Surrealism and Turkeys A Holiday Story


Surrealism is seldom affiliated with Turkeys or the day in which we eat them. It is usually thought of as an art movement where in the words of one artsy art guy, its aim was to “resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality”. It’s like a really big deal in art circles and everyone who knows about it is very proud of their knowledge. Mainly because most real people don’t know what it is and the art guys get to look very smart when they talk about it.

So whats that got to do with turkeys, Thanksgiving, and the proper preparation of their carcasses. Normally we’d say not much, but in the case of our free-range turkeys here on *The Institute’s grounds it’s a very big deal, huge actually. Because of the fact that our Institute’s hunters, I mean gatherers go out and collect about 150 male, female and children turkeys to feed our staff, interns and hangers-on each Thanksgiving, the turkeys have become very adept at camouflaging themselves in the weeks leading up to their Day of Doom as they call it. So adept that they have changed their DNA and developed strategic methods of keeping themselves from being harvested.

In the image above you can see one of the abilities that they have developed which is to project a dreamy, fog enshrouded look, a surrealistic mood if you will, to hide their passage past the commissary and its lurking Turkey harvesters. How is this possible you ask? It took us a long time to figure this one out ourselves, but after capturing one male turkey and giving him a tour of the modern hygienically sterile robotically equipped turkey processing center and offering him immunity, he spilled his guts (figuratively speaking) and showed us his genetically improved body. There are glands beneath their wings that will emit a heavy misty fog like atmosphere around them as they walk and flap their wings. The more they flap the greater the fog until they are virtually undetectable. This is pretty remarkable if not unbelievable when you think about it.

The turkey above is one Mrs. Breton with her children Andre, Cecily and Yolanda, A Surrealist of the first order, heading off into the far reaches of the Institutes back country until the holidays are over. As they pass through the fog they utilize the other major protective defense they have developed, a substance they call turkey sweat which is secreted by more glands on the bottoms of their feet. As they walk they leave a trail of this turkey sweat which has strong hallucinogenic properties that are picked up and dispersed thru the fog causing anyone within 800 yards of the turkeys to see things very differently. Everything becomes extremely surrealistic. Kind of like that acid trip you came down from once while rafting down the Colorado river and watching the walls of the Grand Canyon turn vivid hues of color like an old Technicolor movie before melting and threatening to capsize the boat.

We had been wondering why our Turkey harvest had gone from the hundreds down to like four this year. Now we know. Everybody connected with harvesting the usually plentiful flock of birds has been sitting around in the meadow chewing on grass stems and looking at the sun for long periods of time. Although we have our anti-hallucinogenic department working feverishly on an antidote to the Turkey problem it looks like we’ll be having sauerkraut tacos with fried okra and perhaps some spaghetti dumplings for Thanksgiving dinner this year. But that’s better than nothing at all which is what the Canadians have each year as they thoughtlessly continue to not celebrate Thanksgiving. They’re fat, dumb and happy up there eating moose parts with lard cakes and spam balls dipped in pine needles. But that’s their choice. If they weren’t so nice we’d hold that against them.

We hope to have the Turkey problem under control next year at this time but in the meantime everyone here at The Institute wishes you a very Happy Thanksgiving. If you feel funny later in the day it was probably the turkey. Just lay down for a while. It should be ok.

* 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.

Cloud Cutting


Many of you long time readers are aware of *The Institute’s weather modification program. We developed this ability to modify and even create certain kinds of weather early on in The Institute’s development. This was done for many reasons, all of them altruistic, but mainly for money. The Institute is expensive to run and maintain and we seek funds wherever we might find them.

We have different projects in the works constantly to fund our operation, from our innovative metal can retrieval program from the roadsides of our Nation’s highways to assisting NASA with their Space Program by supporting probes to Uranus and beyond. We have an outreach program where we have housebound or incarcerated individuals address envelopes for various corporations to help keep the Post Office’s Junk Mail program alive. That keeps untold dozens of postal workers busy and gainfully employed. There is no project too small if it assists us in maintaining the integrity and longevity of The Institute and brings in a buck or two.

Our supremacy had been untouchable in the weather modification arena and we had been so far out front that you had to jump up in the air real high to even see our dust. Then the Aussie’s got in the game. Man, they are tough. Their program to limit rain and cause desertification of huge areas, if not all of their country, has been unassailable. Our program to “drought up” California has been good but we can’t even touch what the Australians are capable of. Which is difficult for us to admit. Right now they’re the ones we watch.

Because of their (we’re talking about those miserably overachieving Aussies here) ability to make inroads into the weather modification business in general, we have had to look for other areas of the business to augment our extensive programs. We believe we’ve hit on something the rest of the WeatherMod group hasn’t touched yet and that is the untouched field of Boutique Weather. This is a small business at this time but we think the potential is absolutely enormous.

There are many very wealthy States that have incredible tourism businesses. States like Colorado, Utah, Arizona ( a biggie ) Montana, parts of New Mexico and when they pay their bills (which is why we have them in a “droughtie” right now) Northern California that are looking for that edge to keep those tourists coming in and to keep them there longer. That’s where we come in. We are already supplying many of those states and other small touristy kind of countries with custom-designed sunrises and sunsets. With our new custom “Cloud Cutting” ability we can custom tailor those sunrises and sunsets by ‘cutting’ the edges and shapes of the clouds so that they can feature or highlight a tourist drawing element, by allowing the light to be directed on them for maximum viewing pleasure. Think, Devil’s Tower, or parts of the Grand Canyon, Isis for instance, where before you had a pleasant sunset that sort of showed off the various elements of the scene, but now with our Patented Applied For “Cloud Cutting” technology, those individual elements can be seen by those money-toting tourists much more clearly and colorfully than ever before. Talk about making it rain greenbacks, we can hardly keep up with the demand for these new custom tailored clouds. Now coupled with our ability to create clouds of any size, shape or profile we feel we have a real winner here. Need God beams, we can do that. Need tiny or large holes or openings in your cloud for extra special effects? We can do that. Right now the sky’s the limit, so to speak.

The image featured above is over the Eastern edge of The Institute’s testing grounds where we work on many of our new weather projects. This is the program at work using the new “Sun nibbling” feature where we are sculpting the edge of the cloud to perhaps highlight a small secluded cove on the Eastern Seaboard, or perhaps one of the little canyons that feed into the Grand Canyon, or a meadow up in Yellowstone where elk graze in the early morning or evening. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

We have high hopes for this new element in our Weather modification program and already interest is running high for this unique new addition and we see big things on the horizon. Watch the sky above and stay tuned for further innovations.

* 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.


First Light


Its been a while since we visited the canyon. The sunrise was so beautiful his morning that our image selector here at *The Institute would not even consider any other picture but a sunrise. The Image selector is a tricky beast. It is actually a small device that sits on the desk of our Image Selecting Department head and chooses the images we use here on the blog by a complicated method utilizing algorithms, coin tossing, electroshock, and a gut feeling of what you the viewer would like to see. The Department head uses a selection method based on Eeny Meeny Miney Mo.

Consequently many times there have been heated arguments over which image to use. The Department head, a wizened little gnome with only one eye, will insist on a particular image while ” the Selector” the little black box with the flashing led’s on the front of it will want another one. There is little compromise between a heartless electronic device and a heartless, mean little man. When it gets right down to the nitty-gritty the Department head will often hit the Selector stoutly about its flat back surface until it yields, or as a really last resort yank its little plug out of the socket. This is very effective, however it has its downside. The next time the department head turns on the selector it will send a spike of 440 volt electricity through the keyboard out of spite. It has a long memory. After losing the first department head they rapidly learned to turn the selector on wearing those heavy, made to avoid electrocution, thick rubber gloves. Since 440v is the same electricity that is used to run hotels, huge electric locomotives, and the setting on the coffee machine at McD’s, it is very dangerous stuff.

Today however was a morning filled with harmony. The Selector chose this image, the department head signed off on it and there  you have it. Beauty for you and for me. This might just be a good 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.

Free Flying



Sometimes you walk around and everything feels heavy, like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. It doesn’t make your knees buckle but it makes you strain mightily to stand upright. You don’t know quite where this feeling comes from but it’s there. Your friends will stop you and say “Hey,dude, (if they still call you dude) you feeling heavy today, or what.” or “Whatsamatter Atlas, the world a little much today.”

That’s when it’s time for you to go to your quiet place. That place where you can sit back, close your eyes, and contemplate your navel, or any other body part you wish to dwell on. Maybe have a nice hot cup of tea, we recommend Twinning’s English Breakfast, but there are no requirements in the quiet place. Have what you want. Eat spaghetti if that’s what makes you feel good. The important thing is to be alone with your thoughts and convert them from dark, heavy, brooding thoughts to something light and airy and easier to handle.

Some people use drugs to do that. Don’t do that. It’s bad for you. Instead we recommend using the method brought forth in The Once and Future King, by T. H. White. That ‘s where Merlin taught Wart how to change into different animals so he could learn and understand some of the facts of life. You can use it for that too if that’s what you need, but you can also use it as a break and a get away from those heavy thoughts, the ones making you sad and irritating your friends.

Personally we like the to turn into a bird, in this case a raven, and leap off into that great wide open space over the Grand Canyon. Yeah, over that part that’s a mile deep. That’s the rush that changes your outlook. You’re light as a feather, or maybe a whole bunch of feathers, and all those heavy, ugly thoughts are spiraling down into the depths of the canyon.

You can glide in great swooping circles or hover in one place against the wind, or dive and soar or tumble in huge somersaults over the yawning maw of the canyon. Man that feels good. Now we like the bird part best but your mileage may vary. If so pick something else to change into and go at it. The deal is when you’re all done, all those miserable thoughts should be history. Unless you let them back in again. We  would caution against that. Be happy. It feels better.

If I Had A Hammer


It was  a cold, cold Christmas Eve in the Grand Canyon. There was no wind but that just intensified the cold, giving everything a deep blue look. The lodge was still a half mile away and the lights beckoned me forward, each step closer to the beautiful yellow warmth radiating from each window across the canyon, that far off rim seeming weeks away.

The light was nearly gone and my cameras felt like bricks as they weighed against my chest as if they each weighed 50 lbs. a piece. After a full day’s shooting their weight begins to double or triple as you make the long trek back home. When it is dark out and you’re cold and you still have a long walk in front of you, you begin to see things that you might normally just walk by, never noticing their beauty because you have places to go and things to do. But now with nothing else to occupy you other than placing one foot in front of the other, these little things become visible and more intriguing.

Like this handsome wrought iron fence. The park service in its infinite wisdom placed this fence along the edge of the canyon to keep the unwary from rushing up and accidentally hurtling themselves over the side. Apparently tired of hearing the screams as the unlucky made the mile long descent to the canyon floor below, they erected this barrier to promote public safety. They needed the barrier of course, what with the tendency of the public nearly out of their minds with the beauty of Canyon, to save them from themselves, but they didn’t have to make it beautiful. But they did.

As I wearily approached, the very last ray of the setting sun broke through the high-flying clouds to illuminate just this small portion of the fence. A celestial spotlight saying “Look here. Look at this thing that man has made.”. Each blow from the hammer visible on its surface, the resulting texture with the patina from long exposure to the elements a ripple on the surface of the metal. The top edge of the rail rounded over from the countless caresses of unnoticing hands rubbing its surface as the crowds stood and looked out over the majesty of the Grand Canyon. It  would be easy to not notice this small bit of detail that accents the grandeur that is this spectacular place, this Grand Canyon. And most did not see this fence as such, it being that utilitarian device it is, it just kept them and theirs safe as it was supposed to.

But things look different as I mentioned before, when you are cold and hungry and far from home. Still when you are given a present like this, this tiny showcase of fleeting light and dark and texture and patina, plus the ability to see something common in a new way, a way that shows you the true beauty of everyday things in everyday life, you stop and take it in and marvel that these everyday things in our life can be so beautiful.



Evolution Of A Fairyland


In the realm of magical places you normally see the place as a finished project. You don’t see all the effort it took to complete the process. For instance Yellowstone appears to be a finished magical place. Yes there are still changes going on but they are minute and incremental so that you hardly notice any change occurring at all. Same with the Grand Canyon. The water still wears away the rocks surface but unless you have the ability to sit very still for incredibly long periods of time you don’t notice it. We consider these place “Done” and don’t expect any thing more from them. They’re perfect just the way they are.

There is one place however where you can still see the transformation taking place. That place is Bryce Canyon. The evolution from a beautiful and magical site continues right now at an accelerated pace and becomes even more incredible as the transformation occurs before your very eyes. Although this transformative process is taking place throughout the park there is one spot where it is occurring at a phenomenally rapid speed, geologically speaking.

That spot is Fairyland Canyon. Fairyland Canyon is a special area slightly removed from the main amphitheater area that Bryce Canyon is most noted for. It takes a little hiking to get there but once you’re there prepare to be astounded. As you can see in the photo above, the Hoodoos are changing from the beautiful deep red rock into a creamy white, icy frosting color, a rare shade in Nature. Eventually when this process is over Fairyland will be a small jewel box filled with towers and spires and rock formations of the deepest shades of white and cream that will gleam like polished ivory in the soft light of the sun and be impossibly beautiful in the moonlight. I would not go there unless you want to fall deeply, irretrievably in love as that would be what would happen if you were to see it in the light of a full moon. So be careful who you take there.

The Institute has observers that keep constant check on the rate of this change as we were the first to note it happening and they have noticed that it appears to be accelerating faster and faster. Their calculations show that at the apparent rate that this change is undergoing the entire Fairyland canyon area will be completed no later than the 19th of October this year.

That’s an astounding figure, geologically speaking, anyway you look at it. The geologists that we brought in for a second opinion were frankly skeptical but then we realized they worked for the government and couldn’t be trusted to give an impartial collaboration for fear of being out of a job. First they didn’t notice this phenomenon at all themselves, and secondly felt completely outclassed by The Institutes trained observers. Our people’s ability to come to conclusions and process this information in a lightning fast manner that made us look so good, was beyond their rigid thinking and inability to veer away from the accepted scientific approach to interpreting geological behavior. Their way takes so much time and we have better things to do than sit around for millennium waiting for something to happen when we can just formulate new predictions and hurry the entire process up.

So that’s what we’ve done. Using all of our expertise and lack of knowledge, not to mention our complete disregard for current scientific conventions, we were able to formulate, confirm, publish and be out of there with an entirely new way at looking at geological evolution before the other guys even had a clue about what was happening. But that’s how things are done at The Institute. We bring you the latest, newest, most unconventional approach to science and the world, so you are among the first to know “What’s Happening Now!” science-wise. Yes we know it’s incredible but you’re worth it.



Italian Morning Bosque del Apache


It has been said that if an artist has real talent they will often have an aura about them that extends outward from his presence. This aura extends out to a distance that corresponds to the artists talent. The more accomplished the artist the further out his influence or aura spreads. Leonardo Da Vinci had an aura that went out approximately 1130 miles. This would be a radius not a diameter. This aura will leave its influence on anything that it touches. This is why some of those old European towns like Venice and Florence look the way they do. Leo walked down their streets.

There are many of those old retired painters of the Renaissance, Leo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Giorgione and many others. Most of these painters have made their money and are no longer painting. What many people don’t know is that all of these artists traveled extensively looking for inspiration, seeing the sights, trying to find new colors that they could incorporate into their work and generally taking advantage of frequent sailing miles they had built up in their travels.

Of course everywhere they went they left their indelible mark on the landscape. Giorgione was a frequent traveler to the New World and one of his favorite spots was to hit Bosque del Apache whenever he was in the neighborhood. Since passport control was fairly lax at that time, there aren’t many records left that document exactly where in his travels he visited, but there is one telltale method that can be used to determine where he has been.

That would be an aura check. Each of the artists had a distinct and identifiable aura once you learned how to identify them. Rembrandt and Michelangelo both leaned heavily into the Chiaroscuro style which was very heavy influenced by extreme contrast and heavy use of brighter colors, gold, silver, etc, which is why if you walk by the coliseum you will see part of it in bright golden sunshine and the other side of it in deep shadows. That’s the Michelangelo effect. Giorgione liked a lighter more open palette, lots of soft backgrounds, muted shades, not so much contrast, earth tones, and highlighting the primary subject in his painting.

Since the last undocumented visit by Giorgione was roughly March 18, 1510, which was a Friday, his aura is beginning to fade a little. While when it was new, you couldn’t even walk in Bosque without tripping over his aura. Now not so much. But every once in a while when you least expect it the landscape will explode into his palette that had been imprinted onto the landscape when he was here as if he stood right beside you. That is exactly what happened when this image was made. Prior to taking the photo the landscape had been drab and uninteresting, almost boring. Then the sun came over the rise and activated the Giorgione aura and you can see the result. Soft muted colors, perfect earth tones, it’s all there. What a joy to be able to see and bask in the reflection of such talent, let alone document these events. We heard that Michelangelo had visited the Grand Canyon so we’re off to see what effects his aura has had on that masterpiece. We’ll try and post that visit later.