Tag Archives: minnesota

Actor and Teen Hartthrob Josh Hartnett

Josh Hartnett

Actor and Modern Adonis Josh Hartnett

Josh Hartnett (Wiki) is an actor and producer from St. Paul, MN, who is perhaps best known for his roles in Pearl Harber, O, 40 Days and 40 Nights, and 30 Days of Night. When he isn’t acting, he enjoys his long walks on the beach being the reincarnation of Adonis, the Greek God of beauty and desire.

Over his lifetime he has been voted one of Teen People‘s “21 Hottest Stars Under 21″ and, later, one of its “25 Hottest Stars Under 25.” Not-Teen People magazine voted him one of the “50 Most Beautiful People” before Bliss clarified this by stating he is the “3rd Sexiest Male.” If that’s still not enough for you, unnecessarily-skeptical reader: PETA voted him the “Sexiest Vegetarian Alive.”

When Mr. Hartnett isn’t out being beautiful, he is also an activist. For example, in 2012, he did a lot of work for the Obama Presidential Campaign in Minnesota, which is where this giraffe comes from.

Now, if I may let you in on a little secret, friend: Growing up, I wanted to be Josh Hartnett. I loved him in The Faculty and – cards on the table – have a thing for Minnesota Joshs. So, it warms my hart seeing our life journeys come together like this. While he’s off being nominated for Teen Choice Awards here I am capitalizing upon it able to be a part of it …  *wistful sigh*

Actor Josh Hartnett Cannot Draw A Giraffe

[Courtesy of the wonderful Stacey Rosana of Minnesota].

Chris Stedman's Pretty Awful Giraffe

Writer and Blogger Chris Stedman

For as much as I enjoy hyping up the website I must say that this post marks a great turning point in the history of Pretty Awful Giraffes; it marks the first time we have ever actually been contacted by someone who should not be drawing a giraffe. So it was with great joy I was able to find this on the Twitter account a few days ago:

ChrisDStedman:

@AwfulGiraffes Bahaha! I love your website more than I can say. And you’re from Minnesota?! Too awesome for words. Keep it up!

And,

@AwfulGiraffes P.S. I’d be honored to draw a giraffe! Hilariously enough, when I doodle I mostly draw giraffes. Not that they’re good…

Chris Stedman is the Interfaith and Community Service Fellow for the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard University and the Managing Director of State of Formation, a new initiative at the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue. A fellow Minnesotan and graduate of Augsburg College, Stedman is also the founder and author of the blog NonProphet Status. In addition to this he writes for the Washington Post’s “On Faith” blog and The Huffington Post. Lastly, as if all of this was not accomplishment enough, he works to foster positive and productive dialogue between faith communities and the nonreligious and is currently writing a memoir related to this work for Beacon Press.

Frankly, I could go on and on about all of the great things Chris is doing but it would probably just make you feel bad. In fact, you might reach the conclusion that you’re just a twenty-something on the prairie who spends his time on the internet anonymously harassing Gary Snyder and David Silverman because they are unwilling (read: mature) to draw pictures of African animals; being emotionally attached to this project, every criticism you write will only be punctuated with tears. (Hypothetically speaking, of course).

I’ve digressed.

Convening the editorial review board (we never rubber stamp here) there were major reservations about whether or not Chris fit the general requirements of someone who should not be drawing a giraffe (after all he did explicitly state that he frequently draws giraffe). This great mission statement/identity debate went on for almost all of three minutes before we reached a consensus: it only seemed right to give a fellow Minnesotan a chance. Chris Stedman would be the next name to enter the GDBPWSNBDG canon.

Alerting him of this immense honor and privilege (something I’m sure he will now include on his blog’s biography page *cough*), we inferred a tone in his reaction Tweet reminiscent of a child getting the Nerf Super Soaker Hydro Cannon for Christmas.

@AwfulGiraffes Wow, thanks! It’s a deal! What’s the best way for me to do this? DM me if you want my email.

In addition to this he was even kind enough to attach a little note.

I’m not sure if this is cheating but yes, I drew my giraffe in Paint. And yes, I downloaded Paint specifically for this purpose. I drew it on my laptop with the touchpad, which was much harder than I anticipated. 

In case it isn’t clear: this is an image of a baby giraffe hanging out on my lap, and we’re friends (the heart should be a major hint). Because when you spend as much time working in front of the computer as I do, having imaginary cartoon giraffe friends is what you’re reduced to. But as someone who is working to bridge diverse communities, I’m not going to let differences like “one of us doesn’t actually exist” get in the way of our friendship! 

Finally: your website is awesome. Thanks again for inviting me to contribute.

Chris Stedman and A Pretty Awful Giraffe (May 2, 2011)

I’m not going to make any inappropriate jokes about where the giraffe is coming from. None.

Minnesota Twin Gene Larkin's Pretty Awful Giraffe (4-16-11)

World Series-Winning Minnesota Twin Gene Larkin

The following comes from a good friend of mine, Andie Whitaker (twitter), who besides being active in the Twin Cities political scene also runs a blog called Goodbye Disposable Hello Cloth. After running into Gene Larkin at a hardware store in Blaine, MN, as he was there promoting the store and signing autographs, Andie was kind enough to wait around and get what I can only describe as the best damn submarine-giraffe I have ever seen. For those unfamiliar with Larkin, he is a former switch-hitting first baseman and right fielder for the Minnesota Twins. One of only seven Twins to play at both the 1987 and 1991 World Series, Larkin is perhaps best known for hitting a game-winning single during the latter championship game.

Photo Credit: John Iacono/Sports Illustrated

So, that’s pretty sweet, right?

I had the opportunity of meeting Gene Larkin at a hardware store in Blaine, MN. He was there as part of a promotion for the store. Many fans began lining up to meet the Twins legend at least an hour before he arrived. All of these fans were waiting patiently with their baseballs, bats and cards in hand with a great deal of excitement. There I stood in line with a blank sheet of paper and those surrounding me in line gave me a look as if I was lost.

When it was finally my turn to talk with Larkin and get his autograph, in a shy voice I asked: “I have a unique request for you and I hope you are willing to help me…” As I explained to him that I would like it if he drew a giraffe for me and why, he stares at me with the most confused look.

“You want me to draw a giraffe?” Larkin says, repeating the question likely with the hope that I was joking.

“Yes. A giraffe.”

He then told me that if I were willing to wait until everyone else in the line had received his autograph, then he would “look into this giraffe thing.”

I waited patiently and it seemed as though everyone within the hardware store was gawking at me, but I continued to wait, certain that my patience would result in a very special giraffe drawing.

And I was right. My perseverance did pay off.

Once the line has subsided, he called me over. He stared at the blank sheet of paper for a few seconds, pondering if this was something he really wanted to do; he then expressed concern in his ability to accurately draw a giraffe. So I began to quell his fears the best I could:

“Well, they have long necks.”

He scribbled the head of the giraffe very fast, so he could begin drawing a neck, followed by the body.

“They also tend to have a pattern, much like spots.”

He adds a few squiggly spots to the submarine-like giraffe.

“And they tend to have four legs.”

Larkin draws four box-like legs and declares that he is finished, baffled that this is what I had waited for.

I shook his hand and thanked him for his time and his “masterpiece.”

Minnesota Twin Gene Larkin's Pretty Awful Giraffe (4-16-11)

What the hell does one say?

Normally I would insert a really snarky comment down here regarding an individuals’ inability to draw giraffes, but all I can do is silently shake my head in shame.  I am disappointed, Mr. Larkin.

1: "I think I left it on the grill too long.” 2: “Yeah, this is an Awful Giraffe.”

Blogger and Deep Sea Biologist “Southern Fried Scientist”

Late on Thursday (or was it a very early Friday?) I was surprised to find a mention to the @AwfulGiraffes  twitter account (a mention and its context now lost to my ignorance of the site’s functions) from @SFriedScientist from SouthernFriedScience.com, a science blog run by three Carolinian graduate students with an interest in marine biology. Thinking it may be a long shot, I figured I’d extend an invitation to him to contribute to the website. It didn’t take long to get the following reply:

@SFriedScientist: @AwfulGiraffes at the rate @kzelnio and I are drinking, there is real potential for a DNS/SFS collaborative giraffe.”

Shortly thereafter I received this – what I can only perceive to be a threat:

1: "I think I left it on the grill too long.” 2: “Yeah, this is an Awful Giraffe.”

1: "I think I left it on the grill too long.” 2: “Yeah, this is an Awful Giraffe.”

Offensive. Fucking offensive.

I am sick and tired of people portraying scenes of giraffes being mercilessly slaughtered. No one would like to see a dead giraffe. Even more so, no one wants to see someone eating said dead giraffe. Whether one is T.C. Boyle, a mammoth excavator [giraffe still to come] or a someone who studies “population structure and connectivity of deep-sea hydrothermal vent endemic invertebrates in the Western Pacific,”  it’s still tasteless.

Dear readers, as you may already be well aware, I am not someone one could call a “scientist.” Sure, I know what you’re thinking, my literate internet pal: “But you’re a political scientist and you’re a part time lecturer on theoretical physics!” And you’re absolutely right, friend, but my biologicy background extends as far as reading Richard Dawkins’ The Greatest Show on Earth (2009) and a score of 1 on an high school AP exam. The reason why I am saying all of this is because I would like to believe that I am someone who should not be drawing snarky cartoons regarding esoteric divisions of biology that are way over my head:

"I keep boiling but these fuckers dont die."

Oh, I’m so funny!

Assuming every picture I found on Google (“Hydorthermal Vent Animals” to be an actual hydrothermal vent animal (including the Cyclops Kitten and James Cameron), I can only extend, on behalf of the world, a sincere thanks to SFriedScientist for holding back from the public’s eye the creatures perhaps best confined to an H.P. Lovecraft tale. (But not too much thanks since you totally – to the misfortune of all – failed on the James Cameron front).

Author Sam Lipsyte's Pretty Awful Giraffe 4-8-11

Novelist Sam Lipsyte

Sam Lipsyte (facebook) is a writer whose writings have appeared in a wide array of publications including Slate, The Washington Post, GQ, Esquire and Playboy. Hailed for his creative use of language and black humor, Lipsyte was in Minnesota recently as part of a tour for the paperback release of his 2010 novel The Ask (Amazon; NYT’s book review). Though I had not actually read much of his work (or more specifically: any) I happened to be in town, still high from meeting Michio Kaku, and thought I would stop by. Having read some reviews of his latest book, he seemed like an interesting enough guy to shamelessly exploit for a cheap website.

Sam Lipsyte by Ethan Hill

Photo Credit: Ethan Hill (Also, he does not look nearly this sour in person).

When I attend most book readings, I’ll admit that more often than not I have failed to read much of the author’s work. Often, as an aspiring writer, I’m more interesting in the conversations that follow when one gets an opportunity to really pick the person’s brain and learn more about the writing process and Leviathan-nature of the publishing industry. (For anyone considering adopting the title of “published author” I would strongly encourage you to find someone on a tour so that they may try to convince you otherwise).

Finding him at a Magers and Quinn Booksellers event, when he took to the podium before a small crowd of 15 to 20, he presented himself as a fairly straightforward guy (like the kind of guy who would say, without a long introduction, “I’m just going to read a few lines and then call it a night”) Also, he was not the kind of guy willing to sell his book short: “[The Ask is] a book about how shitty life is and how it only gets shittier.”

He had my attention.

Being a big Bret Easton Ellis and Chuck Palahniuk fan this was sure to be right up my alley. And now that I have started by God I’ll be damned if Details Magazine isn’t right when they say that “With his third novel, about the painfully hilarious adventures of a failed painter in a dead-end job, he should finally get the acclaim he deserves.” Honestly, it’s pretty fucking good, and the fact that I do not expect to pick up any homework until I’ve reached the back cover should be evidence enough for this claim. If you have time on your hand, Deadspin.com has the first chapter of the book online (if anyone is seriously interested in reading it, I’d be happy to lend my copy).

At the risk of being sued for copyright infringement, I’ll post a brief excerpt I came across yesterday since I think it effectively captures Lipsyte’s sense of humor:

“… I’m all for capital punishment. I’m a huge death penalty guy. I like everything about it. And don’t tell me how it’s more expensive to the taxpayer than life sentences. Because if you ask me, we should pony up a little more. We should feel the cost of our ritual, revel in it. It was probably a drain on the Aztec economy to capture and drug all those people and carve out their living hearts, but are you going to tell me it wasn’t worth it? Yes, sir, the death penalty is where it’s at. Is there a chance innocent people die? I should fucking hope so! Innocent people die constantly in this world. Why should things be better for those scumbags in lockdown?”

“But you said they were innocent.”

“Innocent? Please. No thanks, buddy. Keep that knee-jerk liberal crap on your side of the aisle. I’m not ashamed of the sacrifice a balls-out civilization must make to survive ….” The Ask, p. 82-83.

So it was with only mild surprise that, when I made the ask, he looked confused behind his Coke-bottle glasses, a smile stretching across his face. I, frankly, did not expect any hesitance on his part since I was under the assumption that he was asked this question fairly frequently. I asked again.

“Well … Well, I guess … so.”

What followed would, in retrospect, be a clear sign that he is certainly someone who should not be drawing giraffes.

Author Sam Lipsyte's Pretty Awful Giraffe 4-8-11

Almost forgetting that this was an actual book signing (as was almost the case with T.C. Boyle), I presented my copy of his book in which I can only assume is an official endorsement for PrettyAwfulGiraffes.com:

Sam Lipsyte's inscription to Josh Preston's copy of The Ask (4-8-11)

"To Josh, Good ask with the giraffe thing. Sam Lipsyte"

Eboo Patels Pretty Awful Giraffe

Writer and Blogger Eboo Patel

[The following story comes from fellow Editorial Board Member Lucas Felts.]

Eboo Patel has been a member of Barack Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Relationships since 2009. He is the founder and Executive Director of Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based international non-profit dedicated to the promotion of interfaith cooperation.

Eboo Patel is a truly inspiring man of whom I met one beautiful weekend in Decorah, IA at Luther College for the Nobel Peace Prize Forum.  It was Friday night where Eboo was guiding a discussion from former Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi.  I, with a twinkle in my eye, looked on as I saw two miraculous things unfolding before me.  First I saw a message being delivered with power and conviction from Shirin Ebadi promoting social justice guided by the calm collected presence of Eboo Patel.  But I also saw something else that fateful day upon that stage.  As I sat there furiously scribing away in my metahipster journal I saw giraffes on that stage.  Not living, breathing, 14-foot tall giraffes, don’t be silly how would Luther College get those in an auditorium? No, I saw the potential for some poorly drawn giraffes on that stage.

Eboo Patel is a Rhodes Scholar and one of today’s foremost experts on religion and interfaith relations.  In my humble opinion I would have to conclude that this man has no business whatsoever drawing a giraffe.  So, when the conversation had come to an end I, like any sane and fully competent person on a mission, decided to disregard the barriers preventing me from going on stage (it is a well known fact that if you act like you know what you are doing people perceive you to know what you are doing and thus don’t question you) and I approached Eboo with all the desirous emotions of a childhood boy on the verge of fulfilling his dream.  He looked me in the eyes, the aura of an important man ever looming about him, and said, “What’s up?”  More noble words may have never been spoken because in that instant I was frozen, the only thing standing between me and immortality by virtue of Giraffes was my own fear.

Nonetheless I was able to muster out, “Eboo, I have a strange request for you.  Would you draw me a giraffe?”  With a confused look on his face he grabbed the notebook from my hand and began to sketch.  He then stopped and looked at me half serious half confused and said, “I don’t know if I should be doing this,” as though there was some moral dilemma in drawing a giraffe.  Or maybe his reservations came from the terror stories floating about the internet of how US Congressman Tim Walz’s inability to draw a giraffe resulted in what may be one of the year’s biggest controversies.  Nonetheless once I assured him there was nothing to fear in contributing to the biggest revolution since the civil rights movement he then resumed, commenting briefly on how his son would love that he is doing this(it’s true, your children will love you much more if you draw a giraffe for us).  After some time spent working on his creation, he realized his giraffe looked more like a camel without humps than it did a giraffe.  Not to be discouraged, however, the final product was finished and handed back to me with a signature and the look of a man who had truly accomplished something. He also wrote giraffe at the top so the viewers of this website dedicated to drawings of giraffes would fully understand that this was, in fact, actually what he was trying to draw.

The following night Eboo gave an incredibly moving speech on interfaith relations, recurring through his speech were examples of important historical figures who promoted the idea that we are better together.  I think I can say with full confidence that when the blank page of my journal said we were better apart, Eboo Patel and his giraffe/camel said we are better together.  You can find Eboo on twitter(@EbooPatel) or you can read his blog at the Washington Post.

But there is only one place you can find his poorly drawn giraffe.  And that is right here my friends.

Eboo Patels Pretty Awful Giraffe

Fmr. MYDFL chairman Arron Olson's pretty awful giraffe drawing

Fmr. MYDFL Chairman Arron Olson

Arron Olson is the former chairman of the Minnesota Young DFL, a constituency caucus within the larger Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party designed to organize around issues pertinent to young people. He also apparently believes that giraffes wear kneepads.

Fmr. MYDFL chairman Arron Olson's pretty awful giraffe drawing

(Spoiler: they don’t).