Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Good Ol' Days

Kevin and I have patched up our fractured friendship. We are back to the days of yore when the amiable interaction between Kevin and I included the production of award-winning multimedia presentations. Well, actually Kevin produced them, I just stood around and attempted to offer insightful commentary such as, "Stand here and make sure you talk directly into the mic".

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Cindy and Jesse

As this hug of Jesse would suggest, Cindy Sheehan has finally gone over the cliff of sanity, free-falling into the cavernous depths of the Democratic Party's madness. She joins fellow radicals Harry Reid, Michael Moore, Charles Schumer, and Joe Biden in the desolate desert of insignificance and irrelevance.

This is one news story that the media is running into the ground.

NEWSFLASH: Waggoner offers public apology

NAMPA, Idaho (AP) -- At a press conference just minutes ago, Keith Waggoner formerly apologized to Kevin Moser for what were perceived to be damaging and derogatory remarks about Mr. Moser's former design work.

Keith Waggoner in a post uploaded yesterday to the wildly popular blog site said "Kevin Moser, who is one of the most gifted graphic designers that I know, usually hit a home run when it came to designing posters for the groups. He struck out on this one. Not that we gave him much to work with."

Mr. Moser found this post to be blatantly disrespectful of his creation and responded by posting a defense of his former work (this article can be found in its entirety by visiting or you can simply scroll down) which implicates Mr. Waggoner in a scheme to undermine his reputation.

In Mr. Waggoner's press release, he said:

"After evaluating my hasty comments concerning my dear friend Mr. Moser, I have decided to publicly apologize for my poor choice of words. While Mr. Moser clearly overlooked my compliment in which I stated that he 'is one of the most gifted graphic designers I know', I can see how he could have taken offense at my posted statement. I wish to say that Kevin can make more of nothing than anyone else that I know of. Mr. Moser has been and continues to be the foremost graphic arts expert in the Ohio Valley. While I will not withdraw my opinion that the poster was less than perfect, I acknowledge that Kevin produced a work far superior to anything else being produced during that era. It is my hope that Mr. Moser will bury the hatchet and continue to collaborate with me in creating inspiration for the masses. Thank you."

Immediately following the press conference, Mr. Waggoner was escorted to a waiting motorcade. Mr. Moser was unavailable for further comment.

Everyone gets a fair hearing on Kevin Moser

For those of you who may have not read the comments listed underneath yesterday's archive item, I want to make sure that Kevin has a chance to defend himself. Kevin, go ahead:

Hey, Keith. Before you publicly criticize your humble former graphic designer, you should first walk a mile in his computer! (Thank you, Charlotte Frederick, for tipping me off to this blatant disrespect!)

When I inherited the graphic design position at GBS circa 1994, it was with the title "interim" because I had no experience and no training, other than two weeks of crash-course instruction from departing designer Rob Scott.

My computer was an Apple IIci. Let me refresh your memory as to its incredible power and versatility.

Its original price was $8800! Its computing speed was a lightning-fast 25 MHz! It came with a 40 MB hard drive, which we upgraded to the maximum 80 MB! It came with 1 MB of RAM, which we upgraded to 4 or 8 MB!

Now let's remember the awesome software of that day. Jon was correct that Photoshop did not yet have multiple levels of undo. I could only go back ONE action. Not only that, but my version of Photoshop did not even have LAYERS!! All edits were destructive. I had to plan ahead and know exactly what I wanted to do and how I was going to do it. I had to save multiple copies of the project at different stages in its creation in order to be able to go back to a given point and rework it. But I was limited to how many copies I could save because of the 80 MB limit of the hard drive! Practically every project had to be erased before the next one could commence. Don't forget, the only option for saving a file apart from the internal drive was the massive (ha!ha!ha!) 1.4 MB three-and-a-half inch floppy disk!! There were no recordable CD's and certainly no DVD's.

My Microtek scanner could easily take 45 MINUTES to scan a single color picture! We had no internet. iStock photography was not even imagined and we did not have digital cameras. Any art came from a very limited selection of CD's costing hundreds of dollars or from our Dynamic Graphics Clipper files, which were paper copies that had to be scanned!!

I'm looking at that poster (which you described as a "strike out") and wondering how on earth I was ever able to produce it at all! All of those bevels, embosses, and drop shadows had to be created from scratch! They did not exist as an effect you could choose from a menu.

OK, buddy Keith? Got the picture?!! I'd REALLY like to see what YOU would have produced under the circumstances!!

Still your Friend,
(even while smarting with humiliation from your published abuse)


P.S. You're right. That poster was awful!

Making the Best of a Bad Situation

For those of you what hate to read this type of stuff, just skip this post:

North Dakota and southwestern Montana got hit with the first blizzard of the season a couple of weeks ago. This after the storm update is from a County Emergency Manager in western North Dakota.


Up here in the Northern Plains, we just recovered from a historic event, may I say a weather event of biblical proportions? This historic blizzard arrived with up to 24 inches of snow and winds up to 50 mph. Trees broke in half, hundreds of motorists were stranded in lethal snow banks, all roads were closed, scores of communities were isolated, and power was cut off to tens of thousands. I want you all to know that:

1. President George Bush did not come and was not expected to come.
2. President George Bush did not cause the storm.
3. Global warming did not cause the storm.
4. FEMA staged nothing.
5. No one howled for the government to do something.
6. No one uttered expletives on TV.
7. Nobody demanded $2,000 debit cards.
8. No one asked for a FEMA trailer house.
9. No one looted. No one!
10. Phil Cantori of the Weather Channel did not come.
11. Geraldo Rivera did not move in here to be on camera.

No, we just melted snow for water, sent out caravans to pluck people out of snow engulfed cars and trucks, checked on our neighbors, fired up wood stoves, broke out coal oil lanterns or Aladdin lamps, and put on an extra layer of clothes. You see, up here, you take care of yourself and others and work or you die. We did not wait for some affirmative action government bureaucrat to get us out of a mess created by being immobilized by a welfare program that trades votes for sit at home checks. Even though a category 5 blizzard of this scale had never occurred this early, we knew it could happen. We also knew how to deal with it ourselves.

In my many travels, I have noticed that once one gets north of about 45.25 degrees north latitude, 90% of the country's and world's social problems evaporate. Why do you suppose that is?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Open up the archives

It's Tuesday and time for a trip back to yesteryear. Today, I have chosen a promotional poster for the Harvest Quartet of GBS (circa, 1995) as our highlighted archival photo. Kevin Moser, who is one of the most gifted graphic designers that I know, usually hit a home run when it came to designing posters for the groups. He struck out on this one. Not that we gave him much to work with.

Harvest featured (L-R) Phil Bishop on the piano, Keith Waggoner singing the tenor (yes, that's me hiding behind that hair), Mark Burley on the low end (the picture does him an injustice; he's actually 6'7"), Dave Bittinger as baritone, and Mike Dickinson as lead.

I literally laughed until I cried every time this quartet traveled. Mike Dickinson is probably the funniest guy I have ever been around. His sarcastic comments were hysterical. I would be angry at the guy because he was making fun of me, but still couldn't help laughing.

Mark was probably the best guy for PR GBS ever had on the road. The guy was awesome! He makes friends faster than anyone I know of. He was a fantastic basketball player.

Dave Bittinger, who is exactly 4 hours younger than I am, possessed a fantastic solo voice. One time he made the mistake of telling Mike that he didn't like the way his shoulders were formed, and he never heard the end of it. Every time we would pass a sign that said "Shoulder Work Ahead" Mike had some comment for Dave.

Phil was and is a great pianist. He was also the biggest pest in the world. The guy wouldn't give it up. I remember one trip that we took to Kansas. I was sick before I ever got in the van. We were stopping every few miles for me to throw up. I remember laying in the back seat trying to sleep the flu off, and Phil pestering me. He stopped at a convenience store and got some Cool Ranch Doritos. After eating them, he would turn and blow his awful breath in my face, as I lay there helpless. He bought an ice-cold can of Sprite and instead of drinking it, kept pressing it on my face. It was miserable! And then we would get to the camp or church and the pastor and people would think that he was a little angel. I guess it was because of his cherub face.

This quartet was also known for something else. I'll let you figure it out. But I will say that if you smacked the seat of the van we traveled in up to a couple of years after our tours, the dust that was raised brought with it a dinstintive aroma.

We weren't the best quartet of all time, but I guarantee you we laughed more than any other quartet. Here's to Harvest.

Snowman Art

The funniest comic strip ever is Calvin and Hobbes. Since their retirement, I don't even visit the comics section of the newspaper. I now own all of the the comic collections of C&H put in book form and have found that it's a great way to relax. Hot chocolate and Calvin and Hobbes.

I found Calvin's snowman sculptures to be hilarious, so when I received an e-mail from Diane with a number of his most popular creations I decided to share it with you. If you click on each individual strip it will enlarge for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!

Winter Wonderland

As promised, here are some of the pictures from our snowfall. Believe it or not, we still have snow in the yard. While the picture would insinuate that I built the snowman with Trey, it was actually Lori who did the work. The eyes were olives, the nose was the traditional carrot, and the crooked grin was made up of raisins. This was a snowman with character. By the time I got home from work, the snowman was beginning to melt and lacked some of his original stature.

Trey eventually beheaded the snowman, enjoying the grim task while the olive eyes looked up at him asking , "Why? Why me?" The executioner just raised his head toward the sky and laughed diabolically. OK, I made that part up, but Trey did enjoy knocking his head off.

Trey enjoyed pelting me with snowballs. In fact, we had nearly an hour-long snowball fight. It was great! I have never got to the point where I'm too mature to pick up snow and test it for "packing" quality. As soon as it snows, I have to check it out. There are few activities that produce a more satisfying result that the resulting "thwack" of a thrown snowball.

We used to have some great snowball battles at Frankfort Covenant Academy back in the day. We had loosely affiliated teams, but it usually resulted in the traitorous act of deluging your teammate with snow. It turned into a survival of the fittest.

One of my favorite memories of an FCA snowball fight included my good friend, Jonathan. Usually, Jonathan and I were on the same team, which didn't always sit well with some of the others, particularly Stacy Griffin. Well, in this battle (which was conducted to the side of the school which didn't have windows; we weren't allowed to have snowball fights) accusations began to fly from the Griffin twins that Jonathan was throwing "iceballs", a blatant violation of the rules of engagement. When a person on one team is accused of cheating, the other team justifies the fact that they should be able to cheat, and it just snowballs from there (I know, that was pretty bad).

Well, Tracy distracted Jon from the front while Stacy came up behind him. I was watching this whole thing play out and for the life of me can't remember why I didn't warn Jonathan. Stacy had a two-foot wide section of ice in her hand that had to be an inch or more thick. She brought that down over the top of Jonathan's head as hard as she could. The sound was sickening. Kids 20 yards away stopped what they were doing, having heard the crack. To his credit, Jonathan handled it well. After screaming violently at Stacy and attempting to plant her face in the blacktop, he ran off to the nearest mirror to see if his head was bleeding.

It ended that snowball fight. As I remember, Stacy was pretty proud of herself. "Well, that'll teach him not to throw iceballs. I'm sick and tired of him always cheating." She threw back her head and marched into the school, as self-justified as you can be.

Great days.

Trey bombs my camera with a snowball as I attempt to take his picture.

Is there anything more nostalgic than laying down in the snow and making a snow angel? I did after Trey made his and was instantly transported back to the white-covered regions of Frankfort, specifically 2107 W. Green St., where I made my first snow angel.

I was dressed appropriately. My moon boots leaked (yes, I did wear moon boots) so my mom made me wrap my feet in the plastic bags that bread come in. You never can be too careful was Mom's philosophy. She would always say "this is good pneumonia weather", even though she, nor I, nor any distant relative had ever endured this acute or chronic disease marked by inflammation of the lungs and caused by viruses, bacteria, or other microorganisms and sometimes by physical and chemical irritants. So, I would wrap myself in Aldi's Foods bread bags (we didn't buy the expensive brands), pull on my leaky boots, tug on my wool gloves that were soggy about 3 seconds after stepping outside, and adjust my ski mask that was pulled down firmly over my glasses making me appear as some mutant aquatic alien creature. Every time I exhaled inside the ski mask it would make my glasses fog up. As a result of that and the bread bags I spent much of my time lumbering awkwardly around the yard and then falling on the ground.

So, when I discovered the snow angel idea, I was like, cool, an activity that starts out with you laying on your back in the snow. It was the beginning of an improving self-esteem. Anytime I fell down, I immediately began waving my arms and legs back and forth, shouting, "Yeah, snow angels. I loooove making snow angels!" I was cool.

I really don't know where all that came from.
Trey decided that he wanted to build a collapsible snow tunnel. He got what he wished for. It buried him.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Christmas Lights to the Max

Check out this link:

This guy has produced one of the most forwarded video clips of the 2005 Christmas season. This is one of the most impressive light shows I have witnessed. I was just over at somebody's house this past weekend and we were debating whether or not this was for real. Come to find out, the guy is from Cincinnati. He broadcasts a few different songs using a low-frequency FM transmitter, that way people driving past can listen to the music along with the lightshow (thanks, Carlton, for the newsclip). I just wonder what his neighbors think about it. I'm sure it was cool the first night, but after that it's time to bring out the shotgun.

Be sure to watch this clip with your speakers on.
I received the following in an e-mail from a friend. It will be pretty humorous for my French-slandering readers:

1- Go to the Google home page at < <
2- Type in "french military victories", without the quotes
3- Instead of hitting "Search" hit "I'm feeling Lucky"
4. click on the link for more regarding the French military