Category Archives: History

Alamo Bowl Road Trip: Branch Davidians

We loaded up the car and I punched the address of the Branch Davidians Compound into the GPS. I had absolutely no clue what we would find what we would find when we got to the place where 76 people died in the Waco Siege.

You see, we had stayed the night in possibly one of the worst places in the United States. If it wasn’t for Chip and Joanna Gains, Waco, Texas would have zero positive press.

When you say Waco, Texas people only think of a handful of things in no particular order:

1. Branch Davidians and their fiery end.
2. The Baylor football program and the scores of sexual assaults and rapes that they committed that were then duly covered up by the school, athletic department, and most disturbingly… the police department.
3. The 1916 lynching, torturing, burning, and mutilating of Jesse Washington. A lynching that was attended by in excess of 10,000 people.*
4. Baylor basketball player Patrick Dennehy being murdered by fellow Baylor basketball player Carlton Dotson.
5. FIXER UPPER

I wish I would’ve thought to go see the memorial to Jesse Washington, but it was forgotten. Sorry Jesse.

But being someone with an interest in history and more than a bit of a fascination with cults, there was no way we were going through Waco, Texas and not visiting the Branch Davidians and the site of the Waco Siege.

It is not a stretch to think that it was one of the most important historical events of the 1990s. It was an event that contributed to the dangerous rise of the alt-right and was directly responsible for the Oklahoma City Bombing. The deadliest domestic terrorist attack in American history. Killing 171 people. Including 19 children.

It is not overstated it to say that we would be living in a different America if the Waco Siege never happened. If you don’t know or don’t remember the Waco Siege, here is a brief synopsis from the Wiki:

The Waco siege was the siege of a compound belonging to the Branch Davidians, carried out by American federal and Texas state law enforcement, as well as the U.S. military, between February 28 and April 19, 1993. The Branch Davidians were led by David Koresh and were headquartered at Mount Carmel Center ranch in the community of Axtell, Texas, 13 miles (21 kilometers) east-northeast of Waco. Suspecting the group of stockpiling illegal weapons, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) obtained a search warrant for the compound and arrest warrants for Koresh and a select few of the group’s members.

The incident began when the ATF attempted to raid the ranch. An intense gun battle erupted, resulting in the deaths of four government agents and six Branch Davidians. Upon the ATF’s failure to raid the compound, a siege lasting 51 days was initiated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Eventually, the FBI launched an assault and initiated a tear gas attack in an attempt to force the Branch Davidians out of the ranch. During the attack, a fire engulfed Mount Carmel Center. In total, 76 people died, including David Koresh.

There is too much controversy and too much backstory to really do the Waco Siege justice. If you have questions about it, I suggest you leave them in the comments and I’ll answer with what knowledge I have and what opinions I possess.

What I will state definitively is that the Waco Siege was a terrible waste of life that could have been easily avoided. It is what happens when law enforcement tries to do things for public relations, rather than for… well law enforcement. They took their mistakes at Ruby Ridge and made them exponentially worse.

I’m sure these were some of my thoughts as we pulled up to the gate of Mount Carmel. One gate was open. There was a sign that said that you could get a look around the ranch for $10.

Shortly after we pulled into the ranch a truck came speeding up towards us. Considering where we were, was a little disconcerting. The driver rolled down their window and told us that we should hurry up to the chapel. They were giving a tour up there and we could make it if we hurried.

So we bypassed the building we thought we were supposed to pay at and headed up to the chapel.

Once we got there, there was a guy there telling the story of the Waco Siege. He wasn’t a member of the Branch Davidians in 1993, but now he researched the event with David Thibodeau** (one of the few to survive the fire).

He showed us pictures of the people that perished in the fire. He showed us “trophy photos” that the FBI took after the church (they are offended by the term “compound” because of its militaristic connotation) burned completely down. If you know any hunters, you know what a trophy photo is. You can imagine what you would feel like if people took trophy photos with the remains of your friends and loved ones.

He argued that David Koresh wasn’t even doing anything illegal. It isn’t illegal to stockpile and sell firearms. While it might (you can take out the might for me) be morally reprehensible to most of us to have sex with 14 year old girls, in Texas 14 year olds can be married with parental consent. Which David Koresh did have. Yeah. Gross. Texas, Do better.

Eventually the man (I can’t remember his name) left and we were introduced to Heather***. Heather really made this a special stop.

Heather was 9 years old during the Waco Siege. She was in Mount Carmel when the siege began. She was the last person to leave, days before the final assault that ended in the deaths of almost every Branch Davidian in the building. Including her father.

If you know the timeline of the Waco Siege, Heather’s dad was the mailman that was inadvertently tipped off to the ATF’s attack by a lost member of the media. This is why the ATF didn’t have the element of surprise. This is why the raid should have been called off.

Before he died, he gave her a teddy bear and told her that the bear would watch over her until he saw her again. Then he sent her out into the “Babylonian” world.

As she told us the story she paused and then said, “I didn’t know at the time that he meant, when we see each other in heaven.”

As she walked down the driveway, she expected to be shot in the head every step she took. Finally, she reached the end of the drive and was grabbed by the police. They took the teddy bear away from her and ripped it up.

This wasn’t done (completely) out of malice though. They were checking the bear for a bomb. There wasn’t one.

Tears rolled down her face as she told us this part of the story.

Then she said, “I never got the bear back.”

You could tell with the way she said it that it still hurts that the last thing her dad gave her. The thing that was supposed to “watch over her” was taken from her, destroyed, and never returned.

She wiped the tears off her face and apologized for crying.

We told her not to apologize and thanked her for sharing such a memory to people who were basically tourists in her pain.

Then she offered to give show us the rest of the grounds.


Branch Davidians
The current chapel was built in the same place as the chapel that was burnt down.

Branch Davidians
The fire.

Branch Davidians
Trophy photos.

Branch Davidians
Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Stage.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Telling the story.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Pointing out the “Trophy Photos”.

Branch Davidians
David Koresh

Branch Davidians
Heather is seated in the lower right hand corner.

Branch Davidians
David Koresh thought he was the second coming of Jesus, but this time he wasn’t sinless.

Branch Davidians
Bill Clinton was president during the Waco Siege.

Branch Davidians
Tanks crushed this bus.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
People were trapped in this storage room.

Branch Davidians
Heather’s ducks.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
They built this pool the year before the Siege. They got to use if for 1 year.

Branch Davidians
Heather was really cold. It wasn’t cold for Iowans with plenty of built in insulation.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Oklahoma City Memorial

Branch Davidians
ATF Officer Memorial

Branch Davidians
Current Chapel

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Branch Davidian Memorial

Branch Davidians
Branch Davidians are an offshoot of Seventh Day Adventists.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Gate.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
The road outside of Mount Carmel.

Branch Davidians
The Branch

Alamo Bowl Road Trip
Selfie with Heather.

During the tour Heather didn’t say anything positive about David Koresh. She talked about how he separated her from her dad and took over her discipline.

As a child Heather was pigeon-toed. He used to make her walk back and forth the length of Mount Carmel. He would hit her with a stick when he felt she was walking pigeon-toed.

If David Koresh would have stayed alive and remained in power, she would have become one of his wives when she turned 14.

Mount Carmel burned down when I was in high school. We watched it in class. I have seen at least 5 documentaries on it. I have seen a movie on it. Willy and I watched the WACO television show last year. The tragedy of what happened there didn’t really hit home until I was standing on the same ground where it all happened. It is something I will never forget.

We thanked Heather again for sharing and giving us a tour. I felt like a doucher, but I asked for a picture with her. She obliged willingly. She asked us to friend her on The Facebook. This made me feel like less of a doucher.

I broke my 2 month absence from Facebook long enough to become her friend on The Facebook, but I haven’t been back since. If I ever get the stomach to return, I’ll hit her up and see if she remembers us and see how she is doing.

We gave her a hug. Loaded back up in the rental and left Waco profoundly changed in a way that is hard to figure. My best guess is that it would be the way you would change if you saw the Vietnam War Memorial with a veteran of the Vietnam War or if you talked to a holocaust survivor or met somebody that was in the towers on 9/11. Something that was merely academic, was suddenly real.

We were a couple hours from San Antonio and several hours from the kickoff, but the game seemed decidedly less important than it did just an hour or so earlier.

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This is your reminder that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is RUINS.


WEEK 177 - RUINS
RUINS

A RUINS photo is a picture of something that is in decay.

Happy photo harvesting!

*If we ever have Youth Group again, we will briefly discuss the lynching of Jesse Washington
**David Thibodeau is the survivor that wrote the book that part of the television show WACO is based on. He was played by Rory Caulkin in the show. I can’t recommend that show highly enough.
***Heather is featured in a documentary about the Branch Davidians that aired on A&E in 2018. I have procured a digital copy of it. If you ever want to watch it, I can arrange it. But you have to ask nicely.

Brown vs. Board of Education

On many a trip to Manhattan I have driven through Topeka and seen a sign for the Brown vs. Board of Education historical site. Many a time I have thought, I should stop and check that out. Every single time I have decided against it and kept driving to get to Bill Snyder Country sooner.

In early November I went down to Topeka with Bethany and Becca to see Nate and Laura’s triplets who were still in the NICU in Topeka.

As fate would have it, we stumbled across the Brown vs. Board of Education site. We stopped and we took some pictures.

Here some are:


Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

Brown vs. the Board of Education

If you don’t know what Brown vs. Board of Education is, I’ll assume you are a product of the Boone School Systems.

Here is a little tidbit from the History Channel’s website:

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka was a landmark 1954 Supreme Court case in which the justices ruled unanimously that racial segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional. Brown v. Board of Education was one of the cornerstones of the civil rights movement, and helped establish the precedent that “separate-but-equal” education and other services were not, in fact, equal at all.

It was interesting to stand in a place that was so pivotal in the civil rights struggle. We didn’t have time to actually go into the school, but I’ll have to return sometime. When I have more time and the government isn’t shutdown.

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Here is an update on my 10 Step Process to buying a drone.

  1. Car paid off. – I got the pink slip daddy!
  2. Training Budget Reimbursement – Bought about 10 books and signed up for an online portrait photography class that I will discuss someday.
  3. Purchase Popcorn Maker – The Union Street theater has procured its very own popcorn maker from Flat Earth Joe. The one that was borrowed from Andy’s friend of a friend has been returned.
  4. Computer Upgrade – I have completed upgrades on my home computer. I’ve put in a solid state drive to run the OS and the applications, I upped the RAM to 16 GB and I replaced the video card with a video card with twice the ram and that is capable of running 3 monitors.
  5. Figure out the effect of the Iowa GOP Tax Scam – The Iowa GOP Tax Scam will indeed result in me paying more taxes. There is about a $7 effect on my paycheck, meaning I am getting a tax cut of roughly $200. (Assuming the withholding from my paycheck is being done right.) However, since the Iowa GOP Tax Scam made it so a 6% sales tax is levied on all online purchases, I will be taxed well more than the $200 benefit. For example, I’ll pay over $100 in taxes on purchasing the drone that I wouldn’t have had to pay before the Iowa GOP Tax Scam became law. 
  6. Rear Brakes – I had the rear brakes replaced on my car last night. It costs me about 40% of what I was expecting Win!
  7. Computer Mine Bonus – I did indeed get a Computer Mine Bonus. I can’t complain about it one bit. 
  8. Bank Fraud Resolution – My bank fraud situation is partially resolved. The bank sent me a letter saying that I would get $150 or so bucks because I was a victim of fraud. I called them and said “Thanks! But that number is about $370 light.” Then we had an exchange where the person that I talked to couldn’t even find my account. Finally they said to send them another affidavit for the other $370 bucks. I’m hoping this time it doesn’t take 2 more months to resolve. I won’t hold my breath.
  9. Federal GOP Tax Scam – The Tax Scam didn’t effect my tax refund at all. It was almost like it wasn’t meant to be a tax cut for lower class and middle class people. It is almost like it was a cash grab for millionaires, billionaires, and corporations under the ludicrous precept that some of the benefits would trickle down to us poor folks. I can say this with 100% certainty. I respect a person that believes the earth is flat way more than I respect somebody that believes in the Laffer Curve. 
  10. Change Jar -I have added some change to the change jar, including the change I won in a football pool at the Computer Mine. However, I am still probably 2 inches short of being almost full. I should effort to go through the cushions of my couches. If I can get within one inch, of the top of the jar, I will call this quest complete and proceed to order a drone.

I am now 8 of 10 steps complete. I am close to ordering that drone. Just need some good news from my bank and to find some more spare change just laying around.

Alamo Bowl Road Trip: USS Batfish

After paying our respects to “The Tall Chief”, we hit the open road. We headed south in Oklahoma and weren’t really sure what we would find.

Several miles down the road we saw a sign for Muskogee. While I am personally devoid of musical talent, I do love music. I wanted to visit the town from the Merle Haggard classic.

Unfortunately, the signs indicated that we needed to make about a 60 mile detour to visit Muskogee. Nothing against Merle Haggard, but we aren’t talking about Johnny Cash here.

However, the signs seemed to be wrong. Not seemed to be wrong. The sign was wrong. We headed straight when it told us to turn. Yet, we drove right into Muskogee, Oklahoma. Where we were able to observe many an Okie. From Muskogee. Many of them seemed to be livin’ right. We didn’t see any that had let their hair grow long and shaggy. Unfortunately I can’t say I saw any Okies holding hands and pitchin’ woo. That being said, it definitely seemed like the kind of place where even squares can have a ball.

Since we had hit the mythical Haggard town, I was hoping to find a statue of Merle Haggard or at least a plaque that bragged up the only reason anybody has ever heard of Muskogee, Oklahoma, USA. But my mad googling didn’t come up with any information on a Merle Haggard statue or even a plaque indicating where kids still respect the college dean or even a store that sells white lightning.

The biggest tourist attraction in Muskogee… Oklahoma… USA.. according to the googles was a park that had a submarine in it.

A park with a submarine in it?

Muskogee is a good 10 hour drive from the nearest ocean, gulf, or sea. So a submarine… in the middle of a park? This is something we had to see.

We put in the GPS coordinates into the phone and before you knew it, we had paid $7 and were staring at a submarine.

This is what we saw:


U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

U.S.S. Batfish

The submarine is the USS Batfish. It was launched in 1943 and decommissioned in 1969. It is known primarily for sinking three Japanese submarines in a 76 hour period in 1945.

It was definitely one of the surprise bonuses of the road trip. It also confirmed my belief that I would never make it in a submarine. In addition to never wanting to me submerged underwater at a depth of any more than a few feet, submarines are definitely not made for the talls.

Average height for people serving on the USS Batfish was 5 foot 8 inches. I believe anything below 5 foot 10 inches is considered a midget. Some of them preferred to be called dwarves. None of them enjoy being tossed.

We bid a fond adieu to the USS Batfish and got back on the open road. Let the tones of Merle Haggard take us from Muskogee.

“We still wave Old Glory down at the court house…”

As we meandered down to Texas we enjoyed a beautiful Oklahoma sunset on an unknown lake:


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

When we hit Atoka, Oklahoma we stopped for gas, snacks, and a restroom break at a Pilot Travel Center. It was here that I made the most wonderful discovery! You could call it an Alamo Bowl miracle!


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

As an aficionado of sweet tea of some note, Gold Peak Extra Sweet Tea is kind of like my holy grail. While southerners cling to their racist past and try to denigrate us yankees incorrectly for not knowing sweet tea, there is one thing they do have. Gold Peak Extra Sweet Tea. I have never been able to find it up north. This makes me melancholy. It is a fact that I have even tried to order it online, with nothing but failure greeting my every step.

I was beginning to think Gold Peak Extra Sweet Tea was something that I had imagined. But it isn’t.

I picked up a few bottles and we hit the open road, more than a little bit happier than before we had met the magical place known as Pilot Travel Center in Atoka, Oklahoma.

Our next stop was for supper. We got a little ways past Dallas and pulled in to the first Whataburger we could find.

Who has two thumbs and LOVES Whataburger?

This guy!

I realize now, that would work better with a picture.

Enjoy these pictures instead:


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Whataburger is the #1 franchise we don’t have in Iowa that I wish we had in Iowa. There isn’t even a close second. And not just because as a general rule I can’t stand corporate eateries.

We made the rest of the journey and found a cheap hotel in Waco and bedded down for the night.


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

It was a Motel 6. They don’t have breakfast, but it is still relatively nice compared to some of the other places that Jesse and I have stayed.

I slept like a baby. Like an angel. Like a baby angel. I woke up in the morning ready to take on the world.

To be continued…

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This is your reminder that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is MACRO!



MACRO

But what is a MACRO photo? There is a technical definition that involves the ration of the real life object being a 1:1 ratio for reproduction blah, blah, blah.

All you need to know is that it is close-up photography. Get close to your subject. Very close. Very, very, very close.

Happy photo harvesting!

08-04-08

The folder 08-04-08 is filled with images of Teresa and I’s trip home from Kentucky.

On the way back we stopped in Springfield, Illinois. Springfield is noted for being home of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library. It also home of the Springfield Old Capitol Building where both Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama made their announcements that they were running for President.

Abraham Lincoln, the man who said:

“How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg? Four. Saying that a tail is a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”

and

“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”

and

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

and

“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.”

and

“Stand with anybody that stands right, stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.”

and

“My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”

Barack Obama, the man who said:

“The cynics may be the loudest voices – but I promise you, they will accomplish the least.”

and

“Where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes We Can.”

and

“We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.”

and

“We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.”

It is startling how far the level of political discourse has fallen in just a couple of years. Hopefully in 2020, we will elect somebody to the White House that’s command of the English language is above that of a 4th grader. (Not hyperbole – Studies show that speeches given by the current President hover between a 3rd grade to 7th grade reading level.)

It would also be nice if that person wasn’t a homophobic, a misogynistic, sexist, racist, jingoistic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, xenophobe. But I don’t want to get too greedy here. But if I were getting greedy, I would want a President that wasn’t bought and sold by corporate interests. A president that stood up to despotic leaders like Putin, Jong-un, and Bin Salman, instead of carrying water for them. If I was getting super greedy, I would want a President that wasn’t accused of sexually assaulting 22 different women. I know. That is totally a case of he said, she said (Jessica Leeds), she said (Ivana Trump), she said (Kristin Anderson), she said (Jill Harth), she said (Lisa Boyne), she said (Mariah Billado), she said (Victoria Hughes), she said (Temple Taggart), she said (Cathy Heller), she said (Karena Virginia), she said (Tasha Dixon), she said (Bridget Sullivan), she said (Melinda McGillivray), she said (Natasha Stoynoff), she said (Jennifer Murphy), she said (Juliet Huddy), she said (Rachel Crooks), she said (Samantha Holvey), she said (Ninni Laaksonen), she said (Jessica Drake), she said (Summer Zervos), she said (Cassandra Searles).

Here are some pictures from the trip home:


Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

Kentucky Vacation - 2008

We also visited Lincoln’s Tomb. If you are ever in the Springfield area, I definitely recommend visiting both. I wish we would have had more time to visit more Lincoln exhibits in the area!

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

Back to Civilization

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will probably involve Little White Lye Soap. All of you have been stocking up on Little White Lye Soap, haven’t you?

Mill Creek Stone Bridge

As the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest polling was drawing closer, I felt that I should go out and take one more picture for the Hidden Boone County Treasures.

I knew I wanted to take a picture of the Mill Creek Stone Bridge. It is located near what was once The Kate Shelley Museum. I suppose that it probably still is The Kate Shelley Museum, but I can’t imagine a day in the future where it is open again.

The Boone Historical Society has become something of a town embarrassment I’m told. Which makes me sad because I grew up somewhat in its shadow. On one of the bookshelves (humble brag, I know how to read) in my bedroom I still have an extensive collection of Trail Tales from the 80s. A magazine put out by the Boone Historical Society. My Dad was a frequent contributor.

From what I know of the debacle, The Boone Historical Society recently decided to close down the Mamie Eisenhower Birthplace. The director had a whiz-bang plan of turning it into a bed & breakfast. Which if you’ve ever been inside the house, you would know is a pretty terrible idea.

This raised the dander of the former members of a separate historical society that used to run the Eisenhower Birthplace because they sold the house to the Boone Historical Society for a $1.

Apparently meetings got pretty heated. Enough so, and for no apparent reason, they started having armed guards at them. Whenever guns get involved, you know it has gotten stupid.

The city and the county started withholding their funding for the Historical Society.

The Historical Society then sent out some kind of pledge to its members asking them to pledge to “stop talk so much trash about us” in the social media world. I’m sure that worked really well for them. Because telling people to “stop talking about how bad we are at our jobs because it makes us look bad at our jobs” seems like a sound strategy. Seems like something Donnie Moscow would try to do. A pledge my Mom refused to sign.

It recently came to a head, where due to lack of funding, the Historical Society had to terminate its director, administrative assistant, and cleaning crew. They also announced that they will have to put the Eisenhower Birthplace on the market.

I don’t know what the future of the Boone County Historical Society holds, but I imagine a major re-direction is on the horizon. Hopefully maybe some day they will put some work into the Kate Shelley Museum.

So under that cloud, I sojourned out to Moingona to photograph one of the more interesting abandoned train bridges in Boone County. Here are some of those images:


Mill Creek Stone Bridge

Mill Creek Stone Bridge

Mill Creek Stone Bridge

Mill Creek Stone Bridge

Mill Creek Stone Bridge

Mill Creek Stone Bridge

Mill Creek Stone Bridge

Mill Creek Stone Bridge

Mill Creek Stone Bridge

Mill Creek Stone Bridge

Mill Creek Stone Bridge

Mill Creek Stone Bridge

Mill Creek Stone Bridge

Mill Creek Stone Bridge

Mill Creek Stone Bridge

Mill Creek Stone Bridge

Since we talkin’ trains. Reminder that Pufferbilly Days starts on the morrow. You can see the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest in the window of the KWBG building. 9th and Keeler.

05-31-08

The photos in the folder 05-31-08 are quite unique. They include photos of Duff flooding. There are also photos of the first Ames on the Half Shell event I ever worked. There are also a couple of bonus images of some groundhogs that used to live behind the Computer Mine.

The flood and the Ames on the Half Shell both happened on the same day. The band that played that night was Redzband. They were kind of a generic classic rock cover band. This is basically the template for bands that played Ames on the Half Shell, at least back in the day.

Here is the funny thing (and don’t tell Shannon because she will think that I’m getting soft) looking at the Ames on the Half Shell pictures actually made me kind of nostalgic. I definitely wasn’t expecting that, but I think I’ll survive.

Here are the pictures:


Groundhog

Groundhog

Squaw Creek Flood - 2008

Squaw Creek Flood - 2008

Squaw Creek Flood - 2008

Squaw Creek Flood - 2008

Squaw Creek Flood - 2008

Squaw Creek Flood - 2008

Squaw Creek Flood - 2008

Squaw Creek Flood - 2008

Squaw Creek Flood - 2008

Squaw Creek Flood - 2008

Squaw Creek Flood - 2008

Squaw Creek Flood - 2008

Squaw Creek Flood - 2008

Squaw Creek Flood - 2008

Squaw Creek Flood - 2008

RedzBand - 05-30-2008

RedzBand - 05-30-2008

RedzBand - 05-30-2008

RedzBand - 05-30-2008

RedzBand - 05-30-2008

RedzBand - 05-30-2008

RedzBand - 05-30-2008

RedzBand - 05-30-2008

RedzBand - 05-30-2008

RedzBand - 05-30-2008

RedzBand - 05-30-2008

RedzBand - 05-30-2008

There are more pictures from Ames on the Half Shell out there. If you want to check them out, click on the link below:


Ames on the Half Shell – 2018

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

Redzband

More from Friday

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve Nader. Lots of Nader. Also some real cheeseball Photoshop. Exactly how I like it!

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Reminder, you have until next Tuesday at midnight to vote on what pictures I enter at the Boone County Fair Photo Contest. Click on the link below to vote:

BOONE COUNTY FAIR PHOTO CONTEST ENTRY SELECTION

You must have a Facebook account or a Google+ account to vote.

As of this writing, about 20 votes have been cast.

The Mount Rushmore of Presidents Vol. 3

This is the final collection of photos from my trip to Mount Rushmore with my Mom.

Here are a few final facts about Mount Rushmore from the Wikipedia:

The Sculptor’s Studio – a display of unique plaster models and tools related to the sculpting – was built in 1939 under the direction of Borglum. Borglum had planned to make a secret room behind the hairline of Abraham Lincoln which was supposed to be a doorway to a chamber originally intended to hold some of America’s most treasured documents but was left unfinished due to his death. Borglum died from an embolism in March 1941. His son, Lincoln Borglum, continued the project. Originally, it was planned that the figures would be carved from head to waist, but insufficient funding forced the carving to end. Borglum had also planned a massive panel in the shape of the Louisiana Purchase commemorating in eight-foot-tall gilded letters the Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution, Louisiana Purchase, and seven other territorial acquisitions from Alaska to Texas to the Panama Canal Zone. In total, the entire project cost US$989,992.32. Unusual for a project of such size, no workers died during the carving.

In a canyon behind the carved faces is a chamber, cut only 70 feet (21 m) into the rock, containing a vault with sixteen porcelain enamel panels. The panels include the text of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, biographies of the four presidents and Borglum, and the history of the U.S. The chamber was created as the entrance-way to a planned “Hall of Records”; the vault was installed in 1998.

Here are the balance of pictures:


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Mount Rushmore

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Now that the South Dakota trip is all published, might be time to get into the Independence Bowl Road Trip or finish up with the Caves Road Trip.

The Mount Rushmore of Presidents Vol. 2

Time to check in on more pictures from my trip to Mount Rushmore with my Mom.

One of the debate topics that occasionally rises is who is the next President to go on Mount Rushmore. Say that Washington, Teddy Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln were the 4 greatest Presidents of the United States before construction was started on Mount Rushmore in 1927, won’t there some day be a President as great as them, that should also be placed alongside them.

To be honest, I don’t think that they will ever add another President to Mount Rushmore. Our country doesn’t spend money on projects like this any longer.

But say that they would, the choice for the 5th President according to the Presidents & Executive Politics Presidential Greatness Survey is pretty obvious. Next to nobody else even got any votes:

1. Franklin Roosevelt – 108 votes
2. Barack Obama – 12 votes
3. Ronald Reagan – 8 votes
4. Dwight Eisenhower – 6 votes
4. James Madison – 6 votes

It would be hard to argue that FDR wouldn’t be the next President to go up. He steered the country through its greatest economic collapse and then most of the way through WWII.

Let us say that some day another face was added to Mount Rushmore, the truth is that it might not even be a President. In 1937, a bill was proposed to Congress to add Susan B. Anthony to the mountain. I’d imagine there would be a pretty strong movement to add Martin Luther King Jr. to the mountain today.

Although it would be hard to imagine putting a Civil Rights Leader on the mountain after the mountain was stolen from the Lakota in 1876 in violation of the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie.

But I digress…


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There are still more Mount Rushmore pictures coming!

The Mount Rushmore of Presidents Vol. 1

It is time to crack into the final spot I hit in South Dakota with my Mom last year. Mount Rushmore.

People (particularly bored sports talk show hosts) are always trying to make comparisons in the sports world to Mount Rushmore. Who would be on the Mount Rushmore of Iowa State athletics? (Dan Gable, Fred Hoiberg, Troy Davis, Jack Trice) Who would be on the NBA’s Mount Rushmore? (Lebron, Magic, Jordan, Wilt) Who would be on Cyclone basketball’s Mount Rushmore? (Hoiberg, Niang, Tinsley, Grayer) Who would be on Cyclone football’s Mount Rushmore? (Troy Davis, Jack Trice, Seneca, Matt Blair)

That type of thing?

But does the Mount Rushmore of Presidents have the 4 best Presidents on it?

According to the official results of the 2018 Presidents & Executive Politics Presidential Greatness Survey, they did a pretty good job.

A little about the survey:

The 2018 Presidents & Executive Politics Presidential Greatness Survey was conducted online via Qualtrics from December 22, 2017 to January 16, 2018. Respondents were current and recent members of the Presidents & Executive Politics Section of the American Political Science Association, which is the foremost organization of social science experts in presidential politics.

Here is their Top 10 Greatest Presidents

1. Abraham Lincoln
2. George Washington
3. Franklin Roosevelt
4. Teddy Roosevelt
5. Thomas Jefferson
6. Harry Truman
7. Dwight D. Eisenhower
8. Barack Obama
9. Ronald Reagan
10. Lyndon Johnson

Therefore, the creators of Mount Rushmore did manage to pick the 4 top Presidents that were available to them. FDR hadn’t been President when Mount Rushmore began. He was President when it was abandoned however. During WWII, the United States couldn’t afford to spend any more on the project. At this point, it is safe to assume it will never be finished.

Here some pictures from the trip to Mount Rushmore:


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A few more pictures of Mount Rushmore are still stretching their legs, waiting for the call to get into the game.

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:

LESSONS LEARNED IN A GIANT’S TOWN


TOO HOT FOR PHOTOBUCKET

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:

THE CARDIFF GIANT ROAD TRIP

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