Category Archives: Baier

Pride. Integrity. Guts.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to those of you that celebrate. I don’t. I’m mostly of Scottish and Welsh stock, so I’ve been trained by the English to hate the Irish and I do. I do hate the Irish. At least I hate the Notre Dame Fighitn’ Irish. They can straight bugger off.

That being said, under normal circumstances, I would make my way to West Street Deli and have the most delicious Reuben in the world. That was before we were in a global pandemic. Also, I think West Street Deli closes during Spring Break anyways.

Another thing that would normally happen tonight would be the beginning of the NCAA Tournament. This year it was cancelled due to fears of over the coronavirus. I one hundred percent support this decision. In situations like we find ourselves in, we should very vigilant. When this is over, nobody will regret being too cautious. That being said, it still makes me a little sad. The NCAA Tournament is by far my favorite sporting event every year. There isn’t a close second. Maybe Championship Week. Followed by bowl games. Followed by about every college football Saturday.

So let me quote a Brandi Carlile song to express a little bit of how I feel about the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament.

Look to the clock on the wall
Hands hardly moving at all
I can’t stand the state that I’m in
Sometimes it feels like the wall’s closing in
Oh, Lord, what can I say?
I’m so sad since you went away
Time, time, ticking on me
Alone is the last place I wanted to be
Lord, what can I say?
Trap all my troubles away
Drown my sorrow the same way
Seems no matter how hard I try
It seems like there’s something just missing inside

However, while I drown my sorrows, it seems I should still honor last years NCAA Tournament and the winners of my annual Roundball Oracles Pool.

You may recall that there are two trophy winners. The winner and then the biggest adult loser. The winner of last year’s Roundball Oracles Pool was Becky Parmelee:

2019 Roundball Oracles Champion
Becky with her Championship Trophy

Then the winner of The Sara Trophy for last place adult was Russell Kennerly:

2019 Roundball Oracles - The Sara
Russell with the Sara.

Last year, 42 people vied to join the List of Immortals with Becky finishing on top. Here are the final standings:

Roundball Oracles – Year 15

1. Becky Parmelee – 281
2. Linda Bennett – 265
3. Michelle Haupt -242
4. Lowell Davis – 242
5. Angie DeWaard – 242
6. Dawn Krause – 239
7. Sean Clubine – 237
8. Paul Golden – 237
9. Rachel Gildersleeve – 237
10. Jason Baier – 236
11. Jesse Howard – 231
12. Michael Augustin – 230
13. Corey Faust – 225
14. Derek Dohrman – 224
15. Shannon Bardole – 224
16. Cathie Raley – 223
17. Jordan Toot – 221
18. Robert Henning – 220
19. Frank Meiners – 219
20. Brandon Kahler – 210
21. Jackson Faust – 209
22. Which Mascot Would Win a Fight – 202
23. Bill Wentworth – 202
24. Ben Baier – 201
25. Derrick Gorshe -201
26. Humble Narrator – 198
27. Elizabeth Nordeen – 196
28. Jason Stensland – 195
29. Olivia Baier – 195
30. Tim Peterson – 193
31 – William McAlpine – 192
32. Jorge Rios – 189
33. Sarah Karber – 189
34. Toby Sebring – 185
35. Joseph Lynch – 181
36. Teresa Kahler – 181
37. Will Baier – 177
38. Jon DeWaard – 173
39. Carrie Baier – 170
40. Laura Miller – 166
41. Sean Gildersleeve – 161
42. Russell Kennerly – 160
43. JJ Baier – 150

The Updated List of Immortals

2019 – Becky Parmelee
2018 – Paul Golden
2017 – Paul Golden
2016 – Michelle Haupt
2015 – Derek Dohrman
2014 – Brandon Kahler
2013 – William McAlpine
2012 – Lowell Davis
2011 – Carrie Baier
2010 – Mark Wolfram
2009 – Mark Wolfram
2008 – Mark Wolfram
2007 – Tim Peterson
2006 – William McAlpine
2005 – William McAlpine

A few final thoughts on the end of the college basketball season. This year’s Iowa State men’s team was one of the worst in school history. At least one of the worst in my lifetime. In some ways there is little in the way of hope for next season as Iowa State will (barring a miracle) will lose their best player (Tyrese Halliburton) to the NBA. They only lose 2 seniors in Jacobson and Nixon, but I’m not sure how much talent is returning. Every guy that returns has shown flashes of greatness and then has returned to the mean. Freshman like Tre Jackson had to play way too much before they were remotely ready. The bumps those guys took could pay off next season as at least Tre could take a big jump. Solo is the heart and soul of the team and he could have a big senior season. George Conditt is an NBA talent, but he struggled this season, but if there is anybody on the roster that is able to make a bigger jump than him, I don’t know who it would be. If T-Lew could learn to play just a little bit of defense he could be a big contributor. I’m sure his flex after his dunk against Okie State instead of running back on defense will be a big motivator this offseason. Zion might be the biggest question mark on the roster. His playing time diminished as the season went along, but he still has a huge upside. Bolton is in line to be the best player on next year’s roster, but he has to start playing with more discipline.

There is a great recruiting class coming in with Xavier Foster being one of the biggest recruits in school history. With his silky smooth shot, he could easily fill that stretch 4 role that Jacobson struggled to fill this season. Dudley Blackwell is also a highly regarded recruit that could also contribute immediately. Darlinstone Dubar has an incredible name and frankly that is how I evaluate most recruits. He wasn’t a highly regarded recruit when he signed with Iowa State, but then he shot up the rankings. He has good size. which is something this year’s team lacked. Jaden Walker is another mystery. He isn’t all that highly regarded, but he is built like Tyrese. His rankings are similar to Tyrese. I’m not saying he is the next Tyrese Halliburton, but even the Steve Prohm haters that came out of the woodwork this year would struggle to criticize his record with point guards.

The other big mystery is sit-out transfer Javon Johnson. He is a 6-6 small forward that averaged double digits for Troy. He has a good shot and allegedly had NBA athleticism. But it is a big jump from Troy to what has been the best basketball conference in the country for the last decade. He is a big wild card.

Finally, Iowa State will have at least one scholarship to fill. I’d like to live in the world where Tyrese comes back, but even with his injury, some mock drafts having him going as high as #4 in the draft. That gives at least one scholarship to fill. I imagine Iowa State will try to sign an immediately eligible experience point guard. Bolton can play the point, but he is clearly better as the 2. Otherwise, you are looking at Tre taking over at the point. He didn’t get a ton of time there this season, so it isn’t the best case scenario.

It is also certainly possible that somebody transfers, opening up another scholarship. If that happens, I imagine Iowa State would look at a sit-out transfer (if that is still a thing). Not sure what they would go after there, but my guess is another combo guard.

Now, the Cyclone women had a much better season. They ended their season by defeating #2 Baylor and ending their 58 game Big 12 Conference win streak. Leaving Hilton Coliseum that day was the most joy I have experienced as a Cyclone fan since leaving Jack Trice on November 16 after the Cyclones knocked off Texas with a 36 yard Connor Assalley walk-off field goal.

The women’s had an up and down season, but they were projected to be in the NCAA Tournament as a 9 or 10 seed. They could have improved that seed with a run in the Big 12 Tournament, but to get to the finals, they would have had to beat that same Baylor team in the semi-finals.

Not much was expected out of the Cyclones this year. They had just lost Bridget Carleton, arguably the best player in school history. If she isn’t the best, the only person in the conversation is Angie Welle… for now. They also lost Alexa Middleton, the best point guard Iowa State has had since Allison Lacey. Finally, they lost Meredith Burkhall. Meredith wasn’t a star, but she was a solid post that might have been primed for a big senior season if she hadn’t experience a serious illness the summer before her senior season.

Iowa State’s season could have went south as the roster constantly battled injuries. Iowa State’s second best player Kristin Scott battled a back injury that sidelined her at the beginning and the end of the season. Starting point guard Rae Johnson also missed several games with a bad back. At the end of the year her minutes were being heavily monitored. Madison Wise missed a good chunk of the season due to debilitating migraines. Maddie Frederick was starting to get good minutes when she went down with an injury and only returned for the last few games of the season.

Despite all of that, Iowa State finished 4th in the Big 12 and were playing great basketball at the end of the season. They had the grit that the men lacked. People played out of position. People stepped up. Having Ashley Joens, who will be in the conversation with Welle and Carleton to be the GOAT when her career is over, probably didn’t hurt either.

But what will next year’s team be like? I think we are at the dawn of what could be another golden era for the Cyclone women. I don’t want to say that they could contend for a conference title next year, because.. you know… Baylor, but they could give Baylor a run for their money. Especially with what Baylor loses. But what does Iowa State lose?

Iowa State graduated 4 seniors. All of them were contributors, but none of them put the kind of a dent in the program that Bridget Carleton did.

Probably the biggest loss is Adriana Camber. Down the stretch, she played almost every minute of every game. Her numbers won’t pop out at you. She averaged 6.5 points and 3.8 rebounds a game. But she wassecond on the team with 845 minutes played. She was the consummate glue player. She did whatever the team needed. Usually that meant guarding the best player on the other team. More times than not, she was able to shut them down. She also lead the Cyclones with 48 thees. All of that will be hard to replace, but that is a role that a healthy Madison Wise could slide into. She struggled from 3 this season, but her history suggests she is a better shooter than she showed this season. Camber also struggled with her shot as a junior after all.

The second biggest loss is probably Ines Nezerwa. Ines was a post and probably one of the biggest fan favorites. Ines came to Iowa State very raw and left a little raw. You could see that talent there, but sometimes that meant bad turnovers. Sometimes it meant several minute stretches where she would dominate games. Sometimes it mean she couldn’t stop fouling. But nobody will ever forget the big 3 she drilled in the final minutes against Baylor to give Iowa State the lead. With Kristin Scott having an injury plagued season she came up big for the Cyclones over and over again. Especially when the only other big on the roster was Morgan Kane, who was a very green freshman. The good news is that there are people ready (hopefully to replace Ines). For starters there is 6-5 sit out transfer Lindsey Jarosinski. Plus it is hard to put into words how much Morgan Kane grew this season. At the end she was able to play valuable minutes. I don’t know that she will ever be much of a scorer, but she doesn’t need to be. Finally, Iowa State redshirted Gabby McBride this season. Iowa State will not be so thin in the post next season. Especially if Kristin Scott stays healthy.

The third Cyclones they lose is Jade Thurmon. Jade came up big for the depleted Cyclones late in the season. She was super fast with the ball and was hard to contain off dribble penetration. However, there are plenty of players coming that are coming that can take Jade’s minutes.

The last senior Iowa State loses is Nia Washington. Nia hardly ever played, but she was definitely a team leader. She was the player that gave the last words to the team before they took the floor. As an outsider, it is hard to quantify how much her leadership could be missed.

That is the bad. The good news is that Iowa State returns their (at least) 3 best players. Ashley Joens will be a junior. Kristin Scott will be a senior. Maggie Espenmiller-McGraw will be a sophomore. They will return Rae Johnson, their point guard and sometimes best player. Hopefully Madison Wise is healthy and returns to her freshman form. They add a 6-5 transfer. I’m very intrigued to see how Maddie Frederick develops. She has shown signs. She is somebody who could potentially take that Camber role as well.

While what returns on paper is more than enough to get excited about, we should talk about what is coming in next year. They have the #7 ranked class in the country.

Lexi Donarski from Wisconsin will be only the second McDonald’s All-American (Alexa Middleton) to play for Iowa State. She is the #12 player in the country.

Emily Ryan from Kansas has never lost a high school game. She has been the Kansas Player of the Year multiple times.

Aubrey Joens in Ashley Joens’ sister. Enough said, but she is also the #58 player in the country.

Kylie Feurbach from Illinois is the #77 player in the country.

If you can’t tell, I’m a little bit excited about the women’s team next year. The fact that thee is no NCAA Tournament this year doesn’t help.


I also wanted to share some pictures from my trip to the Iowa State Fair with Nader and Logan:

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

I still need to crack into flower pictures I took at the Iowa State Fair on this day. I know some of you are looking forward to that!


I need to start today’s post by wishing a happy birthday to Dawn. Happy birthday Dawn!

Here are a few pictures of Dawn:

Surprise - Dawn

Photo of the Day 0089 - July 30, 2014

Bonne Finken

Josh Davis Band

September 15, 2017

I hope your birthday is as happy as you want it to be!


I also need to wish a happy birthday to Jason Baier. Happy birthday Mr. Baier. Here are a few pictures of Jason:

Baier Tenderloin Road Trip

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Photo Journal - Page 56

I hope your birthday is also jam packed with happiness!


I also wanted to share some pictures from the 2019 backlog. Here are some images from a trip I took to Ledges back in August:






Just gotta keep plugging away on that backlog!


Happy Thanksgiving! Every year on Thanksgiving I like to think about my many, many blessings. I know, real original. You should feel free to try it sometime. But make sure you let everybody know that I invented gratitude.

I am thankful for my family, no matter how family is defined:

April 9, 2019

May 18, 2019

May 25, 2019

August 24, 2019

September 19, 2019

October 26, 2019

January 26, 2019

February 25, 2019

June 29, 2019

July 6, 2019

August 4, 2019

April 6, 2019

May 12, 2019

I am thankful for my friends:

January 16, 2019

March 12, 2019


Photo Journal - Page 56 Reject

March 21, 2019

May 6, 2019

May 17, 2019

June 1, 2019

June 6, 2019

August 25, 2019

July 12, 2019

August 10, 2019

August 13, 2019

August 18, 2019

September 7, 2019

September 20, 2019

September 21, 2019

October 5, 2019

October 21, 2019

April 27, 2017

Selfie Project - January 21

March 3, 2019

I am blessed with an amazing church family:

April 7, 2019

Selfie Project - January 27

April 17, 2019

May 1, 2019

June 15, 2019

June 23, 2019

June 24, 2019

June 25, 2019

June 27, 2019

July 13, 2019

September 25, 2019

October 27, 2019

June 28, 2017

I am blessed with a decent job and work friends that I don’t mind seeing more than 40 hours a week:

January 12, 2019

August 30, 2019

May 2, 2017

Selfie Project - March 27

Iowa State vs. Northern Iowa

I’m blessed to share my house with Naima:

January 10, 2019

October 6, 2019

July 9, 2019


This is only a small sampling of my blessings, but I feel to go on much longer would sound like boasting. Thank all of you for choosing to be part of my life!


There are a wide variety of pictures in the folder 2009-05-29. They range from pictures of socks that Shannon made to Ernie trimming trees to baby worst birds to invites to my housewarming party to pictures Sara took at my housewarming party.

Baby Grackles

Baby Grackles

Shannon Socks

Shannon Socks









2009 Birthday/Housewarming Party Invitation

2009 Birthday/Housewarming Party Invitation

2009 Birthday/Housewarming Party Invitation

2009 Birthday/Housewarming Party Invitation

2009 Birthday/Housewarming Party Invitation

2009 Birthday/Housewarming Party Invitation

2009 Birthday/Housewarming Party Invitation

2009 Birthday/Housewarming Party Invitation

The guy in the picture with me and Jesse was my neighbor across the street from me. He would sometimes drop by at all hours of the night. He was a good guy, but his struggles overcame him and he passed away a couple years after this picture was taken.

However, looking at these pictures, it does inspire me to bring back the birthday party in 2020. I’m about 95% sure that I will.

By adding these pictures to the Photography 139 Gallery, I was able to restore the following historic “An Artist’s Notebook” entries to their original glory:

The Fruit of the Mystery Trees
Mr. Bunyan
Memorial Day Backyard
Housewarming Invites

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve flowers.

Roundball Oracles – Year 15 Final Results

6 days ago another college basketball season sadly came to an end. While it was one of the most exciting tournaments in history, it was bittersweet as the Cyclones were eliminated in the 1st Round.

Now anybody that watched Iowa State’s mercurial season knew that there was a good chance that would happen. When I saw they were playing Ohio State, I was 95% that they would lose in the 1st Round. Ohio State was a completely garbage team that didn’t even belong in the tournament. Iowa State struggled all season with garbage teams.

Despite that, I still picked Iowa State to win it all in my bracket because I don’t pick against my rooting interests.

I don’t pick Iowa State to lose.
I don’t pick Duke to win the National Championship.
I don’t pick Michigan State to win the National Championship.
I don’t pick Liberty to win a single game.

When the overtime was over in Minneapolis on Monday night, the Virginia Cavaliers were the National Champions and Becky Parmelee won her first ever Roundball Oracles crown. Russell Kennerly won his first ever The Sara for last place adult.

Becky’s name has been added to the List of Immortals:

2019 – Becky Parmelee
2018 – Paul Golden
2017 – Paul Golden
2016 – Michelle Haupt
2015 – Derek Dohrman
2014 – Brandon Kahler
2013 – William McAlpine
2012 – Lowell Davis
2011 – Carrie Baier
2010 – Mark Wolfram
2009 – Mark Wolfram
2008 – Mark Wolfram
2007 – Tim Peterson
2006 – William McAlpine
2005 – William McAlpine

Paul Golden’s iron grip on the throne has been released.

On the other end of the spectrum, Russell Kennerly adds his name to past “The Sara” winners:

The Sara
2019 – Russell Kennerly
2018 – Robert Henning
2017 – Shannon Bardole
2016 – Laura Priest
2015 – Derrick Gorshe
2014 – Sara Lockner

The trophies will be in their possession shortly.

Here are the final standings:

1 Becky Perky 281 45 281 45 Virginia (112)
2 Linda Bennett 265 45 265 45 Virginia (93)
3 Michelle Haupt 242 40 242 40 Gonzaga (150)
4 Lowell Davis 242 45 242 45 Duke (148)
5 Angie DeWaard 242 41 242 41 Virginia (183)
6 Dawn Krause 239 42 239 42 N. Carolina (146)
7 Sean Clubine 237 44 237 44 Duke (152)
8 Paul Golden 237 43 237 43 Duke (135)
9 Rachel Gildersleeve 237 42 237 42 Iowa St. (125)
10 Jason Baier 236 41 236 41 Duke (159)
11 Jesse Howard 231 42 231 42 Duke (143)
12 Michael Augustin 230 43 230 43 Gonzaga (165)
13 Corey Faust 225 39 225 39 Duke (153)
14 Derek Dohrman 224 43 224 43 Duke (160)
15 Shannon Bardole 224 39 224 39 Gonzaga (138)
16 Cathie Raley 223 41 223 41 Duke (137)
17 Jordan Toot 221 40 221 40 N. Carolina (128)
18 Robert Henning 220 39 220 39 Duke (150)
19 FHMeiners 219 42 219 42 Duke (182)
20 Brandon Kahler 210 40 210 40 Duke (125)
21 Jackson Faust 209 38 209 38 Kentucky (126)
22 Which Mascot Would Win in a Fight 202 34 202 34 Iowa St. (150)
23 Bill Wentworth 202 40 202 40 Duke (105)
24 Ben Baier 201 36 201 36 Iowa St. (173)
25 Derrick Gorshe 201 38 201 38 Duke (128)
26 Christopher Bennett 198 40 198 40 Iowa St. (158)
27 Elizabeth Nordeen 196 41 196 41 Iowa St. (149)
28 Jason Stensland 195 39 195 39 N. Carolina (167)
29 Olivia Baier 195 32 195 32 Yale (155)
30 tim peterson 193 39 193 39 Duke (160)
31 William McAlpine 192 36 192 36 N. Carolina (165)
32 Jorge Rios 189 36 189 36 Iowa St. (150)
33 Sarah Duffel 189 34 189 34 Michigan St. (112)
34 Toby Sebring 185 36 185 36 Duke (144)
35 Joseph Lynch 181 38 181 38 Iowa St. (167)
36 Teresa Kahler 181 35 181 35 Iowa St. (124)
37 Will Baier 177 33 177 33 Duke (164)
38 Jon DeWaard 173 36 173 36 Duke (148)
39 Carrie Baier 170 34 170 34 Michigan St. (177)
40 Laura Priest 166 36 166 36 N. Carolina (155)
41 Sean Gildersleeve 161 31 161 31 Iowa St. (125)
42 Russell Kennerly 160 34 160 34 Villanova (145)
43 JJ Baier 150 25 150 25 Seton Hall (181)

If you are wondering, JJ Baier is 7 years old and isn’t eligible for “The Sara”.

Now that is behind us, it isn’t too early to start looking at what kind of team Iowa State will have next year.

Next year could be a potential step back for the Cyclones. They lose 3 seniors, including their starting point guard in Babb and leading scorer in Shayok. They are also losing Wigginton and THT to the NBA. Talented post Lard has also left the team and intends to transfer.

Iowa State has currently signed 3 players for the upcoming class. Currently, none of the freshman they have signed are highly ranked, but they all have the potential to be solid contributors. 2 in particular will be interesting to watch.

Marcedus Leech is perhaps the most intriguing. He was formerly a 5 star guy and one of the most recruited players in the country. 2 years ago he had a gruesome leg injury similar to the one Paul George suffered. Almost every school backed off, except Iowa State. Leech rewarded the Cyclones for their loyalty. If he gets back to what he was, he will be the steal of the recruiting class.

Tre Jackson is another interesting player. He was under recruited and didn’t really get many major offers until last summer. He is a shooter and a good athlete that recently dominated the Carolinas Classic by scoring 38 points and hitting eight 3 pointers. With so many guards leaving, Jackson will have a shot at getting some playing time.

Luke Anderson is the final commit. He will be a stretch 4 or 5. Even with the loss of Lard, Iowa State is still fairly stocked in the post with Jacobson and Conditt playing big roles this season and with Solomon Young coming back from an injury that sidelined him for a year and a half. That will give Anderson time to add some bulk to his body.

Another newcomer that I anticipate starting for the Cyclones next season is Prentiss Nixon. He sat out last season after transferring from Colorado State. The 6-2 point guard averaged over 16 points a game with the Rams. I anticipate he will be the starting point guard. He might not have Babb’s overall game, but he will be more of a scoring threat from the point.

Adding proven college players in Nixon and Young back to a returning nucleus of Halliburton, Jacobson, and Conditt, the Cyclones will still be pretty decent next season. How good they can be will depend on what a couple players buried on the bench last season are able to bring. Both Zion Griffin and Terrence Lewis were highly regarded coming out of high school. Zion was slowed at the beginning of last season with an injury and never really broke into the rotation. Lewis showed flashes, but got buried on the bench after Lard and Wigginton returned from injuries and suspension. Both could take great leaps next season if they can show some consistency. The potential is there.

The other unknown variable for next season is Iowa State currently has 3 scholarships open for next season.

I expect Iowa State to add 1 more freshman. Possibly Caleb Grill from Wichita. 1 sit out transfer. 1 graduate transfer.

Another possibility would be to leave one of those scholarships open for the 2020 class. As it sits now, Iowa State will only have 2 seniors on next year’s squad in Nixon and Jacobson.

The 2020 class is loaded and Iowa State is sitting in a good spot with a few very highly regarded recruits in Xavier Foster, Dudley Blackwell, and Ben Carlson.

Either way, I can’t wait for college basketball season to start again.

Roundball Oracles – Year 15

It is time once again for the greatest sporting event of year. It is that time known as March Madness. The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Once again, I will be sponsoring a pool. There is not cost to enter the pool, except for pride.

The winner gets a trophy. The dead last place person gets a trophy known as The Sara.

By winning, you get your name etched on the list of immortals:


Past Roundball Oracle Champions:

2018 – Paul Golden
2017 – Paul Golden
2016 – Michelle Haupt
2015 – Derek Dohrman
2014 – Brandon Kahler
2013 – William McAlpine
2012 – Lowell Davis
2011 – Carrie Baier
2010 – Mark Wolfram
2009 – Mark Wolfram
2008 – Mark Wolfram
2007 – Tim Peterson
2006 – William McAlpine
2005 – William McAlpine

Paul’s repeat championship definitely puts a target square on his back.

But I said that there are 2 trophies. The 2nd trophy, The Sara, goes to the adult that finishes dead last, while trying. A person can not tank on purpose and win The Sara. The reason The Sara winner has to be an adult is that I don’t want to mock children, to their face. Probably a better rule would be that to “win” The Sara, you have to be at least a teenager. I have no problem mocking teenagers to their face. I do it pretty much every Wednesday night at Youth Group.

Past “The Sara” Winners:

The Sara

2018 – Robert Henning
2017 – Shannon Bardole – now Bardole-Foley
2016 – Laura Priest – now Miller
2015 – Derrick Gorshe
2014 – Sara Lockner

The Sara doesn’t have the long storied history of the championship trophy, but it will get there. I have no doubts.

Last year, 35 combatants threw their hats into the ring. Here are the standings from last year:

1 Paul Golden 248 40 248 40 Duke (175)
2 Dawn Krause 243 38 243 38 Villanova (132)
3 Christopher Bennett 243 37 243 37 Villanova (153)
4 tim peterson 232 41 232 41 Michigan St. (165)
5 Michelle Haupt 232 35 232 35 Villanova (182)
6 Nate Miller 230 37 230 37 Villanova (159)
7 Jordan Toot 224 33 224 33 Villanova (108)
8 Corey Faust 223 34 223 34 Villanova (153)
9 Angie DeWaard 221 34 221 34 Villanova (201)
10 Rachel Johnson 219 39 219 39 Kansas (178)
11 Lowell Davis 215 38 215 38 Virginia (152)
12 Benjamin Baier 213 33 213 33 Virginia (112)
13 Derek Dohrman 205 36 205 36 Virginia (155)
14 Cathie Raley 204 35 204 35 Virginia (138)
15 Bill Wentworth 200 34 200 34 N. Carolina (97)
16 Sean Gildersleeve 198 35 198 35 Michigan St. (145)
17 Linda Bennett 195 36 195 36 Kansas (145)
18 Jesse Howard 195 35 195 35 Duke (146)
19 Olivia Baier 188 33 188 33 Virginia (133)
20 Toby Sebring 185 32 185 32 Arizona (148)
21 Russell Kennerly 184 33 184 33 Virginia (161)
22 Jackson Faust 182 32 182 32 Auburn (124)
23 Sean Clubine 173 33 173 33 N. Carolina (151)
24 Jason Baier 173 30 173 30 Virginia (159)
25 Michael Augustin 167 31 167 31 Virginia (186)
26 Brandon Kahler 166 33 166 33 Kansas (133)
27 Nader Parsaei 166 33 166 33 St. Bona. (170)
28 Andree Jauhari 165 32 165 32 Virginia (145)
29 Elizabeth Nordeen 165 32 165 32 N. Carolina (173)
30 Carrie Baier 162 31 162 31 Gonzaga (144)
31 Laura Priest 158 32 158 32 Duke (125)
32 FHMeiners 156 31 156 31 Kansas (167)
33 Becky Perky 152 32 152 32 Kansas (168)
34 Will Baier 148 25 148 25 Marshall (113)
35 Robert Henning 141 28 141 28 Kansas (156)
The rules are as follows:
Round 1 = 1 point + seed
Round 2 = 2 points + seed
Round 3 = 4 points + seed
Round 4 = 8 points + seed
Round 5 = 16 points + seed
Rounds 6 = 32 points + seed
I can tell that you are already sold and just want to know how to get into this competition, so that you can battle it out and possibly get your name on “The List of Immortals”. It is easy enough, just click on the link below:

Roundball Oracles – Year 15

Good luck! I know you will fare well!

Blessings – 2018

I hope everybody had a great Thanksgiving! It is the time of year where we are supposed to count our blessings.

I thought I would share a few of my current blessings:

I am blessed with a great family!

Sympathy - Brandon Kahler



Bethany - Boredom

Elainie - Boredom

Fear - Alexis

Anger - Johnathan

Sadness - Logan

I have plenty of friends that share my love for the Cyclones!

Iowa State 30 #6 West Virginia 14

Liberty Bowl Road Trip

I have a job I don’t hate going to, where I work with several people I don’t want to punch in the face.

Iowa State vs. Texas Tech

Iowa State vs. Texas Tech

I have an amazing church family!

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Pufferbilly Days Float - 2018

Critter Sunday - 2018

Easter - 2018 - Boone FUMC

I have an amazing friends family!

Anders - Fear

Shannon with her

Iowa State Fair - 2018

Maquoketa Caves Road Trip

2009 - Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest Nominee

I’m blessed to share my life with Naima!

August 23, 2017

This is really just a handful of the blessings in my life! But I’m already getting this out late, so I’ll cut if off here. I’ll just end with a passage from a Rob Bell NOOMA video that really spoke to me:

“So the verse in First Timothy, it says command those that are rich to not put their hope in wealth… and then it goes on and it continues… and it says, but to put their hope in God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

That phrase, a God that richly provides us with everything. All that we have is a gift.

Food. It is a gift.

Clothes. Gift.

Roof. Gift.

That breath you just took. It’s a gift.

Now there are some that will say: No, you don’t understand. I’ve worked for what I have. I deserve it. It is mine. But like it says in the book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 8: You may say to yourself, my power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me. But remember the Lord your God, because it is God that gives you the ability to produce wealth.”

I thank God for the embarrassment of riches in my life!

A Photo Journal – Henry Carroll – Page 56

A few weeks back I got together with my bros from the West Ames Outpost of the Evil Clown Empire. It might have been the first time we have been together all year.

We ate at the worst restaurant in Ames and went to the worst movie in theaters at that time, but I let all that slide as long as they agreed to pose for Page 56 of THE PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT. Which they did!

Photo Journal - Page 56
Page 56 – Use framing to create a photograph within a photograph.

While only one picture can be physically adhered into the physical THE PHOTO JOURNAL, I did take a couple others.

Photo Journal - Page 56 Reject

Photo Journal - Page 56 Reject

I didn’t really give them any direction, other than to look through the window. I even let them choose where they sat on the firetruck. I wanted the picture to be about who they are and the decisions they made. Then you can figure out where they chose to sit, hold the window, and look says about each of them as a person.

Next time we check-in with THE PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT, we might look at Pages 78-79 or maybe Pages 48-49.


If you have been paying attention to the news lately, you certainly heard about the senseless murder of Celia Barquin Aroamena. She was a former Iowa State golfer that was finishing up her Engineering degree. She was the European Amateur Champion. She was 2018 Big 12 Champion. She competed at the U.S. Open. On Saturday she was supposed to be honored as the Iowa State 2018 Female Athlete of the Year at the Iowa State football game. All reports are that as great of an athlete as she was, she was just as great of a person.

Monday morning, while she was practicing her craft, a man came out of the woods that line the golf course and murdered her. No real reason for it. He had been fantasizing about murdering a woman and so he did.

If you think about it for a million years, you couldn’t make sense of it.

On Tuesday, Iowa State Athletic Director sent out the following letter:

Sept. 18, 2018

Dear Cyclone fans,

It is with a very heavy heart that I share thoughts on the tragic passing of our former women’s golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena. Celia, who was the Big 12 Champion last year, was scheduled to be honored at this week’s home football game as our Female Student-Athlete of the Year. Celia, who is from Spain, was a fifth-year senior planning to graduate this spring with a degree in civil engineering.

Although the details of her passing are still being investigated, it is believed she was the victim of a senseless act of random violence committed by a total stranger, in broad daylight, while playing golf at the Coldwater Golf Course. This situation clearly cuts at the very core of our community, our institution and especially our athletics program.

I wish there were words or actions that would make this all better. Unfortunately, that is simply not the case. Losing one of our student-athletes is like losing a child. We are all devastated and heart-broken.

We also know that we must carry on in the same spirit that Celia lived her life. She was a passionate, caring and vibrant young lady who was so proud to be a Cyclone. She attended all the sporting events of her fellow student-athletes and was so excited to be selected as our 2018 Female Athlete of the Year. In fact, when she was told she was going to be honored on the field at this Saturday’s football game, she broke down and cried.

The purpose of this letter is to share with you we plan to move forward with honoring Celia on Saturday at the home football game. We will honor her with a video tribute and a moment of silence, prior to the marching band playing the national anthem. The tribute will take place at approximately 10:50 a.m. We strongly encourage all Cyclone fans to be in their seats by 10:45 a.m. to pay tribute and show her grieving teammates, coaches and friends, what it feels like to be fully embraced by Cyclone Nation.

I look forward to seeing you in the stadium Saturday morning.

Go Cyclones!

Jamie Pollard
Director of Athletics

Also on Tuesday, Celia’s teammates requested that fans wear yellow to the game. It was Celia’s favorite color. So if you are going to the game on Saturday, please be there on time for the moment of silence and wear yellow to honor Celia.

The football team will be wearing her initials on their helmet. Akron will also do that.

On a personal note, the man that murdered Celia was homeless. He lived in the woods behind where I work:

There are usually several people living back there. I’ve walked those woods several times and never feared for my safety, but I know a co-worker that wears a gun when he walks back there.

When I think about the whole situation, the one thought that keeps crossing my mind is, “We can do better. We can do better. We can do better…”


A reminder that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is BOREDOM!


A BOREDOM photo is a photo of somebody that is experiencing BOREDOM or an activity you do to fight BOREDOM.

Happy photo harvesting!

05-10-08 – A Tale of Gypsum Junk

The pictures in today’s collection come from the folder 05-10-08.

These pictures came from a road trip to Fort Dodge I went on with Jason Baier. A road trip that ended with us coming face to face with a gypsum penis. What is more, that was the ultimate goal of the road trip.

This journey started when I was reading a magazine on the greatest hoaxes in history. One of the hoaxes was the Cardiff Giant. I’m not going to go into an incredible amount of detail, but what is important to know is that the gypsum that made up the Cardiff Giant came from Fort Dodge. It was purchased in Fort Dodge. Loaded on a train in Boone. Shipped to Chicago. Carved in Chicago. Then buried and dug up in a farm near Cardiff, New York.

The original Cardiff Giant is in a museum in Cooperstown, New York. A replica is in Fort Dodge. A pale and pathetic copy is housed at Living History Farms. The Living History Farms Giant is more modest than the original Giant. He covers his gypsum junk with his hands. The Fort Dodge Giant and the original just leaves it out there, blowing in the wind.

Some of the pictures below have never been made public before because Baier and I very flagrantly broke some museum rules. I hesitate to publish these photos because he is now a big time white collar criminal with infinite PTO and numerous minions. I would hate for our youthful indiscretions come back to haunt a man of his stature. However, I’ve done no research to back this up, I think the statue of limitations on our museum crimes has passed. I think he will be safe.

Here are some pictures of our trip to Fort Dodge to meet the Cardiff Giant and his gypsum junk:

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant Road Trip

Cardiff Giant Road Trip

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant Road Trip

Cardiff Giant Road Trip

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

Cardiff Giant - Fort Dodge

I learned the hard way that not all people consider glorious pictures of gypsum junk to be appropriate. Back when I was using Photobucket to store my blog images, pictures of The Cardiff Giant that showed him in his full glory were flagged and then taken down. I can feel only pity for people that can’t appreciate great art.

I replaced the images that showed images with his anatomy with pictures like this:

Cardiff Giant Road Trip

Yeah. Lame.

What isn’t lame is that by adding these pictures to the Photography 139 Photo Gallery I was able to restore the following historical “An Artist’s Notebook” posts to their original glory:



There are more pictures from the Cardiff Giant Road Trip that I didn’t share here. You can see them by clicking on the link below:


Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve Little White Lye Soap… I know… but this time action photos… and Mother’s Day.

The Town Sign Project Vol. 7

Way back on my birthday I decided to make a solo tenderloining trip to Winterset. Scottie D. had been ducking the Winterset trip for several months now and everybody else seemed to have to work on my birthday, so I figured, why not fly solo and take a few pictures for the TOWN SIGN PROJECT while I was on the open road?

I headed down 17 and the went west on 141 for a little ways before pretty much taking 169 the rest of the way to Winterset.

I have to confess that the signs I found on this route were almost universally boring. Almost.

However, I’ll let you make your own assessments:

Madrid, Iowa
Madrid, Iowa

Perry, Iowa
Perry, Iowa

Minburn, Iowa
Minburn, Iowa

Dallas Center, Iowa
Dallas Center, Iowa

Adel, Iowa
Adel, Iowa

De Soto, Iowa
De Soto, Iowa

Winterset, Iowa
Winterset, Iowa

Van Meter, Iowa
Van Meter, Iowa

Granger, Iowa
Granger, Iowa

Madrid is know for caring way too much about high school sports AND The Filling Station.
Perry is known for being a town that racist people like to badmouth.
Minburn is known for having a pretty cool park bathroom.
Dallas Center is known for being the DC of DCG. DCG is known for being the thing that Jason Baier hates the most in the world.
Adel is known for being the hometown of Nile Kinnick. Kinnick is famous for being the last Iowa Hawkeye football player that that didn’t spend time in jail.
De Soto is known for being spelled Desoto.
Winterset is known for being the birthplace of John Wayne and covered bridges.
Van Meter is known for being the birthplace of baseball hall of famer Bob Feller.
Granger is known for having a hot water water tower and a cold water water tower.

You might not have believed me about Minburn having a cool park bathroom, but have a look:

Park Bathroom - Minburn Iowa

I didn’t just love it because of a “any port in the storm” situation, but there is some truth in that. It is just cool looking.

However, I also want to call attention to a peculiar aspect of the Minburn town sign. Remember the town sign?

Minburn Town Sign
Minburn Town Sign

It has a bench behind it:

Minburn Town Sign

If you were to sit down on this bench, you would be staring at a brick wall:

Minburn Town Sign

I would love to know the story behind the Minburn bench with a view of a brick wall. If anybody knows, let me know!

I’m not sure when I’ll get a chance to work on THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT again, but I’m hoping to go snooping up around the Rolf, Iowa area in the nearish future next.

The results of my tenderloining adventure will be published soon. I know a few of you have been waiting on my official ruling.