Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas San Diego, Ca. March 2012

Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas San Diego, Ca. March 2012
Eddie Arana, Rick Thibodeau, & Chris Bakunas at Luche Libre Taco Shop in San Diego, March 2012

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Some Days You Just Have To Say, "I'm Going To Build A Scottie Dog!"

                                                      First, sketch out the general idea

This year one of my New Year's resolutions was to sculpt something. Well, I have had the idea of building a Scottie dog bench/nightstand/side table rattling around in my head since I saw something like it in a magazine a few years ago.

Today, I decided I was going to kill two birds with one hammer, and build the Scottie dog dealio, figuring it would not only take one of my many lingering ideas out of my head, but also qualify as a sculpture, thus fulfilling the aforementioned New Year's resolution.

Yes, yes it does. Creating anything in the shape of something is technically sculpture.

                   Second, draw the idea on some scrap CDX and get busy with a jigsaw

After I sketched out an approximate idea of what I wanted the Scottie dog to look like and came up with what I thought were appropriate dimensions, I drew up a materials list. 

I would need:

1 piece of 1/4" scrap plywood or CDX for a template
1 eight foot by four foot sheet of 1/2 inch plywood for Scottie dog parts
1 eight foot 2 X 4 for the support struts
94 1&1/2" 8d bright finish nails
12 2" wood screws
Wood glue

As luck would have it, I had all of that on hand in the garage. All of the tools I'd need were there, too.

 Using the CDX as a template, draw two Scottie dogs on 1/2 inch plywood and cut them out

Since the Scottie dog was fairly rectilinear, it was easy to sketch out using a T-square and an angle. After cutting out the template with a jigsaw, I used it to trace two Scottie dogs onto the 1/2" plywood, then cut those out with a table saw and the jigsaw.

         Next, you have to measure and then cut out all the other parts of the Scottie dog

Using the table saw again, all of the pieces that would connect the two sides were cut from the 1/2" plywood. I also cut the 2 X 4 into the pieces needed for the support struts.  

              Side one nailed to the bottom of the legs and small struts added for support

Now that all the component pieces were ready to go it was a simple matter of nailing them all together.

   Use a quality wood glue on all contact surfaces to ensure the Scottie dog stays together

Every surface that contacted another was given a liberal application of wood glue.

       Drill pilot holes for the nails - it'll save you from the headache of splitting plywood

As plywood is notorious for splitting when nails are driven along the grain into the sandwich layers, pilot holes were drilled about 3/4's of the length of the nails.

                Add the other side and start filling in the shape of the Scottie dog

I like to work from the bottom up, so the bottom of the legs were attached first. Note that the 2 X 4 pieces that the support struts will rest on are also added at this time - much easier to attach them to the sides before building up too much of the Scottie dog. 

              Almost done - notice the two support struts under the top of the Scottie dog

The last piece to be attached is the top - the Scottie dog's back if you will. The supports are already screwed in place, so it just needs to be fitted in and glued/nailed tight. 

                Still need to add wood filler then sand and paint...but it's structurally finished!

There she is! What a beaut, eh Clark? Of course I still have to use wood filler to fill in the seams and then sand and paint, but that's for another day.

This took about six hours to accomplish. Not too shabby for my meager carpentry skills. There are a few things I would tweak if I build another one - miter edging all the component pieces, maybe adding hinges to the top to make it usable for storage, or possibly adding a drawer. 

Hah! Who am I kidding? I'm happy just to have gotten this much done.

Disclaimer: If you want to build one of these, please be careful! Power tools, especially power saws, are very unforgiving. Watch your fingers at all times - keep them away from blades!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sell Smart To Smart Shoppers

The badlands of Utah

In the world of sales, the most successful salespeople know that if there are only two attributes that a person depending on sales to earn a living should possess, then those attributes should be first and foremost honesty, and second, a keen sense of propriety.

Most people will readily see the importance of honesty, If you represent a company's products falsely, it won't be long before the truth gets out and you will no longer be able to sell the product. Heck, if you work for any company with the slightest measure of integrity, they will most likely fire you immediately for falsely representing their product.

A good salesperson is always upfront with both the qualities and limitations of the product they are selling. A great salesperson takes the time to learn what it is the customer expects the product to do, then marries the customer to the product that will do that specific task for the customer.

However...that can be a difficult task when a customer throws a wrench in the gears with a condition that subverts the customer's own expectations of product performance. That wrench is usually price. Each and every salesperson with a week or so of experience has encountered the customer who wants to purchase the equivalent of a 2013 Maserati GranCabrio for the price of a '93 Ford Festiva.

The general public has been deceived by marketers into believing that price is the single most important consideration when making a purchase...which is, of course, bullshit.

Quality, from the intelligence of the design to the practicality of the engineering to the materials used and  the level of craftsmanship of the worker all factor into the value of a product. The value of a product is the single most important consideration when purchasing a product, not price.

That is due to the inescapable truth that, no matter how low a price you pay for something that is inherently garbage, you are still trading your hard-earned dollars for garbage.

This is where a keen sense of propriety comes in. Propriety in sales is the ability to first ascertain what matters most to the customer - buying a product that will serve them well for as long as they need it, or buying a product that will serve them as a short term solution until they are able to move on to a higher quality  product.

Otherwise known as fitting the customer's pocketbook to the purchase. 

For years salespeople had been trained to raise customer's expectations (and thus, what they were willing to spend) by offering solutions to their cash crunch in the form of easy credit.

Well, easy credit has pretty much screwed up the economy, at least for awhile. It's long been time to return to a more conscionable means of enticing purchasers.

The Internet, and specifically it's access via smart phones, has made it possible for consumers to compare not only prices on like products while they are right in the middle of a transaction, but get customers actual experience with the product.

A consumer can access Google and enter the name of the product+reviews and in seconds have access to every Internet consumer forum that has an opinion on the product.

That makes it imperative for businesses to learn how to market their products appropriately. 

For example, a company that manufactures cheap sofas can advertise exactly that: "This sofa is inexpensive because it's made with a stapled together pine frame and has 13 gauge sinuous springs that will not support anybody weighing more than 110 pounds comfortably for more than a year. But hey, you're young and your taste will probably change in a year anyway, so you'll be able to put it out on the curb sporting a 'free' sign with very little remorse."

Conversely, manufacturers of quality products can learn to advertise the actual benefits of their products while explaining their higher price: "Sure, our sofas are priced ten times more than the crap at Wally's Wonderful World of Warehoused Furniture, but it has a kiln-dried hardwood frame with eight-way hand-tied 9 gauge hurricane coil springs that will comfortably support anybody weighing up to 300 pounds for at least twenty years. Think about that. Twenty years of not having to endure the drudgery of sofa shopping."

"You get what you pay for" should be printed on ads for every product sold, much like the Surgeon Generals warning on cigarettes.

Okay, okay, I admit that would probably never work. But a man can dream...

                                     John Ruskin laying down some truth

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dumb Diddy Do

                                       Thunderhead at sunset, Southcentral Colorado

As we all know, life can be both good to you and maybe a little cruel, almost at the same time.

Consider this: You could have been a member of The Exciters. The Exciters were ostensibly a girl group, though there was one male member - the husband of the lead singer (Herb Rooney - remember when people named their kids Herb? Me either). 

Brenda Reid was the aforementioned lead singer - Herb and Brenda are the parents of Cory Rooney. Seriously.

Back to the point. The Exciters had a huge hit a little over a half century ago with "Tell Him" - that was life being good to them, as that song got as high as #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1963 and it's still played on oldies radio ("Tell Him" was actually a rewritten version of "Tell Her," A song written by Bert Berns and recorded in 1962 by Gil Hamilton, aka Johnny Thunder - not to be confused with ex-NY Doll Johnny Thunders).

Still with me? Okay, The Exciters, almost an all girl group, also had a few more hits. One of those songs is sung every single day by soldiers in training around the world.

That song is, of course, "Do Wah Diddy Diddy" (There she was just a walkin' down the street...) -  made famous by the band that covered it after hearing the Exciters rendition, Manfred Mann

No one ever recalls a girl group singing that song - that's the life-is-cruel part.

Feeling like Paul Harvey right about now. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Not Feeling Miserable, Not Running Low On Luck

                                                Near the town of Jefferson, Colorado

I wasn't born under a sign
Leaning any particular way
Nothing's happened this afternoon
That has me longing for yesterday

My baby hasn't left me
On a southbound train
I haven't been sitting around
Crying from the pain

The man from the goverment
Isn't coming to take me away
For failing to fill out a tax return
And refusing to pay (oh yeah, lawdy, yeah)

Oh yeah, baby, oh yeah lawdy lawdy
I'm not feeling sad at all

Not feeling miserable
Not running low on luck
Gotta full tank of gas in my pick up truck

Oh yeah, baby, oh yeah lawdy lawdy
I'm not feeling sad at all

No, no I'm not

There's no storm coming
Doesn't look like it's going to rain
No need to batten down the hatches
No need to run from a hurricaine

No woman's been playing
Games with my heart
Can't say I have any desire to leave town
To get a fresh start

Not feeling especially restless
Sleep comfortably through the night
Haven't been tilting at windmills
Everything's just been alright (oh yeah, lawdy, yeah)

Oh yeah, baby, oh yeah lawdy lawdy
I'm not feeling sad at all

Not feeling miserable
Not running low on luck
Gotta full tank of gas in my pick up truck

Oh yeah, baby, oh yeah lawdy lawdy
I'm not feeling sad at all

No, no I'm not

Oh yeah
Baby, baby, yeah
Oh yeah
Gotta six-pack in the 'fridge

Make me a grilled-cheese sandwich and some tomato soup

Friday, February 22, 2013

What's Worse Than A Short Attention Span? Fixated-On-The-Meaningless Attention Span.

             Taken with a Nikon D70, 300mm lens, from a distance of 100 yards or so

So, I'm watching this old Frank Capra movie, "You Can't Take It With You", and one of the characters (the Patriarch of the Vanderhof's) says:

Lincoln said, "With malice toward none, with charity to all." Nowadays they say "Think the way I do or I'll bomb the daylights outta you."

Which hit me two ways. First, I realised that all Lincoln did was paraphrase "Peace on earth, good will towards men.", so yeah, everybody plagiarizes, and second, being as how the movie was made pre-WWII but well after WWI (1938, based on the play of the same name that debuted in 1936), who was doing the bombing of whom?

The play the movie was based on was written by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, two extremely talented American playwrights of Jewish heritage. I mention their Jewish heritage only because at the time the play was written, Fascism was on the rise in Europe, as was the virulent anti-Semitism that led up to the Holocaust.

Knowing this I thought maybe the "Think the way I do or I'll bomb the daylights outta you." line might be alluding to what was going on in Europe at the time.

Of course I got on my phone and did a bit of research. I soon discovered that the political philosophy of Fascism had existed for about 20 years when the play was written. Fascism, as most people with a bit of education are aware, is an authoritarian ideology that espouses a single-party state that represses any and all opposition to state ideals, and actively persecutes enemies of the state, whether they be individuals or entire populations deemed to be "undesirable."

The thing is, the history books don't show a lot of actual bombing of people who wouldn't toe the Fascist line at the time (at least in Italy and Germany, the two countries recognised as Fascist in Europe at the time), and though there was a lot of racially-motivated violence in those countries, the infamous Kristallnacht was more than two years in the future when Kaufman and Hart wrote the play, and in fact, the film based on the play was released a full three months before Kristallnacht.

Add to that the fact that the line is not a statement declaring that people of different ethnic, racial, or other such biologically determined classification are in for a bombing - it is clearly a statement demanding a shared ideology, political and the like, or else.

Is it possible "Think the way I do or I'll bomb the daylights outta you." as used in the play/movie over 75 years ago could have been inspired as much by the storm clouds forming over Europe as by the actions of the Anarchist and Communist zealots who were actively sowing dissension and promoting the more violent interpretation of the "Propaganda of the deed," in order to promote their specific political philosophy? Were they the subtle target of Messrs. Kaufman and Hart?

I wrestled with that question for awhile, then I turned the TV off. The movie had been over for awhile and due to my preoccupation with that one line of dialogue, I had missed what the heck was actually going on in the film.

Which is a drag, because I really like Capra films. Oh sure, they tend to lean towards the sappy, but they are entertaining.

I really need to learn to shut off the ol' phone and it's access to the internet once in awhile. It's affecting my ability to just relax and enjoy a show.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Dance A Ballos With A Hellenic Venus

    Quite possibly the cutest puppies in Texas, if not the entire continent of North America

It was her voice that caught his attention
A singer's voice 
                      Sharp, clear and captivating
                      As she spoke
He looked upon her as if she was 
       A sculpture in a garden
       Carved by the skilled hands
       Of a divinely gifted artist
                      Her hair cascaded in curls 
                      Long and black 
                           Her body 
       Womanly curvaceous  
There never will be a time 
       When he doesn't remember 
                    That evening in May
He walked over to her without hesitation
                      Begging forgiveness 
                      For intruding
But would she indulge 
                      Just one dance

As they moved across the dance floor 
                             He was
                      Drowning in a vision 
           That he knew would never leave him
           And he became overwhelmed 
           By that deadly combination 
                      Of desire and appreciation
But he refused to say the words 
                      That begged to be let out of his mouth
Just this one time he would not
                              The music stopped 
                              And he walked with her 
           Back to her friends
Saying goodnight 
           He turned away 
                              Motioned to his friends
                              It was time to go
                          So he left 
                And every now and then 
                He relishes the memory
                When he chose to retreat 
                     Before shattering  
                     Another delusion 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Room With A View...Of The Interstate

                                            Better than average hotel room, 2/20/2013

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Eightball In The Corner Pocket

Scene: A dive bar, the kind all good Film Noir movies have at least one scene set in. Time: 1:38am on a Friday night.
   At the bar sit five people, two women, Sharon and Diane, and three men, Stan (there's always a Stan), Alan, and Phil. All of them are sipping or stirring their respective drinks nonchalantly. The bartender is stage right, out of the audience line of sight. A sappy country and western ballad can be heard emanating from a mono jukebox.

Diane: Well damn, I figured one of you would at least be a gentleman and buy a girl a last drink for the night! 

Phil: (Looking down at his drink) Buy your own damn drink Diane, it's not like you got anything anybody here wants.

Diane: (Angrily) Screw you Phil, I'm the best thing you've ever had a shot at!

Sharon: (Stirring her drink, looking towards the door, back to the bar) Huh! Not at this bar.

Diane: (With a hint of a sneer) Don't be writin' checks your mouth can't cash Shar, everyone knows you're a dead fish in the sack

Sharon: Up yours Di, at least I don't leave a man hangin'

The three men all turn and face the two women, and Sharon turns toward them. Alan lifts his beer in a toast motion, his action signaling the other two men to raise their glasses and touch his.

Alan: (With a half laugh) Yeah, she's got you there Di, not a man you ever been with hasn't complained about you leavin' 'em with blue balls.

Diane: (With a hint of contempt) Yeah, I like to leave 'em for your queer ass to finish off Al, you oughta be paying me for that.

Phil: Damn, another Friday night and I'm hanging out with you clowns again. I gotta sell that crap farm my Daddy left me and get my ass down to Baton Rouge. At least there I can get some fishin' in.

Stan: Yup, that's what you oughta do, suppose.

Diane: You'd lose your ass the hour after you got there Phil, those casinos would suck every dollar out of your wallet quicker than either Tina or Linda ever could!

Stan: Yup, she's right about that Phil.

Suddenly the door to the bar slams open, causing all five of them to jump. Two scruffy looking young men storm in, both of them waving shotguns.

Bad Guy #1: (Waving his shotgun threateningly) Nobody move! Anybody move and I'll shoot you! Everybody put their hands on the bar where we can see 'em!

All five of the bar patrons look at the two scruffy men nervously while putting their hands on the bar.

Bad Guy #2 (Pointing his shotgun towards the ceiling) Where the hell's the bartender! Hey bartender, get your ass out here or you're goin' have a bloody mess to clean up!

From stage right the bartender, a large-ish man in his forties, appears. He is drying a beer glass with a bar towel as he walks towards the center of the bar.

Bad Guy #1 (Pointing his gun towards the register behind the bar) The money! Give us the damn money!

Bartender: (His eyes size up both of the scruffy men calmly) You two sure about what you're doing? Do you know who owns this bar?

Bad Guy #2: (Looking about nervously) Shut the fcuk up! Fcuk who owns the bar! Just give us the money! Now!

Bartender: Alright, no problem (Puts down the beer mug and towel, opens the register, starts removing all the bills)

Bad Guy #1: (Scornful, but curious) Whaddya mean? Why should we give a fcuk who owns this fcukin' bar?

Bartender: (With a hint of sinister warning) This bar belongs to the Angels man, they're probably not going to be very happy with it being robbed.

Bad Guy #2: (Looking nervously at his co-hort in crime, both notice all the biker paraphernalia on the walls) What? What the fcuk are you talkin' 'bout? The Angels? Fcuk Gary, we can't rob this place.

Bad Guy #1 (Angry) Fcuk! Okay, okay, don't give us that money! C'mon' Ron, let's go, C'mon'!

Both of the scruffy men turn tail and run out of the bar. The five customers all turn toward the bartender. 

Phil: What the hell Bernie, that was ballsy as all get out. Everybody in town knows O'Reilly left this dump to Catholic Social Services to fund the orphanage!

Bartender (Bernie): Yep. Owned by the Angels. I gotta call the Sheriff and get him the DVD of those clowns before they hurt somebody. You guys want another beer, Alan's gotta pour. Don't leave 'cause Ty will probably want statements.

Bernie heads off stage, the sound of a phone being dialed can be heard over the jukebox. Alan walks behind the bar and starts re-filling everybody's mugs. Phil shifts his seat so that he's sitting next to Diane. Sharon and Stan move next to each other. Lights fade as the sound of a police siren is heard in the background. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

On This Train, The Conductor Has Snapped

Coal train derailing in slow motion
Falling off a trestle like a viper striking out at prey
And missing

The engine billowing smoke, the wheels spinning
Railcar after railcar pitching into the void
Chunks of coal falling like hail

Fireman was told to build up a good head of steam
The conductor was in no mood for going slow
Got both eyes on that last terminus

The driving wheels grabbed the rails
As the pistons churned in the cylinder blocks
The blastpipe played an angry tune

The brakeman yelled that there were no carrying wheels
To help the big locomotive through the turn
But the conductor wasn't having any of that

On the valley floor the train now rested
In a crumpled heap of mangled iron and human life
The conductor has arrived at everyone's final destination

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Nine Years Ago This Month

                                                                 San Diego, 2012

Dancing to a song written by John Cougar Mellencamp
With a woman who just left her abusive boyfriend
For what she said was the last time
                Buy me a drink
                She said
                I need someone
                To make me feel
                Tell me I'm safe
                She said
                I need someone
                To make me feel
                Listen to me
                She said
                I need someone
                To make me feel
       The song ended and we took our seats at the bar
       She placed her hand over mine and smiled
       Looking at her I couldn't smile back
                There was a time
                When I would have taken up
                Her offer
                As it would have been better than being
                Through some inexplicable
                Twist of maturity
                I learned
                To listen when that little voice says
                Life has been kind
                Never demanding
                A harvest of
                The wild oats I've

Misery Of The Braggard

                                              Choice Accomodations

Everybody has that one person in their life
                  Who will not shut up
                                              About who they know
                                              Or what they know
                                            About what they've done
                                              Or what they can do

I am guilty of having been that person on countless occasions
It's a tad embarrassing to admit

If there was a way 
I could erase the memory of every person
Who has ever heard me claim

I would.

Except for the true stuff

Especially the one time I got it right

Saturday, February 16, 2013

It's Out There For The Taking...Always

                                                                        Arizona 2006

Somebody mentioned
                 That it was quite possible
                 That there were still wonders to be revealed
And all I could do was agree
                 Vistas I had yet to appreciate
                 Delicious foods I had yet to savor
                 Melodious music I had yet to hear
                  Scenic byways I had yet to navigate
                  Delightful people I had yet to favor
                  Mysterious lands I had yet to explore
Without a doubt
                 There is still much to be done
                  If I can fit it all into my schedule
                  The plan is to enjoy 

But do not waste your time
                  Drawing up a list
                  Of what you want to see or do someday

Waste your time actually doing those things

Friday, February 15, 2013

Passive/Aggressive? Moi?

   Long-billed Dowitcher (or maybe it's a Wanderng Tattler - they look a lot alike), Imperial Beach, California, March 2012

A very long time ago somebody decided it would be a good idea to plan for future meals. This person, this faceless, unnamed genius, had been going out everyday to find enough to eat for the day, just as every other man and woman around in the long ago time had been. 

The idea of planning for future meals was no doubt closely related to finding a way of storing food, of keeping it somewhat fresh or at least edible for a few days.

The idea must have hit like a bag of canned hams: "Hey, what if it would be possible to store some of this delicious fruit (vegetables, roots, wildebeest - whatever) so that tomorrow we all won't have to hope that there will be more fruit (vegetables, roots, wildebeest - whatever) around for successful hunting and gathering?"

Maybe the idea occurred after a few days of hunger brought on by failed hunting and gathering, or maybe it was a long-term famine that triggered it.

Whatever it was, someone had to be sitting around with some serious hunger pangs and the thought sprung up: "Damn, If only there had been a way to save some of that wildebeest before it turned rancid and maggot-infested. There must be a way!"

It could have been an accidental discovery, I suppose. One hot day some Cro-Magnon was stripping away the flesh of a fresh kill and laying it out on a rock in order to divvy it up among the group. The strips of meat must of been thin enough and the combination of temperature and time must have been sufficient enough to prevent actual cooking of the meat but also prevent bacterial growth before it dried - the meat was tasted and found to be chewable, not brittle, and tasty.

And a little later in the day, it was found to be still good to eat. Somebody, the Harriet Fasenfest of the Paleolithic, figured out fast that removing moisture from food stuffs, be it fruit, vegetable, or meat, kept it from spoiling and thus food storage was born. 

From there other food preservation methods developed, and it couldn't have been too much longer after that the idea of planning meals hit. "Hey," A cave dweller may have thought, "What if we have a good meal right when we get up, then another when the sun is directly overhead, then one last one for the day when the sun goes down. That way we won't all walk around grumbling about being hungry. Might see a lot less club violence if everybody has a full stomach."

That's a fairly credible hypothesis, eh? Food storage/preservation developed, then meal planning followed not far behind.

Meal planning, as in one person saying, "How about dinner at 8:30?" And the other person saying, "Sure, 8:30 is perfect. See you then."

Oh, I forgot to mention the invention of timepieces. Timepieces made meal planning even easier. 

Easy, as in, when you plan dinner for 8:30, it should be a given that 8:30 is when the food is going to be ready for consumption, plus or minus 10, maybe 15 minutes.

Not an hour later, and certainly not an hour and a half later. 

I'm just saying.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Perfectly Fine Day To Visit The Kirkland Museum Of Fine & Decorative Art

                       The Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

Close to the heart of Denver is a terrific little museum that houses the unique works of one the most talented artists to ever live, teach, and create in Colorado.

That artist was one Vance Kirkland, a man who was born in the small village of Convoy, Ohio in 1904 and came to Denver in 1929 to establish a School of Art for the University of Denver. He served as it's founding Director until 1932, when he resigned due to a conflict with the University of Denver stemming from the University's refusal to grant credit hours for art classes towards graduation. 

                                              Pre-WWII Vance Kirkland watercolors

Mr. Kirkland then proceeded to establish his own art school in a building that Harry Read, one of the founders of what eventually would become the Denver Art Museum, had commissioned Denver architects Biscoe & Hewitt to design and build in 1911. Mr. Read had used the building for his Read's Student's School of Art.

The building, located at 1311 Pearl St. in Denver (right on the corner of 13th and Pearl, you can't miss it), was designed in a classic Arts & Crafts style, and was the home of the Kirkland School of Art from 1932 until 1946, when the University of Denver offered him the Directorship of the Art School once again, a position he held until 1969.

Having purchased the building by the time he was re-instated as the Director of the Art School at DU, Mr. Kirkland maintained it as his art studio until his passing in 1981.

                   B & W portraits of Vance Kirkland next to one of his large Dot paintings  

The building and his entire collection was willed to a family friend, Hugh Grant (no, not the British actor Hugh Grant - this one's American. I have no idea if he can act). In 1998 Mr. Grant set about getting the former studio expanded (it was initially only 3,000 square feet) and after the addition of nearly 8,000 square feet in a style that perfectly complements the original building, the museum opened in 2003.

The museum is curated in a manner very similar to the Gardner Museum in Boston. The exhibits are not segregated into distinctive galleries of differing periods or schools of art, but rather all of the art, furniture, textiles, ceramics, sculpture, etc., is displayed somewhat mixed together like an art salad, though there are a few vignettes that are grouped according to a particular style such as Art Deco, Arts & Crafts, Pop, Modernist, etc.

                                     Vance Kirkland's art studio  

The work of Vance Kirkland is of course a primary focus, and in fact his studio has been preserved in total in order to showcase his very unique method of creating his large canvases. Remember that scene in The Big Lebowski when The Dude visits Maude at her studio and she's swinging from a zipline while spattering paint on a huge canvas? I believe the Cohen Brothers may have appropriated that idea from how Mr. Kirkland preferred to work.

                         Mermaid and Dancers, Mina Conant, late 1970's

The museum also showcases the works of Colorado artists, with hundreds of paintings, ceramics, furnishings, and sculptures from hundreds of local artist and artisans ranging from traditional fine arts to more conceptual and whimsical creations. The body of the collection seems to draw on the 100 years between 1880 to 1980, but there are a number of pieces from the past 30 years as well.

Harvey Ellis designed inlaid drop front desk & chair along with a Charles Rohlfs table and a two-handled Arts & Crafts lamp attributed to the Benedict Studio

The Decorative Art that is featured includes furniture from the Arts & Crafts, Art Deco, Art Nouveau, Bauhaus, and even Pop Art eras. The collection does not feature the work of any one designer or architect such as the focus on C.R. Macintosh at The Hunterian in Glasgow or Florida Southern College's extensive Frank Lloyd Wright buildings collection. However, it quite likely has one of the most diverse single-site collections of Decorative Arts I've ever seen - everyone from Gus Stickley to Eero Saarinen has a piece or two on display.

                            Pantonova Wire Chair designed by Verner Panton, 1961-'66

The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11am until 5pm. Admission is $7.00, with discounts for seniors, students, groups, etc. Active duty Military get in free! 

Wednesdays through Saturdays there are guided tours at 1:30, which is included with admission to the museum. Or you can just wander around by your lonesome.

There is free parking right across the street (SW) from the museum, and there are also a few spaces in front of the museum.

 I highly recommend a visit to this little gem but it should be noted that due to the overwhelming number of objects and art on display and the somewhat tight spacing, children between the ages of 13 to 17 must be accompanied by an adult, and children under 13 are not allowed.