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#a409 :: Atomic Fireball

March 31, 2009

Iconic. Intense. Another fine product from Ferrara Pan. It burns.

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#a352 :: Gas tap wrench

February 1, 2009

California’s lousy with ornamental gas fixtures – realistic-looking cement fireplace logs, tiki torches, and what we have behind our house – an artifact of the previous owners, who were rock promoters – outdoor firepits. We lost the key the other day and I replaced it, not entirely sure I had measured accurately. I love the […]

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#a351 :: Crayfish leg

January 31, 2009

A casualty from my son’s former 3rd grade classroom: “He got his leg torn off while we were washing the tank. It was in the sink, so I saved it for you.”

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#a350 :: White crayon

January 30, 2009

The prismatic color, the all-color, the core frequency, the heavy-ass symbolic color, the path to scientific truth. This is the white Crayola you find in the crayon box, little scabs of colored wax accreting on its dingy-grey paper sheath. Waxy potential ready to expose the hidden highlights on a page.

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#a349 :: Nerf dart

January 29, 2009

About $5.99 a packet. Styrofoam tubes capped at one end with Velcro, the better to hit an opponent’s target vest for consistent scoring. Apparently our society isn’t raising our kids to think creatively about reaching mutual settlements. The feud wants guns, the feud shall have guns. It was ever thus, even reaching back to massive […]

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#a338 :: Pocket ballerina

January 17, 2009

There’s a thick magnet in the base of the mirror, two smaller ones with their poles pointed counterclockwise to each other in her base. Push the mirror towards her, she pirouettes away.

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#a337 :: Shot glass

January 16, 2009

One of my very favorite shot glasses. A rippled chunk of reconstituted sand. It speaks of either Art Deco speakeasies or 80s big-shoulderpads meat-market bars – I can’t decide which.

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#a335 :: Stereopticon view – Looking through the Great Forth Bridge

January 15, 2009

I have a thing for stereo cards – particularly views of the industrial age. Stereopticons were the pinnacle of multimedia technology in their day – twin images shot simultaneously by cameras set a few feet apart, approximating the 3-D view seen by the human eyes. With the gentleman beckoning at the right, you could almost […]

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#a330 :: Miniature 16 camera

January 9, 2009

According to these guys, the Universal Minute 16 shot 16mm film in little cartridges. It’s a tight, dense little chunk of stainless steel, about half the size of a box of cigarettes. A fingernail pops up the two panes of the viewfinder. Round metal stud under the right finger trips the guillotine shutter, thumb lever […]

Filed under: Ephemera, Fetish, General, Tool | Comments (0)

#a286 :: Pine cone

November 26, 2008

This is a building kit for the construction of two to three dozen 120-foot-tall Douglas firs. You will require loamy soil, water and sunlight. Please allow 4 to 6 decades for completion.

Filed under: General, Jetsam, Life form | Comments (0)

#a264 :: Sticker

November 4, 2008

I was at the polls before they opened this morning at 7. I voted for our next president. And as I write this, he’s giving an electrifying victory speech. This is beyond belief, and I am beyond words.

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#a248 :: Straits Territories penny

October 19, 2008

This is an artifact of the colonial government that bloomed out of the East India Company, after the firm set up shop in and around Singapore to do some trading. Nearly 100 years after the Brits founded it the territories were still passing currency. The corners of this penny tease you to play with them. […]

Filed under: Art, Ephemera, Fetish, Found Object, General, symbol, Tool, Toy | Comments (0)

#a241 :: Faceted glass chunk

October 12, 2008

The market dictates that some strange stuff gets made. Such as a conical chunk of glass turned into a “diamond” of approximately 953 carats. Humanity stated a need for this – at least established-enough to justify setting up a plant for turning them out – and got exactly what it asked for. China’s been cranking […]

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#a239 :: Blowfish

October 10, 2008

This bath toy has been floating around the house since my son was 1. I can’t bear to part with it. I don’t know what endears it to me more – the spiky-ballness of its body, the crudely painted urchin-biting teeth, or its thunderstruck gape of surprise.

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#a220 :: Olive grabber

September 21, 2008

The Victorian dopiness of this tool belies how perfectly it fits its task: Go on – try to fish an olive out of a full jar with a fork. Now try it with a chromed, plunger-operated triaxial claw that encloses a perfectly olive-shaped sphere. Purpose-built genius.

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#209 :: Chinese-made locking pliers

September 10, 2008

As I may have pointed out before once or twice, the chief (and perhaps only) evidence you need that the Chinese will own this country before very long lies in that mighty nation’s small-scale industrial output. Virtually every un-extraordinary object that we manufacture in the U.S. they can duplicate in half the time for half […]

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#a194 :: Badge of the All-Seeing Eye

August 26, 2008

Our neighbors in Kidsville, Brad and his son, are Burning Man virgins, first-timers wide-eyed and staggered with the general wonder and mess of the thing. But they get it, and they came prepared. You craft your own mythology out here, and you come ready to join in the gift economy, with public artworks, song, theater […]

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#a193 :: Kidsville wristband

August 25, 2008

It usually takes 10 hours to drive from Los Angeles to Black Rock City. This trip has been particularly rough: Usually I nap for 3 or 4 hours before we hit the road at 9 p.m., then drive until 3 or 4 a.m., while my wife and the kids sleep. When I’m ready to crap […]

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#a174 :: Rubber fusilier duck

August 5, 2008

This is the sort of thing you pick up in the duty-free shop at Heathrow while trying to blow your pounds on the way out of London. We’ll add it to the little collection of rubber ducks now bobbing in the hot tub out back. Maybe it will get them into line.

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#a166 :: Binatone Carrera GPS

July 28, 2008

This is the yin to yesterday’s yang: If you’re eschewing the tube and driving – for whatever selfish, non-green, yet eminently practical reason – the touchstone surety of a good GPS device pulls you through London’s maze of streets in a dreamlike blur. Punch in your destination address, Wait for the satellite’s ping to put […]

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#a157 :: One pound Sterling

July 20, 2008

I’m posting, oh (checks watch), 11 days late. We’ve taken a huge plunge into London, and are spending the morning and half the afternoon touring the city every day, then i comeback and work until midnight or 1 a.m. I’ve been avoiding my chores. I’ve been Twittering. I’ve been shopping irresponsibly (about which more later). […]

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#a142 :: Rubber watch

July 5, 2008

They gave these out to the kids with tickets for Wall-E. Movie – gorgeous to look at, groundbreaking, but not nearly as smart and funny as Kung Fu Panda. Watch – blue silicone rubber around a little cheesebox chip of Chinese chircuitry. My son’s came broken.

Filed under: Adornment, General, Instrument, Jetsam, Tool | Comments (0)

#a139 :: Mystery cap

July 2, 2008

I once had this foolish idea. I never acted on it, but it still sneaks into my head from time to time and pings on my hippocampus (the dream center) with a tinny little rhythm: What if I counted every single object in the house? What if I catalogued every single book, sock, CD, grain […]

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#a137 :: Watch guts

June 30, 2008

Cheap stuff breaks. You get to decide – take it apart? Or just stomp its li’l plastic casing to shrapnel. I’ve had this in my stuff drawers for years. I keep promising myself I’ll take it apart.

Filed under: Artifact, General, Part | Comments (0)

#a119 :: Broken cleaver

June 12, 2008

I am going to tell you a story now. A man fell in love with a woman. She fell in love back. They married, and to celebrate their marriage, they journeyed to Beijing. They toured the city, mesmerized. They ate rich and pungent food. They heard lush choral music sung by brightly-dressed acrobats in vivid […]

Filed under: Fetish, General, Instrument, Jetsam, Model | Comments (0)