Category Archives: Nader

The Gambler, He Broke Even

Kenny Rogers passed away on Saturday. Celebrity deaths don’t usually have much effect on me. However, I was deeply saddened by the passing of Kenny Rogers. Kenny Rogers is my Mom’s favorite and therefore is one of my favorite country singers. I can’t stomach modern country, but I have more than a few old timey country artists I love. Like Hank Williams because of my Grandpa, (I’ve probably covered the Nirvana Christmas Story to recollect it again here) Ernest Tubb because of my Grandma, and Johnny Paycheck AND Tom T. Hall and Dolly Parton because of my Dad. Then there is Kenny Rogers because of my Mom.

Kenny songs were a staple in the Bennett household as I grew up. I have so many favorites:

-Coward of the County
-Lucille
-Lady
-She Believes in Me
-Islands in the Stream
-Don’t Fall in Love with a Dreamer
-We’ve Got Tonight
-Through the Years
-She Believes in Me
-You Decorated My Life
-Ruby Don’t Take Your Love to Town
-You Decorated My Life
-Love Will Turn You Around

and of course

-The Gambler

I think “The Gambler” is the song that most people in my generation affiliate with Kenny Rogers. It isn’t actually my favorite Kenny Rogers song, but I do love it so. I also think there is some real world, great, practical advice in that song.

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em
Know when to fold ’em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done

When I was a kid, I foolishly thought that this was advice about how to play poker. It wasn’t until later in life (probably embarrassingly later) that I realized that this advice had nothing a card game. It was about life. It is advice that I should really apply to my life.

There are too many times where I should fold ’em and walk away. I can think of a couple times where I should have folded ’em and then ran. I’m a person who sometimes tries to hold ’em too much. Or as he says in “Lucille”:

“I’m no quitter, bit I finally quit livin’ on dreams.” I’m hungry for laughter and here ever after. I’m after whatever the other life brings”

It is sad that the dealin’s done for Kenny Rogers. But in his songs I found an ace I can keep.

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Thought I would share pictures from another event that takes me back to my childhood every time I go, the Iowa State Fair. This is the final collection of pictures from my trip there with Logan and Nader.

Most of these pictures are of animals. The DNR building is one of my favorite stops at the Iowa State Fair every year. There are also picutres of the baby pigs from the baby animal exhibit and cakes from the cake competition and sheep waiting for mutton busting.


Iowa State Fair - 2019

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I can’t wait for this year’s Iowa State Fair. Hopefully there is one.

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.

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


Iowa State Fair - 2019

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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!

Ledges

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!

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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!

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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:


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Just gotta keep plugging away on that backlog!

Baby Animals and Cows

I need to start today’s post by wishing my niece Nora a very happy birthday! Nora is like 4 years old now. How did she get so old! Here are some Nora pictures:


Nora

Memorial Day - 2017

Nora

Nora - 4 Months Old

Thomas the Tank - 2018

I hope Nora has a very happy birthday!

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I still have quite a few pictures to share from my day at the Iowa State Fair with Nader and Logan:


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I still have plenty more pictures left from my Iowa State Fair day and I haven’t even started the flower pictures yet!

ISFRXOII

Even though it is barely March, it is about time that I start turning my thoughts to the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon. I hope to be more current with my images by the time I actually have to make a decision, but I am pretty sure I know of at least one picture I’m going to enter. Even though, I currently can’t remember that picture. I just remember taking a picture and thinking, I’m going to enter that in the Iowa State Fair. Could be a false memory planted by my therapist. Since, after all, having a therapist is a false memory placed by parts unknown.

Today’s collection is of pictures I took on the last day of the Iowa State Fair with the Sony RXOII. Nader went with me and Logan met me down there.


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This is just the beginning of the pictures from last year’s Iowa State Fair.

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This is your reminder that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is JUNK:


WEEK 234 - JUNK
JUNK

Remember, that there is a difference between JUNK and garbage. Also remember, there are many definitions of the word JUNK.

Happy photo harvesting!

Gratitudo

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 121 ALTERNATE

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

Naima

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!

Iowa State Fair 2018 – Misc.

This is final collection of Iowa State Fair pictures from 2018. Published just in time for the close of the 2019 Iowa State Fair.

I’ll be spending the day at the Iowa State Fair solo today as all 4 of the people that were going to go with me all gave me the shaft. C’est la vie!

These pictures are from the day I went to the last day of the Fair to pick up my pictures from the Photography Salon. Nader and Jesse went with me on that day.


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I’m already looking forward to the 2020 Fair.

Iowa State Fair 2018 – More Animals

You can still technically vote in the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest Poll right now, but it will shut down at some point today. So if you haven’t voted yet, then you need to get on it.

By the time this post publishes, Baby Got Rack will have been judged and should be finding out where we placed in this year’s State Fair Barbecue Contest sponsored by some insurance company that I can never remember because it isn’t my insurance company. I insure with American Family Insurance. I don’t necessarily endorse them because I’ve literally never had an interaction with them. I pay them. They take my money. I’ve never made a claim. Car or house. It is a good relationship. So far.

Unlike Bank of the West. It is a matter of time before I dump that awful bank. I just haven’t figured out where to go. I prefer to bank in Boone and I’ve been considering credit unions lately, but there isn’t a credit union in Boone. So I just sit and stew about Bank of the West and their terrible customer service. This is why I should have never went to direct deposit for day job’s paycheck. Even though I’m sure they would have just forced me to do it at some point by now. I wonder if they would direct deposit my paycheck in a rusty coffee can buried in my backyard. Don’t laugh. That rusty coffee can gives me the same customer service as Bank of the West. Probably more.

Any way, go vote in the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest poll if you haven’t. I’m not providing you a link. You should have figured it out by now.

Here are some pictures of animals from last year’s Iowa State Fair:


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There are about 3 collections of Iowa State Fair pictures left to share. By my calculations at least.

Iowa State Fair – 2018 – Animals

There are just a couple of day s left to vote in my polls that will determine what pictures I enter in the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest.

If voting in 6 polls at once in too much for you, you can vote in one of the Hidden Treasures of Bone County polls below:

Boone County Treasures – Set 1

Poll will Start on August 7
Boone County Treasures Group 1 - Choose 1 (2019)
High Bridge
Naima
Logan
Don Williams
Harrier Marsh
Fraser
Don Williams
Thomas
Boone County Fair
Whistlin' Donkey

If you are ready to vote in all the polls, you can do that by clicking on the link below:

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest

Thanks for voting!

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As I try to clear out my 2018 Iowa State Fair backlog before the end of the 2019 Iowa State Fair concludes, here is a collection of animal pictures from the petting zoo and the baby animals exhibits!


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Still at least a couple posts worth of State Fair pictures in the hopper.

Iowa State Fair – 2018 – DNR

There are now 5 days left to vote for what pictures I will enter in the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest.

If it is too much for you to take on all 6 polls at once, you can vote in the Photojournalism poll below. At this point, there is a clear cut Photojournalism front-runner.

Photojournalism


Poll will Start on August 7
Photojournalism Category Poll - Choose 1 (2019)
Skydivers
W!
Beto
Booker
BGR
RAGBRAI
Old Glory
Squadron
Greatest Patriot
Big Boy

If you want to vote in all 6 polls, click on the link below:

Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest Poll

Thanks for your assistance!

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Since today is the opening day of the Iowa State Fair, you should remember that I do have one picture on display at the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon. You should go check it out!

I also figured that today would be a good day to publish pictures from last year’s trip to the Iowa State Fair with Jesse and Nader. This is collection is from the DNR Building. The DNR Building is probably my 2nd or 3rd favorite building to visit at the Iowa State Fair.


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Plenty more from last year’s Iowa State Fair in the backlog!