Category Archives: Art

It is Official

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

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

File Photo

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

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

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

Jack Trice Wallpaper

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


He is the man in this statue.

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

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

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

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

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

Angry Brad’s Designs

Sara sent me an e-mail announcing the formation of a new business venture she is entering into with a couple of her friends. Sara is a craft fiend. She is now making some of her creations available for purchase via a new online store on Etsy.

Below is an example of one of her tins.


The name of the new online store is Angry Brad’s Designs. If you find this tin to be intriguing, you should go check out the store. Check it out today and often. There will be new things going up all the time. Perhaps even including some t-shirts of my own design in the future. You can follow the link that I have so ultra conveniently located below to get there.

Angry Brad’s Designs – (STORE CLOSED)

Even When You Win

Saturday night was the Computer Mine Holiday Party. The Computer Mine is overly generous with the prizes that they give away at this party. I’m not sure there really is a need for these prizes after all they already give us quite a healthy Christmas present. This year I got 100 dollars in cash, 100 dollars on a Best Buy gift certificate and a digital picture frame. I attend the Computer Mine party for the camaraderie of hanging out with my fellow pick swingers. Not because I desire a prize.

Last year I noted a number of people complaining about the prizes they had won. I remember thinking that these people were dreadfully spoiled. When they walked into the party they had nothing. When they left the party they had a prize. Why should they complain about the prize. How ungrateful can a person be?

This year I found out that there are times that even when you win, you really lost. I don’t have a strong affection for video games. I think they are a nice diversion for small children and teenagers, but after the time when a person gets a driver’s license it is time for them to stop simulating life and go out and live life.

As an example of my loathing of adults playing video games, I will now publish part of a lost blog that I never published. The blog was supposed to be a parody of an exhibit Becca, Jay and I witnessed at the Des Moines Arts Festival. The blog was supposed to be capped off by a collection of pictures, but in the end I might have lost some nerve and I was never entirely satisfied with my parody pictures. Here is part of the introduction of that “lost blog” Dirty Donuts:

The thing about euphemisms is that they are symbolic. The words themselves are completely innocuous, but what they represent can often disgust and/or make people giggle.

I bring this up because it wasn’t until recently that I discovered that adults play video games. I always thought when I heard my contemporaries talking about video games they were talking about sex or sexual allusions or the cousins of sex.

“What were you doing last night?”

“You know I was up late last night playing the Xbox.”


“Any plans tonight?”

“The way my social life is going, I’ll probably sit at home tonight playing Nintendo Wii.”


“What are you giving your wife for her birthday?”

“If things break just right, I’m going to be giving her the PS3.”

Now none of these phrases by themselves sound sexual. In fact, whether or not “playing the Xbox” was a reference to sex or actually playing a video game would be distinguished by the tone of the person saying the phrase.

In art, tone isn’t so easy to distinguish. You have to really look at it to see if this is just a plate of donuts or is it meant to suggest something else.

I have a long standing history of not understanding people who have the means to do something with their time, literally wasting it playing video games.

I won a prize on Saturday night. I didn’t walk into the room with anything. I walked out with a prize. However, I don’t think you could have designed a worse prize for me. Take a look:


You see, even when you win, sometimes you really lose. The good news is that I think I’m going to be able to unload this monstrosity on a co-worker for like 20 bucks. I can use that to buy something like a haircut.

Bethelehem in 2007

To know me at all is to know that I listen to NPR on the way to work and the way home every day. I was really struck by this story on the way to work this morning. Although I do kind of want to punch the guy who said the last line of the story.

Graffiti Artists Decorate Bethlehem BarrierMorning Edition, December 24, 2007 · This Christmas season, a group of guerrilla graffiti artists have gone to work in Bethlehem, the West Bank city where Christians believe Jesus Christ was born.

Bethlehem’s economy and tourism industry are in tatters. Palestinians blame this on Israeli checkpoints and on Israel’s massive security barrier that now separates Bethlehem from Jerusalem.

This month, international and local artists used parts of that concrete barrier as their canvas.

An artist who calls himself “Sam 3” painted a long black silhouette of a man reclining. Nearby someone painted a giant boxing scene — Jake La Motta and Sugar Ray Robinson slug it out on the concrete. And a little farther down there’s a silhouette of children riding an escalator up and over the wall.

Hassan Salama, an unemployed laborer, walks curiously along a garbage-strewn dirt road in north Bethlehem that hugs Israel’s massive barrier. He looks at a painting of an enormous insect toppling colossal dominoes that resemble the wall itself — and he cracks a slight smile.

“I don’t understand what it means. But I like it!” he says.

Nearby, along a main road leading out of Bethlehem, the British guerrilla graffiti artist who goes by the name “Banksy” has painted a picture of a little girl in a bright pink dress frisking an Israeli soldier. Farther down the road, the elusive artist depicts an Israeli soldier checking the ID of a donkey.

And outside of Maha Sakar’s store, a group of anonymous painters created a white dove, wearing a bulletproof vest, in the cross-hairs of a gun.

“They tell me — don’t tell anybody about their name. And I don’t know exactly,” says Sakar, regarding the identity of the artists.

Sakar, a Christian Palestinian, says some of the art didn’t go over well with locals. She was a little offended by pieces involving donkeys.

But Sakar says she likes much of the work and praises the artists for drawing attention to this downtrodden city.

Unemployment in Bethlehem remains staggeringly high. The West Bank economy is in ruins. Tourism actually has been up some in Bethlehem in the last three months, but is still nowhere near the pre-intifada tourism high, which topped nearly 1 million annual visitors in 2000.

Manger Square, just days before Christmas, is all but empty — the nearby shops idle.

Israeli officials say the West Bank barrier, a 400-plus mile-long mix of cement walls, fencing and barbed wire, is vital to the Jewish state’s security. They say it has thwarted many would-be Palestinian suicide bombers and saved lives.

Palestinians see the barrier as an illegal, unilateral border that has stolen Palestinian land and ruined their economy.

“It’s important for international artists to come to Palestine and express the situation here in their art. And it’s a start. You know we don’t have art galleries in Palestine,” says Palestinian painter and sculptor Souleiman Mansour.

Mansour has several of his pieces in a makeshift exhibit in Manger Square across from the Church of the Nativity. The show, called “Santa’s Ghetto,” is linked to the graffiti art around the city.

Mansour says he’s against using the Israeli barrier as a canvas. “The wall should be used for nothing,” he says, “It should come down.”

But Mansour praises the artists for raising awareness of Bethlehem’s plight.

“The situation here is very strange and contradictory and also absurd,” he says. “And this is heaven for contemporary artists because they deal with these subjects.”

The “Santa’s Ghetto” art show and art auction in Manger Square, proceeds of which go to a children’s charity, runs until Christmas Eve. The graffiti art on the wall and around the city could last far longer.

On his Web site, Banksy encourages people to visit Bethlehem and to explore the art and the politics for themselves.

“If it’s safe enough for a bunch of sissy artists,” Banksy wrote, “then it’s safe enough for anyone.”

New Post Secret Book

Today is the day the new Post Secret book is released. To celebrate an event of this magnitude, I’ve decided to throw up some of my favorite postcards from the past. (Okay in reality a lot of these postcards are the ones currently on the Postsecret website.)

Sara is currently taking a class on “Art Therapy”. This is the first time since her return to higher education that she has taken a class that sounded interesting. Sara is the person that really turned me on to PostSecret. Today she is doing a presentation on PostSecret for her Art Therapy class. This weekend I spent some time downloading the video below off of YouTube and putting it on a disc and teaching her how to use VLC. She is just hours from using the video in her presentation. I know that it will go well. I’m an excellent teacher. I have posted this video before, but I’m posting it again because I like it so darn much.

Checking in on a Friend and More


I also wanted to check in on my friend Monica and report on what she has been doing lately. The answer is painting. I’m posting 6 pictures of her more recent paintings for you to enjoy.



When I started typing away on my novella, I stated that I wouldn’t do anything worth writing about while I was writing about those 11 days. It is a pledge I haven’t been able to keep. I have done some stuff worth writing about, but I’m not going to write about them. I am merely going to post a collection of pictures from my most recent adventures. There will not be an explanation for the pictures. They will simply exist, unless somebody out there wants to try to explain where these pictures came from.