Category Archives: Lists

Westhaven Christmas

I hope everybody had a wonderful Christmas. This little picture is my way of saying Merry Christmas to all of you:


Merry Christmas - 2022
Merry Christmas!

I would like to share a Christmas Devotional with you:

Merry Christmas
By Rev. Ronald Carlson Jr.
Dean of the Cabinet and District Superintendent of Riverview Park District
“Everyone who heard it was amazed at what the shepherds told them.”
– Luke 2:18 (CEB)
In those days Caesar Augustus declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists. 2 This first enrollment occurred when Quirinius governed Syria. 3 Everyone went to their own cities to be enrolled. 4 Since Joseph belonged to David’s house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s city, called Bethlehem, in Judea. 5 He went to be enrolled together with Mary, who was promised to him in marriage and who was pregnant. 6 While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby. 7 She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom. 8 Nearby shepherds were living in the fields, guarding their sheep at night. 9 The Lord’s angel stood before them, the Lord’s glory shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people. 11 Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord. 12 This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great assembly of the heavenly forces was with the angel praising God. They said, 14 “Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.” 15 When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go right now to Bethlehem and see what’s happened. Let’s confirm what the Lord has revealed to us.” 16 They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they reported what they had been told about this child. 18 Everyone who heard it was amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 Mary committed these things to memory and considered them carefully. 20 The shepherds returned home, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. Everything happened just as they had been told. Luke 2:1-20 (CEB)
Luke says it all… perfectly.

Let us pray.

O almighty God, by the birth of your holy child Jesus, you gave us a great light to dawn on our darkness. Grant that in his light we may see light. Bestow on us that most excellent Christmas gift of love to all people, so that the likeness of your Son may be formed in us, and that we may have the ever brightening hope of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen (The Book of Worship 1965, ALT.)

On certain holidays, I like to share some power rankings. I’m not going to go in depth on this as I originally intended. When I made some plans for this, I didn’t realize a new season of JACK RYAN and EMILY IN PARIS were both being released this weekend!

But without further adieu, here is my Christmas Movie Power Rankings.

CHRISTMAS MOVIE POWER RANKINGS
10. Meet John Doe (1941)
9. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
8. Gremlins (1984)
7. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
6. Die Hard (1988)
5. Elf (2003)
4. A Christmas Story (1983)
3. Scrooged (1988)
2. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
1. It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)

Please respect my decision. There will be no interviews at this time. Maybe next Christmas I will go in depth on this list.

+++++++

Time to reveal the June image for the 2023 Photography 139 Calendar:


2023 Calendar - June
June

This image was my submission for THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme SLICE OF LIFE. That theme is named in honor of my Dad’s postcard company. This image is my interpretation of his style of postcard designs. However, you can look at this and know it wasn’t that hard for me to put this together in Photoshop, but try to think of how hard a similar design would have been to make in a darkroom.

You might have noticed that usually the June image in the Photography 139 Calendar is Black & White. That is because I affiliate my Dad mostly with black & white photography because he had a black & white darkroom in our house at 415 Greene. The 38th anniversary of his death was on Friday. He was born in June and that is why this homage is the June picture for the 2023 Photography 139 Calendar.

There are no technical details for this image since it is a composite image.

Tomorrow I will unveil the July image for the 2023 Photography 139 Calendar.

+++++++

Once again I am going to skip Formal Portrait Sunday. Instead I’m going to share some pictures from when I got together with some of Olivia’s family for Christmas at Westhaven a couple weeks ago. Not everybody could make it because of illness, but sometimes in life you have to be happy for who is there and not be sad about who isn’t there.

Here are a few pictures from the celebration:


Shorty Christmas

Shorty Christmas

Shorty Christmas

Shorty Christmas

Shorty Christmas


Triplets man… So much energy!

Iowa Worst Courthouse Power Rankings

I learned something over the weekend. The architect that build the courthouse in Delaware County, the courthouse I proclaimed to be the most beautiful courthouse in Iowa, was the same architect that built the Boone First United Methodist Church. No wonder I love it!

Pastor Dave dropped that knowledge bomb on me.

But now I’m going to rank the 10 ugliest courthouse in Iowa.

IOWA UGLIEST COURTHOUSE POWER RANKINGS


Allamakee County Courthouse
#10. Allamakee County Courthouse in Waukon

Floyd County Courthouse
#9. Floyd County Courthouse in Charles City

Emmet County Courthouse
#8. Emmet County Courthouse located in Estherville

Butler County Courthouse
#7. Butler County Courthouse located in Allison

Clarke County Courthouse
#6. Clarke County Courthouse located in Osceola

Guthrie County Courthouse
#5. Guthrie County Courthouse in Guthrie Center

Cerro Gordo County Courthouse
#4. Cerro Gordo County Courthouse located in Mason City

Cedar County Courthouse
#3. Cedar County Courthouse located in Tipton

Pottawattamie County Courthouse
#2. Pottawattamie County Courthouse located in Council Bluffs

Story County Courthouse
#1. Story County Courthouse located in Nevada

If you would like to peruse all 100 Iowa courthouses, click on the link below:

Iowa Courthouses

If you are wondering if I’m going to rank the Freedom Rocks next week, the answer is that I am not. I would really struggle on that one. For reasons I best not disclose.

I don’t know what will be here next Tuesday. An update on the book? Possible. Very possible that next Tuesday this post will just be one word. “None.”

Iowa Courthouse Power Rankings

I stated last week that I would give some details about the book this week. Truth is I don’t have a lot of details worked out. In fact, I have virtually no details worked out.

For example I don’t know:
+ The dimensions of the book.
+ How much information will accompany the sign pictures.
+ What information will accompany the sign pictures.
+ I know virtually nothing about self-publishing, but I have a resource.
+ Will there be a forward?
+ Who would write it?
+ The name of the book.
+ I don’t know what I don’t know.

So here is what I do know. This will probably be the part that disappoints many people and drop my pre-orders from 12 to zero. I am going to pick out the 100 (number not set in stone). It is not going to include every town. It isn’t going to include every town sign. If you were to go to the THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT album by clicking on the link below:

The Town Sign Project

You would see that there currently are 1390 town sign pictures in there. 1390 pictures are not going into the book. For a wide variety of reasons.

In a way, the inspiration is “Twentysix Gasoline Stations” by Ed Ruscha. Which probably isn’t a great photo book judged against modern standards, but was heavily influential. It is simply a book of twenty-six pictures of gas station Ed Ruscha photographed between Los Angeles and Oklahoma City.

If you ever see a copy of it in the wild for the cheap, pick it up. I’ve seen it for sale online for anywhere between $1,250 to $36,000 depending on the edition of the book. There are only 3 editions of the book and there are less than 4,000 total.

Don’t be tricked into buying “Twenty-Six Abandoned Gasoline Stations”. Different book. Different photographer.

But that is neither here, nor there. The point is I’m not sure what the book will be, outside of it being only 100 towns signs or so.

As one of the cappers to THE TOWN SIGN PROJECT, I wanted to rank the 10 best courthouse in Iowa, by looks. There are 100 courthouses in 99 Iowa counties.

IOWA PRETTIEST COURTHOUSE POWER RANKINGS


Polk County Courthouse
#10. Polk County Courthouse in Des Moines

Johnson County Courthouse
#9. Johnson County Courthouse in Iowa City

Montgomery County Courthouse
#8. Montgomery County Courthouse in Red Oak

Mahaska County Courthouse
#7. Mahaska County Courthouse in Oskaloosa

Dubuque County Courthouse
#6. Dubuque County Courthouse in Dubuque

Benton County Courthouse
#5. Benton County Courthouse in Vinton

Davis County Courthouse
#4. Davis County Courthouse in Bloomfield

Hardin County Courthouse
#3. Hardin County Courthouse in Eldora

Taylor County Courthouse
#2. Taylor County Courthouse in Bedford

Delaware County Courthouse
#1. Delaware County Courthouse in Manchester

Next week, I’m going to rank the 10 worst courthouses in Iowa.

WPC – WEEK 372 – ART

It is Halloween! So happy Halloween everybody. On Halloween, I like to release my Candy Power Rankings. It is a definitive list of the 10 best candy bars on the market.

So without furth adieu…

CANDY BAR POWER RANKINGS
10. Caramel M&M’s
9. Baby Ruth
8. Payday
7. Heath
6. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup
5. Twix Caramel
4. Snickers
3. Peanut M&M’s
2. Take 5
1. Whatchamacallit

Please respect my decision. There will be no interviews at this time.

+++++++

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE

Is there a limit to the number of submissions I can have each week?

The short answer is, “no”. Some people think that there is a limit of one submission per person because I only present one submission a week, personally. I have the other 6 days to post my photography. So one is more than enough image from me.

However, the longer answer is, 3 would be a good guide to limit yourself to submit. Some people refer to this as The Kio Dettman Rule. Even though it isn’t a rule, but much over 3 begins to start to overwhelm the submissions of the others in the community. Also, if you are submitting multiple submissions, think about your submissions. Are they unique? Are they of wholly different subjects? Is each submission saying something unique? The goal is NOT to take as many picture for the theme as possible. The goal is to take the best picture for the theme you can, during the week.

The three photo suggestion would better be referred to as The Kio Dettman Suggestion or The Kio Dettman Best Practice.

The long answer is, there isn’t a limit, but 3 is a good rule of thumb. If I start to average about 30 participants a week, I will consider putting a limit of 1 per participant, to help manage my workload, but we are a long ways from averaging 30 participants a week. Although we did hit 30 participants last week, so maybe a hard limit of 1 per person is on the horizon.

Can I send you several pictures and have you pick the best one?

No! No! NO! If those words come out of your mouth or your keyboard, I consider that to be a non-submission.

Do you ever question whether somebody’s submission fits the theme?

Meh. Only if I think somebody is clearly confusing this week’s theme with last week or next week’s theme. Otherwise, if the submission makes sense in your head, that is good enough to me. However, I would urge you to not try to fit your favorite subject into the theme. This isn’t a challenge to share a picture every week of your kid or your business or your pet. It is a challenge to take pictures of different things every week. Which isn’t to say subjects can’t be repeated, but you shouldn’t become reliant on the same ones.

Why can’t I submit after 11 AM on Mondays if the post doesn’t publish until 12:01 PM?

I go to lunch at 11 AM. I leave my office. I’m not near a computer. At 11 AM I hit “Schedule” and then I go throw food down my throat. 167 hours is more than enough time to send a submission. Okay, 166 hours and 59 minutes. You got me.

Are there resolution requirements for submissions?

I won’t turn down submissions that are too small. I will probably ask you for a picture of greater resolution if it is really small. The typical 4 x 6 image posted to my website has a resolution of 1280 pixels x 853 pixels. While a 400 x 300 image might look okay on your phone, it looks like trash on a computer monitor. I prefer images that are at least 1000 pixels at their largest point, but don’t ban smaller pictures at this point.

What format should my submission be?

.JPG but .PNG also works.

If I write a description of my image will you include that in your post?

No. Photography is art that should stand on its own. Only exception is the SLICE OF LIFE theme.

When will you start accepting suggestions for next year’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE themes?

I accept suggestions this Monday and next Monday, BUT only in the comments section of this post and next Monday’s post. Don’t email your suggestions to me. Don’t text them to me. Don’t Snapchat them to me. Don’t send them to me via United States Postal Service. Don’t call me with them. Don’t stop me in the grocery store with them. They can ONLY be submitted in the Comments section.

+++++++

REMINDER: This is repetitive since you just read the WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE FAQ, but this is one of two weeks you can suggest themes for next year’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE. The one and only way to do that is to leave your suggestions in the COMMENTS section of this post. Do not email them to me or text them to me. The suggestions have to be left in the COMMENTS section of this post!

As of 12:01 PM on Monday, October 24, this was the current list of ACTIVE streaks (ignore the numbers in parentheses):

1-Jen Ensley-Gorshe – 1 week
2-Mary Green – 1 week (6)
3-Becky Parmelee – 1 week
4-Sabas Hernandez – 2 weeks
5-Willy McAlpine – 2 weeks
6-Mike Vest – 2 weeks
7-Jesse Howard – 3 weeks
8-Sara Lockner – 5 weeks
9-Suzie Brannen – 9 weeks
10-Brandon Kahler – 10 weeks
11-Linda Bennett – 13 weeks (2)
12-Sarah Toot – 14 weeks
13-Monica Jennings – 15 weeks
14-Angie DeWaard – 18 weeks
15-Dawn Krause – 22 weeks (2)
16-Kim Barker – 28 weeks
17-Joe Duff – 30 weeks (2)
18-Logan Kahler – 31 weeks (4)
19-Teresa Kahler – 40 weeks (2)
20-Tamara Peterson – 40 weeks
21-Carla Stensland – 40 weeks (3)
22-Michelle Haupt – 41 weeks
23-Micky Augustin – 42 weeks
24-Andy Sharp – 43 weeks
25-Bill Wentworth – 44 weeks
26-Cathie Morton – 48 weeks (2)
27-Elizabeth Nordeen – 49 weeks
28-Shannon Bardole-Foley – 51 weeks
29-Kio Dettman – 54 weeks (3)

But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates or streaks. You came to see the submissions and what streaks continued and what streaks flamed out:


WEEK 372 - ART - JOE DUFF
Joe Duff – 31 weeks

WEEK 372 - ART - KIO DETTMAN
Kio Dettman – 55 weeks

WEEK 372 - ART - KIO DETTMAN
Kio Dettman

WEEK 372 - ART - KIO DETTMAN
Kio Dettman

WEEK 372 - ART - KIO DETTMAN
Kio Dettman

WEEK 372 - ART - LINDA BENNETT
Linda Bennett – 14 weeks

WEEK 372 - ART - LINDA BENNETT
Linda Bennett

WEEK 372 - ART - MARY GREEN
Mary Green – 2 weeks

WEEK 372 - ART - MARY GREEN
Mary Green

WEEK 372 - ART - MARY GREEN
Mary Green

WEEK 372 - ART - SHANNON BARDOLE-FOLEY
Shannon Bardole-Foley – 52 weeks

WEEK 372 - ART - SARAH TOOT
Sarah Toot – 15 weeks

WEEK 372 - ART - SARAH TOOT
Sarah Toot

WEEK 372 - ART - SARAH TOOT
Sarah Toot

WEEK 372 - ART - ANGIE DEWAARD
Angie DeWaard – 19 weeks

WEEK 372 - ART -BILL WENTWORTH
Bill Wentworth – 45 weeks

WEEK 372 - ART - ANDY SHARP
Andy Sharp – 44 weeks

WEEK 372 - ART - MICKY AUGUSTIN
Micky Augustin – 43 weeks

WEEK 372 - ART - ELIZABETH NORDEEN
Elizabeth Nordeen – 50 weeks

WEEK 372 - ART -
Christopher D. Bennett

WEEK 372 - ART - LOGAN KAHLER
Logan Kahler – 32 weeks

WEEK 372 - ART - LOGAN KAHLER
Logan Kahler

WEEK 372 - ART - JESSE HOWARD
Jesse Howard – 4 weeks

WEEK 372 - ART - KIM BARKER
Kim Barker – 29 weeks

WEEK 372 - ART - TERESA KAHLER
Teresa Kahler – 41 weeks

WEEK 372 - ART - TERESA KAHLER
Teresa Kahler

WEEK 372 - ART - CARLA STENSLAND
Carla Stensland – 41 weeks

WEEK 372 - ART - CARLA STENSLAND
Carla Stensland

WEEK 372 - ART - CARLA STENSLAND
Carla Stensland

WEEK 372 - ART - SABAS HERNANDEZ
Sabas Hernandez – 3 weeks

WEEK 372 - ART - SUZIE BRANNEN
Suzie Brannen – 10 weeks

WEEK 372 - ART - DAWN KRAUSE
Dawn Krause – 23 weeks

WEEK 372 - ART - DAWN KRAUSE
Dawn Krause

WEEK 372 - ART - BECKY PARMELEE
Becky Parmelee – 2 weeks

WEEK 372 - ART - CATHIE MORTON
Cathie Morton – 49 weeks

WEEK 372 - ART - CATHIE MORTON
Cathie Morton

WEEK 372 - ART - BRANDON KAHLER
Brandon Kahler – 11 weeks

WEEK 372 - ART - MICHELLE HAUPT
Michelle Haupt – 42 weeks

WEEK 372 - ART - MONICA JENNINGS
Monica Jennings – 16 weeks

WEEK 372 - ART - MONICA JENNINGS
Monica Jennings

WEEK 372 - ART - SARA LOCKNER
Sara Lockner – 6 weeks

26 participants! A good week, but a pretty big fall from last week. I guess not everybody has ART in their life and that makes me sad.

There were submissions this week from (mostly assumptions here) Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas.

I took my picture about 1 mile from my house.

There were a couple big accomplishments this week. Suzie joined the double digit streak club! Shannon reached a year straight of submissions. Only the second person to ever do that! WooHoo!

But it wasn’t all good news. Jen couldn’t extend her streak to 2 weeks. Willy and Vest’s 2 week streaks are gone. But most tragically… Tamara’s 40 week streak is over. By far the longest streak to be snapped. But I won’t be sad that it is over. I choose to be happy that it happened.

But enough dwelling on the past. Time to look to the future. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future! This week’s theme:


WEEK 373 - DECORATION
DECORATION

DECORATION! What a great theme for Year 9 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE!

But what exactly is a DECORATION photo? A DECORATION image is simply a picture of a DECORATION or a picture where a DECORATION plays a heavy element in the composition. Seeing how today is Halloween, there are a ton of DECORATION(s) out there for you to photograph. Just for an example.

While considering possible subjects for your DECORATION picture, mediate on the following quote:

Like a rhyme with no reason
In an unfinished song
There was no harmony, life meant nothin’ to me until you came along
And you brought out the colors
What a gentle surprise
Now I’m able to see all the things life can be, shinin’ soft in your eyes

And you decorated my life
Created a world
Where dreams are a part
And you decorated my life
By paintin’ your love
All over my heart
You decorated my life
-Kenny Rogers

I look forward to seeing your interpretation.

RULES

The picture has to be taken between 12:01 PM today and 11 AM next Monday. This isn’t a curate your photos project. This is a get your butt off the couch (unless you are taking your picture from the couch) and take pictures challenge.

You can send your images to either bennett@photography139.com OR you may text them to my Pixel 5.

That is all I got, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will all be sharing your idea of DECORATION in this place that is filled with everything that has decorated my life next Monday.

Frozen Fish Power Rankings

This is amongst the most important works I’ve ever done on this website. For Lent, I was going to attempt to rely as heavily as possible on fish for my protein. However, part of the way through Lent, the pandemic hit and my diet became a lot less discretionary. However, since I was doing way more cooking for myself, I did start eating more fish for my lunch.

It is not an exaggeration to say that since I started working from home, I have used my oven more than the previous nine years that I have owned it. You are thinking that is hyperbole, but I normally go months without using my oven. Now I use it at least 4 times a week. Sometimes, it is daily.

After trying a different types of fish, I decided to rank ten of them as a public service.

I followed the baking instructions to the letter. Feel free to make fun of my cruddy cooking pans. I don’t take pride in my pots and pans. It is one of the great things about being me.

Without further adieu, I present:

FROZEN FISH POWER RANKINGS

10. SeaPak Budweiser Beer Battered Cod


SeaPak Beer Battered Cod

SeaPak Budweiser Beer Battered Cod isn’t just not good. It is terrible. It doesn’t taste like “beer battered”. It tastes like you are holding a swig of beer in your mouth and then somebody has shoved a little bit of fish in your mouth.

I don’t have any more pictures of it, because I decided to do the Power Rankings after I tried it and it is so terrible (and also crazy expensive) that I couldn’t bring myself to buy it again, just to photograph it.

9. Van de Kamp’s Crunchy Fish Fillets


Van de Kamp's Crunchy Fish Fillets

Van de Kamp's Crunchy Fish Fillets

Van de Kamp's Crunchy Fish Fillets

Van de Kamp's Crunchy Fish Fillets

Van de Kamp's Crunchy Fish Fillets

Van de Kamp’s Crunchy Fish Fillets are a marked improvement over SeaPak, but still not very good. Despite claiming to be crunchy, they were a touch soggy. Which is a common theme with Van de Kamp’s products.

8. Trident Pubhouse Battered Alaskan Cod


Trident PubHouse Battered Alaskan Cod

Trident PubHouse Battered Alaskan Cod

Trident PubHouse Battered Alaskan Cod

Trident PubHouse Battered Alaskan Cod

Trident PubHouse Battered Alaskan Cod

I picked this fish up because I wanted an even 10 fish in The Frozen Fish Power Rankings. I had high hopes for it because the fish lacked any form of uniformity. Looks like it was made by the hardworking indigenous people of wherever. Like the well-established champion breakfast pastry, Toast ‘Ems. However, they just aren’t good. I still have a bag of these in the freezer weeks later.


7. Hy-Vee Crunchy Fish Fillets


Hy-Vee Crunchy Fish Fillets

Hy-Vee Crunchy Fish Fillets

Hy-Vee Crunchy Fish Fillets

Hy-Vee Crunchy Fish Fillets

Hy-Vee Crunchy Fish Fillets

Hy-Vee Crunchy Fish Fillets

One thing I liked about the Hy-Vee Crunchy Fish Fillets is that they were inside a plastic bag, inside the cardboard box. I’m normally not a fan of excessive packaging, but that plastic bag allowed me to store leftover fish safer. Unlike Van de Kamp’s that when you open the box, those leftover fish are on their own. The Hy-Vee Crunchy Fish Fillets are the first one on the list that I would buy again. Although, I’ve seemed to discover that I’m just not that big of a fan of “Crunchy” fish.


6. Van de Kamp’s Beer Battered Fillets


Van de Kamp's Beer Battered Fillets

Van de Kamp's Beer Battered Fillets

Van de Kamp's Beer Battered Fillets

Van de Kamp's Beer Battered Fillets

Van de Kamp's Beer Battered Fillets

Finally, a beer batter fish where the beer taste isn’t overwhelming. Still perhaps a little too strong, but manageable. A good frozen fish product here.

5. Gorton’s Crunchy Breaded Fish Fillet


Gorton's Crunchy Breaded Fish Fillet

Gorton's Crunchy Breaded Fish Fillet

Gorton's Crunchy Breaded Fish Fillet

Gorton's Crunchy Breaded Fish Fillet

Gorton's Crunchy Breaded Fish Fillet

As you will find, Gorton’s dominates the list. They are a good 45% more expensive than Van de Kamp’s, but they are worth the premium. Maybe it is because they use pollock and Van de Kamp’s isn’t all that forthcoming about what type of fish they use. Maybe it is the superior resealable bag packaging. Maybe it is because the Gorton’s fisherman definitely knows what you did last summer. Whatever it is, they are the best fish brand and Crunchy Breaded Fish is their worst offering.

4. Gorton’s Beer Battered Fish Fillet


Gorton's Beer Battered Fish Fillet

Gorton's Beer Battered Fish Fillet

Gorton's Beer Battered Fish Fillet

Gorton's Beer Battered Fish Fillet

Gorton's Beer Battered Fish Fillet

As a general rule, frozen beer battered fish didn’t score great on this list. This is the highest ranking achieved by a beer battered fish. But of all the beer battered frozen fish, this was by far the best. The batter was on point and you can taste the lack of mincing. Nice job Gorton’s!


3. Van de Kamp’s Crispy Fish Fillet


Van de Kamps's Crispy Fishy Fillets.

Van de Kamps's Crispy Fishy Fillets.

Van de Kamps's Crispy Fishy Fillets.

Van de Kamps's Crispy Fishy Fillets.

This is by far Van de Kamp’s best offering. It also turns out I’m a bit of a sucker for crispy fish. Van de Kamp’s isn’t very forthcoming with what kind of fish they us, other than it is wild caught. But I can says that their crispy batter is solid.


2. Gorton’s Crispy Battered Fish Fillet


Gorton's Crispy Battered Fish Fillet

Gorton's Crispy Battered Fish Fillet

Gorton's Crispy Battered Fish Fillet

Gorton's Crispy Battered Fish Fillet

Gorton's Crispy Battered Fish Fillet

This is where Gorton’s really nailed it. It is really a coin flip between this and the top ranked fish on this list. Once again, pollock. Battered. Crispy. A little slice of fish heaven.

1. Gorton’s Potato Crunch Fish Fillet


Gorton's Potato Crunch Fish Fillet

Gorton's Potato Crunch Fish Fillet

Gorton's Potato Crunch Fish Fillet

Gorton's Potato Crunch Fish Fillet

Gorton's Potato Crunch Fish Fillet

Breaded. Not battered. Gorton’s isn’t real forthcoming about the type of fish. Don’t care. It is 100% whole fillet and 100% delicious. Trust me. Next time I see that Gorton’s is on sale, I will be packing my freezer!

A word about tartar sauce.

I tried to use the same tartar sauce for every fish that I tried. I am a big fan of the Hy-Vee tartar sauce. It is reminiscent of Long John Silver’s tartar sauce. I was going to use the Bennett Family Tartar Sauce recipe, but that involves the Bennett Family pickle relish. It is delicious, however, you wouldn’t be able to duplicate it at your homestead. So I decided to go with the Hy-Vee brand tartar sauce.

Only a funny thing happened…


Tartar Sauce #1

I wasn’t paying attention and when I bought tartar sauce and I accidentally picked up Kraft. I didn’t think it would be a big deal, but turns out it was a big deal. Kraft Tartar Sauce is wretched. It requires spitting it in a garbage can and then scrubbing your tongue down with boiling water.

I quickly changed to Hy-Vee Tartar Sauce. I haven’t looked back.

I think I might do a power ranking of frozen sausage pizzas next.

+++++++

A reminder that this week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is ABSTRACT:


WEEK 250 - ABSTRACT
ABSTRACT

Remember an ABSTRACT picture is a picture that breaks the subject down into shapes and colors. It does not look like the subject.

The easiest way to do this is to take an out of focus picture of a subject.

You can also take a picture of an existing piece of ABSTRACT art.

Happy photo harvesting!

2009-07-29

The pictures in the folder are from a series of pictures I made that are mostly playing with in-camera special effects and also an homage to what is probably my favorite television show of all time THE OUTER LIMITS.

In fact, this seems like a good time to give you my official TELEVISION SHOW POWER RANKINGS.

These are the greatest 10 Shows of All-Time in order. (Confession, I didn’t really watch television from the end of KNIGHT RIDER until DEXTER. If a show was on then, I haven’t seen it, but it probably wasn’t all that good anyways.)

10 GREATEST SHOWS OF ALL-TIME

1. THE OUTER LIMITS
2. FARGO
3. MR. SHOW
4. DOWNTON ABBEY
5. THE TWILIGHT ZONE
6. STRANGER THINGS
7. THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL
8. GAME OF THRONES
9. ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT
10. ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK

This list comes from me, therefore, is beyond contestation. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Shows like THE DAILY SHOW or the COLBERT report were not considered.


The Outer Limits

The Outer Limits

The Outer Limits

The Outer Limits

The Outer Limits

The Outer Limits

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 Outer Limits

Next Sautrday’s walk down memory lane will involve the last Ames Jaycees event I ever attended.

Celestial Dome

First of all, Happy Halloween! After a 1 year hiatus, I’ll be able to handout candy to trick-or-treaters. Which also means, I will be able to replenish the candy bar selection in the Union Street Theater. It has gotten pretty bad, since I didn’t buy any candy last year. I think all that is in the candy bucket is candy Nora got at the 2018 Pufferbilly Days Parade. Which, wasn’t the good stuff.

I do need to replenish the candy supply down there because I’m expecting a big crowd for November Movie Night. November Movie Night will be a Godzilla double feature. Celebrating Criterion’s recent release of all 15 Showa Godzilla movies in a sweet boxed set. In fact, it is the sweetest boxed set ever released in the history of boxed sets. However, I will get into that in the future, because there will certainly be several Godzilla blogs in the future as I crack into the boxed set.

But this is Halloween, therefore I need to release my annual candy bar power rankings!

2019 CANDY BAR POWER RANKINGS

10. Payday
9. Rolo
8. Kit Kat
7. Skor
6. Take 5
5. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup
4. Snickers
3. Twix Caramel
2. Peanut M&M’s
1. Whatchamacallit

Please respect my decision. No interviews at this time.

But in case you were wondering, the worst candy bars. The ones you will not be seeing me handing out tonight while watching my 4K copy of THE SHINING… Milky Way and Three Musketeers.

But enough candy, how would you like to see some sky pictures:


Celestial Dome

Celestial Dome

Celestial Dome

Celestial Dome

Celestial Dome

Celestial Dome

Celestial Dome

Took those near Ledges back in March.

5 Favorite Hilton Magicians

This week’s list is my 5 Favorite Cyclone Basketball Players.

For the purpose of this list, current Cyclones are ineligible. If I update this list in a year or so, I would be shocked if Georges and Jameel aren’t on it. Or even Duley. Naz and Matt and Monte in 2 years. Maybe even Deonte.

There is something I do love about every current Cyclone. However, this is a list about the past. Let’s get to it.


5. Royce White

Royce only played for Iowa State for 1 year, but he put Iowa State back on the map. he was the most unique basketball player I’ve ever seen. He was built like a defensive lineman, but the guy had handle and incredible court vision. The only other Cyclone that could ever pass like Royce White was Jamaal Tinsley. Strike that. The only other college basketball play I’ve ever seen that could pass like Royce White was Jamaal Tinsley.

The reason Royce will always be one of my favorites is that after what felt like an eternity wandering the desert, Royce White took Iowa State back to the NCAA tournament.

When Creighton, thankfully, took the UNI grad that was posing as a basketball coach off of ISU’s hands, Fred Hoiberg took over as the head Cyclone. I was livid at the time. I thought it was a gimmick. A publicity stunt. Iowa State would stink for 5 more years and then we could hire a real coach. Then in 5 more years, we might be decent again.

I first began to have faith in Hoiberg when he signed Royce White. I was a believer when Royce leads us back to the dance.

Royce’s team lost to the eventual National Champions the Kentucky Wildcats. In a game that featured about 7 future NBA lottery picks, all playing for Kentucky, Royce White was the best player on the court.

One of my all-time favorite plays in Cyclone history was when Royce White blocked a shot, rebounded the ball, dribbled the length of the court and then dunked it.

Then he beat his chest and yelled at the crowd, “I’m the best player.”

He was. It makes me sad to think what Iowa State could’ve done if Royce had returned for 1 or 2 more seasons.


4. Marcus Fizer

Fizer is probably the best player in Iowa State history. I believe he is the only McDonald’s All-American to ever play at Iowa State. He didn’t start his career out like a future lottery pick, but when he got it going, he was the star of the greatest team in Cyclone history.

That team won both the Big 12 Regular Season Championship and the Big !2 Tournament Championship.

Iowa State would get shafted with a 2 seed for the NCAA Tournament and be placed in the same region as the unanimous #1, the Michigan State Spartans. To make matters worse, the Elite Eight matchup was basically a home game for the Spartans.

Iowa State still probably would’ve won that game, but (similar to Bill Self) Tom Izzo travels with his own personal refs. In the final minutes, the refs called a Blarge and fouled out a key Cyclone.

Don’t know what a Blarge is? It is because it is a made up BS call to steal our National Championship and give it to Michigan State.

To this day I hate everything about Michigan State. They can burn that school down, and that I would show up with marshmallows and graham crackers.

That being said, Fizer was the Big 12 Player of the Year and a First Team All-American. His dunk on Texas center Chris Mihm was one of the greatest plays in Cyclone history.


3. Jamaal Tinsley

Tinsley was Fizer’s running mate. Although Monte Morris (when he is done) might have something to say about this, Tinsley is the greatest point guard in Cyclone history. He was also perhaps the greatest winner in Iowa State history.

Tinsley played 2 years for Iowa State. He never lost a game in Hilton Coliseum. Iowa State also won 2 Big 12 Regular Season Conference Championships and 1 Big 12 Tournament Championship while Tinsley was at Iowa State. He helped lead Iowa State to the Elite Eight and there is no reason to talk about the following year’s NCAA Tournament.

It just wasn’t Tinsley’s success that causes so much affection for him. Tinsley was a New York City guard. That means that his game had flair. He had the best handle of any player I’ve ever seen (in college). He had the ability to make anybody that tried to guard him look foolish with his vast array of moves. On more than one occasion, he dribbled the ball between a hapless opponent’s legs on his way to the hoop.

It was just so much fun to watch him play.


2. Melvin Ejim

There are many reasons I love Melvin Ejim. One of the reasons is that he was a student-athlete. He is the first Big 12 Player of the Year in history that was also an Academic All-American.

Melvin holds the Big 12 Single Game Scoring Record by scoring 48 against TCU. Most of those points were scored by thunderous dunks.

Ejim also is a perfect example of hard work and determination. Every year he got better. Every year.

He is one of only 3 Cyclones to have 1,000 career points.

When Ejim graduated he was Iowa State’s all-time leader in wins. (Niang has since eclipsed this record.) He was part of 3 NCAA Tournament teams, including a Sweet Sixteen run his senior year.

But more than anything, Melvin Ejim is just the kind of person you want representing your alma mater. Intelligent, eloquent, hard working, and capable of delivering soul shattering dunks.


1. Dedric Willoughby

Willoughby is my favorite Cyclone of all-time, but by the slimmest of margins. On any given day he could be swapped with Ejim. However, on this day, I’m giving Willoughby the nod. Willoughby’s staying power comes from 2 facts.

1. He was the best player on the first Iowa State basketball team I loved.
2. With apologies to Naz (and maybe Monte), Willoughby was the most clutch Cyclone in history.

Willoughby’s Cyclones were a ragtag bunch of players that were seemed like they came out of a Hollywood sports movie. Kelvin Cato – the shot blocker. Shawn Bankhead – the defensive stopper. Jacy Holloway – the point guard that doesn’t shoot. Kenny Pratt – the greatest junkballer ever.

If you saw these guys on the basketball court, you’d never expect them to win a game, but they won the final Big 8 Tournament Championship.

Willoughby was this team’s sharpshooting leader. He is the only Cyclone to make more than 100 3 pointers in a season. His teams played at a considerably slower pace than the current Cyclones too.

It saddens me how few Iowa State fans remember Willoughby now. That is okay, we have to appreciate what we have now too.

Honorable Mentions

  • Diante Garrett
  • DeAndre Kane
  • Jeff Hornacek
  • Paul Shirley
  • Dustin Hogue
  • Rahshon Clark
  • Chris Babb
  • Curtis Stinson
  • Kenny Pratt
  • Shawn Bankhead
  • Stevie Johnson
  • Michael Nurse
  • Kantrail Horton
  • Jeff Grayer
  • Elmer Robinson
  • Barry Stevens
  • Terry Woods
  • Will Blalock
  • Jackson Vroman
  • Kelvin Cato

But as always, feel free to express your own opinion in the COMMENTS section below.

Ranking Balboa

Yeah, I didn’t get this out in time. Need to do something less ambitious next week. Like 5 things I hate most about Facebook. Or my least favorite type of sports fan. We’ll see.

I thought that in honor of Sylvester Stallone’s nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for CREED, I would rank the 7 ROCKY movies from great to greatest.

SPOILERS GALORE — Ye be warned.




7. Rocky V

Even though it is the worst ROCKY, I still love me some ROCKY V. In this ROCKY, Rocky gets back from ending the Cold War and defeating Ivan Drago to find out that Paulie has lost all of their money and the entire Balboa family is forced to move back to their roots in the poor Philadelphia movie they came from. Rocky is forced to retire from boxing because of a brain injury he sustained over the many years in the ring.

While there, an aspiring fighter Tommy Gunn comes into their life and Rocky begins training him.

Tommy can’t deal with being constantly in Rocky’s shadow (probably how Steve Prohm feels some days) and eventually breaks from Rocky to be managed by George W. Duke (a thinly veiled caricature of Don King). Even after winning the World Championship Tommy is still in Rocky’s shadow. He tracks Rocky down and they engage in a street fight that Rocky wins.

A subplot of the movie is Rocky dealing with his son who becomes jealous of Rocky’s relationship with Tommy. Rocky’s son was played by Sylvester Stallone’s son and while I don’t want to speak ill of the dead, his acting makes Tommy Morrison’s portrayal of Tommy Gunn look award worthy.

This was supposed to be the last ROCKY movie. In Sylvester Stallone’s original screenplay Rocky is killed. However, the studio did not want Rocky to die.

While I’m glad this isn’t the last ROCKY movie, I do think that the last scene of this movie would’ve been a great way to end the series. Rocky’s son takes him up the famous Rocky Steps to the Philadelphia Art Museum. Rocky reveals that he had never knew that it was a museum at the top of the stairs.

ROCKY: … Look at this, you know. I’ve been running up and down these steps for 20 years, and I never knew there were valuable pictures in this building.
ROCKY BALBOA JR.: Well you’re never too old to learn somethin’ new. You’re gonna love Picasso.
ROCKY: Yeah, yeah. Well I love almost everybody.

The last line I think just perfectly encompassed the Rocky character. He is all heart.

FAVORITE LINE:

ROCKY: You see, fear is a fighter’s best friend. You know, but it ain’t nothing to be ashamed of. See, fear keeps you sharp, it keeps you awake, you know, it makes you want to survive. You know what I mean? But the thing is, you gotta learn how to control it. All right? ‘Cause fear is like this fire, all right? And it’s burning deep inside. Now, if you control it, Tommy, it’s gonna make you hot. But, you see, if this thing here, it controls you, it’s gonna burn you and everything else around you up. That’s right, you know?





6. ROCKY IV

ROCKY IV was actually the first ROCKY I ever saw. In fairness, it should be higher on the list. This is the movie (along with RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART II and RED DAWN) that helped us win the Cold War. The Russkies saw that they could cheat all they wanted and America would just go in up in the mountains, do some one-armed push-ups and then come back down and kick their asses!

The basic story of ROCKY IV is that after ROCKY III Apollo wants to get back in the ring. He has been out of boxing for awhile and is now aged, but when a Soviet boxer named Ivan Drago is touring the U.S. Apollo sets up an exhibition match with Drago and Rocky signs up to be Apollo’s trainer.

Drago proves to be too much for Creed and kills him in the ring. Drago isn’t too phased about it though. As Apollo is dying in the ring Drago quips: If he dies, he dies.

Rocky isn’t going to sit around and let his best friend get killed. He immediately signs up to fight Drago in the Soviet Union. The actual running time of ROCKY IV is 91 minutes, but at least 40 minutes of that movie are training montages and montages of Rocky driving around in his sportscar feeling bad that he didn’t throw in the towel for Creed when he had the chance.

While Drago is training in a technologically advanced training facility and taking all the steroids he can get his hands on, Rocky and Apollo’s old trainer head up into the mountains where Rocky does manly training like chopping wood, running up mountains and lifting up carts. Oh yeah, and one-armed push-ups. Lots of one-armed push-ups.

When the fight comes around Drago doesn’t seem to be human, but eventually Rocky wears him down and the Soviet crowd begins to cheer for Rocky? Why? Because he is Rocky! After defeating Drago Rocky gives a heartfelt speech about people changing. 2 days later, the Berlin Wall was torn down*.

FAVORITE LINE:

ROCKY: : During this fight, I’ve seen a lot of changing, in the way you feel about me, and in the way I feel about you. In here, there were two guys killing each other, but I guess that’s better than twenty million. I guess what I’m trying to say, is that if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change!




5. ROCKY II

There isn’t really a ton that stands out about ROCKY II. The story is very similar to the first movie. Only this time Rocky gets to win. It’s like the producers saw the first ROCKY as a failure and then figured, well it would be an even bigger hit if he won. Sort of missing the entire point of the first movie.

There are a couple of strange things in this movie. Mickey trains Rocky to fight right handed, even though in the first movie that make a point of Rocky being left handed and that is one of the reasons Apollo’s trainer doesn’t want him to fight Rocky. It is also in this movie that Mickey trains Rocky for speed by having him chase chickens. After which Rocky quips: I feel like a Kentucky Fried Idiot.

FAVORITE LINES:

INTERVIEWER: Do you have a criminal record?
ROCKY: Nothin’ worth braggin’ about.

MICKEY: You’re gonna eat lightnin’; you’re gonna crap thunder.





4. ROCKY III

The reason ROCKY III is ranked over ROCKY IV is because this is the movie that introduced the world to “Eye of the Tiger”. Also, Mr. T as Clubber Lang is one of the great movie villains of all-time. Otherwise, they are mostly on par. In ROCKY III Rocky becomes a big complacent after winning the title. He doesn’t train as hard (does this sound like Apollo in ROCKY?) and then to make matters worse, when he fights his nemesis Clubber Lang in this film Mickey dies in the locker room before the fight. Rocky goes out and gets pounded and loses.

In a quest to get his title back, Apollo takes over his training and teaches Rocky how to fight like a black man. Rocky, of course, wins his title back. Then in the final scene Rocky repays Apollo’s training him by granting him his request. A third fight. No cameras. No spectators, just the two of them. Who wins this fight? You have to see CREED to find out.

FAVORITE LINE:

INTERVIEW: What’s your prediction for the fight?
CLUBBER LANG: My prediction?
INTERVIEW: Yes, your prediction.
CLUBBER LANG: Pain!




3. ROCKY BALBOA

We’ve actually hit a point where I believe that the ROCKY movies are great. Independent of a Rocky Bias. Which, I clearly have.

This chapter of the ROCKY franchise checks in on Rocky when he has moved past middle age. He is a widower now. He is dealing with the loss of his wife, the end of his boxing career, and dealing with a son that can’t deal with living in Rocky’s shadow. He can never be his own person. He will always be seen by the world as Rocky’s son.

Into this environment a sports show produces a computer simulation of Rocky against the current champ, Mason Dixon. In the simulation Rocky defeats Dixon. This leads to Rocky fighting Dixon in an exhibition match.

The story about the boxing match is really secondary and not what makes this movie great. What makes this movie great is watching Rocky deal with the themes of the movie. Growing old. Dealing with loss. Having to move on from the things that you can no longer do as you age. Particularly if that thing is how everybody else defines you.

FAVORITE LINE:

ROCKY: You ain’t gonna believe this, but you used to fit right here.
[taps on the inside of his hand]
I’d hold you up to say to your mother, “this kid’s gonna be the best kid in the world. This kid’s gonna be somebody better than anybody I ever knew.” And you grew up good and wonderful. It was great just watching you, every day was like a privilege. Then the time come for you to be your own man and take on the world, and you did. But somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you’re no good. And when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow. Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that! I’m always gonna love you no matter what. No matter what happens. You’re my son and you’re my blood. You’re the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself, ya ain’t gonna have a life. Don’t forget to visit your mother.




2. CREED

Choosing between CREED and ROCKY BALBOA was the toughest call on this list for me. I’m taking CREED over ROCKY BALBOA because it is viusally better made than Balboa. Directed by an up and coming director Ryan Coogler there are more than a couple of visually impressive feats. One being shooting an entire boxing match in one shot.

The story of CREED follows the son of Apollo Creed (who was born after Apollo’s death) following his father’s footsteps into the ring. Rocky trains him, while fighting his personal battle with cancer.

CREED deals with some of the same themes of other ROCKY movies. Including living in the shadow of a famous parent. But it also deals with new themes like being a caretaker for a sick family member. Deciding what to do when you are given a horrible diagnosis. What makes CREED great is that not only does it throw the punches, it lands them.

The final scene where Creed helps a chemo-weakened Rocky up those famous steps in Philadelphia, should have you weeping like a baby. There is no shame in that.

FAVORITE LINE:

ROCKY: Time takes everybody out; time’s undefeated.




1. ROCKY

This one really is a no-brainer. ROCKY. The ultimate underdog. One of the best movie scores of all-time. The movie that launched one of the best and most iconic movie characters of all-time. It even won the Oscar for Best Picture.

Everybody should know the story of ROCKY. Rocky is a failed middle-aged boxer that is given a shot at the title after Apollo Creed’s challenger backs out at the last second. However, in addition to being a great underdog story, it is also a very moving and touching love story.

Rocky is the ultimate underdog. His trainer thinks he’s a bum. The other employee of the loan shark he works for doesn’t respect him. But when Rocky gets his title shot, he is suddenly somebody. Even if it is only going to be for a few weeks.

I just don’t want to describe it any longer. I’m just going to watch it. That is what you should do to. Come over to my house and we will watch ROCKY on the big screen.

FAVORITE LINES:

ROCKY: Ah come on, Adrian, it’s true. I was nobody. But that don’t matter either, you know? ‘Cause I was thinkin’, it really don’t matter if I lose this fight. It really don’t matter if this guy opens my head, either. ‘Cause all I wanna do is go the distance. Nobody’s ever gone the distance with Creed, and if I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I’m still standin’, I’m gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren’t just another bum from the neighborhood.

MICKEY: Women weaken legs!

ADRIAN: Why do you wanna fight?
ROCKY: Because I can’t sing or dance.

MICKEY: OK, I’m gonna tell ya! You had the talent to become a good fighter, but instead of that, you become a legbreaker to some cheap, second rate loanshark!
ROCKY: It’s a living.
MICKEY: IT’S A WASTE OF LIFE!

APOLLO’S TRAINER: He doesn’t know it’s a damn show! He thinks it’s a damn fight!

Of course, leave your opinions in the comments section below.

*Don’t try verifying that fact with your history books.

First 10 Things I’d Do if I Won the Lottery

With the lottery topping out over a billion dollars recently, the “what would you do if you won the lottery” discussion has been at an all-time high at the day job this week. Therefore I will start this new list experiment with the extremely unoriginal topic of what would I do if I won the lottery.

I should start with the caveat that I don’t actually play the lottery.

The lottery is a self-imposed tax designed to move the tax burden from the wealthy to the poor and uneducated.

I will throw a couple bucks into the lottery pool at work because if those guys somehow win, I don’t want to be the only person that has to show up for work on Monday.

Here are the First Ten Things I’d Do if I Won the Lottery:

1. I wouldn’t tell anybody.

For at least the first two days I wouldn’t tell anybody. Not a single soul. Okay, I’d tell Naima. She is pretty good at keeping secrets. Then I’d start setting a plan in motion.

2. Hire a lawyer, financial adviser, and a personal assistant.

I don’t know any lawyers or financial advisers like the kind I would need. I would start quietly interviewing lawyers and financial advisers without them knowing it. If they treated me well without knowing I was filthy rich, then they would have a chance at being hired. I don’t need anybody that is nice to me to be nice to my money.  That is essentially the downside to suddenly becoming wealthy. I’m the type of person that would never trust a new person coming into my life at that point.  At least not 100%.

As for the personal assistant. I’d be done answering my phone. I wouldn’t be able to handle all the people that  would be coming out of the woodwork to get at me. I’d need a buffer between me and the rest of the world.

I have a few friends that I know hate their job. A few of them might make great personal assistants. I’d start with who I think would be the best at it. If they weren’t interested, I’d go to the next person. Whomever got this job would need to be a friend first and then they’d have to work very hard. This job isn’t a handout. My text messages are known for their quality. No slippage would be allowed.

3. Tell friends and family.

Not all my friends and family, but the inner circle. Or to completely (and shamelessly) steal a phrase from a friend: I’d tell the ones that have the key to Monicaville. I do know exactly who is on this list. That is one of the quirks of living the life I’ve lived.

After telling this small group of people, then I’d be ready to turn the ticket in and collect my winnings.

4. Have the best lotto winner’s press conference ever.

I’m going to let the people that are going to come out of the woodwork looking for money, not to bother. Boone Booster Club. Yeah, I’m not buying you a new football stadium. You have enough money. What’s left of Boone’s Music Department, you can expect a big check. University of Iowa, don’t bother calling. Iowa State University. There is a check coming your way.

5. Pay off debts of immediate family.

I don’t care if they owe $100,000 or $10. If you are in my immediate family, you no longer have any debts.

The question you might want to ask is this: How do I define immediate family?

I won’t tell you now, but there will be a day when I write about this subject and the people who taught me what family means and how that word is properly defined.

I’d also pay off my debts as well.

6. Give max tax free gift to friends.

If you didn’t learn about my winning the lottery at my awesome press conference, then I’d be giving you the maximum amount of cash that I can give you without you having to pay taxes.

There are no strings attached. You want to use that money to buy hookers and blow. Whatever, floats your boat. If you want to use that money to buy Nebraska season football tickets, you aren’t getting any money next year.

7. Buy block across the street from my church.

“My” church is fairly landlocked right now. However, there are several crumbling buildings across the street from it. We actually own one of those buildings and when what happens to that ruin gets decided I expect their to be lots of fireworks.

So I’d just take this controversial topic off the docket of all future church meetings.

I’d buy all the buildings across the street. Tear them down and build a new building with a full-sized basketball court. A real basketball court. None of that carpet on the floor of the court garbage (I’m looking at you Open Bible). The rest of the building I’d let somebody else design, but it would be designed as a place for youth activities and any other program the church wanted to run.

I’d also be righting large checks to the American Diabetes Association and the American Cancer Society. Crawford Hall would probably get a decent check at this time.

8. Invest in the businesses of friends.

I’m probably not going to throw a ton of money their way, but for my friends that run their own business I’d throw a little Angel Investment their way. I would possibly consider helping a couple of friends who are amazing cooks open restaurants if that is something they would like to do.

If that is what it takes to get Scottie D.’s pulled pork pizza, then that is what I’ll do.

9. Call Jamie Pollard.

I’d  want the same football seats. I don’t really like sitting with rich people because it has been my experience that rich people don’t really like me. Something about being able to form my own opinions rather than cow-tow to their opinions.

However, I’m going to need good seats for men’s and women’s basketball. I don’t need my name on any buildings, but he could put my Mom’s name on the training table.

I’d also like to see what kind of donation it would take to consider getting rid of the terrible I State logo and going back to something cool. Walking Cy!

10. Quit my job.

I’d give my current employer 2 weeks notice.  I’d want to be paid for all the PTO I’ve banked. Yeah it is a drop in the bucket compared to the 800 million I have in the bank, but I earned that money. I value that more than money I won. After all, one of the greatest evils in this country is unearned (inherited) wealth. I’m not that guy. If I ended up broke so be it.

I often here people say that if they won the lottery they wouldn’t quit their job because they wouldn’t want to lose their health insurance.  If I’m starting with $800 million in the bank, I think I can afford my own health insurance.

Plus I can tell that my dog misses me during the day. She’d be super pumped.

Sure I’d miss a few of my co-workers. That is why I would take the ones I like on an all-expenses paid vacation once a year. I’m sure they’d be fine with closing down the Network Engineering Department once a year. Right?

 

I think that about covers my first 10 actions if I’d won the most recent lottery. Now the next 10 things I’d do… Some other time.

Next week’s list will either be my 10 favorite Photography 139 images or I’ll rank the Rocky movies from worst to best or something else.