make the world a more beautiful place. And those patches do need to be burned to allow for new growth and knock down the weeds.

    I think I’ve already witnessed one of the boys try to get through that fence. Last time I was over there we walked that fence line. They sometimes have to call the farm and an employee comes over and gets the dog.

    I think Ben Shapiro is a grifter. I think he doesn’t believe half the idiotic things he says.

    The same zombie Alex Jones person also opined to me about how they don’t believe in “identity politics”. So… I mean there is a chance that they used to believe he was talking about literal zombies and then one day realized he wasn’t.

  11. Man, I really hope Tom Selleck feels like garbage for doing those. “No, for real, THESE reverse mortgages are great. You can trust me, I’m Tom Selleck.”

    It’s true, those things are so common (especially if you’ve got people in the 50-70 age range on your wall, or Republicans) you’d go broke within a month. It’s just so absolutely pandering and dumb. Alice received her first ever chain letter a couple of months ago. She felt all this pressure and so I just ripped it up and threw it in the trash before she could react. It’s so stupid – it’s the first one she’s ever gotten, though, so I’m wondering how that works. Man, at least all of those dumb email forwards that we used to get all of the times are pretty well gone now.

    I didn’t know that Pickles had actual pickles! Buffalo + alfredo sauce sounds legitimately delicious – I bet they balance each other out. I would try any of those pizzas! Fong’s isn’t my favorite pizza on earth, but what I DO enjoy about it is that they have so many odd combinations. We’re going to have to make sure to hit all of these places. And only order specials, no matter what.

    I think they tried to have fish in the pond, but the poop killed them all off? It gets really stagnant and covered in crap over the summer. I have seen bugs laying eggs on the top, but that’s all the more movement I’ve seen on it. I think they ideally want to get it cleaned up – but I’m not sure HOW, if there is stuff leaching in via the soil? I’d assume it would be some chemical neutralizer that also wouldn’t be good for dogs? (I know nothing about these things, btw.)

    They just burned our wildflower batches this past summer! It was sort of entertaining to watch. I don’t love fire at a logical level, but it’s fascinating.

    I am 100% not surprised that the boys are trying to scale it – I love that little boys are sort of predictable. It’s one of the reasons we moved from a 2-story house to a ranch – I’m pretty sure that Charlie is going to try to climb out of a window at some point. While I can try to parent that out of him, I might as well try and also make sure he doesn’t kill himself in the process.

    I would get so bored having to just say the same garbage day after day. Even if I got rich for it. I wonder if he ever escalates just to amuse himself. But I don’t think he seems like the time to have that self awareness. I wish I knew who this Alex Jones person was, and if I worked w/them!

  12. Listen Angie, Tom Selleck wouldn’t be doing those commercials if he thought that a reverse mortgage was some way to scam your grandma out her home! That’s Magnum P.I. AND Jesse Stone you are talking about!

    I can’t believe you threw away that chain letter. Guess who is getting my first chain letter when I start my chain letter. I had forgot about email forwards. Yeah, those were the worst. I wonder where most of the bad luck in the world is hanging out now, that those email forwards are gone. Probably with the Iowa State Men’s basketball team.

    I don’t know what happened to Fong’s. I’ve eaten at the downtown location and it is amazing. Then they opened in Ankeny and unfortunately I’ve only eaten at the Ankeny location since and it just isn’t the same. I swear it isn’t even the same recipe. I need to get back to the downtown location to see if it is still great. It has been experience that Des Moines Restaurants is that their Ankeny locations are always subpar. Fong’s. Zombie Burger. The Ankeny Jethro’s is the worst Jethro’s. I think Ankeny just sucks in general and nothing can fight its mediocrity. Besides the Ankeny Centennial girls basketball team. I mean boundaries don’t even apply to them.

    As for your pond. I think you need to get a big size rock this summer and throw it in. See if it does anything to the stagnation. But what a tremendous disappointment. I would be pretty pumped to have a pond and then not to be able to use it would be awful. There would be no keeping Naima out of it either.

    I’ve visited Nate in Manhattan in the spring when the ranchers are burning the fields. It is pretty incredible. We drove, what I considered really close to one that was burning on our way to Wichita once. I think in Iowa they would have closed down the road. In Kansas it was no big deal.

    Ranch houses are awesome! I hope Charlie climbs on the roof though. Just to show he can’t be tamed.

  13. I need to respect the integrity of Tom Selleck! Surely Magnum would never steer anyone – he’s all about solving scams!

    I want to say that Alice was really worried when I shredded the chain letter, although luckily it didn’t indicate any ill fortune on her if I did so. If I still had access to my old Mine account, I used to get those things regularly from other coworkers (especially Paul). And Jon’s family. I got myself into sort of a situation once where I accidentally forwarded one back to Paul that was supposed to be to someone else indicating the level at which I did not care. Man, the men’s team is a flaming turd, isn’t it? I listened to the first one of the season, and have not returned. I read the box scores and such, and figure that’s about enough.

    We usually end up at the Ankeny one by attrition. We’re usually going with people who don’t want to go downtown, or who live in Ankeny, etc. But you’re right, the downtown one is far better. Same with literally all of the examples you gave – ZombieBurger being the proving of your rule, with the Ankeny one closing. Even the few things they have there that are good, they end up closing – there was some fabulous little restaurant in the old downtown that I forget the name of, that closed. I’d rather go the extra 10 miles and go to the Altoona Jethros, which is just as easily accessible. Although, the owner is problematic as a human, so I don’t love going there, anyway.

    I’ll give it a shot with a big old rock this spring or summer. I’ve not been down there to look at it during this thaw, just because it’s down a hill (hence the leachates from the fields), so all of the melting snow just congregates on the paths into super-deep puddles. Not good walking paths when it’s wet (which is another knock against it). We haven’t even tried walking Hazel down there, because I was so nervous she’d jump in and get some poop-based poisoning. It bums me out. I can only imagine that Naima would struggle even more with it, because she’d be tall enough to able to see the water over the reeds and stuff.

    Kansas is so wild wild west that it kills me. “Play stupid games, win stupid prizes” should be their motto. Of COURSE they would just let the fire rage!

    I do love ranch houses. They’re so much more practical. I can guarantee that Charlie will climb on the roof at some point. He has never seen a structure he hasn’t wanted to climb. He is definitely a horse who refuses to be broken. He is everything that made me afraid of having a boy when I was pregnant – but I also 100% love every single one of those things about him.

  14. Next time I see Alice I’m going to tell her how I retired when I was 34. I won the lottery shortly after forwarding a chain letter. I’m sure glad I didn’t tear that up and throw it away.

    I’m afraid Steve Prohm has to go. I was one of the last people defending him and there just isn’t arguments left to be made to defend him. I still think there is a fair chance he gets one more year, because of Covid and economics, but Hilton will be empty next season if Prohm comes back.

    I don’t like it thinking it, but when I’m daydreaming, I’m daydreaming that Darian Devries would look nice in Cardinal and Gold.

    The Ames Jethro’s isn’t great shakes either though. Drake neighborhood Jethro’s is definitely the best though. Man, I want me a Zombie Burger. Should have grabbed one when I was down in Des Moines yesterday. Why didn’t I think of that!

    I’m going to take Naima to “our pond” for the first time in probably 3 months when I put down my pick for the week. She will be pumped and come home very muddy. It looks like all the snow has melted there, so definitely going to be muddy. It really is her happy place. Because she is becoming aged, she will probably sleep extra late tomorrow after our trip their tonight.

    One thing about Kansas. Both Nate and his wife Laura are already both vaccinated. And I still have no clue when I’ll get to a vaccine. I assume Iowa will eventually send I’m some kind of Running Man type competition where if you survive, you get a vaccine. Yay Covid Kim…

    I’m kinda pissed that in New Jersey they are giving the vaccine first to smokers.

    My sister’s friend’s son just passed away from Covid. He was 26.

    He better climb on that house! It is what it is there for.

    BTW, you never commented on the few pictures I took of the Coon Rapids sculpture garden.

  15. I meant to comment on this; thank you for reminding me!

    I do enjoy those sculptures a lot – and they’re not all marble and crap that costs $10k to purchase. I like the grasshopper-y one the best, I think – he looks eager to me. For what, I have no idea. But I like his moxy.

  16. Sorry, I meant – I meant to comment on the pieces.

    Alice will be traumatized if you tell her that you’re a chain-letter-made-billionaire. I keep thinking that we’re going to have to really make our kids smart, as pyramid schemes keep getting more and more hidden in how they are marketed. Chain letter is an OG pyramid scheme.

    I like Prohm as a person, and really wanted it to work – much as I really wanted McDermott to work (before he started going on about plantations). But this is awful. We haven’t won a conference game in well over a year. This is embarrassing, and we’re a joke at this point – and we’re traditionally a “basketball school.” I do wish we could get Devries, but I wonder if Pollard would be hesitant to bring in another in-state coach after Greg. If that hadn’t been on his watch, I’d find it more likely, you know?

    Man, the Zombie Burger with goat cheese makes me happy. And whatever the shake is that has Fruity Pebbles in it. It’s magic and I miss it. I want some of that bad now, thanks a lot. I love goat cheese so much.

    I hope Naima came back properly disgusting and happy! I went down and went for a walk around our stink pond over lunch today (left the dog at home so she didn’t get poisoned), and it was still way more frozen over than I figured it would be. It wasn’t at the very edges, where the geese were. I assume those geese are all now poisoned. But the point of that was – I hope that Naima had a blast!

    I feel like almost every other state in the nation has a better plan than us for vaccines. Kim is just awful, I hate her so much. I mean, maybe not Florida, but still. I’m so sorry for your sister’s friend, that’s AWFUL that this is still happening, and beaches are full for Spring Break. HOORAY.

  17. I have a friend who has a family member that has gone deep into the “election was stolen” rabbit hole. They were at the misnamed “Stop the Steal” Rally in DC. They didn’t go into the Capitol. They went back to their hotel before all that started, thankfully. But they have been bombarding family members with letters about how the election was stolen.

    I’m pretty sure I would start signing this person up for every mailing list I could find. I would call them and try to get them to sign up to sell Amway for me. When they got mad I’d be like, “Oh so it is annoying when somebody constantly tries to get you to join their make-believe cult?”

    But yeah, that stuff is getting more sophisticated, but at the same time, it is still the less sophisticated stuff that is most effective. The things that draw people to cults is only getting more prevalent in our society. Isolation. Loneliness.

    I think Prohm is going to get one more season. I think the economics of a 25 million dollar deficit paired with a 5 million (I think) buyout is going to give him a mulligan. Plus, if they wanted Coach Otz, I think that would be another 5 million dollar or whatever buyout. Now there is probably somebody out there willing to give ISU the funds for that, but I think Prohm gets another year.

    But I think somebody on the staff will get canned. More of a “we’re trying” gesture than anything else. But I want it to work for Prohm. He seems like a good guy, but the results are what they are.

    I know lots of fans want Hoiberg back. I’m not on that bus. I don’t think what he did at Iowa State the first time can be replicated. Otz isn’t exactly setting the world on fire at UNLV either. But whatever. We have to be better next year no matter what. We are getting a real point guard. I like Bolton, but he is so clearly not a point guard.

    But I think more than anything else, we are missing a Melvin Ejim or a Dustin Hogue. A mean SOB that hates losing and loves rebounding and defense. We don’t have a single player on our roster that likes to rebound and the only guy that looks like he enjoys playing defense is like 5’10”. Our defensive strategy of letting the other team takes as many shots as they need to make it hasn’t worked out very well.

    Our offense, yeah, we need a point guard.

    My favorite Zombie Burger is the one with the mushroom thing on it. It has been so long I can’t even remember what it is called.

    Naima was extremely muddy. But the good thing about the route we take is that she starts (emphasis on starts) to dry off before we get to the car. She slept very well this weekend.

    I think geese are too mean to get poisoned. We could use a goose to play down low for the Cyclones. But hey, at least the Women are good. Inconsistent because of all the freshman but good. Lots of fun to watch too.

    Covid Kim! Not the worst governor in the county thanks to Florida, Texas, and South Dakota. But definitely in the running for that bronze medal.

  18. That would be incredible to flip the script on one of those crazy QAnon jerks. I mean, at least they didn’t break into the Capitol – but that’s like saying “at least Dylan Klebold wasn’t the instigator of Columbine.” Doesn’t matter a great deal.

    I think isolation and loneliness are so tied up with our entire mishandling of mental health in the US, too. How can we have all kinds of insurance coverage for Viagra, but having depression is still taboo? It’s terrible, and all of it just leads to sad cycles. It really bums me out to think about, overall.

    I do also think that Prohm is back next year, largely due to finances. Someone was saying they heard that the Sukups were willing to donate a million to get rid of him – and the answer is, “And?” That isn’t enough, and as you said – I don’t think Otz or Hoiberg are the right options. Hoiberg is sort of laying an egg over in Nebraska – everyone knows his game now, the novelty is gone and so it sort of kills the edge it gave us. I don’t know how desirable we are at this point, with the coach turnover we’ve had of late. About our only shot is a young up-and-comer who we catch knowing we can’t keep them long.

    I admittedly didn’t watch this year much at all after the first game, so I unfortunately can’t speak at all on what we have and don’t at this point. I’m not a fair weather fan – I just have been struggling this winter with the COVID stuff, and depressing basketball wasn’t going to make it better. God bless Ejim and all he did for us, though.

    I’m so glad that Naima got herself all worn out! I hope you don’t have to bathe her for hours after all that. With all her hair, it seems like that would be really arduous.

    Man, geese do suck. There were a few that were in a neighbor’s yard instead of the pond, and I kept my eye on those guys. I must not be very intimidating, because they let me be.

  19. It will matter a great deal about whether or not they go to prison though. The one and only one truly great thing Trump did was NOT pardoning those people. Reading stories about how shocked that they are that they didn’t get pardoned is great medicine for a wounded soul.

    Viagra is such a waste of money too, when we have guns. Right?

    I wonder if the Slayton Rock owners would lease it for advertising. It would make a great Viagra advertisement. One giant blue pill.

    But in all seriousness, our mental health system is a joke and I have at least 2 friends that don’t think that mental illness really exists. Well at least depression, doesn’t exist.

    I understand that Nebraska should be substantially better next season. Apparently there is one or 2 players that they will have next season that will be game changers. Don’t know if that is true, but I’ve heard that several times.

    Otz isn’t exactly setting it on fire at UNLV either, but I think he has at least another season to get it going there.

    Naima mostly keeps herself clean. Although it is warm enough, that she could probably get a bath here in the next couple of weeks. We’ll see.

    What geese and chickens don’t seem to get is that they are the perfect kicking height. They are like fat footballs with built in kicking tees. Now, I’ve never done this, but the geese do make it tempting. The other part geese don’t seem to understand. They don’t have teeth. Their bites don’t hurt. If anything, they tickle.

    One thing I think about waiting to get Devries is that once his son enrolls at Drake, I think he will be firmly entrenched there. I mean his son could move with him, but they don’t (on the surface) seem to be those kind of people.

  20. One part of me was shocked that he didn’t pardon them initially. But when it became clear that was crucial as part of his plan of “redemption” (ha) before the impeachment trial, there was no question he’d rather save himself than them.

    One would think that just the thrill of shooting a gun would be enough for them to fix any erectile dysfunction. That WOULD be a perfect use for the Slayton Rock. If you’re going to sell out with that thing, go ALL the way out.

    I was reading today that Fred has at least one five-star recruit coming in next year, so that is apparently a big reason for him to stay. I just also – why would anyone want him back? I mean, he’s an institution, I get that, you can love him as a player and a former coach. But he’s going to bounce at his first chance, even if he can possibly recreate what he did before.

    I’ve read that TJ has a lot better chance next year, too, with some of his rebuilding in the works. I think he’s much more likely than Fred – but I don’t know.

    OH MY GOSH. So, I don’t play video games, but Jon does and I’m often in the room. Somehow, inexplicably, there are an abundance of chickens and occasionally geese wandering around in different games. I always request/demand that he kick the chickens, because our chickens sucked so bad – I would say that he accommodates this request at a “1 out of 200 times” rate. And chickens suck far, far less than geese. The roosters are mean, but not usually the hens – literally ALL geese suck. I do love the idea of “kicking tees” on their stupid, scrawny legs.

    Yeah, Devries’ son is signed up for next season, right? He was a senior this year and just won their tourney? I agree, I bet it largely depends on if he could bring him with him (which I’m sure he could).

  21. The fact that poor people somehow think a trust fund baby that has never done a legitimate days work in his life is somehow a scion for the blue collar is just… it is really pathetic. He doesn’t care about those people. Not even a little bit. Just shows how powerfully effective the Republican Culture War Playbook is.

    Looks like it is Coach Otz. Not my first choice, but I can live with it. Especially if he brings one of his top 40 recruits with him and is able to keep Tyrese Hunter in the fold. Wisconsin kid, so I like his odds. I think one of Prohm’s major downfalls was all of the recruiting he did in the south. It doesn’t feel like any kid that has come from the south has stuck with us or worked out. I have high hopes for Jayden Walker still though. Jury is still out on Dudley Blackwell, but with zero information on his situation, wouldn’t surprise me if he transferred. New coach and he didn’t get much playing time last year. I hope he sticks, but that isn’t what seems to happen these days.

    It will be interesting to see what players stick around. I hope pretty much all of them do. I think a big question mark on next year’s team will be Blake Hinson.

    I hope at least one of the assistants is retained. Daniyal Robinson cause of his recruiting connections in Chicago. Or even William Small, who mostly recruits the south, which I just said hasn’t worked for us, but maybe I’m a hypocrite.

    Yeah, Devries son is signed with Drake. But that didn’t stop McDermott from taking his son to Creighton from UNI. That Waukee team was crazy loaded with talent. Two Devries. Another kid going to Iowa and the real show stopper is Omaha Biliew. He is only a sophomore and he is the #5 ranked player in the nation. Might be late for Iowa State to get in on him and he’ll probably end up going to North Carolina like every other high ranked Iowan. One of these days, one of those kids is going to stick in Iowa though, right?

  22. Whatever Otz may seem to be lacking in Xs and Os, he can recruit – so maybe (assuming it is him, which all signs point to) he’ll be able to keep some of our players and gank a couple from UNLV. I don’t know, I’d really liked Devries, but maybe this will surprise me. It just seems like sort of a Paul Rhoads “already an ISU guy” type of hire. But with much better recruiting.

    In all honesty, if I’d lived in 70 degree winters all my life, I’d likely have a difficulty walking across campus in two feet of snow and -40 wind chill. I sort of get it.

    I keep hoping one of our big players will stay here, too – that Harrison Barnes dangle really sort of killed my optimism, though. They all want those 70 degree winters and don’t realize that pretty well any Power Five school is going to get them national visibility – it doesn’t have to be UNC or Kansas. And while there’s certainly value in getting coached by Coach K, most NBA coaches are going to totally break down whatever you learned in HS and college, anyway, to fit their system.

  23. I’m not really sure Otz is as bad at Xs and Os as people think. I think people tend to say that a guy is either this or that, when they can grow and change. I am optimistic about Otz. But I think the needle can move quite a bit in the next few weeks after we see what he does with the roster and staff.

    I think he will keep Robinson and add Lutz and bring one of his UNLV assistants.

    The roster, I don’t know. Obviously he need to keep Bolton and Foster. He needs to keep Tyrese Hunter coming. It would be great if he could get Arthur Kaluma to switch to Iowa State. Looks like he goes to the same prep school as Jayden Nunn, so that might help. Although Nunn might be the type of recruit Otz doesn’t keep. He isn’t even ranked by the services, but if Monte is vouching for him, that is good enough for me.

    Then I assume most of the upperclassmen will stay. Conditt, Johnson, and Harris. I assume Hinson will stay but my guess is he is the most likely to transfer. But obviously, I have no kind of information on that.

    Of the four freshman, I wouldn’t mind if they all stayed, but I think after Foster, Jayden Walker is the one we need to stay the most. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Dubar and Blackwell to both transfer. Dubar was a starter at the beginning of the season and barely played at the end. Blackwell never really got much play. They both are supposed to have lots of upside, but players that don’t play often transfer.

    But even if nobody transfers out, we have one scholarship open.

    I don’t necessarily want him back, but I would love to know what Caleb Grill is thinking right now.

    Yeah, getting people to transfer from Las Vegas to Ames might be a reach. I mean Ames is okay and I don’t like Las Vegas, but Ames isn’t Las Vegas. Especially to a 19 year old kid.

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