Category Archives: Politics


Another month done in the Fat Mum Slim Photo A Day Challenge. Think there is some good work in there this week. Having so much going on in August certainly helped. We’ll see how September goes.

Here are the August images:

August 1
August 1 – I AM…

August 2

August 3
August 3 – I WALKED HERE…

August 4
August 4 – I LIKE TO…

August 5

August 6
August 6 – I LOVE…

August 7
August 7 – I MADE THIS…

August 8
August 8 – I WORK HERE…

August 9
August 9 – I HELD THIS…

August 10
August 10 – I WROTE THIS…

August 11
August 11 – I SAW…

August 12
August 12 – I LIKE TO DRINK…

August 13
August 13 – I STOOD HERE…

August 14

August 15
August 15 – I ONCE…

August 16
August 16 – I NEVER…

August 17
August 17 – I WENT TO…

August 18
August 18 – I READ THIS…

August 19

August 20
August 20 – I LOVE THIS VIEW…

August 21
August 21 – I DON’T LIKE TO…

August 22
August 22 – ON MONDAYS I…

August 23
August 23 – I SAT HERE…

August 24
August 24 – I LIKE TO EAT…

August 25
August 25 – I HAVE TO…

August 26
August 26 – I WORE THIS…

August 27
August 27 – ON WEEKENDS I…

August 28
August 28 – I WATCHED THIS…

August 29
August 29 – I CAN…

August 30
August 30 – I CAN’T…

August 31
August 31 – I BELIEVE…

Remember you can follow these as they drop on the daily on my dedicated FatMumSlim Instagram account @FMSBENNETT.

Here are the prompts for September:

September 1: Something I Saw
September 2: Plastic
September 3: Paper
September 4: Somewhere I Went
September 5: Hobby
September 6: Green + Blue
September 7: Before Bed
September 8: An Emotion
September 9: Opposites
September 10: I Can Hear…
September 11: Paint
September 12: Symmetry
September 13: Tasty
September 14: Odd One Out
September 15: A Food Shop
September 16: 12:34
September 17: Lucky
September 18: Car Park
September 19: What’s on TV
September 20: Texture
September 21: Nature
September 22: Tree Trunk
September 23: Crunchy
September 24: I Can Smell…
September 25: Laneway
September 26: The Moon
September 27: Open Door
September 28: My Culture
September 29: Not My Style
September 30: Sentimental

Should be a good month. I think there are some good prompts in there. The woman who runs this challenge is Australian. There must be some Australian things in here cause I have no clue what a “Car Park” or a “Laneway” is, but I’ll find out.

Cedar County Auxiliary Images Vol. 2

Here is the second collection of auxiliary images I took while harvesting the town signs of Cedar County. A few of these are taken in Muscatine County. A few are taken in Benton County. The majority of them are taken in West Branch at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library.

Herbert Hoover was the first president born west of the Mississippi River. He is also the only president born in Iowa. I always thought it was embarrassing that the worst president in history was born in Iowa. But then I looked it up. Herbert Hoover was not the worst president. Just one of the worst. John Tyler. Worse. Millard Fillmore. Worse. William Henry Harrison. Worse. Franklin Pierce. Worse. Warren G. Harding. Worse. Donald Trump. Worse. James Buchanan. Worse. And according to presidential scholars, historians, and political scientists. Andrew Johnson. The worst.

If you are wondering, the three presidents that are currently considered the best are:

3. Abraham Lincoln
2. Franklin D. Roosevelt
1. George Washington

And while one of the worst presidents was the only president born in Iowa, think of sad states like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Florida, West Virginia, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama… to name a few… that haven’t even had a sad sack like Benjamin Harrison (the president ranked just ahead of Herbert Hoover) born there. He was born in Ohio. Just like William Henry Harrison, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, William H. Taft, and Warren G. Harding.

Enough presidential birthplace history. Here are the rest of the pictures from my Cedar County road trip:

Muscatine County - Wilton

Muscatine County - Wilton

Cedar County - West Branch
West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Cedar County - West Branch

Youngville Cafe
Benton County – Junction of Lincoln Highway and Red Ball Highway

Youngville Cafe

Youngville Cafe

Youngville Cafe

Youngville Cafe

Youngville Cafe

Youngville Cafe

Youngville Cafe

Here is some information about the Youngville Cafe from the Wikipedia:

Youngville Cafe, also known as Youngville Station, is a historic building located northwest of Watkins, Iowa, United States. It was a one-stop roadside business that included a café, a Skelly gas station, and three cabins for travelers to stay in. The cabins have subsequently been removed. The building calls attention to increasing business opportunities for women. The Tudor Revival building was built in 1931 by Joe Young on his pasture land for his widowed daughter Lizzie Wheeler to support her and her children. The main building also contained residential space where the family lived. It is located on U.S. Route 30, which at this point had been the Lincoln Highway. The café/station also served as a bus depot for the Greyhound and Jefferson bus lines.

When Wheeler retired to Cedar Rapids, she rented out the business to others to run. She returned to the café/station in 1967 after the lease ended, but it closed that year because it didn’t have enough parking and vehicles could no longer park along the highway. The building was used as a residence into the 1980s, when it was abandoned. The Benton County Sesquicentennial Commission acquired it as a restoration project to celebrate Iowa’s 150th anniversary of statehood in 1996. It is now owned by the Youngville Highway History Association and open as a café on a limited basis. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.

The cafe has been closed since 2020 because of the pandemic and because of damage it sustained from the derecho. However, according to a Facebook post on the Youngville Highway History Association Facebook page, it will be opening up and serving lunch Tuesdays from 11 AM to 2 PM starting on June 7th. You can bet dollars to donuts or burgers or tenderloins or whatever they serve, that I will be taking a day off from computer mining to go experience it.

If the menu that is lying on the ground is still accurate, I’ll definitely be knocking down a raspberry pie and probably a rhubarb pie as well.

Decatur and Wayne County Auxiliary Images Vol. 2

Several months back I cruised around Decatur County and Wayne County with Vest harvesting their town signs. This is the second collection of auxiliary images I took on this trip.

There are a couple of images I want to single out. These pictures of murals I took in Allerton, Iowa:

Wayne County - Allerton

Wayne County - Allerton

While I was doing a little research on the Coca-Cola mural trying to discover who the Iowa Letterheads are, I discovered a very interesting group. These murals were painted in 1993 by a group call The Walldogs. The Walldogs is a group of mural painters that once a year go to a town and paint a bunch of murals there. Allerton, Iowa was the first town they ever did this at. According to their website, ( they are going to be in Paducah, Kentucky this year. Which is really close to where Ernie lives. They are also going to return to Allerton, Iowa in 2023. If this schedule holds, I will definitely look into checking this out.

This is the type of thing I wish our Art Council in Boone would have looked into, before they got broken up when one member assaulted another member.

Here are the rest of the pictures from Volume 2 of this road trip:

Decatur County - Leon

Decatur County - Leon

Decatur County - Leon

Decatur County - Leon

Decatur County - Leon

Decatur County - Leon

Decatur County - Leon

Decatur County - Leon

Decatur County - Leon
Davis City

Decatur County - Davis City

Decatur County - Davis City

Decatur County - Davis City

Decatur County - Davis City

Decatur County

Wayne County - Lineville

Wayne County - Lineville

Wayne County - Lineville

Wayne County - Lineville

Wayne County - Clio

Wayne County - Clio

Wayne County - Clio

Wayne County - Allerton

Wayne County - Corydon

A little bit of history on George Saling from the Prairie Tails Museum:

George Saling Brings Home the Gold!!!
In August 1932 headlines in newspapers around the country repeated this message as George Saling, Corydon won both a gold and bronze medal as part of the United State Olympic Team.

George Saling a senior at the University of Iowa was considered among the hurdling greats of the world in 1932. He set records in many meets that year, including Drake Relays with a record setting time in the high hurdles of 14:4 seconds. In the National Collegiate championships he set a new record at 14:1, this was also a world record.

In the first heat of the Olympic hurdles Saling came in second to Don Finlay of Great Britain. He opened up in the second heat and broke an Olympic record at 14:4.

In the final heat an Olympic championship at stake, the competitors took off at the shot in a life and death race. And Saling won, this time in 14:6 in the 110 meter high hurdles winning the gold medal. In fact the USA team took home both gold and silver.

Saling wrote this of his experience: “Down on the track, six forms are crouching – by trials the six greatest hurdlers in the world. The gun barks and the forms shoot forward. They take the first barrier almost in unison. Then one runner draws into the lead. Closely pressed by the pack, he is still leading at the seventh hurdle. “At the eighth barrier a runner emerges from the pack. He overtakes the leader, and then sweeps on by and to the tape – a victor by four feet. That runner was myself, and I say without shame that this is the ONE race of the Olympics that shall remain longest in my memory.”

George Saling was born in 1909 in Memphis, MO. The family moved to Corydon when he was three months old, where he graduated from high school in 1927. George’s first love was basketball and he was captain of the Corydon team in 1926-27.

He went out for track, partly because that was what most of the other fellow did in the spring. In meets he usually filled in wherever he was needed most, running anything from the 100 to the 440, besides hurdles.

In the fall of 1927 he began classes at the University of Iowa and turned his ambitions toward basketball. But in an interview given just two weeks before his untimely death in 1933, George said, “Just as I was swinging off the court after practice one night, and still possessing a little of that youthful exuberance, I raced over a couple of hurdles that were standing nearby, as George Bresnahan, U of I track coach happened to be passing.”

Coach Bresnahan spotted Saling’s natural gift for the hurdles and immediately began an intense campaign to recruit George away from basketball and on to the track team. Saling credited his coach for much of his success. His training methods included a lot of body building – lifting weights, working on bars, and sprinting. One unusual exercise that proved to be very helpful was walking on his hands, which developed arms, back, and chest, and gave him a finer sense of balance – a necessity for hurdlers.

Corydon and the track world were stunned by the untimely death of George Saling on April 14, 1933 as a result of a car accident near St Louis. He was just 23 years old. The funeral service at the Methodist Church in Corydon was one of the largest ever held in Corydon.

George Saling’s memory was honored by his hometown high school in 1938 when its newly lighted athletic field was dedicated as “Saling Field”. In 1983, during Corydon’s Old Settlers Celebration, Saling was honored in a special ceremony and a bronze plaque honoring his Olympic Gold Medal was mounted on the east side of the bandstand on the Wayne County courthouse grounds. In 1989, the University of Iowa established an Athletic Hall of Fame: George Saling was one of the athletes and coaches named.

There is still one more collection of pictures from this road trip left to share.

Hardin County Auxiliary Images

Back in February I cruised around Hardin County harvesting town sign photos. This was a solo trip. These are some of the non-town sign pictures I took on the trip.

Hardin County
New Providence – This round gym was recently featured in a movie.

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County
Steamboat Rock

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

Hardin County

I really liked Hardin County. There is more than one thing there I would like to go back and photograph again in the future.

A Pandemic Menagerie

This is a clearinghouse post. Grouping together some small collections of photos that might not be large enough to stand on their own. Plus getting multiple folders “finished off” and filed away to their forever homes.

These pictures aren’t pandemic related, but they did occur in a pandemic. Like every picture I take these days. Some were taken at the Ames Farmers Market. Some in my yard. Some on the backroads of Boone County.

This sculpture is called Eggcited. Eggcited! Get it?

Despite the awful name, I love it so!

From my yard.


Halloween 2021
My socially distanced trick-or-treat setup for Halloween.

Halloween 2021

Liberal Values

One of the small joys of the pandemic was stopping to photograph this sign and meeting the woman who put it up. She went to school with my Dad and we got to talk about him for a bit.

Early Voting
Self-portrait after voting on the first day of early voting.

Early Voting

Early Voting

My mouth is watering…

Train Art
One of the reasons I like living in a town with a railroad (besides the obvious economic impact) is that it is…

Train Art
Like having a new art museum in town every single day. While Boone has an Art Commission (despite the fact that there are a ton of local artists)…

Train Art
there is a decided lack of public art in town. A mural of a train. A statue of Teddy Roosevelt. A local guy that paints his snow banks…

Train Art
That is really it. Although I will point out that Boone does a decent job with the performing arts. It just isn’t the same. So thank you Union Pacific!

Good to get all that cleaned out. We’re getting close to my having my backlog cleaned out. It will be interesting what this space will look like when that happens.


This is your reminder that this week’s THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is SYMMETRY & PATTERNS:


I can’t help but think of Shannon when I think of the theme of SYMMETRY & PATTERNS. Back in the day, we would occasionally go to art shows and fairs together. It often ended up being a painful and frustrating experience because the art booths that she would like to stop and look at were the art that actually hurt my soul (at least a little bit) to look at. It was all symmetrical lines and shapes. I always thought, “if this is the kind of art she likes and she likes my photography, what does that say about my photography? Is it this awful and boring?”

On the other side of the coin, she also hated most of the art I liked. Considered it to be derivative of the illustrations one sees in children’s books. Whatever.

I’m not saying you should tap into your inner Shannon when making your SYMMETRY & PATTERNS picture, but it might not hurt. I’m not saying your picture should be boring and uninteresting. I borderline enjoy the theme reveal picture of the bathroom floor in front of my toilet*. I am saying that you should find a pattern and/or a subject that has symmetry. While this isn’t my favorite theme, I do look forward to seeing your interpretations. I bet Shannon will be counting down the days.

When thinking about creating your SYMMETRY & PATTERNS image, think on the following quote from noted Japanese author Junichiro Tanizaki:

Find beauty not only in the thing itself but in the pattern of the shadows, the light and dark which that thing provides.

Meditate on these words and you will no doubt, make a completely almost interesting SYMMETRY & PATTERNS image.

Happy photo harvesting!

Post #4,000

August 9, 2006. That was the date where I first took keyboard in hand and began typing out the blog that I entitled “An Artist’s Notebook”. I entitled that first post “First Journal Entry”. The categories for that first post were “Blogging”, “Contests”, “Jay”, and “Sara”.

This is the first paragraph I posted:

So here is the first journal entry. I felt like having as pretentious sounding name as possible for my journal. I have a few goals about this journal. My main goal is just to actually write in it. My second goal is to be as truthful as possible towards my true thoughts and feelings. I have another journal on another website, but it is really just a collection of sarcastic statements and cheap jabs at open faced sandwiches. This journal is meant to be about what my achievements and failures are in the world of art. What projects I am working on and what I have accomplished and what I have failed to accomplish. What I am photographing and what I am thinking about entering in photo contests. What I am thinking about. It might not always make sense. It might just be things I need to write down because they strike me as poignant or inspirational. This is in a small way an online “idea box”.

Then it goes on to talk about how I attended the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon Reception with Sara to see what two pictures had been accepted for display that year. Then I would go on to talk about how Jay had talked me into entering the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest.

The last line of the entry was simply:

I don’t want to mail it in.

While I was actually referencing the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest, it is my hope that I also didn’t choose to “mail it in” as it pertains to “An Artist’s Notebook”.

It has been 5,276 days since that first post. 5,276 days to reach this day and the 4,000th post in this blog, or “online journal” like I sometimes call it when I don’t like calling it a blog. It is hard to believe I have made it this far, for this long.

It hasn’t been necessarily smooth sailing the whole time. My website has been through a couple different servers. I have been through a couple different hosts for the blog part of the website. I have been through 4 (I think) different image hosting options in those 5,275 days. That jumping around for image hosting solutions did cause the problem that images from my posts from the first few years of this website’s existence have had to be “restored” slowly over time. So far I have semi-successfully restored all the entries though June of 2010. Which means, I still have a full year’s worth of entries left to restore. Somewhere in 2011, was when I fully made the move to my current SmugMug image hosting solution. I have unfortunately lost a few images, probably forever, mostly old phone pictures, but those old posts are as complete as they will ever be.

When I hit these milestones, I like to publish a lot of fairly meaningless stats. This one will be no different. So, here are the “An Artist’s Notebook” categories that I have used the most often:

Top 10 An Artist’s Notebook Categories

#1. Black & White – 698 Entries

#2. Flowers – 693 Entries

#3. Animals – 620 Entries

#4. Jesse – 495 Entries

#5. Portrait – 472 Entries

#6. Shannon – 421 Entries

#7. Carla – 391 Entries

#8. WPC – Submissions – 381 Entries

#9. Teresa – 364 Entries

#10. Mom – 363 Entries

Top Ten An Artist’s Notebook People Categories

#1. Jesse – 495 Entries

#2. Shannon – 421 Entries

#3. Carla – 391 Entries

#4. Teresa – 364 Entries

#5. Mom – 363 Entries

#6. Jay – 320 Entries

#7. Derrick – 295 Entries

#8. Willy – 268 Entries

#9. Vest – 258 Entries

#10. Jen – 254 Entries

Top Ten Non-People An Artist’s Notebook Categories

#1. Black & White – 698 Entries

#2. Flowers – 693 Entries

#3. Animals – 620 Entries

#4. Portrait – 472 Entries

#5. WPC – Submissions – 381 Entries

#6. Nature – 349 Entries

#7. Macro – 332 Entries

#8. Photoshop – 327 Entries

#9. Road Trip – 326 Entries

#10. Art – 314 Entries

People often ask what is the best way to improve their Photography 139 Category Score. The easiest way is to submit pictures to THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE. But posing for and assisting me with photo project or photo adventures is also a very good way.

What people have a shot at cracking the Top Ten by the time we hit Post #5,000? Kim, Sara, Logan, and Micky all have a shot. But 1,000 posts is a long ways away. So anybody has a shot!

But what are the Ten Most Popular Photo Galleries in Photography 139 history? Unfortunately, I can’t answer that question. I can only process stats up to 365 days ago. However, I can tell you the Ten Most Popular Photo Galleries of the last 365 Days are.

Click on the image to peruse that gallery.

Top Ten Most Popular Photography 139 Galleries (by view) of the Last 365 Days


Be True
#2. Christopher D. Bennett – 41080 Views

9 Emotions Project - Johnathan
#3. 9 Emotions Project – 36972 Views

Taylan Howard
#4. Taylan Howard – 2020 – 34075 Views

Girl in the Blue Skirt - 2016
#5. Daisies – 26800 Views

Morning in America
#6. Drone – 24659 Views

#7. Weekly Photo Challenge – HOF – 24603 Views

Be Aggressive!
#8. Family Happenings – 18,231 Views

Alexis Pregnant with Anela
#9. Alexis Pregnancy Photo Shoot – 2020 – 17057 Views

Black Lives Matter - Boone
#10. Black Lives Matter – Boone – 2020 – 16160 Views

The Ten Most Popular Photography 139 Images of the Last 365 Days (by Views)

Alexis Pregnant with Anela
#1. 7254 Views

Taylan Howard
#2. 3153 Views

2020 Birthday Party Invites
#3. 2460 Views (Photo by Logan Kahler)

Cousin Amy and Sam - 2009
#4. 2228 Views

Garrett Larson
#5. 2127 Views

Baier Family Photo Shoot - 2009
#6. 2111 Views

Camping World Bowl Road Trip - Day 3
#7. 1971 Views

2019  Computer Mine Holiday Card
#8. 1916 Views

The Most Tolerable Third Party
#9. 1891 Views

The Hero of Africa
#10. 1830 Views

Now the secret to the popularity of some of these images is that they are cover photos for albums, but shhhh… don’t tell anybody!

Another category of meaningless statistics, I’d like to share is what have been the most popular posts since the inception of “An Artist’s Notebook”. Although it might not be the most accurate way to judge such things, the only statistic I can use to judge this is “Comments” left on each post. That doesn’t mean emails or text messages or comments I received in person. These are comments that were left in the Comments section of each post.

Most Popular An Artist’s Notebook Entries (by Comments)

#1. The People’s Choice Round Two – 24 Comments

#2. Weekly Photo Challenge – Week 9 – Food – 22 Comments

#2. Weekly Photo Challenge – Week 43 – Sunrise/Sunset – 22 Comments

#4. Town Sign Project: Hamilton County – 21 Comments

#4. Town Sign Project: Dallas County – 21 Comments

#6. Postcard Recreation Project: Some Churches – 20 Comments

#6. Rodan139: Swede Valley Lutheran Church – 20 Comments

#8. Will History Blame Me… – 19 Comments

#9. Yo, Ya Just Get in that, You Get in that Head Space, Ya Know – 15 Comments

#9. You Can Call it a Comeback – 15 Comments

#9. Wild Goose Chase – 15 Comments

#9. Sorry Not Sorry – 15 Comments

One thing to note is that each “An Artist’s Notebook” entry has its Comments section close 30 days after being posted. Some of those still have a chance to grow, but most have been locked into place forever.

The last statistic I want to share before closing out Post #4,000 is kind of a loyalty score. To even be considered for this list, you first have to have a Photography 139 Email Subscription. The following is a statistic based on “loyalty” for lack of a better term to that service.

Top Five Most Loyal Photography 139 Subscribers

1. Michelle Haupt – 99%
2. Joe Duff – 97%
3. Shannon Bardole-Foley – 94%
4. Sara Lockner – 90%
5. Corey Faust – 89%

Thanks to everybody that has supported this adventure for 14 years, 5 months, and now 10 days!


Today I’m going to share a set of postcards of the Boone Post Office I recreated. A government building that wasn’t attacked by domestic terrorists who have brainwashed by a misinformation ecosystem that can’t handle that their messiah, got his ass handed to him in an election. Despite the fact that there has been zero evidence of voter fraud and the Trump regime has lost 60 lawsuits because they have, zero evidence. It was truly one of the darkest days in American history. A day that will live in infamy.

Mike Pence is a homophobic piece of trash, but his words yesterday did set the right tone:

Today was a dark day in the history of the United States Capitol. But thanks to the swift efforts of U.S. Capitol Police, federal, state and local law enforcement, the violence was quelled. The Capitol is secured, and the people’s work continues.

We condemn the violence that took place here in the strongest possible terms. We grieve the loss of life in these hallowed halls, as well as the injuries suffered by those who defended our Capitol today. And we will always be grateful to the men and women who stayed at their posts to defend this historic place.

To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win. Violence never wins. Freedom wins. And this is still the people’s house. And as we reconvene in this chamber, the world will again witness the resilience and strength of our democracy, for even in the wake of unprecedented violence and vandalism at this Capitol, the elected representatives of the people of the United States have assembled again on the very same day to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

So may God bless the lost, the injured and the heroes forged on this day. May God bless all who serve here and those who protect this place. And may god bless the United States of America.

Chuck Schumer also put it very well:

It is very, very difficult to put into words what has transpired today. I have never lived through or even imagined an experience like the one we have just witnessed in this Capitol. President Franklin Roosevelt set aside Dec. 7, 1941, as a day that will live in infamy. Unfortunately, we can now add Jan. 6, 2021, to that very short list of dates in American history that will live forever in infamy.

This temple to democracy was desecrated, its windows smashed, our offices vandalized. The world saw Americans’ elected officials hurriedly ushered out because they were in harm’s way. The House and Senate floors were places of shelter until the evacuation was ordered, leaving rioters to stalk these hallowed halls. Lawmakers and our staffs, Average citizens who love their country, serve it every day, feared for their lives. I understand that one woman was shot and tragically lost her life. We mourn her and feel for her friends and family.

These images were projected for the world. Foreign embassies cabled their home capitals to report the harrowing scenes at the very heart of our democracy. This will be a stain on our country not so easily washed away – the final, terrible, indelible legacy of the 45th president of the United States, undoubtedly our worst.

I want to be very clear: Those who performed these reprehensible acts cannot be called protesters – no, these were rioters and insurrectionists, goons and thugs, domestic terrorists. They do not represent America. They were a few thousand violent extremists who tried to take over the Capitol building and attack our democracy. They must and should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law – hopefully by this administration, if not certainly by the next. They should be provided no leniency.

I want to thank the many of the Capitol Hill police and Secret Service and local police who kept us safe today and worked to clear the Capitol and return it to its rightful owners and its rightful purpose.

I want to thank the leaders, Democrat and Republican, House and Senate. It was Speaker Pelosi, Leader McConnell, Leader McCarthy and myself who came together and decided that these thugs would not succeed, that we would finish the work that our Constitution requires us to complete in the very legislative chambers of the House and Senate that were desecrated but we know always belong to the people and do again tonight.

But make no mistake, make no mistake, my friends, today’s events did not happen spontaneously. The president, who promoted conspiracy theories and motivated these thugs, the president who exhorted them to come to our nation’s capital, egged them on – he hardly ever discourages violence and more often encourages it – this president bears a great deal of the blame. This mob was in good part President Trump’s doing, incited by his words, his lies. This violence, in good part his responsibility, his ever-lasting shame. Today’s events certainly — certainly — would not have happened without him. Now, Jan. 6 will go down as one of the darkest days in recent American history.

A final warning to our nation about the consequences of a demagogic president, the president who enable him, the captive media that parrots his lies and the people who follow him as he attempts to push America to the brink of ruin. As we reconvene tonight, let us remember, in the end all this mob has really accomplished is to delay our work by a few hours. We will resume our responsibilities now, and we will finish our task tonight. The House and Senate chambers will be restored good as new and ready for legislating in short order. The counting of the electoral votes is our sacred duty.

Democracy’s roots in this nation are deep, they are strong. They will not be undone ever by a group of thugs. Democracy will triumph, as it has for centuries. So, to my fellow Americans who are shocked and appalled by the images on their televisions today and who are worried about the future of this country, let me speak to you directly: The divisions in our country clearly run deep, but we are a resilient, forward-looking and optimistic people, and we will begin the hard work of repairing this nation tonight because here in America we do hard things. In America, we always overcome our challenges.

But Barack Obama probably put it best, like he usually does:

History will rightly remember today’s violence at the Capitol, incited by a sitting president who has continued to baselessly lie about the outcome of a lawful election, as a moment of great dishonor and shame for our nation. But we’d be kidding ourselves if we treated it as a total surprise.

For two months now, a political party and its accompanying media ecosystem has too often been unwilling to tell their followers the truth – that this was not a particularly close election and that President-Elect Biden will be inaugurated on January 20. Their fantasy narrative has spiraled further and further from reality, and it builds upon years of sown resentments. Now we’re seeing the consequences, whipped up into a violent crescendo.

Right now, Republican leaders have a choice made clear in the desecrated chambers of democracy. They can continue down this road and keep stoking the raging fires. Or they can choose reality and take the first steps toward extinguishing the flames. They can choose America.

I’ve been heartened to see many members of the President’s party speak up forcefully today. Their voices add to the examples of Republican state and local election officials in states like Georgia who’ve refused to be intimidated and have discharged their duties honorably. We need more leaders like these – right now and in the days, weeks, and months ahead as President-Elect Biden works to restore a common purpose to our politics. It’s up to all of us as Americans, regardless of party, to support him in that goal.

4 people died yesterday. While they were seditionists, it is still sad to see that happen. Just a profoundly sad day in America. But once again, the terrorists did not win.

But enough of the sadness, how about some old-timey postcard recreation!

For this project, I recreated 3 postcards of the old postcard in Boone. Unfortunately, it no longer stands. It was replaced by a more modern post office, so these mostly end up being pictures of a Fareway training center.

Have a look:

Post Office, Boone, Iowa - Original
Post Office, Boone, Iowa – Original

Post Office, Boone, Iowa - Redux
Post Office, Boone, Iowa – Redux

Post Office, Grace Episcopal and Christian Church, Boone, Ia - Original
Post Office, Grace Episcopal and Christian Church, Boone, Ia – Original

Post Office, Grace Episcopal and Christian Church, Boone, Ia - Redux
Post Office, Grace Episcopal and Christian Church, Boone, Ia – Redux

6283 Post Office, Boone, Ia - Original
6283 Post Office, Boone, Ia – Original

6283 Post Office, Boone, Ia - Redux
6283 Post Office, Boone, Ia – Redux

Post Office - Modern Interpretation
Post Office, Boone, Iowa – Modern Interpretation

The next time I recreate an old-timey postcard, it will involve the Boone County Courthouse.

Matthew 25:35

I need to start by announcing that my church is still having our free Thanksgiving Meal this year. This year it is a drive-thru meal. If that sounds like something that you could need or want, here is some information:

First United Methodist’s Annual


You are invited to a fee drive thru/carryout Thanksgiving meal at the Boone First United Methodist Church (703 Arden Street)! We will NOT be offering out usual dine in meal but are happy to send a home cooked meal with you! Meals will be available for pickup on Thursday, November 26 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Enter Arden Street from 8th Street heading north to south. Please call the church office with the number of meals that you plan to pick up.

To contact the church, call 515-432-4660 and leave a message or email

Also because of coronavirus, there is a shortage of volunteers. If it is something you might be interested in helping with, I can get you into contact with a guy. You have to be signed up to work before the day, because they are limiting the amount of people inside the church to as few as possible. There is also need for help on the days before.

If interested, like I said, I know a guy.


Thought today would be a good day to share the ART pictures I took for THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE, but didn’t share on Monday:

Why do I feel that the person that put this up, also snapped it to all their friends.





















Most of these pictures were taken at the skate park at McHose Park.


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


A NIGHT picture doesn’t have to be outdoors. Any picture taken after the sun has gone down is a NIGHT picture.

Happy photo harvesting!

Spread the Faith

I just want to start by congratulating Joe Biden on winning the election to become the next President of the United States of America!

Back when I was on President Quest 2020, my search for who would be the next President of the United States, I did go see Joe Biden at the Boone County Fairgrounds. I did get my picture taken with him. Joe took the picture with my phone:

Joe Biden at Boone County Fairgrounds

If you are interested on revisiting my post on when I saw Joe Biden speak, you can click on the link below:


I spent my election day on Tuesday as a Mail-In Ballot Poll Watcher at the Boone County Courthouse. It was 12 hours that were very educational, very interesting, and very boring. I plan on writing a whole thing on that day (because I have much to say), but the short version is, I was very impressed with the people who do what is an incredibly tedious and incredibly thankless job. They do it very well and they do it very fair. These people are saints!


Thought I would share a small collection of flower photos I took in early October:

Nature's Amen - 2020

Nature's Amen - 2020

A Garden of Love

A Garden of Love

A Garden of Love

I think I’m actually starting to run low on flower pictures, but there are still a ton of them out there to be curated as well. It is a conundrum.


Sorry that this is several minutes late today. I went to cast my ballot for the 2020 election during my lunch break from the mine:

Early Votiong 2020

A reminder that if you live in Iowa, early voting starts today! It might be easier and safer than voting on November 3. But you have to make the choice that is best for you.


I need to start today by wishing Johnathan a happy birthday. Happy birthday Johnathan!

Johnathan at 400mm

Photo of the Day 0009 - May 11, 2014


Stensland Family Photo Shoot - 2016

Bennett Family Photo Shoot - 2017

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


WooHoo! 53 straight weeks of double digit submissions!! Once again, I didn’t even have to send out any reminder texts.

But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates! You came to see the submissions!

Kio Dettman

Kio Dettman

Tamara Peterson

Shannon Bardole-Foley

Jesse Howard

Jesse Howard

Jesse Howard

Christopher D. Bennett

Teresa Kahler

Teresa Kahler

Teresa Kahler

Cathie Raley

Kim Barker

Elizabeth Nordeen

Carla Stensland

Carla Stensland

Carla Stensland

Mike Vest

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:


SELF-PORTAIT! What a great theme! But what is a SELF-PORTRAIT? This is simply a portrait where the subject and the photographer are one and the same. If you don’t like taking your own picture, you can always take a picture of somebody else taking a SELF-PORTRAIT. That is a pro tip for ya!

Here is a look back at the previous 7 times SELF-PORTRAIT was a theme:









The picture has to be taken the week of the theme. This isn’t a curate your pictures challenge. This is a get your butt off the couch (my personal experience) and put your camera in your hands challenge. Don’t send me a picture of you next to the Eiffel Tower, when I know you were in Iowa all week. I will point out that I have let that slide some in the past. I will not in the future. Since it is literally about the only rule.

Your submission needs to be emailed to by 11 AM on the Monday of the challenge due date.


I now allow people to text me their submissions. In the past, I had made exceptions for a couple people that aren’t real computer savvy, even though it was an inconvenience for me and required at least 3 extra steps for me. I am now lifting that embargo because I have a streamline way of uploading photos. I’m not giving out my phone number, but if you have it, you can text me.

It should be pointed out that this blog auto-publishes at 12:01 on Mondays. So it wouldn’t hurt to get your picture in earlier.

That is it, them’s the rules.


Nobody showed class, taste, and sophistication this week by signing up for a Photography 139 email subscription. I’ll try and do better next week.


That’s all I got for today, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will commune right here again next Monday. Hopefully it will be a very selfish Monday!