Grand Canyon Diorama

This is the proposed sketch for the new Grand Canyon diorama. Due to possible governmental budget cuts (by shortsighted bureaucrats and other government officials with comb overs), where our National parks’ funding for upkeep and improvements is considered a frivolous and unnecessary expense, we have been contacted by the state of Arizona to create a diorama that would be viewable from the various lookouts and other vantage points most used by visitors today. This would be undertaken to help offset some of the detrimental effects that would occur from this shortsighted but lucrative action.

The officials of Arizona, where some of you know the Grand Canyon is currently located, have indicated a growing concern for the likely loss of tourist dollars if large portions of the Grand Canyon are closed to view. The new Wingnut in charge of overseeing our Nation’s National Parks and wildlife’s well being and good health as well as other parts of our citizens lives and freedoms here in our good but not great enough yet country, is proposing that not only should funding be cut for the maintenance of our park system but actual use of the parks should be curtailed as it would be more beneficial to the overall public good if those individuals who insist on visiting our national parks and take nonprofit advantage of its beauty, would stay home and tend to their coal burning furnaces and visit places more suited to enhancing our economy, such as the various golf courses, gambling casinos, high-rise hotels and other privately owned profit centers.

To aid in encouraging this new type of activity large areas of the Grand Canyon will simply be blocked off and closed to viewing. Some of it may simply be filled in and leveled off for building new golf courses, gambling casinos and high-rise hotels and to make it simpler to mine the minerals that may lie beneath now useless land under the Colorado river drainage. This hither to now unused property has not yet been fully developed to extract profits that could be gained by strip mining, river diversion, etc.

Well this could be an unmitigated disaster as there are many people here in America who like to go to these areas, especially the Grand Canyon, just to look at it. They like it. It makes them feel good in a way that is different from losing their money at the craps table in high-rise hotels with gambling casinos. They, the visitors, spend money on bumper stickers, frybread, the occasional hotel room, binoculars to look into the Grand Canyon and other national wonders, t-shirts with pictures of the Grand Canyon on them and phrases like “I’m with Dumbass” and arrows pointing in different directions indicating where dumbass might be, margaritas, sunglasses to replace those that fall into the Grand Canyon, new $8000 digital cameras with even more expense lens’s and straps to keep them from falling into the Grand Canyon when they’re leaning closer to get better pictures, sunburn prevention systems, and tattoos of the Grand Canyon, as you can see the list goes on and on.

With all of the possible catastrophes that could and probably will befall our most scared traditions and places we like but don’t really make the kind of money that large commercial ventures make, the officials of Arizona called and said “Hey, looks like we’ll need some dioramas. Better get busy.” What you see above is the first draft of one of the new Grand Canyon dioramas we are preparing for installation as soon as word comes down to kill the parks. This will be slightly different than our usual 3-D dioramas such as the one in Yellowstone National Park as we cannot get the necessary permits to construct and install our normal fiberglass and concrete dioramas. Instead this will be a 6 mile wide by 47′ ¾” high canvas roller, much like the old window shades you used to get at Woolworths. Remember? The kind that if you let them go before they got to the bottom they’d snap up and roll around the wooden spring thing at the top of the window making this cool flapping sound, then the canvas is mounted on tasteful cast iron or aluminum 60′ uprights shaped like Saguaro cactus in front of each view that you can no longer see as it is gone.

We’ll only be installing these on the South rim as there won’t need to be any for the North rim. Access will not be available to the public as that is where the bulldozer ramps and conveyor belts down to the canyon floor will be set up. Plus the tailings from the ore extraction will be dumping back into the river and that would be dangerous for the public to go wandering through that stuff.

We’d prefer to do the old style diorama as we have to cut slits in the canvas of these new ones to let the wind through so they don’t shred themselves. But since we can’t, there it is, make the best of it. Since most people have short little spans of attention they most likely won’t even remember what the real deal looked like anyway.

It looks like we’ll be making dioramas for the full 137 miles of the canyons length as once these new directives go into effect they’ll be busting hump to get this place shut down and development underway. Let us know if you like the new look of the replacement or not. We’re  going with it regardless but it’s always fun to hear  what you think about it.

In the interest of full disclosure the image above is a photograph taken at the Grand Canyon then run through several versions of software that includes Photoshop (Yes Virginia there is a Photoshop and we use it) to produce an image that looks like a painting. But then you knew that just by looking at it.

Yellowstone Diorama

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This idyllic scene of a herd of grazing buffalo in the Lamar valley is not what it seems. It is a specially constructed life-size model prepared by our master dioramaticians here at *The Institute. Many of our readers know that there are many divisions, departments, sections, areas, teams, worker bees and bee-ettes, programs, units, centers, groups, systems, agencies, bureaus, commissions, that make up The Institute. We even have an office just to keep track of all the different divisions, departments etc. where important work is done.

One of our lesser known departments is the bureau of Procurement, Construction and Installation of Dioramas or PCID as it’s known in the trade. It is there that we make the amazing dioramas that you see in many of our National Parks and other places where they don’t have adequate scenic areas for the public to view.

If a National Park or even a scenic-poor state such as Utah or parts of Arizona want to dress up their highway systems with dramatic views they will contact The Institute where we will develop a plan to add interest along some of their more desolate roads, thereby transforming those roads into revenue-producing Scenic Byways. The State or National Park then has the option of adding roadside stands, local entrepreneurs, and whatever local color they think might add interest.

Another use for our patented, modular, fade-resistant, weatherproof dioramas allows game-poor parks such as Yellowstone National Park to have animals in scenic environments on demand for those times when the live animals are not present or have been killed off by local residents around the park.

Our unique but uncanny ability to mimic local conditions, coupled with incredible taxidermy techniques allow our experts to create dioramas such as this Diorama of a buffalo herd along the roadside in the Lamar valley, that defy detection by anyone cruising by it at 45 – 60 mph. Plus our patented Extend-A-View ™ Dioramas let us create dioramas that can extend for several miles along an otherwise dull and boring road, keeping the occupants interested and thinking of lunch or possibly souvenirs of the amazing “Scenery” they are passing by. We can also supply a more complete package with our dioramas that include a complete line of scenery specific souvenirs, knock-down roadside stands, trained actors that can simulate the local culture and color, plus accessories such as a live horse that can be tied to the side of one of our retail units providing sure-fire traffic stopping appeal. Other animals available upon request.

No detail is spared when you order one of our complete dioramas. The diorama above, our deluxe Buffalo Extravaganza, includes approximately 1800 full size American Made, Plains or Mountain Buffalo, each with life-like glass eyes and true-to-life coloring, plus a large assortment of cottonwood trees all with drip tube watering systems, or if necessary due to budget constraints, these trees can be constructed of a special weather-resistant Paper Mache guaranteed for 3 years, and our own proprietary turf made of recycled tires.

Many of you have driven by our dioramas and didn’t realize it. Those of you who have visited Zion National Park and marveled at the Desert Bighorn sheep located near the tunnel at the east side of the park will be surprised to know that was our model “Desert Bighorns and Laser-etched Rock Formation #66903”. Or perhaps you have been to the Mt. Evans Scenic Byway in the Rocky mountains where you will have seen one of our largest installations, the “Mountain Goat and Craggy Scary Drop-off Cliff  installation,  #994216-a”. We provided all the natural looking gray boulders that litter the mountainside and installed close to 3000 life-like Mountain Goats and Bighorn Sheep all over the 14,000’+ mountain, some of them animatronic in nature to provide movement and interest for those hardy tourists wheezing by the side of the road.

We are currently working on a secret installation of a completely different nature than we have ever attempted before, for a not to be named city near Puget sound. The parameters so far are for us to provide a complete aquatic diorama that will include sea life such as ship-resistant whales and animatronic Orcas, or killer whales, that can do tricks such as flip baby seals into the air and catch them in their mouths, plus many other items too numerous to mention. Estimated date of installation will be early 2019.

The next time you’re on a vacation in Yellowstone and see some spectacular looking scenery look for the little brass plaques saying “This Scenery provided by The Institute” to the trees and other hard surfaces and give one of our buffalo a good rap in the side to see how life-like it feels. You’ll be surprised.

* 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.

Unattended Landscapes

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Listen up America! we have just discovered a huge and growing problem in our favorite National parks. That problem is “Unattended Landscapes”. That’s right, some of our most desirable sought after landscapes, the very reason many of us go to these National parks, are being left unattended. Look closely at this image and you will see that there is not a single attendant anywhere. We even went down there and looked around the corner at the river and yelled a lot to see if anyone would answer and there wasn’t a soul.

This particular landscape happens to be on the Firehole river in Yellowstone National park, a park known for its attention to wildlife and the comfort of its visitors, and we found that not only was this portion of the landscape unattended but there were great huge stretches of the river that did not have a single person watching it. We were stunned. What is happening here? We pay enormous taxes to run this country right and we find that there are huge gaps in the allocation of that money. At least as far as protecting our scenic treasures goes. What is that money being used for? Sneaky, stealthy new bombers that we can send to wreck other people’s scenic areas? What about us. What about our important problems?  Where are the concrete attendants shacks? Where are the white hybrid cars with the big national park stickers all over the doors? Where are the attendants? Where are the klieg lights to turn on to see if anything is messing with our landscapes after dark? This is shameful. Is this happening in our other National parks as well?

This is a question we intend to pursue and we will get to the bottom of this situation. There are the makings of a national disgrace here and we’re not going to stop until we have examined every national park, scenic highway and byway, every national monument, state, county and local park, all those scenic areas on federal land that are visible from the highway, anything that looks landscapey, until these areas are fully attended and protected. We believe the problem of Unattended Landscapes is going to be our next national crisis.

Some of you may be saying “What’s the big hairy deal, some of these places have been unattended for a long time.” Well our response is “Yeah, So what ? What are you a communist?” There’s lots of reasons we need to attend to our scenic areas. Things have changed since Teddy Roosevelt was around. We’ve got more people now and some of them are bad. We’ve got people who want to mow down all the shrubbery and drill for oil in the middle of the Firehole river and there’s terrorists that want to sneak in and blow up a tree or something. We’ve got no idea what can happen. Some of these scenic places are irreplaceable. You don’t just go in there and stand them up willy-nilly wherever you feel like it.

We know that some of you may have already noticed this situation and perhaps even begun acting on it but we need everyone to support this important movement. We cannot leave our God-given scenic areas to the happenstance of nonchalance. Get involved. Volunteer. If nothing else go to an unattended scenic landscape and park your car and watch these places. Be an attendant. If you’re unable to spend weeks or months at a scenic site, write your congressman. Send emails to politicians running for office, find out their viewpoints about this problem, then vote your convictions. We’re going to. Several times if it will help. OK then, this is our month to attend to a particularly scenic site along Highway 287 here in Colorado so we have to go. Remember, Pay Attention, Do Your Part, and Be Involved, it’s the right thing to do.

 

 

The Egg Inspector

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In our long-standing tradition of bringing forth new and unusual information about our animal neighbors the Director and instructors here at The Institute would like to unveil a new program. It is called Our Animal Friends At Work or OAFAW. Periodically we will feature the occupations of our animal neighbors and highlight their activities and responsibilities.

Given the sheer size of our collective national parks, monuments, refuges, natural areas and other places where the public can come and view the scenic wonders and abundant animal life, humans cannot perform all the jobs required to maintain and keep these areas in working order. Consequently some of these operations have to be delegated to our animal partners.

Our first featured guest employee is a hard-working dedicated individual who is in charge of a very important position at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Utah. Meet Chief Inspector Long-tailed Weasel, or simply LT as he is known to his colleagues. He has a very important job here at the refuge in maintaining the integrity and quality of the eggs that are produced by all the different species of migrating birds that stop off here at the refuge on their way to somewhere else.

Literally thousands and thousands of migrating birds pass through the refuge and many will stop off and lay their eggs in nests, depressions in the ground, nests hanging from the bullrushes ringing the shoreline, or for those who can’t be bothered just laying them anywhere they happen to feel like. Without supervision and guidance there is ample opportunity for mishap or just a general lessening of quality of the eggs produced here. That’s where LT the Egg Inspector comes in.

He works tirelessly but ceaselessly, observing, locating and entering every nest he can to check the egg clusters integrity. When he finds a nest his first job is to check on the eggs within for quantity, color, size, conformation, shell integrity, and the well-being of the contents inside the egg. This he does by performing a procedure called CIOEIU (pronounced SEE-Oh-E-EEW)  or Cracking It Open, Eating It Up. If in his opinion the egg contents bear further investigation he will proceed to perform CIOEIU on each egg in the nest until he is sure the viability of the eggs is correct. This is a thankless task as he gets little or no support from the owners of the nest, in fact he is harassed and discouraged from performing his duties at every nest he checks. But he perseveres because that is his job and he must perform it regardless of public opinion.

There are many selfless dedicated animal volunteers that perform thankless tasks like this every day of the year to keep our natural areas open and operating at peak efficiency. Without them we would be overcome with problems that we would be hard pressed to solve ourselves, so we thank you Chief Inspector Long-tailed Weasel and all others like you for doing what needs to be done. Because of you Nature is a better place.