Christmas Gift Selection # 8 For 2017 – Monet’s Bridge

MonetsBridge1079Monet’s Bridge Loire Valley France

Note: This is a repost of one of our Top Ten Gifts for the discerning buyer originally published in December of 2013, a year that will live in infamy. In what has become a half-assed tradition here at *The Institute we have been irregularly reposting these now famous gift selections when we remember to do so in a lame attempt to create a Holiday Tradition and mostly because we suddenly realize it’s Christmas time and we don’t have squat done. It’s fun and we don’t have to spend the time making new stuff up. Enjoy.

Direct from *The Institutes vast architectural holdings we are proud to present in our Top Ten Gift List for the first time anywhere

Monet’s Bridge !!!

Here it is, the gift you’ve been waiting for. Monet’s Bridge. Yeah, the painter guy. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to own a piece of French history that coincidentally is architecture and also has utilitarian uses. It’s a triple threat all rolled into one big chunk of masonry beauty. This bridge is located on the Little Loire river near the small French village of Beau en Valle in the heart of the famous Loire valley. Paris is just a hop, skip and a baguette up the le road. Once the haunt of visitors wanting to escape the summer heat of Paris it has lately fallen on hard times with a greatly reduced tourist count.

This is the actual bridge that Monet and his friends used to jump off of, stark naked, to skinny dip when he was a kid. The bridge where he was fascinated by the reflected colors that blended and swirled on the surface of the slowly moving Little Loire river that led him to create a brand new art style. This architectural beauty is perfect for that garden pond, French inspired walking garden, or simply used for access to that lower forty (wide enough  for a John Deere model B tractor and hay wain to cross with room to spare). It can be yours if you move fast. This bridge in all its uniqueness is being sold first come, first served.

The Institutes antiquities department have been working on this deal for years, and now that the French government finds itself in a similar position financially that the U.S. is in, they too have begun selling off less popular items in their architectural catalog. So after many nights of wining and dining some minor French bureaucrats we got them hammered enough or as the French say “se soûlant” that they agreed to sell it to us lock, stock and river water. Their loss is your gain.

The bridge is complete with included guard rails and natural patina you see in the image above. Another lucky break for us came when we discovered that the French, again due to budgetary constraints, were discontinuing the Little Loire river as well. Unfortunately we didn’t find out about this until the river was mostly discontinued but we were able to salvage enough of the actual river water to make a 5½’ diameter pond 4′ deep on either side of the bridge plus some flowage between the two. Also included but not pictured are two road signs, the round white ones with the red circle around the outside with the number 45 in the middle. This historical marvel can be yours for the plebian price of just

Monet’s Bridge 104,953.00 FRF **

item #12312017-1 under bridges sorta famous p.27 in our catalog

Bridge is to be sold intact and must be moved as one piece, includes 50′ of roadway on either side of bridge. Buyer responsible for transportation and permits to allow structure to be moved through the French countryside to the Port of Marseille a distance of 904 km or 562 miles. Any costs of dismantling or razing of French buildings or rerouting phone and power lines to allow transport is the sole responsibility of buyer, as is damage to the French highway system and security to protect workers from angry French citizens. Buyer must post bond equaling $80.00 American and surrender passports until move completed. Buyer must sign agreement not to make fun of French language or make impertinent remarks about local food or culture. Buyer must adhere to strict three-day work week.

** $16,000.00 U.S.

* 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.

Christmas Gift selection # 6 For 2017 – Your Very Own National Park

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Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado

Note: This is a repost of one of our Top Ten Gifts for the discerning buyer originally published in December of 2013, a year that will live in infamy. In what has become a half-assed tradition here at The Institute we have been irregularly reposting these now famous gift selections at this time of year when we remember to do so, in a lame attempt to create a Holiday Tradition and mostly because we suddenly realize it’s Christmas time and we don’t have squat done as far as writing new stuff. It’s fun and we don’t have to spend the time taxing our limited sense of originality making that new stuff up. Enjoy.

Your Very Own National Park!!!

Here it is, your chance to own a National Park known the world over for its scenery and wildlife with no strings attached. That’s right, you would be the sole owner! Keep it like it is, Develop it, Scrape it and put up a better one, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination. What an incredible gift this will make for that special person on your list. This National park has it all, towering majestic 14,000′ peaks, the mountains that scrape the sky, teeming wildlife populations that include huge free-roaming elk herds, black bear, owls, eagles, marmots and chipmunks, fish, 11 coyotes, some beaver, Bighorn Sheep, and a pika.

How can this be? you ask. Well what most people don’t know is that *The Institute has a real estate division that often contracts with the Federal government to dispose of property it no longer wants. We were contacted by the Department of Interior to conduct a sale of this National Park due to policy changes that no longer emphasized the focus on Nature and it’s attractions. Since the downturn and sequestering and the lack of attention to the American publics wants and needs it has been decided to liquidate some of our most popular Natural attractions to show our willingness to be fiscally responsible. While this may be disturbing to the few who actually like Nature it is an incredible opportunity for one of you, or a group if you decide to pool your lunch money, to own a huge part of American history, not to mention acreage.

This National Park, which we can not name at this time due to federal regulations, but whose initials are Rocky Mountain National Park, will be offered for sale beginning this week by closed auction. Opening bids start at $20.00 and will continue until we decide that’s enough money and close the sale. Since the Director will have the final say and this is a private sale open only to people we like or that have an impressive amount of money, foreign governments welcomed, any considerations made to the Director personally will be taken into consideration ( for clarification contact the Director at his private number, all offers confidential )  in deciding when to close the sale.

This sale includes the National Park, all 265,761 acres, it’s infrastructure including all buildings, roads, water rights, lakes, ponds and puddles and necessary fencing, any personal effects left by departing staff members, all wild life including any offspring born to said park wildlife outside the boundaries of the park, the food service court located at the visitor center on Trail ridge road, all other concessions connected to the park, anything with the name Rocky Mountain National Park on it, the right to charge admission to enter and set regulations regarding that visit, if you desire to continue allowing access by the public that is, the ability to retain any proceeds from the sale of items left in the lost and found department and other perks to numerous to mention.

Bidding begins at noon December 24th and ends at 12:00am December 31st. Winning bid will be announced January 15th, 2014. All bids are to be in cash or bearers bonds, presented directly to the Director of The Institute by the end of business on December 31st, 2013 and are non-refundable. The Director has sole authority to determine winner in case of tying bids. So here’s your chance to really suck up to the guy. Any inducements no matter how lewd will be entertained. Title will be conveyed by an act of Congress sometime in the future.

National Park bidding begins at $20.00

Take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity and bid early and often. If you aren’t successful on this property there is the possibility that two more properties are on the block for later disposal. We can’t disclose which two but think Big Ditch and Geysers and you’ll be close.

Merry Christmas everyone!

* 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.

Moon Painting

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Several days ago we ran a post titled Cloud Cutting http://www.bigshotsnow.com/cloud-cutting/ where we showed off our new weather modification process we have developed here at *The Institute. Using full disclosure you should know that we have “Applied for a Patent, Trademarked it , Branded it, and are protecting it by (American) gun-toting thugs”, who help us convince patent stealers to cease and desist. We have some of the best thugs in the world right here in our own country and they are all certified pure-bred American thugs with no ties to any other country. Period, End of Story. So rest easy only our real American thugs will call on you if you try to steal our patents. The Institute prides itself on buying American and keeping our hard-earned American money working here at home.

What happened was we forgot to tell you about one important aspect of our new technology. It is also as new and revolutionary as our Cloud Cutting program. We have named this new process Moon Painting. We know it’s not a very original name and doesn’t have that new pizzazz that some of our other high-profile programs do, but we wanted this new process to be identifiable by everyone, even if you have trouble analyzing new ideas or English is your seventh and final language. ( Hey we’re not knocking non-native English speakers. We applaud you on your efforts and thank you for trying). Half of our interns do not speak English all that well. In fact many of them do not have a discernible language of any sort, we communicate with them by American sign language and flash cards and loud yelling. It is a fact that if  you yell loudly at them in a language they do not understand they will many times nod as if understanding your meaning and go away and do stuff. Sometimes it is even what you want them to do. Sort of.

But back to the important topic at hand, Moon Painting. Here’s how it works. The moon comes up many times after dark during the month and always it is the same old boring white. Boring being the operative word here and white being the accepted moon color for ages. Our surveys show us that frankly, the majority of you are sick of it and would welcome a new color. This was electrifying news to us as we had been secretively working on the now released Cloud Cutting program, which was only financially viable during the day. We needed another revenue stream that would fill in the rest of day, the dark part, with money generating ability. It was then when someone at one of our interminable staff meetings, we forget who, yelled out “Hey, what about the freaking moon, eh? It works at night. We should like, work on that.” He said ‘eh’ again, which is so redundant the 100th time you hear it that we have chosen to omit it from now on, we don’t care how many times he says it.

But how to paint the moon? What we needed was a “long Throw” projector. Hitachi, NEC, Christie, all make a long throw projector but we needed a very Looooong Throw projector. Like 238,900 miles long. We tried daisy-chaining a bunch of them together to get that extra reach, but that didn’t work. We tried using big fat mirrors the way the huge telescope at Arecibo works but that didn’t work either. Then one of our senior staff members who spends way too much time on Craig’s list found an old used Hubble telescope that had returned not to bunged up to Earth that we could buy really cheap. Like $260 bucks cheap although we had to pay for shipping which added like a humongous charge to it. Those folks at the Post Office even made us come and pick it up. They refused to deliver it and were snotty about it besides, which is something we intend to bring up to the Post Master General the next time we’re hobnobbing at the White house.

So, we built our own. That’s right, our very own long throw projector. After all we had our old unused ShopSmith woodworking tool, an intern with most of his fingers intact, and the hearts and minds with the collective will to do the impossible to make it happen. Yes we used the Hubble as our core and also three of those Hitachi Cp-WU8461 at ten grand a pop, our second largest expense, and using our own proprietary procedures that we’re not at liberty to disclose, built an adequate but serviceable projector. We say adequate because it does have a few wrinkles to work out yet. We use Thomas Edison’s largest light bulb ever made which is 14 feet tall, weighs eight tons, and shines like the dickens to provide our light force. We could point it at you out there in the heartland or even farther but we don’t want to put your eye out. This thing is bright. You can actually see the last one (we bought the last dozen of these bulbs they had in storage) at the Edison Museum and Memorial Tower in Edison, New  Jersey. However big as the bulb is it only lasts for about 26 minutes at full power and about two and a half hours at half-strength which produces a washed out color that isn’t all that appealing. At full strength though Virgil, it’ll flat paint that moon any primary color you want. See actual image of moon being painted above. This was taken just two nights ago and we were able to keep that moon painted nearly 8 minutes before that old Edison bulb blew, taking out the mounting ring at the back of the projector, bending the mounting tube on the Hubble’s rear flange and the wall behind it. Scared the bejezuz out the operator and most of the county below the proving grounds down there on the flat lands. The lights below the moon are from the interns’ village where the substitute interns live and wait for their rotation up here at The Institute.

Our plan is to have the kinks worked out of our projector by the end of October, hopefully in time for Halloween. There are plans for many novelty projections on the moon such as a Smiley Face, Peace Symbol, Ying-Yang symbol, caricatures of your favorite or most disliked politicians, the list is endless. Plus some corporate advertising, we got to make this thing pay for itself someway. For more information or pricing please send Self-adressed stamped envelope and six dollars American money, preferably gold or silver certificates, to Tell Me More, The Institute, Northern Colorado. Please allow six to eight weeks or an even longer undetermined amount of time for delivery.

* 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.

 

 

Calm After The Storm

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Well we’re back after a whirlwind visit to Washington DC. That is a busy place. There are people there everywhere, standing on corners, sitting in black suburban’s with tinted windows, running through crowds to catch the Metro, carrying attaché cases, talking into cell phones, frowning a lot, people in uniforms with large automatic weapons and the occasional mean looking dog, befuddled tourists with maps and they all look busy. Our mission there was several fold. One, was to help out our friends in government, which didn’t go all that well. We thought we might have had a hand in balancing the budget and planning strategy for finding peace in the middle east but as it turned out that was a mistake on our part. When we approached some of our policy makers they told us that they had people working on that all ready and didn’t need any help. In fact they had so many people on it they thought they might have to lay some folks off. Not wanting to be the cause of some bureaucrat losing their job we said “Put our name on the list and as soon as somebody quits or gets fired, call us.” So far we haven’t heard back yet. We stand ready to do our part at a moments notice however.

The second reason for our visit was to locate and identify some of my children who have taken up residence there in Washington to do good work in the private sector. We found them despite their repeated efforts to move to different houses and assume other identities. Once they knew that resistance was futile they welcomed us with open arms and we had a wonderful visit. Different children from other parts of the country flew in and soon we had a full house. Everyone was in good health and reasonably aware of their surroundings. Nobody fought, we didn’t get sick of each other, and there was even a damp eye or two when the visit was over. Some cynics have remarked that was probably due to relief that it was over more than anything else but that was totally inaccurate. We had extraordinary adventures some of which I can relate and others I can’t but as a visit it couldn’t have been better. Let’s just say that we know where most of the lighthouses on the Potomac river are and let it go at that.

The Third reason we went, uhm, I can’t remember the third reason we went. So, nevermind. Our mission was twofold then.

But like all trips it’s always good to get home. The disappointment of not being able to revise the tax code while there in Washington began to dissipate as I checked The Institute grounds to see how we fared while I was gone, everything was perfect, and after a good night’s sleep in my own bed I’m ready to face the world again, refreshed, happy, and glad to be back where things make sense. The image above is one where things are clean, simple and full of colors designed to calm the most agitated souls. Washington DC was an experience every American should have, it shows that we have the best government in the world even if they don’t want the excellent ideas some people bring to the table. It’s good to be back at the helm of The Institute again and I can’t wait to begin all the important work I said to hell with when I left.

Make the pilgrimage to Washington DC. It’ll open your eyes, make your feet hurt, deplete your wallet, show you what bad traffic can really be like, and cause you to swell with pride from all the good seafood, I mean see how America truly works. You’ll find it’s great to be an American.

A Murmuration

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Lately there has been an explosion of news on the major networks, NBC and CNN to name just two, about murmurations. Well two rather small announcements actually, one very visible and the other I sort of had to hunt around for. But when was the last time you heard anything about murmurations at all. Been a donkey’s age hasn’t it. One murmuration was in Israel and the other was in England, where they go absolutely nuts about anything birds do.

So what is a murmuration you might ask, well according to Wiktionary it is as follows,

murmuration (plural murmurations)

  1. An act or instance of murmuring. (I know, that really helps doesn’t it.)
  2. A flock of Starlings.

What it appears to be in real life, is a huge flock of birds, usually starlings but can be other kinds too. This flock photographed at Bosque del Apache wildlife refuge, is made up of mostly red-winged blackbirds. They gather together in extra-humongous numbers that apparently makes them kind of nuts or something, as they will all take off and fly around aimlessly but enthusiastically, until one of them decides to land, then they all land at once and make noise. This is repeated endlessly.

There are supposedly many scientific studies that explains why they do this. Money has been spent and mans hours accrued by these scientists watching these birds to figure this stuff out. They say that they have figured out why there is this nutso behavior and have published their findings in some awfully prestigious publications. I looked at one and all I can say is it made my brain hurt, your mileage may vary. If you really have to know what they said, Google murmuration – expensive scientific studies, and it’ll tell you more than you ever wanted to know.

Of course our scientific community here at *The Institute has already figured this all out and we didn’t bill the government doodley-squat in American dollars. We sent a team out to look at them, those red-winged blackbirds, take some pictures, kind a talk amongst themselves for a while, go to lunch, take a short nap after lunch, come back out, check them out one more time and come home. Total cost about 12 bucks for hamburgers at McDonald’s, which we fronted out of our own pockets thank you very much.

Our conclusions were a little different from the scientific types and as we chose to use American, as spoken by everybody on TV as our language, this makes our report a little simpler to understand. Here it is in a nutshell.

These birds are not your average run of the mill dummies. Yeah some of them may look goofy but they’re not. They learn by watching and when they see one of their neighbors grab a seed out of the dirt or find a worm or something they pay attention. They are also greedy by nature and want that worm or seed for themselves so they go right over there and try to take it away from that guy. All of these birds in one place at once, squabbling over a bug causes a commotion, and some of the other birds and it only takes one, freak, jump up into the air and that tears it. Now they all jump into the air and being paranoid figure that the other guy knows where the better food is and they are not going to let him out of their sight for a second.

Hence the flying around in perfect unison. They pack so tightly together that nobody in the middle can even see anything so the guy on the bottom of that murmuration gets a chance to see something, like a juicy bug down there in the weeds, and goes for it. When that happens the result is everybody dives for the ground and you get ‘murmuration’. One of our observers came up with the thought that they fly so close together because they totally believe the guy next to him knows where he’s going, when the truth is not one of all those birds, and we’re talking like, thousands, have a clue. Yes, it creates pretty patterns in the sky but it is not a display of higher intelligence.

 

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Murmuration is said to be derived from an old English word or medieval Latin, ‘murmuratio’, the meaning of which supposedly sounds like the murmuring of a crowd from the sound the huge flocks of starlings make as they form at dusk, back then when it was medieval. Well it does if the crowd is making a screechy, raspy, squawky noise similar to fingernails on a blackboard and you have a hangover. But since this word ‘murmuratio’ comes from old English who even back then really liked all things birds, they probably thought it sounded beautiful. To each his own. Just remember these English guys medieval or not, like warm beer and eggs fried to the point of incineration. Just sayin’.

Murmuration is a world-wide event that the media is trying to play up as a special thing that only happens in exotic places like Europe and the Middle east but nothing could be further from the truth. We’re having murmurations all over the place right here in the USA. This one was in New Mexico, we saw one up in Wyoming of Franklin gulls visiting for  a day that put on a great show, and that was just a bird squawk above the state line from Colorado.

I hope we’ve taken some of the mystery out of Murmurations and helped you to understand one of Nature’s little quirks before you get led astray by expensive and some say unreliable studies even if they get on TV. As always if you have any questions about this subject or anything else for that matter, call us, drop us a line, we’re from The Institute and we’re here to help.

*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, Never mind. Return to your daily activities. Thank you for your support.

Last Tango In Bosque

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Sandhill cranes are one of the bird species that uses dance as part of their mating ritual. Many species do this but since we’re talking about Sandhill cranes we don’t care about them. In fact let’s ignore them entirely. They can get their own post from some other blogger.

Sandhills have a unique childhood as they are constantly uprooted, traveling back and forth between various nesting and feeding grounds, never staying in one place for more than a few months. They are the avian equivalent of the Roma or as they ‘re more commonly known, travelers, or gypsies. Consequently they have developed some bad habits such as stealing grain out of farm fields, throwing raucous parties where they spend the day singing ribald songs and dancing, and consequently are unwelcome in many of the areas they frequent.

It’s the dancing we’re addressing in this post. The uninhibited, wildly abandoned, provocative dancing. This is primarily a “G” rated blog but occasionally we come across behavior that we simply must point out so that you, the reader, can take what ever protective measures you choose to keep your children, or even yourselves, from being unduly influenced by this hedonistic display of licentiousness.

We were shocked when we came across this overt display in the normally sedate Bosque del Apache bird refuge in southern New Mexico. This is a place where thousands of birds congregate during the winter. Snow geese, Ross’s goose, ducks of all kinds and you could move from one place in the refuge to another and see these various birds and ducks behaving in a civilized, normal manner, and aside from an infrequent squabble, never exhibiting any aberrant behavior.

But then this quiet garden of Eden was discovered by the travelers, or lets call a bird a bird, the Sandhill cranes. Suddenly the harmony of this gentle resting place was shattered all to heck, excuse us but an event like this moves us to use harsh language, by the arrival of flocks upon flocks of these noisy, argumentative, unapologetic, cranes and everything changed.

Suddenly the blatant exhibition of their sexually charged mating rituals, which they held right out in the open for anyone to observe, was rampant. Everywhere you looked there was dancing, and as the more worldly among you surely know what that leads to, we don’t need to follow that path to its conclusion.

Surely a group of individuals whose moral compass has gone so wildly astray could not prevail but sadly, that is not the case. Due to their unrestricted behavior there are now thousands more of these Sandhill cranes and there has been a huge effect on the surrounding areas. Where once this had been a quiet farming area, now the fields are decimated by the hungry opportunistic cranes. Farms have been abandoned and the empty homesteads litter the edges of the refuge. What were once prosperous farms have been turned into the playgrounds of these dancing, squawking, devil-may-care, footloose wanderers.

Above you can see two of these young cranes beginning what is one of the favorite dances of these unfortunately immoral birds, the Tango. Brought up from South America by a group of Argentinian travelers and introduced to their naive American cousins this new dance has swept through the flocks like the pox it is. Now you can see countless pairs of Sandhills performing this dance before heading into the privacy of the surrounding reeds to complete their mating ritual.

Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be any antidote to this terrible affliction and all we can expect is to see more and more of it in the future. One hesitates to use the word shameful on a group of individuals whose only way of defending their actions is by a strangled sort of gargling that is their voice, but for civilized people it is hard to accept their licentiousness. At this point we are suggesting that the public refrains from bringing small children to the refuge during what is now called the mating season. We hope that by person-cotting the refuge the birds will get the hint to tone down their behavior and we’ll see the last tango at Bosque.