All Dreams Must End

A view from the main deck of the World Headquarters of The Institute, “Even the hills are sad” said The Director from his gold plated Chair of Immensity as he gazed out into the unknown one last time.

As many of you know *The Institute has been a constant in the life of the blog here at since the blog was started. It has been the center of knowledge and wisdom gained by a continuous quest for the unusual, the ridiculous, the sublime, not to mention the impossible. It has more than fulfilled its mandate to collect, observe, analyze, collate, spindle and in some cases mutilate the facts that have been collected. Our constant scientific approach to reporting the incredible but strange observations we have made has made us an unrivaled source for those who need to know stuff. Stuff being the little niggling thoughts in the back of your mind, such as “Are there more fake flamingos in the world than real ones?” Answer: Yes. What, you didn’t know that!

Our motto ” Tell them and they will believe” has been our guiding precept since the very beginnings of The Institute from its inception back in the misty, raw, primeval formation of its creation. Back to the time when we first began to make stuff up and then tell people about it.

The “The Institute” (it is always referred to as The Institute no matter how awkward that may make things) is composed of many huge interconnected yet rambling structures with ancient high walls and soaring towers, narrow deeply cut windows suitable for defense if needed, balconies and various platforms that jut out from the walls at dizzying heights for observation and the making of photographic studies.

There is an open to the air aviary with gorgeously colored birds from every part of the globe, a celestial observation dome with a one-off custom Hubble telescope to make discoveries never before seen by human eyes no matter how keen, weather modification facilities, galleries with art collections rivaling the Louvre, single use bathrooms, a dirigible tower for the mooring of The Institute’s own fleet of sleek but shiny airships that continually arrive from all four corners of the globe bearing visitors and dignitaries, educators and students, really smart people and some just a taco short of a combination plate. All of them here to soak in the tenacious atmosphere of The Institute. There is a full-sized fully automatic medical center staffed with neat medical stuff so advanced even an intern can run it and often do, that we haven’t even unpacked it all yet. It’s still sitting there in boxes, with labels like “Heart Installer !!! This end up” and Billy Kimshee’s “New and Popular Lymph Node Stripper” plus others too medical to list. Whole operations have been performed here with and without human assistance, or anesthetic for that matter. Just lock them in the chair, select what procedure you want done from the digital menu and hit the on button.

Nestled on the slopes of an ancient caldera The Institute hugs the side of a mountain and overlooks the meadows and forests that make up the floor of the bowl formed after the last eruption that seems like months ago. Down on the gentle land in the valley miles below you can see great herds of mule deer and Elk making their way from stream to pasture. Parts of the valley floor are sectioned off for agricultural pursuits, you can see some of our indentured servants and interns (same thing really) working happily away bringing in the harvests and tending to the livestock, keeping them from straying into the razor wire and the fell pits dug to discourage trespassing. Our huge fields with crops of sisal and myrrh used in the production of quinine and other life saving drugs lie next to the great barren areas of crushed volcanic ash, mined for the making of tooth whitening powder in the mills and factories scattered throughout this great land of ours. Enormous herds of nearly extinct wildlife, black rhinos, lowland gorillas, Minah birds, black racers and African spitting Cobras, ferrets, rare blue wildebeest and Snow leopards are cultivated for sale to the many Wild Game restaurants throughout the United States and parts of the Far East but not North Korea. The Institute is a bucolic land full of life and love and sometimes puppies, but not always.

If you are the kind of reader who is brave or merely curious, or just plain bored, you could type in the phrase “The Institute” into the handy and permanent search box at the top of the page and you would find dozens if not many examples of the amazing if not incredulous varieties of scientific discoveries, unrepentant adventures, steamy instructions on how to live a more fulfilling life, pleas (read begging) for funding our many sketchy unsupported government projects, new unique explanations of how things really work and handy tips on how not to be a dweeb but instead be someone cool and fun without being that good looking, that your friends and that gorgeous chick with the insane betty’s in 7b would admire. Go ahead, take a chance it might just change your life (be sure to read our disclaimer page before making any real life changes). We are not and never have been responsible for weird stuff you choose to do after visiting the internet.

The Institute has been a fully realized dream of the author and as such it has been representational of a time and place that happened in a blink of an eye, or the firing of a synapse in the lower dark place of his brain. It has been a way to share events and happenings that actually took place in the real world but perhaps not completely as they were described in the various posts that were written. But like all dreams the dreamer is forced to wake and face a new day. Even as you read this the mighty walls of The Institute are becoming thin, slowly folding in on themselves, becoming transparent, the far-reaching borders of The Institutes’s grounds pulling in to the center, shrinking until the once mighty reaches of its borders are nothing more than a mote in God’s eye.

The indentured servants, interns and our tame PhD’s that have faithfully served us since we began making them up way back in 2013, a year that will live in infamy, are evaporating like snowflakes landing on steaming prose, returning to whatever state they were in before being shanghaied to live and exist here in the confines of The Institutes world. It is a time of change. Bold, tumultuous, totally unexciting change, where due to some awful but catastrophic events that have occurred that we would like to share with you but can’t, mostly because it might cause depression on a scale unprecedented in the world to date, the The Institute has been forced to close down, shut its doors, and perhaps, and this is the tear-jerker part, cease its activities forever. As Mr. Bill said on Saturday Night Live some time ago “Oh No! Not that! Don’t do that!” yet it’s true Virginia, The Institute may be gone forever.

When you next wake The Institute will be no more than a brief if not exciting dream, sometimes a nightmare, sometimes one of those kind you learned about in High School health class, but always interesting, always fun, or meant to be anyway. All dreams must end. The dreamer wakes, looks about, struggles to find meaning in the new day, and soldiers on. As do we all. Yes it’s a memory, some might even think it a loss, we love those people, they’re the ones that kept the dream alive for as long as it lasted, but if you stop and consider that after a long day we have a new night, a time to rest and rejuvenate, a time to turn the days thoughts, activities and stresses off and perchance to dream again. Remember in dreams anything may happen.

The blog BigShotsNow will continue with new images and new stories to accompany them, as often as The Director can write them, and as always some of them will be true, not all, but some. The fate of The Institute is up in the air, like the author stated, perchance we’ll dream again.

* Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind. Return to your daily activities. Thank you for your support.

A New Day Dawning

There’s big, Big, Big news coming concerning *The Institute. We mean huge enormous news. Unfortunately we cannot tell you what it is yet as it is still unfolding. But you’ll be really surprised. Some of you may be upset by it. Others may be happy. You’ll know who you are when we can disclose it.

One thing for sure is that the blog will still be alive and well and posting all the news, stories, images and advice that you have come to depend on and for the most part, cannot live without.

That’s all we can say about things right now, but stay tuned, as events unfold you’ll be the first to know. OK then gotta run. Stuff is happening and we’re like busy people right now.

* Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind. Return to your daily activities. Thank you for your support.

She’s Back! And She’s Brought The Kids – Again

She’s back and she’s brought the kids, again! This is Edith Halfway Jones one of our resident Black bears here at *The Institute and if you are a long time reader of the blog you know that she is a regular here. It was exactly one year ago on May 12 that Edith showed up late for work and in danger of not only getting her pay docked but losing her position on the elite bear patrol that guards the inner perimeter of The Institute. Her excuse was three little bear cubs, obviously hers, that she had as a single mother over the winter.

Edith usually a demure, quiet non-partier had let her hair down or at least her fur, got hammered on a mixture of EverClear infused with pine needles, spent some time with a bear she had just met and the result was the triplets, Solenoid, Nodule and little Fleabert. For additional information about her return last year see this post.

We  thought she had left for good last Fall taking the cubs and heading into the far reaches of the back country outside the borders of The Institute and we wouldn’t see her again. So it was with no little surprise when she showed up this evening, back in the saddle again, with the triplets stuffing their faces with as much of this new green grass as they could choke down. She looks good. She’s sleek and shapely. The cubs look good too. They’re fat for just being out of the den. Edith seems a little more calm and adjusted to being a mom. Last year she micro-managed the cubs a lot with a fair amount of growling and some biting but this year she’s not concerned at all with their chasing around and heading off into the brush alone. A little chirp from her and they’re right back where she can lay a paw on them if she needs to. Motherhood seems to suit her.

As was mentioned earlier she has checked in on the 12th of April this year, almost a month early. Last year she came back on the 12th of May. It’s been warmer this winter and the kids probably got up early and after their playing squealing Climb on Mom games with their sharp little claws and head bumping for milk, she couldn’t stand to hear them yell “Let’s go out. I’m hungry.” one more time she gave up and came out early. Luckily the grass is ready and there’s lots of ground squirrels and voles around to eat too. The cubs are twice the size they were last fall.

There you have it. We got Spring. We got bears. There’s even a pair of Bluebirds catching bugs by flying softly into the window glass with a bump and grabbing a mouthful and nesting under the deck again. What more could you want.

Spring iz Sprung.

The Grass is Riz.

I wonder where the Flowers iz.

Hope  your place is on schedule and your bears are back. Happy Spring to you all.

* Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind. Return to your daily activities. Thank you for your support.

Moonset On Storm Mountain

The Mummy range is a mountain range located within Rocky Mountain National Park and is visible from the third tier observation and weather monitoring deck here at *The Institute year round. Storm mountain is particularly visible due to its prominence on the horizon. Normally it is surrounded by other snow caps, well in fact it is always surrounded by other snow caps, and keeps its mantle of white till late into the summer. However in the summer things change. The wet storms begin and they arrive with gale force winds and driving rain. Lots of rain. The lightning and the thunderous sounds of its strikes rending and tearing its way through the sky can be heard for miles. The flashes of the lightning strikes themselves can be seen for minutes and sometimes days after the flash having burned their image indelibly onto your retinas. Which is why you want to always wear welding goggles when looking at lightning or welding too. Remember you only get one set of eyeballs. Treat them as if you’d like to see out of them for a long time. Just because lighting is fun doesn’t mean you should stare at it like a dumb person.

It is during these storms that some of our best pictures are taken of the immense power and magnitude of these storms. Capturing these moments is not for the faint-hearted. To get the full effect of the drama that occurs we have set up an open to the elements, semi-permanent photographic station out on the third tier, cantilevered deck, high up on the West Tower. We have fastened our metal tripod and waterproof cameras to the floor with non-conductive fasteners rated for two billion Joules of electricity in the unlikely event that lightning strikes the setup during one of these photographic sessions.

However lately we haven’t had that much luck in the not getting struck by lightning category. In fact the last three interns we’ve had chained to the tripod have come close to sustaining serious injury and third degree burns from hanging on to the metal railing around the deck when lighting struck the metal collars they were wearing. Some of them find this unsettling and begin screaming uncontrollably and leaping about. Luckily the doors are thick enough to cancel most of the noise. We think maybe the two billion Joules fasteners we used might be faulty.  It’s because the interns tend to run away or even jump off the deck when the lightning strikes get too close, thereby missing the better shots, that we’ve had to resort to the light chaining and padlocking the outer doors to make sure we get all the data we need.

During the last Super moon that occurred our fail-safe lightning rod system broke down in the middle of the torrential storm and let a small amount of lightning slip through to one of our interns who had unaccountably wrapped his chain around the legs of the tripod, tripped and was hanging over the metal deck railing when the lightning burned through his chain, allowing him to slip rather ungracefully over the edge. Apparently he fell down onto the tall timber next to the foot of The Institutes massive stone foundation. We say apparently because we can’t see him in any of the treetops so he must have crashed on through to a lower point. We hope to find him when we do our annual spring pruning next month.

Unfortunately he managed to break off the camera mount and the camera during his struggles losing the images we desperately needed for this post. One of our staff illustrators was able to create a facsimile of the image of the Super moon setting over Storm Mountain in the middle of that fantastic storm that you see above, so we were able to complete the post thereby saving the day. There always seems to be a bright side to these things for which we’re thankful of course. Anyway here you have it such as it is, Moonset On Storm Mountain

* Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind. Return to your daily activities. Thank you for your support.

A Color Explosion People – A Big One

A Giant Color Explosion, or Man! Did you see that? happened at *The Institute at roughly 4:24 AM this morning. Story to follow below.

An accident of epic proportions has occurred here in the media department at The Institute today. There has been a terrible color explosion. You can see some of the results in the image above which is supposed to be of a quiet subdued pastel fall scene. What we have here instead is the equivalent of a color tsunami. A fall scene gone incredibly bad. Color chaos of monumental proportions. At first we were mystified as to how this could happen. We were clueless and this was much different than our usual every day cluelessness. It wasn’t until we started getting calls flooding our switchboard with frantic warnings that something had gone terribly amiss with our color development process that we realized ” Holy Pixels, we’re in deep Kimchi” as our Korean friends like to say. Calls of “My eyes, my eyes” and “turn if off, for god’s sake turn it off” were heard on almost all three of our incoming lines paralyzing our ability to call the Kodak “Colors Gone Wrong” hotline. We were on our own. We had to figure this out without any competent help and quick, before all ten of our readers including our international readers from other countries saw this.

It was “chaos in the coat closet” as we like to say in that pixel drenched, color saturated room that houses our media department. Senior techs and rank interns alike were bursting into tears as they ran about screaming and banging into things. The sound of palms smacking foreheads became deafening. Forehead lumps as big as hen’s eggs began to appear on the foreheads of some of our senior technicians as they began to grasp the significance of the problem. The same sounds of palms smacking became even louder as those in charge began smacking the foreheads of hapless interns that should have been smacking their own foreheads in frustration but weren’t. They needed a smack just because they were there and had probably caused the problem anyway. The entire department was in a color shambles.

We had no idea how far-reaching this problem was. Did it get into our collection of tasteful female studies rendering them, so to speak, too colorful? Did it paint our animal collection in unnatural tones making them unrecognizable, much like that horse of a different color we saw in Wizard of Oz? Did it extend into our collection of prize-winning black & white images of famous garden vegetables? Could our entire out of control color program roll down the mountainside affecting independent color processing labs in town? Should we evacuate? The questions seemed endless. Was there anyway to contain the truth of this fiasco before it besmirched our reputation? Would we have to ‘LIE’ to save our phony baloney jobs? Again?  An immediate call was put into the White House for advice. So far they haven’t returned our call even though we made it plain we needed help with a big lie. An enormous lie. The spokesman in the Whopping Huge Lie department we got a hold of said they were busy. Call back later. It seems they have their own problems to deal with.

It wasn’t until our pixel tanks began to run dry that we discovered the cause of the problem. And yes it was intern related. We keep our colors stored in individual tanks much like those shiny big stainless steel tanks you see in brewery’s. We call them Color tanks. The primary uncolored pixels that need to be colored and arranged to form the images we display on our daily posts are in adjacent tanks. Which we call the Pixel tanks. The process is fairly simple. When we get an image to process for our daily post, we lay out the blank image surface material, a flat paper-like material called the picture, on a movable platform that is located directly beneath the nozzles of each of the Color tanks. Using algorithms and arcane sorcery we then move the correct amount of pixels from the Pixel tank with a no. 8 scoop shovel to the correct Color tank containing the needed color to impregnate those pixels prior to the pixels being dripped or drizzled or squirted onto the image surface. It’s really very simple. The intern of the day gets a list of colors needed from the Color Section Specialist each day with the color application data that tells it (the intern) which colors should be applied and in which order to apply them, to create the wonderful images you see here on The Institutes posts. It is very important that the colors be applied in the proper quantity and in the proper order. “Do not deviate.” we say. We tell this to all of our deviates. “Do not deviate. Really, don’t do it.”

It seems that the intern on duty whose name shall not be mentioned but whose initials are Lloyd Armstrong Custer, yes a direct descendant of that magnificent decision maker George Armstrong Custer himself, took it upon himself to change the order in which those colors should be applied. Now see, he shouldn’t have done that. That’s what caused the problem. That was really stupid. Everyone knows that yellow and orange are dangerous colors to use together anyway and the utmost care must always be taken when using them next to each other. But it gets even more important, like on a magnitude of say a thousand bazillion times more important, when adding the color purple. Especially the shade of purple like what is on those rocks there to the left of the tree in the middle of the image. It is critical to put that purple color on first before adding any yellow or orange. Failure to do so leads to catastrophic consequences. Well he didn’t. He added it after while the yellow and orange was still wet. The colors then began to mix and well it was shortly after that the tanks began to blow and Rainbow Lloyd as he would be forever known, left the building along with roof. The yellow and orange mixed with the purple on the picture surface and that tore it. That lethal combination did what it does, which is blow sky freaking high and the rest is history.

So far we are still picking up the pieces, checking to see what damage has been done to our priceless inventory of old Nixon photos and other irreplaceable treasures, calling Kansas city to see if they have any of our tank covers, and reluctantly looking for any sign of Rainbow Lloyd. Someone found what may be his shoe. Maybe not. So if you think that perhaps that image above is a little overdone, you’ve got a good eye. It is. Sorry.

* Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind. Return to your daily activities. Thank you for your support.

Captive Beauty – Green Moray eel

As we periodically do here at *The Institute we are featuring another in our series titled Captive Beauty where we showcase animals in captivity. We started this project sometime ago to show the beauty of animals that may be endangered or basically unavailable to you our readers to see first-hand in the wild.

This image was taken at one of our Green Moray eel repositories that are located throughout the contiguous United states and sometimes in Hawaii, but usually not Alaska and certainly not in Puerto Rico. Nor the Trust Territories which consists of the  Marianas islands. They, the Marianas islands, have free-range Green Moray eels instead that live in the ocean right near the edge of the Marianas trench, one of the deepest and scariest places in the whole ocean to swim over. We advise if you do swim over it don’t look down. You cannot even begin to see the bottom. We mean it it’s scary.

These Green Moray eel repositories are water filled enclaves that feature animals and fish that you might never observe in the wild unless you frequent oceans and submerge yourself in the wetness of their general habitat. Some of you do that and consequently may have seen a Green Moray eel up close and personal. This is for the rest of you that don’t do that but are somewhat curious about what it would be like if you did.

As you can see they are green and have the most startling blue eyes you might ever come across when observing eels in general. Most eels have eyes that are small and squinty yet unremarkable but as you can see not the Green Moray eel. Those peepers are blue. If you get a chance go see a Green Moray eel. They are truly beautiful creatures. We know they would appreciate it and you might enjoy it yourself.

If you would like to see other animals that have been featured in our Captive Beauty series simply type in Captive Beauty in the search box at the top of the page.

* Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind. Return to your daily activities. Thank you for your support.

Diorama Sale !

Here it is again! Our February Inventory Clearance sale of overstocked Dioramas! That’s right throughout the month of February *The Institute is making all of our Overstocked Dioramas available to the public at a vastly reduced price. Everything must go to make room for our new Spring line. We are offering especially low prices for all of our top sellers regardless of size or overall approval rating from the traveling public.

Shown above is our deluxe Spruce Tree House Surprise diorama from our exclusive Mesa Verde National Park series. One of our all time best sellers. This is an extraordinary 1:1 reproduction of one of the most scenic views from famed Spruce Tree House, a centuries old Anasazi dwelling normally off-limits to all but the richest visitors. You heard us right! That’s a 960′ wide by 1530′ high, 18″ thick exact copy of Spruce Tree house. Unlike the original you can walk right up to this reproduction and touch it without fear of repercussions or arrest from Rangers or others seeking to protect our National heritage. Avoid being Tazed or tear-gassed by over zealous authorities. With your own personal copy you could even tag it with your own slogans or art work using our own proprietary spray paint that washes off easily with a power washer and ultra-strength bleach. Make it your own by using your own designs or purchase, for a reasonable cost, our own patented stencils for fun and artistic display. Fix what the Anasazi left out. Add those missing items to your diorama like your street address, or personalized messages like “Emma’s Garden” should you choose to install it in your backyard.

We were able to get into the park late in the evening and pull rubber molds from the dwellings and rock face adjacent to them allowing us to get the realistic detail and character that you have come to demand from our dioramas. In fact, on some of the earlier serial numbered dioramas you can even find small pieces (not more that 6″ in diameter or less) embedded in our reproductions. Proudly show your friends bits of these unique pieces of dwellings from a World Heritage site. Note: we cannot guarantee that all dioramas will have these exclusive chunks of Anasazi history embedded in them so order soon to get the pick of the litter.

This beautiful one piece diorama is made from our own patented, trade marked, super-secret foam and pumice material guaranteed to last for months and months with little or no upkeep. Order it with our own optional specially formulated sealer that will protect it from the elements, bird droppings, rain, (acid rain excluded) sun, most unexpected mishaps, small children, civil disobedience, war, dog urine, and other acts of mayhem. Not suitable for Rock Climbers. Note: this is a non-smoking diorama, keep open flames, jerks smoking, and kids with magnifying glasses away. This puppy will go up like a Roman Candle if not properly protected. Burning chunks will stick to the skin if contact is made. Use at your own risk. The Institute is not responsible for any claims of damages or loss of life due to improper installation and use. Read and understand any directions included with this product. Dispose of packing materials properly. Installer is responsible for the placement of guide wires and other supports and all necessary permits.

Order now for immediate delivery. We have less than sixty of these beauties left and they will go fast. Marked down from our every day price of $106,975.00 to $3900.00 these beauties won’t last long. Cash,Credit cards, checks (please allow nine weeks for us to clean out your bank account) bearer’s bonds, items of gold, silver, platinum and/or precious stones gladly accepted. Se Hable Espanol. Please indicate your preferred method of shipment, PP, UPS, or Common Carrier. Call us for shipping charges. Purchaser responsible for unloading.

As this may be your first exposure to our National Parks and World Heritage sites dioramas you might like additional background information on these wonderful additions to your State or County parks, or for that mega-mansion you’re building, or even to dress up that local trailer park, please see the following post for more information. 

We look forward to cashing your check and doing business with you. Remember order now and order often. We can’t do this all day.

* Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind. Return to your daily activities. Thank you for your support.