All posts by Christopher D. Bennett

Some Photos

I’ll keep this brief because I have a big afternoon at work scheduled. Just thought I would throw up a few pictures that I came across yesterday while I was toiling in the computer mines.

The first image comes from the David Letterman show. I don’t watch the David Letterman show because it is head to head with the Colbert Report, and quite frankly that is not even a tough decision. On Monday, in a segment called “Small Town News”, somebody I actually know was featured: Jen’s dad. See the picture below:




Yesterday a co-worker brought in Venison Stroganoff for the department to eat for lunch. This gave me a little extra time, so I went for a walk in the woods behind our building. Although I was just there for a walk and to find decent lighting to take my new profile picture, I stumbled upon this little guy:


02-22-07

02-22-07

I have seen as many as 12 deer out there at once, but this fellow is the only one I’ve seen lately. He has a broken back leg that makes it difficult for him to get around, but he is still hanging in there for right now.

An Accomplished Mission

Let me start out by saying “Happy Valentine’s Day” to the people who are celebrating it. Let me say “Happy Wednesday” for those of you who are not.

“>Willy’s birthday was over 2 months ago. I am a timely person. So, I am glad to report that I have finally finished Willy’s birthday present and handed it over to him. Unfortunately, I have no clue where he is going to put this in his apartment. You see Willy’s walls are made out of either concrete or pixie dust. Neither one is good for hanging things. At least I know it won’t end up in the bathroom. No wall space. For reasons I haven’t been able to make right in my head, whenever anybody actually requests a piece it always ends up in their bathroom. I’m not quite sure what to make of this phenomenon. Below is a photo of the gift. This picture is entitled “Grizzly McAlpine”. The subject named the picture himself. This is the only time I have ever allowed such a thing to occur. The mat was originally an orange-brown color. I painted it silver, but allowed some of the original color to bleed through. The frame is black. I was originally going to put a coat of silver underneath the black and then distress the black paint to allow the silver to come through. I decided just to keep it simple and leave it one color and let the stress come to it in its own due course.


Grizzly McAlpine - Framed
“Grizzly McAlpine”

Why I Need a New Dress Shirt

There is so much I feel like I need to write about Not about me I am a man of no great consequence and my “adventures” are not the kind that are interesting for other people to read.

Yet, I feel compelled to write I feel the need to write So write I shall I have plans this week for three separate blogs This is the first of those blogs The other two will most certainly be blogs that most people will not be interested in reading Those two blogs are about two topics that the grand majority of people feel either completely ill equipped or completely uneasy discussing Those two topics are of course: religion and politics.

Good, you are still here You didn’t close the web browser in a disgusted or haughty manner You were able to deduct that this blog is not about religion It isn’t even about politics In fact, it isn’t even about photography, unless you want it to be.

I assure you that when I do publish the two blogs about the uncomfortable subjects I will give you ample warning You will be able to click away quickly and find a blog that is more to your liking At least it will be comfortable and comfort is all that most people really desire.

So now I have written a full four paragraphs and haven’t come to the point The point is related to movies If you know me at all, you know that I am a fan of the moving picture On Sunday I completed a phase of my quest I went to see “Letters from Iwo Jima” with Nader Now I have seen all 5 Best Picture Nominees Now I just need to pick off some of the other categories here and there It might involve a trip to the Fleur Cinema in on Des Moines Although there isn’t much out there left for me to see, I would still like to see “Notes on a Scandal” and “Little Children” before Oscar Night If you are a fan of the Academy Awards, then this is a big DVD day “The Departed” is released today I would say that it is a good bet for “Best Picture” and nearly a mortal lock for “Best Director” I have already seen the movie, so it doesn’t matter much to me More interesting for me is the release of “Half Nelson” Ryan Gosling is nominated for “Best Actor” for his work in this movie Also coming out on DVD today is “Water”. It is nominated for “Best Foreign Language Picture”. If you don’t know what “Water” is about I will now include a brief plotline I have snagged from the IMDB:

The year is 1938, India is ruled by the British, and it is around this time that Mohandas K. Gandhi has arrived from Africa Banaras and left in the care of a wide assortment of widows who live at “the widows’ house,” shunned by the rest of the community. Chuyia believes that her mother will come to take her home. Here she meets several elderly women, including the head of the house, Madhumati; a quiet, confident woman named Shakuntala; and a gorgeous young woman named Kalyani — all widows. Chuyia does not know that according to Holy Hindu Scriptures she has been destined to live here for the rest of her life, for when a woman’s husband dies’, she has three options: One, to marry her husband’s younger brother, if his family permits; two, to kill herself on his funeral pyre; three, to live a life of celibacy, discipline, and solitude amongst her own kind. A new law in India which permits a widow to re-marry is not popular, and it is these customs and openly welcoming the lower castes that will pit Gandhiji against his very own people, apart from struggling with the British to leave India. Kalyani meets and falls in love with young Narayan, a follower of Mahatma Gandhi, who wants to marry her, despite his mother’s protests. But on the day he comes to take her to his home, as they are crossing the river to his family estate, Kalyani recognizes the house, the very same house she had been forced to visit as a “prostitute,” to be with Narayan’s father. The question remains, can Kalyani marry the man she loves? Will he want to marry her when he knows what has passed between her and his father? And Chuia really destined to live the rest of her life as a widow among shunned widows?

Although I am quite intrigued by this movie, I don’t think that it can possibly be as good as “Pan’s Labyrinth”, which is my second favorite movie to come out last year Either way, I’m quite excited to see it.

The final Oscar nominated movie to be released on DVD today is “Marie Antoinette” However, I might skip this movie It kind of hurts me to say that because it is directed by Sofia Coppola who directed “The Virgin Suicides” which is one of the best movies of the last ten years That being said, it is only nominated for one Oscar in the minor category of “Costume Design” Plus it looks really bad When I first saw the trailer for this movie I was shocked out how incredibly dreadful this movie looked I instantly had a desire to avoid this film I haven’t had such a strong negative reaction to a trailer since I saw the trailer to “Domino” The reaction was so strong that you could have sworn that the words “Directed by Michael Bay” had just come across the screen.

That being said, I will still probably give it a chance even though it goes against my basest instincts.

So why all of this Oscar talk? I alluded to a formal Oscar Party a few weeks ago This year I will be attending a formal Oscar party The party takes place at Legend’s in Ames.

The exciting thing about this year’s party is that it is doubling as a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society I don’t believe it is necessary to point out to you that the American Cancer Society is a very good cause So much so that I’m willing to make the following deal to anybody:

“If you make a contribution to the American Cancer Society through me to this event . . . I will match your donation.*”

There it is You will not find a much better cause You will not find a much better deal. However, I will throw in the following tidbit For the proper sized donation, I’m willing to throw in a framed and matted picture from the Photography 139 photo galleries. The frame will even be hand painted by our skilled craftsman (namely me).

Just something for you to think about . . . but if you are interested in taking me up on this deal, write to the following e-mail address:


christopherdbennett@mchsi.com- E-mail address deleted

*Up to $500.00 I’m a nice guy, but I’m not a cashbox.

This Joke Made Me Smile

A wealthy old lady decides to go on a photo safari in Africa, taking her poodle along for company.

One day the poodle starts chasing butterflies and before long, discovers that he’s lost. Wandering about, he notices a hungry-looking leopard heading rapidly in his direction.

The poodle thinks, “Oh, oh!” Noticing some bones on the ground close by, he immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat. Just as the leopard is about to leap, the poodle exclaims loudly, “Boy, that was one delicious leopard! I wonder if there are any more around here?”

Hearing this, the leopard halts his attack in mid-strike, a look of terror comes over him and he slinks away into the trees. “Whew!”, says the leopard, “That was close! That poodle nearly had me!”

Meanwhile, a monkey who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the leopard. So off he goes, but the poodle sees him heading after the leopard with great speed, and figures that something must be up. The monkey soon catches up with the leopard, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the leopard.

The leopard is furious at being made a fool of and says, “Here, monkey, hop on my back so you can watch me chew that poodle to bits!”

Now, the poodle sees the leopard coming with the monkey on his back and thinks, “What am I going to do now?”, but instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers, pretending he hasn’t seen them yet, and waits until they get just close enough to hear.

“Where’s that damn monkey?” the poodle says, “I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another leopard!”

Spirit Pumps

Just thought I would jot down a few quick thoughts.

First of all, I would like to share the fruits of my labors from Craft Night!!


Restore Blog - Spirit Pumps - 01-24-2007

Okay . . . so one could make the case that painting a frame and matting a picture hardly constitutes a “craft”.

I’m not the craft police, but I did do this on Craft Night. I even finally decided on a name for this picture: “Last, Loveliest Smile”

This picture will soon be displayed in Salon 908. You could say that it will be on “Public Display”. I won’t because I’m not that pretentious. I’ll just say that it is hanging on a wall where people I don’t know might gaze upon it lovingly or in disgust.

I have to give credit to my sister Teresa. She was right about something. A few weeks ago at Supper Club we ate at Es Tas! It was terrible. Teresa recommended that we go to the West Street Deli instead. We ignored her sage advice and paid a pretty hefty price. Namely the worst french fries I have ever forced down in my life. Yesterday I met Teresa for lunch and we hit the West Street Deli. I ordered a club sandwich. It was tremendous. I don’t have the words to describe the greatness of this sandwich. Instead, I will steal a poem from Coleridge to encapsulate my feelings about this sandwich.

Desire

Where true Love burns Desire is Love’s pure flame;
It is the reflex of our earthly frame,
That takes its meaning from the nobler part,
And but translates the language of the heart.

That pretty much says it. One tasty sandwich!!! As some of you may or may not know, I bowl (very poorly) in a Monday night league. Even by my abysmally low standards I have been in a bit of a slump lately. In fact, going into Monday night I had not won a single game since before Christmas.

On Monday night I found myself matched up with Shaun Wirtz. Is he better than me? Certainly, but this is not an insurmountable task. Yet, he thoroughly thrashed me in the first 2 games, extending my losing streak to 9 games. I stood on the threshold of a double digit losing streak. So I dug deep inside and told myself: “You can not lose this third game. If you do . . . eh, whatever.”

With my new personal “whatever” mantra fueling me, I powered my way to a 10 pin victory. Of course, he won the series, but I left the bowling alley a winner. A winner of 1 of my last 11 points, but a winner nonetheless. Well maybe a little “theless”.

Tuesday night I went to see “Running with Scissors” with Stephanie and her friend Maggie. Let me tell you something about art films. For every “Little Miss Sunshine” or “Memento” there sure are a lot of “Pieces of April”. Actually I don’t hate “Pieces of April” that much, it is just the first movie to come to mind. “Running with Scissors” was a big time disappointment. They changed the focus of the book from Augusten Burroughs adolescence to his relationship with his mom. They eliminated about 10 characters, which is okay, but they twisted the other characters just enough to entirely screw up the essence of the book. I was particularly bothered by the way that pretty much left Dr. Finch off the hook for being responsible for almost all the misery in all the other characters lives. Rather than being grossly incompetent and extremely unethical; he came off as merely eccentric. Plus, there were at least two scenes in the movie that were so poor that they made you a little uncomfortable when watching them. Similar to when your friend shows you something that they are really emotionally invested in, but it blows and you’re not really sure how to react. Do you tell them: “Dude, this sucks.” Or do you try to change the subject quickly? Or do you feign enthusiasm? Whatever you do decide to do, you are still uncomfortable while you consider your options.

In “Running with Scissors” I was uncomfortable with the incredible lameness in particular of the scene where Annette Bening’s character hallucinates that she is seeing snowflakes falling from her ceiling while the soundtrack blares: “Blinded by the Light”. Normally I would laugh out loud at such a horrific sequence, but because I wanted to like this movie, I had to look away. Similar to Nader during the sex scenes of “BrokebackMountain”. Although Nader just felt a little squeamish around those scenes. I felt embarrassment for the filmmakers.

Tonight would be movie night with Scott. It would be my turn to choose the movie. Last time it was his choice and he chose “Clerks II”. I should make him watch a French New Wave Film or something by Fellini as punishment for making me sit through one long scatological joke trying to thinly masquerade itself as a morality tale. Although he does deserve to be punished in such a way, I do not wish to make his brain explode in head. I am making him watch an independent art picture. I do not know how good this movie is because I missed it when it was at the Varsity. I am making him watch “Brick” which I know is better than “Clerks II” without breaking its plastic seal; I just hope that it is exponentially better. Although no movie is that bad on a 106 inch screen, except maybe “Clerks II”.

I would just close by saying that I am currently reading what might be the best book I’ve ever read. I won’t tell you any more about this book at this time, but I would reiterate that it is phenomenal. It also taught me this fun little fact: “Presbyterians” is an anagram for Britney Spears.

Oh yeah, one last thing: Rodin is tomorrow. Still time to signup for the field trip!!

Sort of a Test

Had a few changes to the old FTP server. So this isn’t really that much of a blog. This really is more like a test to see if my web publishing is taking care of business so to speak. Man, I really need to make some changes to my template. Why don’t I get on that?

Rectification

I got lots of information to get out there, so I’m going to dispense with the niceties and just jump in and get this “blog” on!!!

Well the response to my anti-Dasher Management rant and artwork has been universally negative. Just some of my favorite e-mail responses:

“What you don’t want my kid to be happy when eating his Happy Meal? Then you are a jerk. I hope you can’t sleep at night.”
“You call Andres Serrano a hack. In my dictionary I pasted your picture next to the term “hack” because Mister, that is what you are.”
“Mountain Dew and water? Clearly your bladder lacks the courage of your convictions and that makes you a coward.”
“You’re attempt at a kinetic sculpture is weak. It doesn’t even compare favorably to the writings of Nicholas Sparks.”
“‘Piss Kroc’. Crock of #!%@# that is what you are sir.”

Despite this unified public front I move forward with my plans. Ahh . . . but what are those plans. I was all set to tell you about my plans to open an online store, but then “it” happened. I had just concluded lunch with a couple of compatriots when the waitress laid the fortune cookies on the table. I smashed my fortune cookie open and hoped for a good fortune. What I got was solid advice.

“Keep your plans secret for now.”

So you see, I can’t possibly tell you about my online store plans for now. The fortune cookie has advised me to keep my plans a secret. Fortune cookies have never steered me wrong in the past. Including the following nuggets:

“You will find an outlet for your creative genius and accomplish a great deal.”
“You have many personal talents that are attractive to others, so be sure to use them.”
“You are interested in public service and would make an outstanding statesman.”
“Time is right to make new friends.”
“You will do well to expand your business.”
“You have an unusually magnetic personality.”
“You will soon meet a dark stranger.”

They are all true, except I have yet to meet a dark stranger. I suppose I need to work on that one. Although a co-worker recently referenced a website to me called “Savage Love” and the URL for said site has something to do with the stranger. When I heard that I instantly thought about the Albert Camus novel “The Stranger” which both the President and I enjoy in a very similar manner.  (Meaning we both like to pretend that we read it to sound intellectual at parties.)

Instead of having to do anything remotely with literature, this “Savage Love” website is some kind of dating/sex advice website. Now I have not visited this website because I’m a little bit leery of visiting such a site on my work computer because I don’t want to be the guy that triggers the “porn surfing at work is to be done only during lunch” memo. You know how porn eats up the company bandwidth. However, yet another unnamed co-worker did visit the site and indicated to me that the following subject was a topic for “Savage Love” – “Openly Skank”.

The fact that there was a topic entitled “Openly Skank” reminded me of two facts and created a new question for me.

Fact #1: I used to hang out with people that used the term skank quite frequently, but now I don’t know anybody that uses the term skank any longer. This term must have fallen out of the popular vernacular. How sad.
Fact#2: I am a big fan of a local ska band named “Slaughterhouse 6”. They rip it up.  If you ever have a chance to check them out: Do it! I bring this up because there is a well-known ska dance called “The Skank”. That reminds me of the fact that Derrick has a theory that ska dancing is regional. Derrick and I are ready to travel the country to research his theory and write a paper entitled “Regionalism and Ska Dancing” just as soon as somebody is ready to hand us over a big fat grant check. We’re waiting America. Hands open. Fill them with cash please!

Question #1: If there is a person that is “Openly Skank” then by definition that means that there are people that are “Closeted Skank”. It is a tautology. Look it up. Why would anybody want to concede to themselves that they are on the lowest rung of “The Social Ladder of Promiscuous Women”? Do these women aspire to the next step?

All of that though is neither here nor there. This little tidbit is also quite a bit off subject. I hit a few Chinese restaurants with quite the assortment of people. Some people that sit across the table from me while I consume edibles insist on always saying the “in bed” thing. Annoying? Indubitably! Not the strangest thing that comes into my field of vision though. I eat with 2 people that refuse to eat the fortune cookie or look at the fortune?!?!? They don’t even like to touch it. I swear I’m not making this up. They feel like it is voodoo or black magic. They think that to engage the fortune cookie is to play with dark forces. It is the same as playing Ouija, by Parker Brothers to them. Those warlock bastards!!*

For the record, fortune cookies have no religious affiliation. Fortune cookies (just like nachos) are a completely American invention. They were invented as a marketing ploy. There is nothing dark or sinister about them. They are the equivalent of the toy in the bottom of the Cracker Jack box. The only dark force at work at the buffet is the inability to get a refill after the bill hits the table.
In reality, I should get back to the subject matter at hand. My future plans for my online store. However, to know the future you need to examine the past. I really only want to go back a few days.
On Sunday I loaded up the iPod with some quality music and hit the open road with Jesse. Turns out we hit the open road just a little too hard. To the tune of a 102 dollar speeding ticket. The cop was a swell guy; he knocked it down 1 mile for me.

“I saved you 30 bucks.”

Since you are so concerned about my financial state, officer, I know a way you can save me another 102 dollars. It involves that ticket, an orifice, and the word “sideways”.

We made the rest of the trip to Mendota Heights unscathed by incredibly stupid arbitrary traffic laws. We picked up Nate and headed to some town that I won’t even try to remember to imbibe the goodness that is Buffalo Wild Wings. We knocked down some Jerk wings and watched the stupid Bears stumble their way to a playoff victory. WooHoo! They are still losing this weekend to the Saints. So party it up while you can Bears fans.

After a stuffing meal we hit Excelsior to see Bethany’s school and teach her how to make “legal backups” of DVDs. We then headed back to the St. Paul area. We made a quick stop to replenish my diminished supply of Faygo and buy a 4 pack of Boylan Root Beer (it is sweetened with pure cane sugar) and we were back at Nate’s to pick up our bounty. 3 cakes exquisitely crafted by the master for my 1 year work anniversary. A Peanut Butter Cake, Chocolate Mousse, and some kind of Lemon Cake, each one greater than its predecessor. That statement isn’t entirely true. Man, I love me some Peanut Butter Cake.

We loaded the bounty into the back of the Taurus and bid Nate a fond adieu.  Then we headed out for the open road. The only hiccup being that the open road was now covered with snow and Minnesota drivers. Regardless of the obstacles created by nature and Minnesota’s public education system we made it to Iowa where miraculously the roads were mostly clear because there were actually snowplows out?!?!

We kicked it up a notch to make up for lost time in Minnesota, and then we hit a wolf pack of people doing about 55. I was manning the driver’s seat for this part of the sojourn. I thought about that earlier speeding ticket still burning a hole in my pocket and then thought, whatever! I eased into the passing lane and gave the Taurus a healthy dose of gas. When I got to the front of the pack I realized that a state patrolman was the lead dog.

FUDGE!!!!

Only the word that came out of my mouth was decidedly less Christian. So I had to make a decision. Fall to the back of the pack like a victim of castration. Or put “them” figuratively on the dashboard and pass the patrolman in the middle of a blizzard.

I gave the Taurus a little more gas, passed the patrolman and slowly pulled away. I waited to be pulled over and given the inevitable ticket. It didn’t happen. Victory was mine.
The rest of the trip was just spent rocking out, basking in the glory of victory.

Monday night I managed to be late for bowling yet again. I was matched up with the worst bowler in the league. He beat me like a red headed stepchild. I guess that makes me officially the worst bowler in the league.
Tuesday was my 1 year work anniversary. I brought in Nate’s cake. I believe that they were a smashing success. So much so I was nominated for being a “nice guy” at the company meeting. Nice guy. I got them all fooled. (strokes cat that sits on the arm of his chair knowingly)

On Wednesday Monica joined Jesse and I for lunch. We drove 1 block to King Buffet. Besides the fortune that started this whole mess of a blog, the only thing of consequence that transpired was Jesse determining that I would have made an “awesome stoner”. Now I know what some of you with limited English skills (such as myself) just had a word pop into your head: Onomatopoeia!! No that is not it! Oxymoron!! Awesome and stoner are concepts that deny one another. A person can not be both awesome and a stoner. I asked, nay, demanded clarification.

I’m paraphrasing and elaborating at the same time, but this is what came out of his mouth. “You usually go all the way into things. You would blow glass so that you could make your own hookah. You would make bongs out of ordinary household items and they would work as both a bong and whatever it was that they were originally supposed to be. You would listen to Dave Matthews, Phish, and the Grateful Dead and pretend like it was deeply moving music. As if it existed on a higher plane. You would have walls covered with black light posters of hemp, mushrooms, and Pink Floyd. You would subscribe to High Times magazine and carry pictures of the Bud of the Month around with you like it was the “coolest thing ever”. You would wear hemp jewelry. You would give passionate diatribes about the difference between decriminalizing marijuana and legalizing marijuana. You would fly into a rage any time anybody used the term “gateway drug”. Then finally when you decided to enter the adult world and get a job you would listen to whining Nancy Boy music like Jack Johnson and John Mayer.”
For the record I would never listen to John Mayer. “Waiting on the World to Change”! How about getting off your duff and help start changing it instead of whining that “there’s nothing we can do”. That song has less social meaning than “Fergalicious”.

Thursday meant supper with a friend, and a new episode of The Office, and Papa Bear on The Colbert Report.

So I guess that brings us to the present. I can begin my plans for the future. What does the future hold for me? What does the future hold for us? I can’t tell you all about the future but I will tell you that I am currently working on a plan for my future online store. I just can’t tell you about it. I have to heed the cookie you know!

I can make some vague allusions to it though. It is a style that in some circles is known as “The Bennett Style”. The people in those circles need a hobby. Perhaps they could take up crafts.

Speak of the devil and the devil will appear. Tomorrow night I am very excited to be going as far south as Maryland Pike for craft night. I’m not all that crafty, but it will give me a chance to admire the works of an acknowledged master: Sara Junck. Also, I haven’t spent much time painting frames and I need to get a frame painted if I am ever going to get a picture proudly displayed in Salon 908. So part of the future involves craft night.

Speaking of acknowledged masters, I think I have finally determined a time and a date for my much ballyhooed trip to Brunnier to see the sculptures of Rodin. This coming Thursday they are having a reception with appetizers, music, and a speaker. The good news is that there are still plenty of openings for the trip. A couple of people have already fallen out.

Jay just can’t commit because he doesn’t know when he will get off work. Maybe he will come back into focus when the day draws nigh.

Monica hates Rodin. Her exact words were, “Screw Rodin, if he was any good they would have named one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles after him. Plus sculptures suck as a general rule.”

If the  Brunnier trip falls apart, I at least have a few movies to fall back on. A few movies that I have had my on my radar for months have finally found their way to the theaters of Ames and I am pumped up.
“The Last King of Scotland” is playing at the Varsity. “Running with Scissors” has graced the Dollar Theatre. “Dreamgirls” is holding it down at the Movies 12. There are plenty of high quality movies in town for once. Although I do regret missing “Candy” which left Ames last night. I also eagerly anticipate the arrival of “Pan’s Labyrinth”. I beg you Cinemark don’t make me wait much longer for the latest film by Guillermo del Toro. I can’t wait for the latest film from the master filmmaker that brought us “Hellboy” and “Blade II”??? Whatever, I still want to see it.

January 30th is also a pretty exciting date. That is the date that the new Norah Jones CD is released.

Then on February 5th there is going to be a pretty sweet concert at the Maintenance Shop. Not as incredible as a Lesser Known Saint show, but I’m still pretty stoked about going to see Matt Werz in concert.
But all these events are in the hazy future and none of them have anything to do with the online store. That is really concerned with the website. Avid followers of the Photography 139 website will have noticed a small change in the website.

You see it was Christmas recently. To mark the birth of the savior of mankind people like to give friends, family, and social obligations gifts. I rolled such a gift into a CSS manual. Okay, half of you just fell asleep. WAKE UP!! So, I have slowly been converting the website into CSS. Outwardly you will not notice much of a difference, but in the future it will be a billion-gazillion times easier to update the look and fell of the website.

This new knowledge also enabled me to move the navigation bar from the side of the website to the top of the website. This move makes the main body of the page quite a bit larger. The immediate consequence of that is that I can make the pictures much larger. The immediate consequence for you is that it will take longer for you to download the pictures. But did I mention that they will be larger??

I’ve went ahead and started designing the site to be best seen at a screen resolution of 1024×768 as that is more or less the standard now. It will still look fine at larger screen resolutions, but you might find it slightly annoying if your screen resolution is 800×600. I will not apologize for this because I am trying to help your boat rise with the tide. Just the way that the “No Child Left Behind Act” did.

So now you know that the site looks slightly different. Still no information about that online store to be had around these parts, is there? I did promise broad allusions. I am a man of my word, but you may want to turn back now. My kinetic sculpture plays a small part in the future and we all know that nobody likes that sculpture. The hatred is so intense that I have decided to change the name to “Anti-McDonald’s Book Deterioration Thing”.

Let’s go back to the past. A few weeks hence I ate lunch at The Great Plains Sauce and Dough Company with Sara. This is back when she used to eat food, but that is now a part of her past and a subject I will not dwell on. The subject of conversation was reached about the 4 people in the world I hate. She thought that it was bad to hate these people, but then I named the 4 people that I hate and she said it was okay to hate “those” people. However, I think it is more than past time to let that hate go. The man whose birthday we celebrated on Monday said the following thing:

“He who is devoid of the power to forgive, is devoid of the power to love.”

It is likely that he was right about such things. The “Anti-McDonald’s Book Deterioration Thing” is a symptom of that hate. If art is meant to glorify God, all this glorifies is me.

However, it is part of the plan for the online store. To open this online store I figure I need  to raise about 160 American dollars. True I could dig into my own wallet or use some of my recently attained “phat” bonus check. However, I choose to run my “business” is the same manner as PBS.

In the near future I will put some items in the store. If anybody buys enough of them to put 160 American dollars in my possession I will move on with the opening of a legitimate online store that people will be able to use their credit cards and such to purchase high quality Photography 139 merchandise.

The first thing to go into the “fundraising” store will be “The Anti-McDonald’s Book Deterioration Thing”. It will have an initial price tag of 10 bucks. When it does not sell, it will be thrown into the Des Moines River where it will descend to the muddy bottom. It is where it deserves to be.

I’ll let you know when the fundraising begins. I am certain that you are whet with anticipation.

*In all sincerity, I don’t recall if it was Parker Brothers or Milton Bradley that mass marketed the “witchboard” to America’s youth. I don’t know if they were wiccans or warlocks or spawns of Satan or smoking lots of dope. I just know that it the single strangest toy in the history of mankind.

The Ballad of Parsaei

The Ballad of Parsaei


 
I have a friend by the name of Nader Parsaei. He is perhaps the largest fan of the Oscars on the face of this planet. He is from Iran. He is in the United States because of the political persecution that he faced in Iran. There is a fascinating story about how Nader made it to the United States.

The story begins in Iran before the Islamic Revolution and the fall of the Shah. Under the rule of the Shah all Iranian men were required to serve 2 years in the military. When the Shah fell, Nader was serving in the Air Force in a radar tower.

The new leaders of Iran wished to curry favor with members of the military and their plan for doing this was to shorten the military requirement from 2 years to 1 year. Nader had served 15 months and was sent home.

Nader was not home for very long though. Less than a month after being released from the Air Force a friend of Nader’s invited him to come down the a local university where there was a protest going on.

Nader is not a political person, but he decided to go to the protest. It was a decision that changed Nader’s life forever.

At the protest Nader got into a disagreement with a supporter of the Islamic Revolution. The supporter asserted that Khomeni spoke for God.

Nader disagreed with this statement and said that Khomeni could not speak for God because Khomeni endorsed murder and the killing of innocents and God would not condone such things.

Nader thought little about the altercation, but as he hung around the protest for a little longer he was grabbed by 2 agents of the new government. They put a bag over Nader’s head and shoved him in to the backseat of a car. He was driven to a prison and he was immediately incarcerated. There was no trial. There were no charges. This is where Nader would spend the next 6 ½ years of his life.

In prison Nader was tortured. He was beaten. He was burned.

In his part of the prison the guards had a spy. Any time any prisoner badmouthed Khomeni or the Islamic Revolution they were singled out for extra violence. When Nader figured out whom the spy was he attacked him. The guards pulled him off the spy and beat him some more. He spent the next 6 months in solitary confinement.

During Nader’s time in prison there was a moment of joy. Nader overheard 2 guards discussing the winner of an Oscar. He overheard them say that Henry Fonda had won an Oscar for “On Golden Pond”. Henry Fonda was one of Nader’s all time favorites dating back to the first time Nader had seen his second favorite movie “The Grapes of Wrath”.
After 6 ½ years of prison Nader was granted one weekend of freedom. The cost of this weekend was his grandpa’s house. He gave his house to the government in exchange for 1 weekend of freedom for his grandson.

His grandpa had brokered a deal to have Nader smuggled out of the country. He told Nader not to worry about him because he was an old man and the government would leave him alone, but if Nader ever came back to Iran he would shoot him, himself.

He was loaded up into a large cigarette carton and he and his smuggler set off for the Turkish border. If they would have been caught he would not have been returned to prison. Nader and the smuggler would have been executed on the spot.

As fate would have it they made it out of Iran safely. When they had made it into Turkey the smuggler tried to get Nader to get out of the carton, but Nader refused. The smuggler pointed out Mt. Ararat, but Nader still refused. Finally the smuggler pointed out some pretty girls on the side of the road. This convinced Nader that he was in Turkey because they didn’t have girls that looked like that back in Iran.

The plan was to make it to a Scandinavian country and live there. However fate intervened in Austria. Nader was arrested as an illegal immigrant and placed in a refugee camp. This wasn’t all terrible because while he was there he got to visit the hills that Julie Andrews sang and danced upon in “The Sound of Music”.

Once in the camp Nader was asked to prove that he would be executed or tortured or imprisoned if he was sent back to Iran. He pointed out that he could ask the Iranian government for documentation of his false imprisonment. They would not provide documentation indicating their human rights violations, so Nader instead showed them the scars his body posessed from his years of torture. The broken nose and his burned side proved to be adequate enough to prevent him from being sent back to Iran.

While in the refugee camp Nader thought about coming to the United States because it was his dream to come to Hollywood where the movies he loved so much were produced. It had always been the plan to end up in Scandinavia, but why not try to get to the U.S.?

He was told my other middle easterners that this was a waste of his time. There was a little old lady by the name of “Germand” that decided whether or not a person even received an interview to be considered for admission to the U.S. Germand had a long standing reputation for disliking middle easterners. She wouldn’t even smile at middle easterners, let alone put them on the interview list. They warned him not to bother and to angle for his second choice. Nader listened to their advice but didn’t pay it any mind.

When he saw Germand he approached her and said: “Germand, you are looking so beautiful today.”

At first Germand looked at him. Then she cracked a little smile. Then she burst out into a full laughter. Then she put Nader on the list.

When the day of the interview came Nader called back to Iran to talk to his Mom to tell her that he might be going to America, but he didn’t get to speak to her on that day. The police had thrown her into prison to try to bait him into coming back to Iran.

Nader was put in a very tough position. His Mom was in prison because of him, but he was powerless to do anything about it. He went to the interview, but his heart wasn’t in it.

The Americans began asking him questions through an interpreter, but he didn’t answer. They just stared at him. Finally he told them: “I don’t feel like doing this today. I just called home and they’ve thrown my Mom into prison to try to get to come back.”

The Americans looked around at each other and then finally one of them stood up and extended their handed and said: “Welcome to America!”

Nader’s joy was short lived though. When he came back to the camp he found out that a family had been rejected by the Americans. This bothered Nader so he made an appointment with Germand.

He told her that he was just one man. This was a family. They needed and desrved to go to America much more than he did. He requested that his name be taken off the list and that this family be put on the list in his place.

Germand denied his request. She told him that no matter what else happened, he was going to America. However, she promised to look into this family’s case for him. 3 days later this family was approved and they were allowed to come to America.

MF Day

By the time this blog gets posted it may very well be January 16, 2007. However MF Day is definitely January 15.

Ahhh . . . You don’t know what MF Day celebrates. In fact, you are probably looking at your calendar right now and noticing that today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It is also that. That is the reason that you didn’t see many government employees out and about today. I do not wish to steal any of the thunder from Martin Luther King Jr., so before I delve into the dirty details of MF Day let me share the Martin Luther King Jr. quote that I think best illustrates the threat to our nation today.

“A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on an installment plan.”

But what about this enigmatic MF Day? MF Day is the anniversary of the last day that I had to throw on some crest pants and dig for a uniform shirt from Aramark. MF Day is the anniversary of the last day I entered a Dasher Mismanagement store as an employee. MF Day is McDonald’s Freedom Day.

So on this the occasion of the 1 year anniversary I would just like to take a few quick jabs at the village idiot that owns Dasher Mismanagement and his clueless son-in-law that runs things.

I will take these shots via the medium of quotes. I will not share any of the pearls of wisdoms these fellows dropped on me in my days chained to the oar in the basement of their wage slave ship. If I shared them with you it is most likely that you would think I was making them up any way.

No, the quotes I am going to use are from the McMessiah – Ray Kroc. You probably don’t understand what I mean by that, but towards the end of my tenure with Dasher Mismanagement I was becoming deeply frustrated with the fact that McDonald’s was a religion to many of the upper management people in the organization and the co-op. They even would quote Ray Kroc as if what he said was the gospel and therefore was beyond contestation.

I don’t blame Ray Kroc for what his organization had become. He most likely didn’t realize how evil his corporation would become in the future. He probably would have never believed that his hamburger business had turned into a real estate business with a “restaurant” front.

So I will use a Ray Kroc quote and show how Dasher Mismanagement reflected the vision of their messiah.

It’s easy to have principles when you’re rich. The important thing is to have principles when you’re poor.

The Dasher Mismanagement view would be that you are a better person when you are rich. Therefore whatever a rich person does is the principled thing. It is the job of the poor people to take such things in stride and turn the other cheek. That is how poor people show their principles by submitting to the will of the wealthy. It is important that they do that because that is how they show that they are good people.

You’re only as good as the people you hire.

At Dasher Mismanagement we hire tons of good people. Then we treat them like crap so that they quit and we can hire more good people. I believe that Dasher Mismanagement has set a record for hiring good people therefore they think that they are very good. Ray Kroc never said anything about retaining good people.

The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.

Of course at Dasher Mismanagement the Village Idiot and his son-in-law can’t be expected to live up to the standards that they set for themselves. Hell, they can’t even be expected to live up to the bare minimum standards for decent human beings. But they sure can set the standards for other people. So what if they don’t live up to the minimum standards that they have set for themselves in their handbooks?

When you’re green, you’re growing. When you’re ripe, you rot.

As soon as you understand what you are doing, then we can no longer lowball you on salary. So we will have to start treating you like crap so that you quit.

“Luck is a dividend of sweat. The more you sweat, the luckier you get.”
Dasher Mismanagement takes this one quite literally. That is why they strive to make sure that the air condition units work in next to none of their stores. So what if the temperature in the grill area can sometimes reach 110 degrees, think of all of the luck that those wage slaves are generating.

“None of Us is as Good as All of Us.”

This means that nobody is as good as the heads of Dasher Mismanagement. If you have an idea, it is not any good. Unless the heads of Dasher Mismanagement regurgitate that idea as their own 2 months later.

I have just one last bit of commentary about what I really feel about the demons at Dasher Mismanagement. It is visual commentary and the idea is stolen from a no talent hack by the name of Andres Serrano.


Piss Kroc

This picture is entirely symbolic. I didn’t really fill a jar with urine. I don’t have the time or the inclination to do such a thing. The yellow liquid is actually Mountain Dew and water. It is symbolic of urine. The whole piece is symbolic of how I feel about that company I used work too damn hard for. I call it “Piss Kroc”. Again the name is stolen from the afore mentioned no talent hack.

Thank you for indulging me in this narcissistic episode.

Niece

My niece Elainie wrote this poem and it won a prize:

MASK
 
She was just there.
Not knowing what was going on.
She walked into the room and everyone was smiling.
Or so it looked like it.
Everyone looked like they were having a good time.
The smiles, laughter, drinks.
But deep down inside, she knew everyone was sad.
They were sad because they were saying this isn’t me.
This isn’t who I wanted to be.
I wouldn’t do this.
But yet they still do what they do.
Just ignoring that weird feeling, being someone they don’t know or don’t want to be.
But why?
What’s the point?
It doesn’t help you with choosing a good future, it helps you go down the wrong path.
Farther and farther from your goals, dreams, and destinies.
So why bother trying to be something you’re not?
Just take off that mask and be who you are for whom you
are and don’t care what anyone else says because in the end you win.
And they lose.