Category Archives: Still Life

Iowa State Fair – Day 4 – Alpha

Time to start sharing the images from my last trip to the Iowa State Fair. This trip was on the last day of the Fair and I went with Jesse and Nader to pick up my pictures from the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon. It was scorching hot on this day. Just brutal. And my experience on this day was one of those times that just kind of drilled into me that I need to get healthier. Drop a few lbs and just get in better shape in general. I’m hoping to stay on my positive general trajectory and this year at the Fair, I definitely will feel a difference. More at the end of the day.

This first collection is heavy on that most cutest of animals… the pig!


Iowa State Fair -Trip 4 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 4 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 4 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 4 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 4 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 4 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 4 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 4 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 4 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 4 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 4 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 4 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 4 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 4 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 4 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 4 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 4 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 4 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 4 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 4 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 4 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 4 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 4 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 4 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 4 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 4 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 4 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 4 - 2023

Many more pictures from this steaming hot day at the Fair left to share!

Des Moines Farmer’s Market I

People often talk about how the Iowa State Fair is a great place for people watching. That is correct. All fairs and town festivals are great for such activities. But an underrated place for people watching is a good old fashioned farmer’s market. Like the Iowa State Fair it is also a great place to get great food. Walk in with a big old wad of cash and walk out with an empty wallet. I love a good Farmer’s Market from Rinehart’s Drive-Thru Farmer’s Market by Fraser to the Des Moines Farmer’s Market. The downtown Des Moines Farmer’s Market is maybe… maybe my favorite place in the world (or at least central Iowa) to do a little bit of street photography.

One day last summer I went down there with Teresa and did just that.


Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

Des Moines Farmer's Market - 2023

This year I plan on making multiple trips to the Des Moines Farmer’s Market AND I’ve talked for years about going to the Farmer’s Market in Valley Junction. This is the year I make that happen!

Still more pictures to share from this trip!

Iowa State 67 Washington State 56

The Iowa State Men earned their way to play their first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament in Omaha by being a #2 seed. They won their first round game over Otz’s first ever team South Dakota State. This setup a 2nd Round matchup with Washington State. Jesse and I picked up tickets for a cheap $250 a piece and headed to Omaha to watch the Cyclones play.

We met up with Bill at his favorite sports bar before the game and knocked down some tasty chicken wings.

Here are some pictures:


2024 NCAA Tournament 2nd Round - Omaha

2024 NCAA Tournament 2nd Round - Omaha

2024 NCAA Tournament 2nd Round - Omaha

2024 NCAA Tournament 2nd Round - Omaha

2024 NCAA Tournament 2nd Round - Omaha

2024 NCAA Tournament 2nd Round - Omaha

2024 NCAA Tournament 2nd Round - Omaha

2024 NCAA Tournament 2nd Round - Omaha

2024 NCAA Tournament 2nd Round - Omaha

2024 NCAA Tournament 2nd Round - Omaha

2024 NCAA Tournament 2nd Round - Omaha

2024 NCAA Tournament 2nd Round - Omaha

2024 NCAA Tournament 2nd Round - Omaha

2024 NCAA Tournament 2nd Round - Omaha

2024 NCAA Tournament 2nd Round - Omaha

2024 NCAA Tournament 2nd Round - Omaha

2024 NCAA Tournament 2nd Round - Omaha

2024 NCAA Tournament 2nd Round - Omaha

2024 NCAA Tournament 2nd Round - Omaha

2024 NCAA Tournament 2nd Round - Omaha

2024 NCAA Tournament 2nd Round - Omaha

2024 NCAA Tournament 2nd Round - Omaha

2024 NCAA Tournament 2nd Round - Omaha

2024 NCAA Tournament 2nd Round - Omaha

2024 NCAA Tournament 2nd Round - Omaha

Iowa State struggled a bit early been then pulled away in the 2nd half to win fairly easily.

The arena in Omaha is kind of a dump though. It is lousy enough I’m not even sure I want to claim it as an outpost of Hilton. It is not as nice as Hilton South in Kansas City. The rows are crazy close together, at least for us poors up in steerage. The concourse up in steerage is also incredibly small. A lot of people think the concourse at Hilton proper is too narrow. They should try walking around Hilton West. The scoreboard only shows individual stats for one team and that team on our side, was Washington State. There is a stat board at one end of the arena, but you can’t read all of the stats on it because they have a curtain that covers up about 30 percent of the scoreboard. The arena is so poorly designed that at one point Jesse and I accidentally left the arena and ended up at a high school prom. We had to sweet talk a cop into letting us back into the arena.

All in all it was a great trip, with great friends, watching a great basketball team. I can hardly wait for next season as Iowa State is projected to be a preseason Top 10 next year. It is hard to say how that will ultimately shakes out as there is still a lot of action to go down in the transfer portal. Iowa State still needs to add 2-3 players for next year’s roster. They need 1 more big and 1 more shooter. I was going to do a preview of next season on this post, because I thought Iowa State would have all the hay in the barn from the transfer portal. Unfortunately, John Calipari moving from Kentucky to Arkansas triggered a chain of events that cost Iowa State a transfer from Colorado as the player’s price tag went up to nearly $500,000. Too rich for Iowa State’s blood. So we will wait and see and then do that preview at a later date. Same thing goes for the women.

Fisher of Men: Rural Story County Field Work

A few weeks back FNSC made another stop on the Catholic Fish Fry Circuit. This time we went north of Ames on County Line Road and hit up the culinary offerings of Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church. A church that I have often wondered what it looked like on the inside. This particular Friday Night Supper Club was attended by your Humble Narrator, Jesse, Jay, and Nader.

Here are some pictures:



First things first. This was by far the best value of any of the Catholic fish fries we hit. Mainly because the dessert was included in the price of admission. All of the other ones had an at-will donation for the desserts. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem throwing in a few bucks for a brownie or a piece of pie or cake. But they didn’t want my few extra bucks.

Here is the other thing to note. The real show stopper here wasn’t the fish, which was very good. It wasn’t the baked potato. Or the cole slaw. Or the green beans. It was the corn. This corn clearly didn’t come out of a can or a frozen steamer bag. This corn came from somebody’s farm. AND… IT… WAS… AMAZING!!!! I immediately was longing for a day in the not too distant future where I would be able to stop and buy some Grimes Sweet Corn from the back of a pickup truck in some random gas station. Despite its flaws that are growing by the day, there are parts that are great about living in Iowa. And buying sweet corn out of the back of a pickup truck is one of those great things. Then eating that sweet corn is even better. When I was eating the corn at this fish fry, dang it, if I wasn’t proud of this state again.

I would definitely add Saints Peter and Paul’s Fish Fry to my list of fish fries that I will hit again next year. There are still more fish fries left to share. Wish it was 3. Stupid Friday wasted at On the Waterfront in Ankeny. You don’t understand. We coulda had class. We coulda been contenders. We coulda been somebody, instead of bums. Which is what we are. Next year, there will be no wasted night in Ankeny. This I swear on the graves of many a fried fish. That I have eaten.

The next food adventure I will share will be another stop on the Central Iowa Catholic Fish Fry Tour. Next year we need to get shirts!

But…

How is my efforting to live a healthy lifestyle going?

This week my weight went down -3.0 pounds. I am now down 29.5 pounds since starting Noom. I am .1 pounds away from reaching my May 1 goal weight. 25.1 pounds away from my ultimate goal weight*. It is nice to officially be on the side where I’ve lost more weight than I need to lose. That is an accomplishment of some kind.

I’m actually surprised that my weight went down this week. On my eclipse road trip I didn’t eat well and spent a ton of times just sitting in cars. Shoutout to whomever brought the peanut butter bars to the Eclipse Party. I crushed an unhealthy amount of those. Pete’s chili was also delicious! I also ate fast food. Had fried food 3 times. Crushed a carrot cake from an Indiana bakery. A raspberry something or other from “the bakery” in Pella. Ate some candy from a candy store in Chariton. Skipped a day at the gym because it closed due to a bomb threat. But I still kept moving as much as I could.

Seems like I should hit my May 1 goal this week. It is ONLY .1 pounds away! But I won’t be surprised if I don’t. Might be a rebound week or a plateau week. Only 1 thing to do, just keep moving.

But weight isn’t the only measure (or even the most important measure) of positive results. I think one of those is I think I’m officially down 1 shirt size. Depending on what company makes the shirt. That is something that is hard for me to judge, cause I don’t really like my clothes touching me too much. But some of my shirts are starting to be too big, even based on my very loose standards for very big. See what I did there?

In the 56 days since I started using FitBit I’ve:

+ Taken 380,541 steps
+ Averaged 12.158 steps a day
+ Walked 316.95 miles
+ Averaged walking 5.66 miles a day

Sometimes I think about going into the Computer Mine an extra day a week, cause it easier for me to get my steps in there, but the if you follow you me on SnapChat you know the main stumbling back against this is Canadian. CANADIANS! But maybe that part of the job is coming to an end. One never knows.

That is all to report for now.

*Ultimate goal weight subject to change.

WPC – WEEK 447 – PASSION

PASSION! A great theme! But did enough people have enough PASSION about their PASSION to make it a popular theme? You will have to keep scrolling to find out!

As of 12:01 PM on Monday, April 1, this was the current list of ACTIVE streaks (ignore the numbers in parentheses):

1-Suzie Brannen – 1 week (IA)
2-Jen Ensley-Gorshe – 1 week (IA, CO, MO, TX, TN, VA)
3-Layla Gorshe – 1 week (IA)
4-Mary Green – 1 week (MI, IA, IN)
5-Monica Jennings – 1 week (IA)
6-Amy Peterson – 1 week (IA)
7-Willy McAlpine – 2 weeks (IA)
8-Tim Panages – 2 weeks (IA)
9-Deanna McClain – 3 weeks (IA)
10-Johnathan Stensland – 3 weeks (IA)
11-Adam Gordon – 5 weeks (IA, MS, MO)
12-Becky Parmelee – 7 weeks (AR, IA, OK)
13-Sara Lockner – 11 weeks (IA)
14-Lowell Davis – 13 weeks (IA)
15-Michelle Haupt – 12 weeks (IA, MO, KS)
16-Alexis Stensland – 13 weeks (IA)
17-Brandon Kahler – 14 weeks (IA, MN)
18-Scott Degeneffe – 32 weeks (IA, FL)
19-Sabas Hernandez – 33 weeks (IA)
20-Mike Vest – 37 weeks (IA, MO)
21-Sheri Fakhouri – 42 weeks (IA)
22-Logan Kahler – 43 weeks (IA, MN)
23-Nathanial Brown – 44 weeks (IA, SD, GA, TN)
24-Jesse Howard – 44 weeks (IA, MO, NE)
25-Tamara Peterson – 56 weeks (IA, MN)
26-Mindi Terrell – 59 weeks (IA)
27-Linda Bennett – 88 weeks (KS)
28-Sarah Toot – 89 weeks (PA, NY, VT, NV)
29-Angie DeWaard – 93 weeks (IA)
30-Dawn Krause – 97 weeks (IA)
31-Kim Barker – 103 weeks (IA, CO)
32-Joe Duff – 104 weeks (TX)
33-Teresa Kahler – 115 weeks (IA)
34-Carla Stensland – 115 weeks (IA, MO)
35-Micky Augustin – 117 weeks (IA, IL)
36-Andy Sharp – 118 weeks (IA, NE, AR, MS, MO, TN, LA)
37-Bill Wentworth – 119 weeks (NE)
38-Cathie Morton – 122 weeks (IA, FL, BHS)
39-Elizabeth Nordeen – 124 weeks (IA)
40-Shannon Bardole-Foley – 126 weeks (IA)
41-Kio Dettman – 128 weeks (IA)

Here is the list of rules for Year 11 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE:


1. The picture must 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 and take pictures challenge!
2. There is a limit of 2 submissions per person per theme. If you send me more than 2, I will use the first 2 that you submit.
3. Deadline to submit your submission is 11 AM next Monday.
4. To be considered the photographer of an image, you have to be the one that clicks the shutter. If you hand your camera over to somebody else to take a picture of you, you are NOT the photographer of that image.
5. No screen captures. This is a photography challenge. Not a “look at what I found on the internet” challenge.

There are still 2 ways to submit:
1. Email your submission to bennett@photography139.com.
2. Text your submission to my Google Pixel 8 Pro.
3. Sometimes, for special people, for special circumstances, we can negotiate something.

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


WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - ADAM GORDON
Adam Gordon (Iowa) – 6 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - ADAM GORDON
Adam Gordon (Iowa)

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - ALEXIS STENSLAND
Alexis Stensland (Ogden, Iowa) – 14 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - ALEXIS STENSLAND
Alexis Stensland (Ogden, Iowa)

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - ANDY SHARP
Andy Sharp (Mason City, Iowa) – 119 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - ANDY SHARP
Andy Sharp (Boone, Iowa)

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - ANGIE DEWAARD
Angie DeWaard (Ames, Iowa) – 94 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - BECKY PARMELEE
Becky Parmelee (Arkansas) – 8 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - BILL WENTWORTH
Bill Wentworth (Omaha, Nebraska) – 120 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - BRANDON KAHLER
Brandon Kahler (Ames, Iowa) – 15 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - CARLA STENSLAND
Carla Stensland (Iowa) – 116 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - CATHIE MORTON
Cathie Morton (Saint Louis, Missouri) – 123 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - CATHIE MORTON
Cathie Morton (Saint Louis, Missouri)

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - CHRISTOPHER D. BENNETT
Christopher D. Bennett (Spoon River Rest Area – Illinois)

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - DAWN KRAUSE
Dawn Krause (Boone, Iowa) – 98 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - deanna mcclain
Deanna McClain (Iowa) – 4 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - ELIZABETH NORDEEN
Elizabeth Nordeen (Iowa) – 125 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - JEN ENSLEY-GORSHE
Jen Ensley-Gorshe (Spoon River Rest Stop – Illinois) – 2 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - JESSE HOWARD
Jesse Howard (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) – 45 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - JOE DUFF
Joe Duff (Texas) – 105 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - JOE DUFF
Joe Duff (Texas)

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - JOHNATHAN STENSLAND
Johnathan Stensland (Ogden, Iowa) – 4 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - KIM BARKER
Kim Barker (Des Moines, Iowa) – 104 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - KIM BARKER
Kim Barker (Des Moines, Iowa)

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - KIO DETTMAN
Kio Dettman (Boone, Iowa) – 129 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - KIO DETTMAN
Kio Dettman (Boone, Iowa)

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - LINDA BENNETT
Linda Bennett (Kansas) – 89 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - LINDA BENNETT
Linda Bennett (Kansas)

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - LOGAN KAHLER
Logan Kahler (Boone, Iowa) – 44 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - LOWELL DAVIS
Lowell Davis (Iowa) – 14 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - LOWELL DAVIS
Lowell Davis (Iowa)

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - MARY GREEN
Mary Green (Iowa) – 2 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - MARY GREEN
Mary Green (Iowa)

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - MICHELLE HAUPT
Michelle Haupt (Ankeny, Iowa) – 13 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - MICKY AUGUSTIN
Micky Augustin (Japser County, Iowa) – 118 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - MIKE VEST
Mike Vest (Madrid, Iowa) – 38 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - MINDI TERRELL
Mindi Terrell (Ankeny, Iowa) – 60 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - MONICA JENNINGS
Monica Jennings (Boone, Iowa) – 2 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - MONICA JENNINGS
Monica Jennings (Boone, Iowa)

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - NATHANIAL BROWN
Nathanial Brown (Des Moines, Iowa) – 45 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - SARA LOCKNER
Sara Lockner (Des Moines, Iowa) – 12 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - SARAH TOOT
Sarah Toot (New York City, New York) – 90 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - SCOTT DEGENEFFE
Scott Degeneffe (Gilbert, Iowa) – 33 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - SHANNON BARDOLE-FOLEY
Shannon Bardole-Foley (Sacramento, California) – 127 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - SHANNON BARDOLE-FOLEY
Shannon Bardole-Foley (Summerset, Iowa)

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - SHERI FAKHOURI
Sheri Fakhouri (Gretna, Nebraska) – 43 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - SHERI FAKHOURI
Sheri Fakhouri (Gretna, Nebraska)

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - SUZIE BRANNEN
Suzie Brannen (Clive, Iowa) – 2 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - TAMARA PETERSON
Tamara Peterson (Iowa) – 97 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - TERESA KAHLER
Teresa Kahler (Papillon, Nebraska) – 116 weeks

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - TERESA KAHLER
Teresa Kahler (Papillon, Nebraska)

WPC- WEEK 447 - PASSION - WILLY MCALPINE
Willy McAlpine (Goeppinger Field – Boone, Iowa) – 3 weeks

38 participants! A pretty great week! But a 4 participant drop from the previous week.

There were submissions this week taken in the following places:

+ Arkansas (1)
+ California (1)
+ Florida (1)
+ Illinois (2)
+ Iowa (35)
+ Kansas (2)
+ Missouri (2)
+ Nebraska (5)
+ New York (1)
+ Texas (2)

Here is the Year 11 list of places where submissions have been taken (submissions taken in each places):

+ Arkansas (7.5)
+ Bahamas (1)
+ California (2)
+ Colorado (4)
+ Florida (4)
+ Georgia (1)
+ Hawaii (2)
+ Illinois (3)
+ Indiana (2)
+ Iowa (479)
+ Kansas (21)
+ Louisiana (2)
+ Michigan (5)
+ Minnesota (6)
+ Mississippi (1.5)
+ Missouri (10.5)
+ Nebraska (23)
+ Nevada (1)
+ New York (10)
+ Oklahoma (1)
+ Pennsylvania (12)
+ South Dakota (3)
+ Tennessee (2.5)
+ Texas (22)
+ Vermont (1)
+ Virginia (1)

25 states so far! 1 foreign country! Not bad! So far, the following people have submitted from multiple places:

+ Andy Sharp (IA, NE, MO, AR, TN, MS, LA) – 7
+ Jen Ensley-Gorshe (IA, CO, MO, TX, TN, VA, IL) – 7
+ Nathanial Brown (IA, SD, TN, GA) – 4
+ Sarah Toot (PA, NY, VT, NV) – 4
+ Christopher D. Bennett (IA, MO, NE, IL) – 4
+ Jesse Howard (IA, MO, NE, FL) – 4
+ Cathie Morton (IA, FL, BS, MO) – 4
+ Adam Gordon (IA, MS, MO) – 3
+ Mary Green (MI, IA, IN) – 3
+ Michelle Haupt (IA, MO, KS) – 3
+ Becky Parmelee (AR, IA, OK) – 3
+ Micky Augustin (IA, IL) – 2
+ Scott Degeneffe (IA, FL) – 2
+ Susanna Funk (IA, CO) – 2
+ Brandon Kahler (IA, MN) – 2
+ Logan Kahler (IA, MN) – 2
+ Sara Lockner (IA, MN) – 2
+ Tamara Peterson (IA, MN) – 2
+ Carla Stensland (IA, MO) -2
+ Mike Vest (IA, MO) – 2
+ Shannon Bardole-Foley (IA, CA) – 2
+ Teresa Kahler (IA, NE) – 2
+ Sheri Fakhouri (IA, NE) – 3

Jen and Andy are now tied to be crowned “The Most Travelled THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE Photographer!”

Shannon, Teresa, and Sheri joined the list of people that have submitted from multiple places this week!

The major milestone this wee was Kim hitting the 2 Year Streak Club! WooHoo! However, there was a bloodbath of streaks coming to an end. Layla and Amy couldn’t build on last week’s submission and their streaks are over before they began. Tim’s streak is over at 2. Worst of all, Sabas’ streak comes crashing to an end at 33! The Humanity!

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 448 - NECESSITY
NECESSITY – SUGGESTED BY JOE DUFF

NECESSITY! What a great theme for Year 11 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE! Thank you Joe for suggesting it!

You might be scoffing at the fact that I think VitaCoco Coconut Water is a NECESSITY. Maybe you don’t understand. Their coconuts are carefully handpicked on thousands of small farms throughout the topics. These aren’t blood coconuts picked by child slave labor. It is a necessity cause it replenishes electrolytes, provides vital nutrients, hydrates with coconut goodness, AND makes taste buds happy! It is perfect for post-workouts, hangovers, afternoon boosts (we can all use those), smoothies, and the general human tendency to get thirsty. I like to crush a box of VitaCoco after crushing a workout at Planet Fitness because it provides me with 50% of my daily intake of Vitamin C and 15% of my potassium! And the carton is even recyclable! If that isn’t a NECESSITY, I don’t know what the word means!

But I will be interested to find out what you consider to be a NECESSITY.

That is all I got, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will see your idea of NECESSITY in this place that I hope some of you find to be one next Monday.

Week 448 Theme Reveal

You were probably eagerly, constantly refreshing your email inbox waiting to see what delightful images were submitting for last week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme PASSION. Unfortunately for you, I am probably standing in a field in Indiana right now staring up at the sky, trying not to go blind. Nowhere near a computer, let alone the internet.

However, just because I’m nowhere near a computer doesn’t mean that you can’t and shouldn’t start working on this week’s theme. Which is…. drumroll please…


WEEK 448 - NECESSITY
NECESSITY – Suggested by Joe Duff

NECESSITY! What a great theme for Year 11 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE! Thank you Joe for suggesting it!

You might be scoffing at the fact that I think VitaCoco Coconut Water is a NECESSITY. Maybe you don’t understand. Their coconuts are carefully handpicked on thousands of small farms throughout the topics. These aren’t blood coconuts picked by child slave labor. It is a necessity cause it replenishes electrolytes, provides vital nutrients, hydrates with coconut goodness, AND makes taste buds happy! It is perfect for post-workouts, hangovers, afternoon boosts (we can all use those), smoothies, and the general human tendency to get thirsty. I like to crush a box of VitaCoco after crushing a workout at Planet Fitness because it provides me with 50% of my daily intake of Vitamin C and 15% of my potassium! And the carton is even recyclable! If that isn’t a NECESSITY, I don’t know what the word means!

But I will be interested to find out what you consider to be a NECESSITY.

While I’m also sure you are interested to see the PASSION submissions! Look for those to be published when I return. Probably Tuesday night. Maybe Wednesday. Depends on whether or not I come back from Indiana blind or not.

I Scream: Hilton Field Work

Today’s food adventure took me to Ames. To the cathedral known as James H. Hilton Coliseum. A storied basketball (and other sports like volleyball and gymnastics) venue where the Iowa State men went undefeated and the women went 13-2. I had this adventure at the final home game of the season. March 2. It was the first time I had ice cream since November. I went to the game with Alexis (who went in Carla’s place) and Teresa.

The opponent was the Cincinnati Bearcats. On the menu was the Clone Cone.

Here are some pictures:


I SCREAM: Hilton Field Work

I SCREAM: Hilton Field Work
You can barely make out the Clone Cone stand from the end of the line.

I SCREAM: Hilton Field Work

I SCREAM: Hilton Field Work

I SCREAM: Hilton Field Work

I SCREAM: Hilton Field Work
It appears to be 2 different flavors, but it is all vanilla.

I SCREAM: Hilton Field Work
The Clone Cone also enjoys watch Audi Crooks cook!

I SCREAM: Hilton Field Work
Big fan of Emily, Addy, Kelsey, Hannah… well really all of them!

I SCREAM: Hilton Field Work

I SCREAM: Hilton Field Work

I SCREAM: Hilton Field Work
Last bites

You know my policy on ice cream. It is the same as Ted Lasso’s:

“Ice cream is the best. It’s kinda like seeing Billy Joel perform live. Never disappoints.”

I have to confess… maybe it was the environment. Maybe it was because I hadn’t had ice cream in over 3 months, but this was about the best tasting ice cream of my life! It tasted like victory. Like a 16 point win over the Bearcats.

But it was also a little bittersweet as it was the last game in Hilton ever for Hannah and Nyamer. And as it turned out, for Shantavia and Jalynn.

You can your own Clone Cone at virtually any Iowa State sporting event at Hilton. You will only have to wait until November. But it will be worth the wait. Both the Iowa State men and women’s basketball teams should be pre-season Top 10 teams. Top 15 at the worst.

How is my efforting to live a healthy lifestyle going?

This week my weight went down 1.8 pounds. I am now down 26.5 pounds since starting Noom. I am 3.1 pounds away from reaching my May 1 goal weight. 28.1 pounds away from my ultimate goal weight*.

Weight obviously fluctuates quite a bit based on a ton of factors. From what you ate the day before to when you ate your last meal to when you went to bed the night before to when you last went to the bathroom to when you weigh yourself. I try not to get too high if the scale ticks down or too low if the scale ticks up. The important thing is that the general trend is going in the right direction.

But weight isn’t the only measure (or even the most important measure) of positive results. This week I did achieve a new badge on FitBit:



I achieved walking 250 miles since starting using Fitbit in February on April 4.

That is all to report for now.

Next Sunday’s food adventure will be back on the Catholic Fish Fry Circuit!

*Ultimate goal weight subject to change.

Big 12 Women’s Basketball Tournament Championship

A few week’s back Carla, Jason, Teresa, and I loaded up into Teresa’s new car and drove down to Kansas City to watch Iowa State play in the Big 12 Women’s Basketball Tournament Championship Game. It was the second year in a row for Iowa State to make the Championship Game. This year was quite a surprise after everything Iowa State lost last year to graduation, the NCAA hating Iowa State, and the transfer portal. Iowa State lost the best player in school history. They lost the #4 pick in the WNBA draft. They lost their starting center. They lost the two players that would have been considered the best two returning players to the transfer portal. Then to make matters worse, they lost their leader, the best returning player, and the best point guard in Iowa State history for over half the season to injury. Their rotation to start the season consisted of 5 true freshman, a Division 2 transfer, and a transfer from the Big Sky Conference.

Despite all of the strikes against this team, they were one of the most fun teams to watch and they battled and they persevered and they somehow made it to the Big 12 Tournament Championship Game. It was definitely worth the trip down to Kansas City to watch.

Here are some pictures from the trip:

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024
Hilton South

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024
I wasn’t that guy.

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

Big 12 Women's Championship - 2024

I’m so excited for the future of this team. The transfer portal is already open for college basketball. They’ve already lost 4 players to the transfer portal, but I think only one of them is a potentially major loss. It will be interesting to see what Iowa State pulls in through the transfer portal, but I’ll get into all that in the future.

Fisher of Men: North Ames Field Work

Happy Easter! Christ is risen!


Wapello County - Ottumwa
CHRIST IS RISEN INDEED!

Here is an Easter devotional and a bit on the history of a popular Easter hymn. At least in the Methodist church.

Risen today! A Wesley hymn devotion for Easter

Many churches of all denominations begin worship on Easter Sunday by singing “Christ the Lord is Risen Today.” Charles Wesley’s lyrics wonderfully celebrate how Jesus’ resurrection is God’s victory over death, and call us to tell the world.

A little history
Charles and John Wesley, two of the historic founders of The United Methodist Church, published the beloved hymn in their first hymnal, Hymns and Sacred Poems in 1739. A section toward the back of the hymnal includes songs for special days where “Hymn for Christmas-Day,” which we know as “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing,” is just a few pages away from “Hymn for Easter-Day” that we sing as “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today.”

For those who know our United Methodist Hymnal well, reading the words Wesley penned can feel incomplete. The alleluias we are used to singing at the end of each line aren’t there. A later editor added them to make the lyrics fit the tune and to give added opportunities for praise.

Entering the story
Wesley writes about the Resurrection in the present tense, inviting us into the biblical narrative. As we sing, we easily picture ourselves standing among the witnesses of the empty tomb on that first Easter morning.

“Christ the Lord is ris’n to day,”
Sons of men and angels say,
Raise your joys and triumphs high,
Sing ye heav’ns, and earth reply.

Participating in this moment, we are also aware of the magnitude of the Resurrection. In this opening verse, Wesley introduces a theme that runs through the hymn. The Resurrection is celebrated both on earth and in heaven.

Our United Methodist Hymnal includes an edit to the second line. “Earth and heaven in chorus say” replaces “Sons of men and angels say.” According to United Methodist Discipleship Ministries, this change updates Wesley’s language to be gender inclusive and emphasizes the Resurrection’s impact throughout the world and beyond.

“The entire universe sings the triumphant chorus,” writes United Methodist scholar the Rev. Paul Chilcote in The Song Forever New: Lent and Easter with Charles Wesley, “with earth and heaven shouting their praise back and forth in ecstatic joy.”

Life in the midst of death
Earth and heaven sing because in the Resurrection we know death is not the final word. Wesley writes,

Love’s redeeming work is done,
Fought the fight, the battle won…

Lives again our glorious King,
Where, O death, is now thy sting?

In a podcast interview for UMC.org’s Get Your Spirit in Shape, Chilcote says, “Death seems to be a final word in the life of every human being. Seems to be, I say, a final word, because it isn’t,” he continues. “The final word is life, not death. The final word is resurrection. The final word is eternal life with God who loves us.”

Wesley calls us to live into eternal life every day,

Soar we now, where Christ has led?
Following our exalted head,
Made like him, like him we rise,
Ours the cross—the grave—the skies!

In a later verse, not published in our United Methodist Hymnal, he reiterates our call to follow Christ more closely each day:

Ris’n with him, we upward move,
Still we seek the things above,
Still pursue, and kiss the Son
Seated on his Father’s throne;

Life still to come
In the final three of Wesley’s 11 verses, the hymn’s focus shifts to our hope of a day of resurrection yet to come. Wesley returns to the theme of earth and heaven singing praise on that day:

Hail the Lord of earth and heav’n!
Praise to thee by both be giv’n:
Thee we greet triumphant now;
Hail the resurrection thou!

Jesus is the resurrection who brings new life to all of creation, and will bring it to completion.

We receive new life in Christ by God’s grace and are to share God’s love with the world. We do this by joining the song with our voices and lives.

King of Glory, soul of bliss,
Everlasting life is this,
Thee to know, thy pow’r to prove,
Thus to sing, and thus to love!

Living Easter every day
“We experience so many little deaths, don’t we, in our lives?” Chilcote asks in the podcast interview. Some are literal deaths like the loss of a loved one, but we also experience other griefs. Relationships end. Jobs are lost. “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” proclaims that Jesus has conquered all those deaths.

“The central message of our faith,” Chilcote concludes, “is the Cross and the Resurrection. Its earliest proclamation of a God who is in the business of raising us from the dead. Oh, if that isn’t good news, I don’t know what good news is.”

When we gather for worship on Easter Sunday and sing “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today,” we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, God’s good news that life conquers death. As his disciples in the world today, we must raise our joys and triumphs high to invite others to join us in this new way of living.

I hope all of you had an amazing Easter!

+++++++

After the horrific experience at The Waterfront, the next Friday FNSC got back to our roots. The Catholic Fish Fry Circuit. Although that probably technically isn’t our roots. The first ever Friday Night Supper Club was at Tic Toc. But a good old fashioned Fish Fry is more in our wheelhouse.

On this Friday Jay, Willy, and I checked out the Fish Fry at Saint Cecilia’s in Ames. Here are some pictures:


Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Fish Fry - Saint Cecilia

Saint Cecilia is in a relatively new building. Therefore it had a disappointingly low amount of creepy Catholic art. The fish they served was baked parmesan encrusted tilapia. Definitely healthier than a fried fish. Pretty darn delicious too!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t quick enough to tell them not to put bland, boring, worthless mac and cheese on my plate. So that part of my plate went to waste where I could have gotten more green beans. Yet I endured. They did this weird thing where they cut one end off the baked potato. I’m not sure why they did this, but my guess is that it made it easier to put them in the pan and could more in the pan. I’m not complaining, it was just weird. The green beans were green beans. They got the job done. It also came with a solid cole slaw.

There was a wide assortment of desserts available for donation. The chocolate pie I got was phenomenal! Definitely worth the few bucks I threw in the offering basket.

I would definitely go back to this fish fry again in the future. Lent and Catholic Fish Fry season is over, BUT there are still 3 more fish fries I have left to share.

How is my efforting to live a healthy lifestyle going?

You may recall I put a couple pounds on last week. Was pretty sedentary and I didn’t eat the best. This week was a better week. Particularly on the movement front. I probably made a few poor nutritional choices out of necessity, but overall it was a good week.

This week my weight went down -4.5 pounds. I am now down 24.7 pounds since starting Noom. I am 4.9 pounds away from reaching my May 1 goal weight. 29.9 pounds away from my ultimate goal weight*.

Weight obviously fluctuates quite a bit based on a ton of factors. From what you ate the day before to when you ate your last meal to when you went to bed the night before to when you last went to the bathroom to when you weigh yourself. I try not to get too high if the scale ticks down or too low if the scale ticks up. The important thing is that the general trend is going in the right direction.

But weight isn’t the only measure (or even the most important measure) of positive results. My endurance and stamina do seem to be improving. I did two hikes yesterday that involved going up some pretty sleep inclines. I only wanted to die for small portions of them. Instead of the entire time.

That is all to report for now.

Next Sunday’s food adventure will involve ice cream!

Iowa State Fair – Day 3 – Delta

Today is Good Friday.


Good Friday - 2024

Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. If you are looking for a place to worship tonight, you can join me at the Boone First United Methodist Church. It is a Tenebrae Service. It starts at 6:30.

What is a Tenebrae Service? From our website:

A Service of Tenebrae, or “Shadows,” is based on a twelfth–century late night/early morning service and is an extended meditation on the Christian Scriptures that tell of the suffering of Christ during his betrayal, trial, and public execution. This service utilizes a mix of readings, liturgy, hymnody, and candlelight to draw our attention to Jesus’ suffering and death for the whole world.

Here is a Good Friday Devotional written by Rev. Lucky Cotto.

Good Friday

The Centurion near the Cross

Scripture Readings:

John 19:23-24
Matthew 27:50-54
Mark 15:39: When the centurion, who stood facing Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “This man was certainly God’s Son.”

Devotional

The presence of Roman soldiers around the crucifixion of Jesus Christ indicates that this was a state-sponsored crucifixion ordered by the Jewish leaders opposed to Jesus’ message. (Incidentally, the Jews were treated as slaves and oppressed.)** The opponents claimed that Jesus had deceived the Jews and that He was opposed to them paying their contributions to the empire, and that, in addition, He claimed to be the Messiah, King of the Jews and stirred up the people with His teachings.

But the Roman Empire didn’t care. In fact, Pontius Pilate could not find a reason to crucify him, all he could think of was the coming uproar against the empire. In his own words, “Pilate then said to the chief priests, and to the people, “I find no crime in this man,” and he said to them, “You brought this man before me as one who was misleading the people. I have questioned him in your presence and found nothing in this man’s conduct that provides a legal basis for the charges you have brought against him. 15 Neither did Herod, because Herod returned him to us. He’s done nothing that deserves death.” As Pilate wanted to release Jesus, he again addressed the people; (Luke 23;1-24, VV. 4,14,15,20).

Meanwhile the crowds continued to shout, “crucify Him, crucify Him” (vv21) and the priests encouraged them to ask that Barabbas be set free. They wanted a revolutionary who had been in prison for murder to go free. At the same time, the Jews could not execute anyone. So, from the legal and judicial point of view Jesus’ sentence was unjust and tainted with false accusations. It is the effective result of false narratives promoting political manipulations orchestrated by religious fanatics who could not accept the message of Jesus’ kingdom.

However, from the perspective of what God intended for humanity, and what Jesus’ sacrifice would mean for the world, Jesus bore our sin, therefore, bore our guilt, our crimes, and on the cross, as Paul wrote: “God caused the one who didn’t know sin to be sin for our sake so that through him we could become the righteousness of God.”

At the foot of the cross are the Roman soldiers who nailed Jesus to the cross, mocked Him, tore His clothes, and were asked to watch over Him. Finally, He died and when He expired there was among the soldiers a centurion, a prominent officer, in charge of at least 100 soldiers. We do not know if he was comfortable and in agreement with the crucifixion of Jesus, if he knew about Jesus, or if he was interested in Judaism. Surely, he saw the sign above the cross that said “King of the Jews”, and he must have heard the thief standing next to Jesus who said to him: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Lk.23:42). and the assurance with which Jesus said: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”. The centurion saw and heard everything that was happening and saw when Jesus gave His last breath and died. What came out of this man’s mouth was to praise God and say, “Truly this man was righteous.”

For Reflection

As a result of his new conviction, the centurion turned against the government he served. He had a transformation of mind and heart, even though he was one of those who wounded Jesus’ side, and executed him. Now he could see that this Jesus was truly sent by God, that he was truly who he said he was. Let us ask ourselves: Who is Jesus for me? Should we strive for people in positions of power who are guilty of committing injustice on the innocent to change in the face of an encounter with the gospel?

Prayer

God who loved us so much that You did not mind sending Your only Son to come to save us, to save humanity, help us to recognize that great love that You have for us and that we can live as Jesus lived, who, in the midst of pain had compassion and asked you to forgive us. Thank You that we can feel Your forgiveness, Your love, and Your grace. Amen.

+++++++

Time to share another collection of images from my trip to the State Fair with Monica and Graham and then Elainie, Sabas, and Tiffany. At this point in the day Monica and Graham just kinda ghosted me. I never saw them again. I hope they are doing okay, wherever they are.


Iowa State Fair -Trip 3 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 3 - 2023
I’m pretty sure this is the last time I saw Shannon. Have seen. I’m sure I will see her again someday.

Iowa State Fair -Trip 3 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 3 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 3 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 3 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 3 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 3 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 3 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 3 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 3 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 3 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 3 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 3 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 3 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 3 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 3 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 3 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 3 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 3 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 3 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 3 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 3 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 3 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 3 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 3 - 2023

Iowa State Fair -Trip 3 - 2023

Still more pictures to share from this day. I don’t think I’ll be going to the State Fair with Sabas and Elainie this year. With Elainie all preggers now, I’m sure she won’t be up for that kind of heat and activity. Maybe Sabas and I will go and we’ll send her pictures. Lots of pictures.