The Bismarck Art & Galleries Association is holding a Member Artist's Exhibit until December 22nd. They've lined up a building full of items from local artists on a variety of mediums. Yours truly has some photography on display as well. The best part? Everything's for sale! That means there's a chance for diaper money; our little boy is due any time.
There's some really neat work on display down there. Jack Kline has some scratchboard paintings that are absolutely intricate. Tim Bumb has some watercolors that would complement any cowboy home. My friend Ken has some photographs on metallic paper that are absolutely spectacular. Please go check them all out!
I only took up photography a short time ago, and absolutely fell in love with it. It's now starting to open my eyes to the Bismarck-Mandan art scene as well. I'd never known much, if anything, about BAGA in the past. There are also other shows in the area, and I look forward to exploring more of them! When I do, I'll pass them along. There are a many such events going on around our fair cities that most people don't hear about, and I'm going to help spread the word.
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I guess they needed the room to pour more footings below. This is the end of the road for foot traffic on the south side of the Memorial Bridge. Actually, the south sidewalk is closed on both ends, and there are construction supplies stacked thereon. But if a person was stumbling across that side of the bridge unawares, he'd end up having a really bad day at the end.
There's actually a pretty good chunk of roadway missing here, too. Anyone who's crossed the Missouri River here can attest to that. While a row of sturdy concrete barriers prevents anyone from driving off the side, there's an open slab on the other side of them. Much of the roadway has been cut away, presumably to make room for the work being performed below.
I remember when this bridge had a grated deck. When I was younger, one of the highlights of coming back to North Dakota to visit family was the ride across the bridge deck, looking down to see the river and boaters below. Sadly, that deck was covered by concrete in the 1990s. It was a real trip taking a motorcycle across that grate, as the pattern of the gridwork would cause vehicle tires to "swim" back and forth slightly as they crossed. It was wild.
I also remember crossing this bridge on my BMX bike in the middle of the night, way back when. I was looking out over the river when I came across one of the metal access panels in the sidewalk. It made a nasty *clang* as I rode over it, and it scared me half to death! I seem to remember there being a patch in the sidewalk at one time that was grating as well, but I don't remember much more specifically about it.
I also remember when there was no Expressway Bridge; in fact, I got my learner's permit the week that it opened. Prior to that, Memorial Highway saw a lot more traffic from the Memorial Bridge. The Holiday Inn there flourished and was probably the biggest hotel in town at the time. I competed in the state spelling bee there in 1982-1983, and President Reagan even stayed there once. After people began to bypass the Memorial Bridge for the new Expressway, the Holiday Inn began its slow demise. It changed hands a few times before finally being condemned, then razed to make way for the new Bank of North Dakota building. It'll be interesting to see what the new bank and new bridge do for the area's development.
As for the title of this post: Where the Sidewalk Ends is a book of funny kids' poems by Shel Silverstein. When I was younger and lived out in the mountains, my cousin Carolyn would read that book to me every time we'd visit her house. During our last visit with her and her husband before we moved back to North Dakota, she gave me a copy of Where the Sidewalk Ends with a nice little note written in the front. I read that book a LOT when we first arrived here in Bismarck. Last summer I dusted it off and read it again, and was able to reminisce with Carolyn about that when we went west on our honeymoon last year. To me it will always be a part of my North Dakota experience; Shel and his poems were there to comfort me when I was a little kid, transplanted (back) to North Dakota and missing my mountain home.
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We North Dakotans like to think we're pretty level-headed folks, and for the most part we're right. Then you get the occasional goofballs like the woefully ignorant ND Peace Coalition, with their affiliations to rabid Communist Party members; Ryan Gustafson and his ilk calling us "the Taliban" because most of us oppose abortion; and this fella, who would probably vanish completely from history if not for some North Dakota bloggers picking up on his story.
This fella, Malachi Ritscher, lit himself on fire on a freeway ramp in Chicago this month in protest of the war in Iraq. Hardly a brilliant political statement, especially because nobody had any idea who he was or what he was doing. If it wasn't for an online suicide note, it's doubtful anyone would still have the slightest clue what was going on in this poor guy's deluded mind.
The scariest thing is that he could very well have been a world-famous assassin, if his self-written obituary was true:
"I have had one previous opportunity to serve my country in a meaningful way - at 8:05 one morning in 2002 I passed Donald Rumsfeld on Delaware Avenue and I was acutely aware that slashing his throat would spare the lives of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of innocent people. I had a knife clenched in my hand, and there were no bodyguards visible; to my deep shame I hesitated, and the moment was past."
North Dakotans have plenty of really scary characters in our midst. Take Cheryl Bergian, for instance. She was the Democrat candidate for Public Service Commissioner, running against Tony Clark. She's a big-time gay rights activist, most notably known for fighting to have the Ten Commandments removed from public view in Fargo. Did that ever come out during the campaign? No.
Ms. Bergian is one of two employees of the ND Human Rights Coalition, which basically is an atheist homosexual rights group. They also link to groups which oppose the war in Iraq, but once that war is over they can get back to championing sodomy and other sexual immorality while trying to remove God from public view. And this activist almost won a seat on the Public Service Commission! Can you imagine what kind of mayhem she could wreak on those evil utility companies from there?
Whether it's a hapless would-be assassin or a cleverly disguised activist politician, we've got all kinds of folks right here in North Dakota. We just need to be a little more self-aware, lest people like this actually stumble into power and start trying to implement the insanity they fight for when they're not running for office.
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It looks like the Wizards are off to a decent start - the Civic Center was hopping pretty good Saturday night with good attendance. They didn't look to be in the best of form, but they were able to perform a buzzer-beater win over the Skyforce. With the talent pool they've got and Coach Joerger at the helm, I'm sure they're going to gel quickly.
One secret to the Wizards's success as a franchise is the way they get local businesses and fans involved in the games. There are plenty of little promos they run during time-outs and quarter breaks to keep the fans entertained. In an area the size of ours, with fans as fickle as ours, that sort of thing is necessary. The Wizards have done very well at it. I've got a short memory, but I'd credit Jane Link and Kim Mueller with developing really fun game-day attractions for the fans. The new crew looks to be continuing in the same fashion, so fans shouldn't be disappointed.
It's interesting to see how the minor league sports are received here in Bismarck-Mandan. Does anyone remember the Dakota Rattlers? Or the Bismarck Blaze / Roughriders? For some reason they never quite took off. Travel 200 miles east and baseball flourishes, while the basketball flops. But it's obvious that indoor football doesn't, and never has, belonged up here in a state where people would much rather enjoy the shorter summers outside.
People really seemed to be enjoying themselves as always at last night's game, and the numbers usually hang right in there if the team's season is going well. I spent a lot of time showing cute kids and that kind of thing on the big screen. We don't have a Kissing Cam promotion this year, so you're safe! I had made a 30-second animated whizbang to kick off the season, but we actually didn't have time to run it. That was kind of frustrating since I spent a while animating and remixing music for it, so I'm going to see if we can't get it going before the starting lineups at the next game. Otherwise I got to be part of the most fun in the place, as our video crew is a group of professionals from around the area that get together and do the Civic Center gigs as a way to hang out and have fun doing what we love.
Actually, the night could have been a real bummer for me: I left the dome lights on in my truck! Fortunately, Lee Timmerman spotted it when he got to the Civic Center. He came and told me and, since I was busy running camera, went out and shut 'em off for me. For some reason my truck's dome lights (there are many) drain my battery in almost no time.
Don't forget to check out the Wizards games this year - they're quite fun. The next home game is Tuesday, December 5th. You can check out their schedule and stats at DakotaWizards.com, which will redirect to their NBA Development League site.
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With the holiday comes the ability to move around a bit, and of course the trusty camera equipment came with as my wife and I did some geocaching. I was about to take her for a scenic loop around Burnt Creek Loop when I spotted this photo through the tree row. Hunting for photos like this is as fun as hunting for geocaches, and there are no instructions to follow!
For a while there I was doing the Thursday Night Sunset and got a lot of pleasant comments about it when talking to folks. Nowadays there have been so many cool sunsets, I've had a hard time confining them to just one day. Then came a really busy stretch with six major videos to be done on a timetable, so I haven't had much time for photography. I've got a bit of a breather here for a few days before my next big deadline, so...here you go!
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