Friday, August 31, 2012

Once in a blue moon

There will be a blue moon tonight, so this is one of those once in a blue moon occasions people talk about. A moon is considered blue if it is the second full moon in a month (though Wikipedia claims a moon is considered a blue moon if it is the third full moon in a season with four full moons, but that is just crazy talk). Once in a blue moon actually takes place every 2.7 years. But saying something only happens once every 2.7 years doesn't have the same ring to it as saying it only happens once in a blue moon.

It is a sad, yet fitting fact that there is a memorial service for Neil Armstrong (the first person to walk on the moon)  is being held today.  I was eleven years old when Armstrong took his fateful first step on the moon. Coincidentally, the NASA mission was called Apollo 11.  I love these cosmic signs.

But I digress.

I saw the blue moon when I was walking to the train station this morning. I snapped this photo with my cell phone. The blue moon looked much larger than it does in this photo. I want to point out that I added the arrows so you could distinguish the moon from the trees, dumpster and fences that are also in the photo. The arrows were not there when I snapped the photo. That would have been really odd.

 I did not know it was a blue moon at the time. Blue moons look like every other full moon. Ironically, they are not blue and no one seems to know why they are called blue moons. Though Wikipedia offers several possible reasons. But again, that is just more crazy talk.

I think most of Wikipedia is crazy talk that results from letting any random individual spew opinion as gospel.

But I digress.

I am looking forward to showing the blue moon to my children this evening and trying to explain the whole second moon in a month, third in a season of four moons that aren't really blue but we call them that.

On second thought, I might just say, "Hey look at that full moon."

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Art, where art thou?

I grew up in Idaho without lots of access to museums or great art. We did have a history museum with a pretty cool two-head calf, however. But that technically isn't art.

Since I didn't have access to museums or art galleries, much of my understanding of art came pictures of art in a set of Childcraft 1950s era encyclopedias we had when I was growing up. I spent hours looking at pictures of paintings by Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Picasso, Renoir, Matisse, Manet, Gauguin, Lautrec, Da Vinci, Botticelli, Degas and other masters. I just loved the way they made me feel.

When I got older, I took a few art classes in college because I enjoyed art, not because I wanted an easy "A." Still, I never had an opportunity to view an actual work of classic art until I moved to Seattle in the early 1980s.

Not that I actually got to see any of the works of the masters in Seattle. It wasn't until I took a trip to London    in the early 1990s that I laid eyes on a genuine famous artist's work at the National Gallery. It was there that I saw works by Leonardo Da Vinci and Van Gogh as they were intended to be seen -- in person and at a leisurely pace.

Since then, I have joined the Seattle Art Museum and been herded around for special exhibits. Most recently I saw a exhibit of Gaugin's work (which I wasn't overly impressed with). There were so many people at the exhibit that you really couldn't stop and appreciate it.

On a recent business trip to Washington D.C. I managed to visit the National Portrait Gallery and the National Art Gallery. There I saw more art by famous artists than you could shake a stick at. But if you did shake a stick at the art, I imagine you would be swarmed by guards since there seemed to be one at every painting just daring you to touch them (the art, not the guards).

The amazing thing about the museums in D.C. is that they are free! And they aren't crowded, or at least they weren't when I was there. So I could actually stand in front of a Van Gogh as long as I wanted without being nudged out of the way by other art lovers (though the museum guards did start to get a bit twitchy that I was standing in front of the same painting for a long time).

The problem was, there were too many works of art. After awhile, I couldn't see the art because of all of the paintings (this is a weak analogy to not being able to see the forest for the trees). My head was spinning as I moved from room to room trying to soak it all in. After awhile, all I wanted to do was leave. I just couldn't look at one more work of art because it no longer had any impact.

How sad is that?

To me, art needs to connect with you at an emotional level. When you binge on it, you are going to get sick.

So I ended up at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History where I got burned out looking at fossils and then the National Archives where I got burned out looking at old historical documents.

I sure miss my Childcraft books.

Blogger's note: Yes, this is post number 1000. But since I made such a big deal about number 999, I didn't really feel like hyping it up too much by saying something like, "That's 1000 small posts for a man, 1000 giant posts for mankind," (rest in peace Neil Armstrong).  Anyway, I did it. So there.

But I digress.

It's not like it's art or anything.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

999 posts

As of August 4, I have officially been blogging for eight years and this is my 999th post. I still haven't decided what the topic of post 1000 should be. I generally pride myself on not having a purpose for blogging. And I have maintained that philosophy for eight years.

I'd like to think of myself as the poster child of persistence when it comes to blogging. Despite a lack of readers, inspiration and purpose, I have kept cranking out posts when other, more creative bloggers have fallen by the wayside. Being mediocre helps.

Oh, I've gone through my share of phases. I started as Tim-Elvis, morphed into Tim-id and then became Time. I spent a great deal of time Photoshopping my face onto various animate and inanimate objects, animals and people. I don't think many people appreciate the labor required to Photoshop your face on a bowl of Kimchi stew. Nor did everyone appreciate my fascination with putting my face on famous paintings. I vaguely recall one person commenting that they found it offensive that I would butcher the masters by putting my face on them.

To which I believe I replied, "Smack my ass and call me Sally."

Regardless, my enthusiasm for slapping my face on paintings, animals and food has waned a bit. I even resorted to recycling many of my images because, hey, no one really looks at my blog so who will remember that I'm used the image of my face on a photo of Bigfoot at least four times.

Few people probably realize that Dizgraceland actually had three spin off blogs including the Monkey Playing Cymbals blog, Ich Bin Gunter blog and Quixotic, a blog in which I tried to explain Don Quixote chapter by chapter in a way even a Monkey Playing Cymbals could understand. Those blogs fell by the wayside as I realized that maintaining one blog was challenge enough when you also had to contend with real life.

Real life in the eight years since I began blogging included getting married, buying two new houses and having two children. Sometimes I am surprised I have time to go to the bathroom let alone write in my blog.

There have been times in the eight years I've been blogging that I have actually had people who commented on my blog on a regular basis (including people as far off as Australia and England). In the early years I felt like I had a community of blogger friends I could count on to insult me (in a nice way) on a regular basis. Sadly, none of them remain.

I've come to the conclusion that the virtual community of bloggers and people who comment on blogs mirrors reality. People enthusiastically pop into your life with the best intentions and then get distracted by brighter, shinier objects they see on the side of the Information Highway. You have to accept blogger friends as tourists stopping by long enough to point and take a few pictures before hopping back on the bus.

So as I approach the milestone of my one thousand posts, what will I write about? Should I make it my farewell blog and tell people how it is time to move on?  Or should I announce a major redesign of Dizgraceland and a new direction as I embark on my next thousand posts?

Well being that this is a .44 Magnum blog, the most powerful blog in the world, you got to ask yourself one question. Do you feel lucky? Well punk, do you?

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Taking crap from Yeti

I thought about calling this post, "Does a Yeti shit in the woods?" but I decided to take the high road and call it "Taking crap from Yeti." Regardless, it was inspired by a program I watched while on the elliptical machine at the gym the other day.

The program was "Mysteries at the museum" on the Travel Channel. The segment was about the International Cryptozoology Museum's Yeti scat sample. Apparently, Cryptozoologist Tom Slick (I kid you not) watched a Yeti take a dump in the foothills of Nepal in 1959 and picked up the Yeti-doo to prove Yeti's exist.

For some cryptic reason, the "International" Cryptozoology Museum is located in Portland, Maine. And in case you aren't clear on what Cryptozoology is, it is the study of animals or creatures who most people don't think exist, like Bigfoot, Yeti and a man who doesn't pee on the toilet seat.

I doubt Tom Slick considered himself  a Cryptozoologist. He was the wealthy son of a Texas millionaire and hung out with people like Howard Hughes. He went to Yale (which apparently doesn't really mean squat when it comes to higher education if you consider George W. went there too).

In addition to having lots of money and having a reputation of being a playboy, Slick also liked to lead expeditions looking for mythical creatures like Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, Yeti and the Trinity Alps giant salamander (an alligator sized salamander reportedly living in Northern California). It was on one such expedition that Slick spied on an unsuspecting Yeti relieving itself, and, as the startled (and somewhat embarrassed) creature ran off, Slick swooped in to scoop its poop.

Slick shipped the poop off to a lab in Paris and had it analyzed to try and prove it was Yeti poop. Sure enough, the lab confirmed that the sample Slick sent them was indeed poop. They just couldn't say whose poop it was. They did discover a parasite in the poop, so one could conclude thatYeti would benefit from a few de-worming tablets.

What the Travel Channel didn't dwell on in the Mysteries at the museum episode was how the Yeti poop ended up in Portland, Maine near displays of Jackalopes and models of the Loch Ness monster. I'd wager someone bought the poop on eBay (although I did a search on eBay for Yeti poop and could only find a listing for fake Yeti/Bigfoot poop for $29).

The bigger question in all of this is not whether Yeti exists, but why so many people put so much energy into trying to prove it. If these creatures exist, they obviously don't want anything to do with people. Because the likely outcome of contact with people would be being locked up in a cage or killed and stuffed. I wouldn't want anything to do with a species that spies on you when you are taking a dump and then swoops in an puts your poop into a bag (not unlike most dog owners).

Perhaps it is because I am on the downward slope of my life's journey, but I have become more and more particular about my priorities in life. Chasing after Yeti's or Bigfoot is not one of them. Nor is gazing at Yeti poop in a museum (though I did spend 30 minutes watching a program about it). I don't want to be lying on my death bed recapping my life's accomplishments and shake my head wondering why I scooped up a pile of Yeti poop and thought that had significance.

Instead I can marvel that I wrote an unread blog dealing with burning topics like why clams are happy and explorers picking up Yeti poop.