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#a369 :: Lucky lead pig

February 19, 2009

Once upon a time, his paint was perfect. You can see it on his good side – the bright and chipper eye facing the lucky shamrock dangling from his left jowls – that look that says fortune will smile on us both if you keep me close. Flip to the other side – the stem […]

Filed under: Artifact, Ephemera, Fetish, Miniature, My father's HLOs, symbol | Comments (0)

#a368 :: Phillippe’s hot mustard

February 18, 2009

She peered into the jar, dubious. “Go on, dolly, put some on your sandwich. It won’t bite ya.” He was stifling a grin, the louse. She knew he’d take her to a joint like this. He was a shift-boss at her job at Lockheed, always real sweet to her at quitting time. When she was […]

Filed under: Edible, Ephemera, Microfiction | Comments (0)

#a366 :: Original copper transmission line – Hoover Dam

February 16, 2009

This is almost the holy grail of heavy little objects: a thing with history, patina, functionality, exciting manufacture and moving parts. Jesus, it made me one happy tool-using ape to find this: a chunk of the original copper electrical transmission line installed during construction of the mighty Hoover Dam. For five bucks you get a […]

Filed under: Artifact, Ephemera, Fetish, Jetsam, Part, symbol, Tool | Comments (2)

#a365 :: Lead type

February 15, 2009

It’s fitting that I mark the end of my second full year of daily obsession on this blog with such an archetypal handful of heavy little objects: I found these samples of a truly lovely display font in an antique shop in rural Arizona earlier this week – artifacts of a dead technology going for […]

Filed under: Artifact, Ephemera, Jetsam, Objet, symbol, Tool | Comments (2)

#a364 :: Las Vegas thrill tickets

February 14, 2009

I work in this office, in my home. It’s a nice office, in a very nice home, but when you’re in a building 24/7, you develop a deep need to get the hell out before your urge to claw your hair out turns too real. Cabin fever and a three-day weekend conspired to send us […]

Filed under: Artifact, Ephemera, Jetsam, symbol | Comments (0)

#a361 :: China napkin rings

February 10, 2009

Around our house, I make dinner one of two ways: Crank something out in a hurry on the stove, slap it down in front of the kids and hope they don’t moan or spill all over their clothes as they forget to use their utensils; Or grill something big and munchy (think ribs or sesame-garlic […]

Filed under: Ephemera, Fetish | Comments (0)

#a360 :: Temperance-era novelty bar tool

February 9, 2009

This conflicted fellow was cast in pot-metal and chromed in cheap silver probably more than 100 years ago. His top-hat is a jigger, his feet end in a spoon, the better to mix you a nice drink and present you with a little moral dilemma in the bargain: Do you spoon something into your drink, […]

Filed under: Artifact, Ephemera, Facsimile, My father's HLOs, Objet, Tool | Comments (2)

#a357 :: Rokenbok ball

February 6, 2009

Children’s toys approximate reality. In the happy world of Rokenbok this is not a huge, filthy boulder shot through with veins of iron and smeared with the engine oil it’s been sitting in in the junkyard where you unearthed it after the glacier dropped it 3.2 million years ago. It’s just part of a load […]

Filed under: Artifact, Ephemera, Jetsam, Part, Toy | Comments (0)

#a355 :: Paper whale box

February 4, 2009

A cunning little paper box limned with cetaceans – cheerful dolphins, a playful sperm whale, a … what could possible be the apt adjective for a narwhal? From the previously mentioned collection of Dad.

Filed under: Art, Ephemera, My father's HLOs, Tool | Comments (2)

#a354 :: Club flyer

February 3, 2009

I picked this up from dozens I found scattered on the sidewalk in downtown L.A. the other day. I’m not sure which pisses me off more: that someone blew the cash to have flyers for a one-time event printed in four colors and chromekote only to have someone else throw them all over the ground […]

Filed under: Ephemera, Found Object, Jetsam | Comments (0)

#a353 :: Organiser badge

February 2, 2009

The origins of this piece are dim and inscrutable, but what really matters is this: My father just shipped me two small boxes full of HLOs gathered from around the house, and among them are some real beauties like this: He found this in London a long time ago and gave it to my mother […]

Filed under: Adornment, Ephemera, Found Object, symbol | Comments (0)

#a348 :: Prime Meridian rock candy

January 28, 2009

We lay these arbitrary lattices of meaning over earth and sky, trying to explain the wonder of existence. When industry and science began to catch up to the human need to explain who was where exactly when and how far is here from there, we came up with the notion of time, the 24 hour […]

Filed under: Edible, Ephemera, symbol | Comments (0)

#a346 :: Rotring Core ballpoint

January 26, 2009

It used to be Bic Stics, Bic ballpoints, the occasional Shaeffer Bros. throwaway or oddball Pentel gel-tip – whatever. Whatever the newspaper clerks stocked the supply closet with – that’s how I wrote. Tools didn’t matter. The work did. Once I moved out of dead trees and into the trackless wastes of the interwebs, I […]

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

#a344 :: Chrome-plastic miniature cutlery

January 24, 2009

This nation has bought into the culture of preciousness from the very first needlepoint sampler of the earliest Don’t Tread on Me flag. We can’t say we invented it- I think we can thank the Egyptians or the first culture that ever created chubby little fertility-goddess fetishes for that. But the U.S. has a by-God […]

Filed under: Adornment, Ephemera, Facsimile, Jetsam, Miniature, Tool | Comments (2)

#a343 :: Chinese ink pot

January 23, 2009

This tin of oil-based printing ink has not changed since I bought it (counting on his fingers) nearly 15 years ago on my honeymoon in Beijing. Intended to be art supplies for some project that hasn’t yet materialized, it’s been sitting at the bottom of a drawer, waiting to be used. The stuff takes forever […]

Filed under: Ephemera, Tool | Comments (0)

#a341 :: Obama campaign pin

January 21, 2009

I never repeat heavy little objects. I mean, never. My little daily obsession can be a cruel taskmistress, sometimes commanding me to find something cool to post even when nothing cool has come through my life. But like an idiot samurai, I live and die by a code set in motion long ago and over […]

Filed under: Adornment, Artifact, Ephemera, Facsimile, Fetish, Objet, symbol, Tool, weapon | Comments (0)

#a339 :: Potato Gun

January 18, 2009

I scoffed at these things, which used to appear alongside ads for X-ray spectacles, sea monkeys and GRIT on the backs of Marvel comics when I was a kid. Potato gun. Hah. My friend Phil has a BB gun that he once used to nail the pillar on a house nearly a block away once, […]

Filed under: Ephemera, Facsimile, Toy, weapon | Comments (0)

#a336 :: Railroad date nail

January 15, 2009

According to the Nailhunter, who has a dizzyingly exhaustive collection of these online, workers pounded date nails into railroad ties, bridges and telephone poles to identify and date the structure, sequence and ownership of the structures. You can pick them up at swap meets for a buck or two. This one really appealed to my […]

Filed under: Artifact, Ephemera, symbol, Tool | Comments (0)

#a334 :: Tin advertising whistle

January 14, 2009

Vintage viral marketing, for what may or may not be Captain Black tobacco. Blow through the stem and you get a sweet bosun’s-pipe peep. By the look of the printing, this dates back at least 50 or 60 years, but Googling bears no clear clues to its origins. You gotta love the mascot’s pissed-off expression […]

Filed under: Artifact, Ephemera, symbol, Toy | Comments (0)

#a332 :: Palo santo

January 11, 2009

These chips of palo santo – “holy wood” was a gift from my good friend Spencer. Light it and it burns slowly, giving off a crisp, aromatic smoke that’s said to have been used since the Incas in purifying and cleansing rituals. Spencer is the just-now-new father of young Vajra Weiner (barely 2 weeks old), […]

Filed under: Ephemera, Life form, symbol | Comments (0)

#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)

#a324 :: Fuse-Bead eyeball

January 3, 2009

My son shambles in, his hand covering his brow. “Dad, I hate to tell you this, but I’ve got a terrible case of pinkeye.” “What??? Oh, no. C’mere, let me see.” He turns and I see this fantastic Fuse-bead concoction clapped to his face. It’s still warm, fresh from the iron. I’m doubly thrilled – […]

Filed under: Art, Ephemera, Facsimile, Model, Toy | Comments (0)

#a321 :: Shooting badge

December 31, 2008

William Randolph Hearst had a thing for guns. The newspaper magnate and industrialist (and model for the titular character in Citizen Kane) had his name put on rifle events in the 40s and 50s, and they’ve been resurrected lately for reasons that may or may not bear Googling. This badge was awarded to some sharpshooter […]

Filed under: Adornment, Artifact, Ephemera, symbol | Comments (0)

#a320 :: Traveling Ganesha

December 30, 2008

He is the lord and destroyer of obstacles and like his brother, he came from San Francisco – indeed from another shop in the same block on Columbus Avenue. He is brass, barely 1.25 inches high, carrying his teapot and parasol on the road from here to there. He smiles benevolently, secure in some knowledge […]

Filed under: Artifact, Ephemera, Fetish, Microfiction, Miniature, symbol | Comments (0)

#a319 :: Christmas tag

December 29, 2008

We took down the tree and put away the ornaments today in advance of our trip to SF. This was on a gift from my son, his idea of a little joke. He’s a geek off the old block.

Filed under: Ephemera, Part, symbol, Tool | Comments (0)


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