Death Of A Willow

There had been a tightening of security around the Willow tree in the forest near a highly classified area close to our current location. We noticed the tree had been scrutinized by several agencies and even had some type of corrective or punitive surgery, some might say preemptive but we know punitive when we see it, performed in the recent past. Limbs had been hacked off willy-nilly. Untreated wounds were left to heal on their own. It had been rated a Def-con 3 type tree before but lately something had worried the inspectors about its possible interior health and it had been upgraded to Def-con 5 status. This is a severe rating normally only given to a tree thought to be in imminent risk of implosion and usually means corrective if not terminal action needs to be taken quickly.

Prior to any drastic action actually taking place in cases like this such as cutting it down to its nub, or yanking it out root and stem, an arborist is sent in to monitor the tree due to its poor condition. Massive limbs had been mysteriously tearing loose from their moorings high in the canopy of the tree and falling to the ground dozens of feet below. Obviously, havoc ensued amongst those standing or living below it. Each of these limbs weigh several hundred pounds or more and become deadly though unwieldy missiles as they plummet towards the earth at speeds reaching dozens of feet per second. Not quite light speed but fast enough to slam into something pretty darn hard. Several disturbing reports of small animals being terminated had been bandied about, especially the demise of one LlhasaDoodle named Eugene, when he was discovered under one of these errant limbs. Nothing but his four little feet remained sticking out on either side of the heavy branch, his bright little toenails the only sign of joy in that sad scene. The only good news was that due to his now current flatness he was able to be interred in one of those Priority Mail, small flat rate boxes that they give out free from the Post Office. The handy dimensions of the side loading box (8 11/16″ x 5 7/16″ x 1 3/4″) lessened the financial burden on the bereaved owners and made it easier to insert little Eugene with the minimum amount of bending him significantly and speed him on his final journey.

The arborist after being assigned to this tree, in this case an orange-shafted flicker, immediately began extensive boring into the heart of the tree to ascertain what kind and how much damage was really there. You can see the main shaft it had started directly above its right wing. Extensive work had been done by the flicker to drop the main shaft into the vein of misery that had developed near the center or heart of the tree. Unfortunately it was not good news for the tree. The news was bad, in  fact, real bad. A condition known as “TreeKablooey” which taken from the Latin means “that which is ripped asunder”, or to clarify further as it is known in lay terms ” Whoa, Ja see that, that sucker just all swolled up of a sudden and blew itself to begeezus.” This is normally a terminal situation for the affected tree.

The flicker in a vain attempt to save the tree was in the midst of performing a risky and rare procedure called a Tree Colostomy which is technical arborist talk to describe a surgical operation in which a piece of the vein of misery (the affected area of bad crap making the tree miserable) is diverted to an artificial opening in the abdominal wall of the tree’s trunk so as to bypass a damaged part of the mess affecting the tree. That would allow all the bad stuff causing the tree to blow its limbs off to drain harmless down the side of the trunk. Unfortunately it didn’t work. Not only did it not work it aggravated the problem by creating another route for the built up pressure to escape. Now it was every man, bird and squirrel for themselves. The Tree Removal Specialists or the Bring Out Your Dead team was placed on standby and notices were sent out. It looked like the end for a huge old willow that had steadfastly stood there was for decades.

One of the tenants of the tree alarmed by the frequent seismic disturbances that traveled up and down the tree’s trunk came down to find out what the problem was. When the arborist explained the situation to him his immediate response was “What about my nuts? How will I protect my nuts?” The flicker tried to explain that the tree was doomed and about to disintegrate, not to mention blow the hell up, and he should worry more about himself and any loved ones he had and less about his nuts. But as sound as this advice was it did little to soothe the frantic squirrel who takes his nuts very seriously. “Move your nuts now if you’re going to!” yelled the flicker and began a warning drumming on the tree to alert any other tenants who might have nuts or any other valuables to protect who hadn’t gotten the message yet that they should flee. There was a flurry of activity as the various tenants began scurrying about carrying off their valuables in their beaks or in a small rucksacks attached haphazardly to their persons. The squirrel having finally settled down was seen dragging his own nutsack, in which he had all of his important nuts, down the tree to safety. Lives were saved, but unfortunately not the tree. It wasn’t long before there was a huge explosion of sound as the main branch then the other lesser branches following closely behind, shattered and broke loose.

Then there was nothing left but a pile of broken branches, leaves, twigs, empty nut shells, displaced bark, and other debris to mark the site of a once great member of the forest. Even the mighty trunks or limbs most as big around as a Russian swimsuit model had fallen and shattered. It was well and truly a spectacular death of a Willow. Could this have been prevented? I don’t know, maybe. Did it happen at all? Uhmm maybe, probably not, but it could have. Stuff like that happens all the time. Do squirrels worry about their nuts that much? Yeah, I’d say they do. And with that we leave you with the warning “Do not your house build under the large Willow for it might just come crashing down and bust your crap up.” Just something to ponder.


Moon Painting


Several days ago we ran a post titled 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.



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.


Cowboy’s Monday Morning – Bull’s Saturday Night

This post has been moved to All future postings of Powwows, Indian Relay Races, Rodeos and Rendezvous will be posted there from now on exclusively. So if you’re looking for new images and posts for all those events attended this year, plus all the old posts posted on check out See you there!

Last year at The Blackfeet’s annual North American Indian Days or NAID we had a chance to observe this interesting phenomenon during their rodeo. It was a short little presentation of how the cowboy’s and the bulls get along. If you had any thoughts that bull riding was like professional wrestling you might think again as both the cowboy and the bull would try and convince you otherwise.


The title of today’s post is Cowboy’s Monday Morning – Bull’s Saturday night. The cowboy is having a Monday morning due to the fact that for whatever reason he neglected to hold on very tightly to the Bull rope, his lifeline and anchor point to remain seated firmly on the bull’s back, and to maintain the proper posture required to look good to impress any ladies watching. This lack of attention on his part meant he would soon be leaving the safety and comfort of his seat on the bulls back.


The bull being very, very sensitive to the rider on his back has been waiting impatiently for this slight error to occur. When it does that is the beginning of the Bull’s Saturday night as things begin to become very entertaining for the bull. There will dancing and singing and prancing in the street as the bull capitalizes on the cowboys lack of attention.


As the bull causes the separation of the cowboy from his back he just glances back slightly to make any corrections in his form and to check that the cowboy will land in the spot where he can bring his hindquarters squarely down on the cowboys chest. This is called “stomping the cowboy silly” in rodeo parlance. The bull enjoys this part very much.


As the cowboy lands perfectly and shows the proper amount of discomfort the bull raises his hindquarters for a perfect two point landing on the cowboys chest. This is called scoring and usually gets the bull big points. The cowboy not so much. His score is rapidly going down the tubes right now.


Here we see the bull performing his trademark happy dance, similar to when a football player scores a touchdown. He is very pleased at this point. The cowboy isn’t as thrilled with how things turned out and is actively thinking that the job down at the Post Office doesn’t sound too bad at the moment.

This is just one little story of the constant battle between man and beast and rodeos and photographers and Blackfeet bull riders and rides to the ER and extra hay for the bull and all things rodeo. This time things went in favor of the beast. Next time Man might prevail. It’s up to you to decide who you want to vote for. In this particular battle the odds are slightly in favor of the bull. But every once in a while the cowboy wins. That’s nice too. How’s your Monday morning going. If it is better than the cowboys, well hell, go get yourself another cup of coffee. You deserve it.