Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cannonballs - The Origin Story

Do you remember the first time you stayed up past midnight?

I do.

It was a momentous occasion. Our family was at my Grandpa Bergman’s house over the Christmas holiday. Together with all the cousins, we ate food, opened presents, laughed, ate food, played games, visited, and ate food. This ritual occurred every holiday season. The night would pass by and suddenly it was late. Late for a kid, at least. Turn back into a pumpkin late.

On one such night, I remember all of us sitting around at the end of the festivities. It was around midnight, and we were about to disperse for slumber. The problem was we were all too tired to actually get up and go to our various houses or beds. I was lying on Grandpa’s lavender couch. It was one of those big geometrical couches, not like the cushy sofas of today. It had these wide armrests that were the perfect size for a kid to perch or lie on.

It was late and we were too languid (oooh, big word) to even visit much. As my parents and older siblings tell me, we were lounging in this weary silence when suddenly I disclosed my divine revelation.

At least that’s what I call it. (Cut me some slack. I was eight years old.)
What did I say?
I’m glad you asked. Your life will never be the same after you hear it. I know mine never was (my family won’t let me forget it). Are you prepared to broaden your horizons? Are you sure?
Okay, here goes:
“Cannonballs are heavy.”
I’m not certain where this outstanding observation originated. I recall just staring at the ceiling and letting it escape my lips. I don’t know if I had ever even seen a real cannonball before. (I have since on trips to historical forts. And those metal spheres do look pretty hefty.) I probably figured out the relative weight of cannonballs from watching too many Bugs Bunny cartoons. Thanks a bunch, Warner Bros.

Needless to say, my declaration made an impression on my relatives. Impressed in the same way they burst out laughing during another Christmas. My brother, sister, and I were jointly opening a present. As we did, I thought the gift was a board game we already owned. So I said, “Push Over again!” in an all-knowing fashion. Well, it was not Push Over. It was Sorry!, and boy, was I sorry. Everyone thought my mistake was hilarious—everyone except me.
Live and learn, I suppose.
I encourage you to learn from these writings and resources. Alas, not all of my contributions will be as meaningful as the massiveness of artillery projectiles. Nevertheless, the purpose of my words here are to teach, inspire, and expose you to the revelations encountered in my life. (Along with the joy of all things internet. Gotta keep up my geek-cred.)
But why should you learn from me? Why should you spend your valuable time reading my thoughts?
Got me.
As Socrates once said to Plato . . . .

Well, it was in Greek and I wouldn’t understand it, anyway. If my writings are for no one else, then they will be for my ancestors. When I’m old and senile, my children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, etc., can read through these paragraphs and say, “Hmm, that explains a lot.”

Maybe someday when I’m rich and famous, I’ll compile these entries as my official “memoirs.” It could be after my ten hardcover bestsellers; or after my Box Office record-breaking, Oscar-winning, provocative action-romance movie saga masterpiece for kids of all ages; or maybe after my two-term presidency. I’ll retire and publish a book for the millions clamoring to experience all that is “Daniel ‘Danny’ Jay Bergman.”
Then I can relax and ride this gravy train until the day I hop aboard that sweet chariot to the Other Side. All thanks to some heavy cannonballs.

Note: All characters, produce, and philosophers are copyrighted by their respective creators.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Self-Photography - Introduction and Works #1-3

About ten years ago, I created a new form of art. It’s a combination of photography and self-portraits. It’s self-photography. This artwork is rather self-explanatory. I take pictures of myself.

“Well, that’s rather easy and egotistical,” you might say.

I shall address both issues, starting with the latter. Yes, perhaps there’s an underlying sickness in my obsession of myself. I was single until age 31. Gimme a break.

Now about the former issue. The actual method of self-photography is harder than it looks. The most challenging part is aiming the camera back at me. You see, I don’t use a timer and set the camera on a stool. I actually hold out the camera with one arm and point it back at me. While I strain to keep the camera steady and focused on me, I push the button using that same hand. Usually, I hold the camera with my left hand, because it’s easier to reach the button that way. For most of my pieces, I used an automatic camera with an automatic flash.

Another challenge in self-photography is holding the camera far enough so it takes the picture. If it’s too close, it won’t allow you to take the picture. It has to be about three feet from the object (my head, in this case). That is the most aggravating part. So, depending on how limber I am at the time, I strain and stretch to get the camera just far enough so it will click. This stretching also leads to accidentally shooting with my head out of the camera’s focus. So, I often have “partial” self-photography pictures. These are the more artsy pieces—more avant-garde. (“Hmm,” a critic might think, “He seems to announce his partiality in human spirit with this one. How courageous!”)

My foray into a pioneering art genre began when I was in college—probably one night when I was bored in my dorm room or taking a break from studying. Besides boredom or self-indulgence, there actually was some purpose to my innovative artwork. There were actually two major reasons, to begin with.

First, I did it when I wanted to use up some film. Back in college, I had the old fashioned film canister camera—that was before everyone and their toddler had digital cameras. Often I took a bunch of pictures from an event or trip, and wound up with two exposures left from the roll of film. Rather than waiting for the next big event for pictures (usually two months later), I’d just finish up the film lickety split.

The second purpose of my self-photography origination was much more narcissistic. I did it so I could do a “hair check.” I took pictures all around my head. I wanted to see how my hair looks from all angles. The view from the mirror reflection was too simple. I needed to see more. What does everyone else see? Often, I’d take pictures of my hair before and/or after a haircut. That way, I could see how it looks longish, and how it looks shortish. (Of course, this was before I realized I could just buy a cheap hand mirror and use it in conjunction with a bathroom mirror to view my noggin from the side and back. But I had more important things to worry about as a bachelor, such as the legalities of eating pancakes with Spaghetti-O’s® for brunch.)

So you see, there was (and is) a reason to my madness. Although if I did admit I was crazy, it would make my self-photography art even more cutting edge and revolutionary! (The next Dali—except no funky mustache.)

Sadly, my dabbling in self-photography has taken a sharp decline since I got married. My wife can tell me when it’s time to get a haircut. And we now take pictures together.

Without further ado, please enjoy the pieces selected from my self-photography collection. Each feature will include the approximate date and explanatory commentary.

Check back to see additions to my on-going on-line gallery. I will post one or more at a time whenever I want to see myself from years past with more (or less) hair.

Self-Photograph #1 – January, 1998
This is perhaps my earliest piece of self-photography art. I took this picture to use up the film (and you can tell - that white stripe on the left is part of the picture - the actual edge of the film!).

The time of this photo was right after getting home from my Orange Bowl trip with the University of Nebraska Cornhusker Marching Band ("The Pride of All Nebraska"). The NU football team won the National Championship that year (the “Bowl Alliance” one). They beat Peyton Manning and the Tennessee Volunteers. (Go Big Red!)

I have dubbed this self-photo my “Eyeglass Model Photograph.” Betcha can't tell why.

Self-Photograph #2 – Spring, 1998
Me in my dorm room with Ace. I actually met the REAL Ace Ventura at Walt Disney World-Hollywood Studios in Florida. After posing for a picture with me, he said, "Spank you very much." My reply? "No, Ace. Spank YOU." Comedy gold.

Self-Photograph #3 – Early Summer, 1998
I tried to make a cute little self-photo with me and a kitten after a summer evening of playing basketball. (I rule the hoop at Rural Route 1 Box 24-A.) Unfortunately, this self-photo didn’t quite work out the way I intended. So, I’ll go more introspective on this one:

This self-photograph elucidates a mysterious fractionalization of the human experience in comparison with the innocence of a tiny kitten.
Does that work? (I didn’t think so.)

More Self-Photography Coming Soon!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Jesus Christ did something important when he was 33 years old.

Today, April 7, 2009, is my 33rd birthday. I figure I'd better get started on doing some important stuff.

So smack on some Chapstick® and double-tie your shoelaces. This is it, friends—the OFFICIAL blog (i.e. “web log”) of Daniel Jay Bergman: Cannonballs are Heavy!

Check out Cannonballs are Heavy whenever you need to catch up on some profound thoughts, random trivia, pop miscellany, and—of course—the latest goings on in my world and inner universe. You may not get it all, but that’s 14% of the fun.

Stay tuned, gentle readers!