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#a284 :: Pirate doubloon

November 24, 2008

ENLARGEDown at the other end of the mock-currency spectrum, plastic doubloons are minted in China by the chestful to lend that yo-ho-ho feeling to your kid’s birthday party.

I found this in the grass at a park today at another kid’s birthday party, while watching yet another birthday party setting up. The trappings – and there alwa are trappings – vary from one party to the next: Here, we honored Lewis Carroll’s mad tea party with three flavors of tea and readings, and cucumber sandwiches (with no crusts) and cupcakes labeled “EAT ME.”

Across the way the parents had laid on 50 rental chairs and strung up a noose for the yet-to-arrive pinata and shooed flies away from boxed snacks that had come several hours early.

And somewhere beneath my feet, a weekend or three or 39 weekends ago, kids hunted through the grass and climbed trees and peeked beneath bushes in search the few remaining coins scattered from a pirate’s treasure.

They missed one.

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

#a283 :: Million-dollar bill bible tract

November 22, 2008

enlargeThis fine object puts the specie in specious:

Someone at the Christian organization worked very, very hard on this piece of counterfeit. The four-color printing and gravure work are fine anough to pass the “holy, shit, WTF is that” moment after you’ve picked it up and still can’t believe it’s not money – that split second before you turn it over and learn the truth … (more…)

Filed under: Art, Ephemera, Fetish, Found Object, Microfiction, Model, symbol, Tool | Comments (1)

#a282 :: Seed pod

November 22, 2008

ENLARGEIt erupts in a fur of orange, from a black pod. The skin is avocado-like. The seed is barely a quarter-inch in diameter. And it mystifies me.

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

#a281 :: Cupcake topper

November 21, 2008

enlargeMore than 500 million human beings live in absolute poverty. Right now.

Their lot is not changing.

More than 15 million children die of hunger every year. Starve. To. Death.

How many children is that? Numbers are pretty meaningless when you’re talking about entire nations of people, but do some math:

Remember the faces of the kids in your own first-grade class? Remember the fat kid and the anxious kid? The punchy kid and the silly kid and your very best friend in the world who laughed when you ate paste? Now multiply the size of your own first-grade classroom by about 20 … (more…)

Filed under: Art, Artifact, Ephemera, Facsimile, Fetish, Found Object, Jetsam, Miniature, Model, symbol, Toy | Comments (0)

#a280 :: Copper pipe fitting

November 20, 2008

ENLARGEThis has been skittering around the floor of our back hallway for a while, a relic of the unpleasant shower-valve failure incident.

Copper is the lushest metal color, more wonderful than gold.

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

#a279 :: “supersurfaces”

November 19, 2008

ENLARGEThis gem of an art book covers the crafting of complex 3-D figures from 2D materials using little but scissors.

For some insane reason, the sole available copy on Amazon is going for $212.91. I found a copy in the Hayward Gallery last summer for about 8% of that amount.

And no, you cannot buy it from me.

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

#a277 :: Tin bell

November 17, 2008

ENLARGE just about rice-sized
spotted by the trash can one day
crushed, it will not sound

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

#a276 :: Plasticene scottie

November 16, 2008

enlargeRandom scottie facts:

Franklin Delano Roosevelt owned one.

George WorstPresidentinHistory Bush owned one too. Just days after his master’s party lost the election, Barney bit a reporter.

Our family has owned scotties since we first got Captain MacHeath of Edgerstoune (Keefie) when I was just 14.

My parents’ current scottie, Bridey, does not have cancer. The vet just said so.

Scottish Terriers were originally bred to hunt and fight badgers. Therefore, the Scottie is prone to dig as well as chase small vermin, such as Squirrels, rats, mice and foxes. For this reason it is recommended that they are walked on a leash.

Along with masses of paper, toy jewelry, pencils, toys and rubber erasers, this scottie came out of my daughter’s backpack one day.

Scotties cut a natty figure.

Filed under: Ephemera, Fetish, Model, Objet, symbol, Toy | Comments (0)

#a275 :: Robotic hand

November 15, 2008

enlarge“Dad, check it out. I made a robotic hand.”

Filed under: Adornment, Art, Part, symbol, Toy, weapon | Comments (1)

#a274 :: Electronic shriek box

November 14, 2008

enlargeA simple soundboard, wired to a switch and a speaker. I disemboweled it from (?) an 8×11 promo folder for “Scream 2008” that landed in my wife’s office. When you opened the cover of the folder, a horrific shriek would ensue: “AUUUGHHHAAAAAAAGOODDDDNOOOOO!!!” Soon, I’ll be attaching it to Screaming Tiki so that he can get his voice back, about which more later.

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

#a273 :: Ramune candy

November 13, 2008

enlargeThis is the chewable version of the contents of this. 99 cents at the Japanese market downtown. Chalky little lozenges of faintly effervescent candy. the sort of thing aliens might eat, if aliens ate sweets. Which is not to say that we’re sure that they don’t.

Filed under: Edible, Ephemera | Comments (0)

#a272 :: Grip exerciser

November 12, 2008

ENLARGEWhen you’re 9, you’re already wondering what it means to be a man.

You ask a lot of questions. A lot of questions.

You challenge people twice your size to arm-wrestling matches.

You suddenly take to doing pushups and situps wherever it occurs to you – like on train platforms … (more…)

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

#a271 :: Silver Navajo bracelet

November 11, 2008

ENLARGEWhen we were still a-courting, she and I drove 2,200 miles around the American southwest in a rented convertible in the space of a week.

We slept beneath the stars and in seedy motels. We lolled in the open ragtop beneath towering mesas in Monument Valley, and muggy midnight at Four Corners. We noshed, we joked, we fell deeper in love.

We shuffled around Santa Fe’s old plaza and gawked at silver and turquoise and blankets and other offerings by Dineh (Navajo) artisans.

And she bought me this gift. I’ve worn it daily since then (more than 16 years ago) – except for when I’ve had to have it repaired since the silver, under daily abuse, tends to fracture. Just got it fixed again – and I’ll hope it holds.

Filed under: Adornment, Art, Fetish, symbol | Comments (0)

#a270 :: Rechargable flashlight

November 10, 2008

enlargeThe green-ness of this gadget masks (poorly) its inadequacy as a tool.

If you want steady, reliable light for replacing a muffler under a car, finding your way around a dark campsite or exploring a spooky derelict spaceship you don’t want to have to keep turning the light off, flipping out the generator crank and spinning it furiously for 30 seconds – every 3 minutes.

On the other hand, you never have to buy batteries for the thing, so its life cycle does not entail pooping out toxic, non-recyclable trash-lumps for every 5 hours of runtime. Are the aliens really coming with our clean, self-renewable power-pods? Because I’ve been waiting.

Filed under: symbol, Tool | Comments (1)

#a269 :: Mini-Tabasco

November 9, 2008

ENLARGEThe thinking man’s ketchup.

I attended the huge Disney Animation Studios wrap party for Bolt (an excellent cartoon, by the way) and they were passing these out with the cocktail shrimp.

It’s barely an inch and a half tall, and enough to salt a pot of soup or – in my case – a dozen pizza slices.

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

#a268 :: DVI-to-VGA adapter

November 8, 2008

ENLARGEDVI. The bane of my existence this week. This adapter shifts from DVI out to VGA in. I just bought two new monitors, and this won’t do the trick. Now I gotta go out and buy a different adapter. For $100. Sigh.

Filed under: Tool | Comments (0)

#a267 :: Crescent wrench

November 7, 2008

ENLARGEI assembled a new table today. This fine tool helped.

Its design has been around since 1892.

You have to love the compact, almost fetishy perfection of its promise – one on which it delivers consistently so long as the nut’s not frozen too tight: It is, truly, a boxful of wrenches in just one tool.

Filed under: Tool | Comments (0)

#a266 :: Yarn dolls

November 6, 2008

ENLARGE(A guest post by my 9-year-old son)

Dolls made out of yarn with wire armature and very small marbles for eyes. Kind of like voodoo dolls, if you think about it. The types of figures: a zombie, a burgular, a devil,a spider, and a guy with some wierd hairdo. They’re not bendable or flexable, but they look cool if you hang them on walls. I collected my first four in England. Then I got one at a swap meet in Westwood. The first four were shaped like humans. The last one was a spider.

Filed under: Art, Miniature, symbol | Comments (0)

#a265 :: Baby Stripe

November 5, 2008

(A guest post by my 7-year-old daughter)

I traded Baby Stripe to one of my friends named Dinah and Sammie.I gave them a little bear. First I asked Sammie the next day I asked Dinah and she agreed.So now I have a cute raccoon.

Filed under: Miniature, Toy | Comments (0)

#a264 :: Sticker

November 4, 2008

ENLARGEI 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.

Filed under: General | Comments (1)

#a263 :: Battery package

November 3, 2008

enlargeA barely recyclable skin, shucked from the future corpses of non-recyclable devices that are designed to power other devices that would otherwise be helpless without them.

Could we do without these husks? Could we bind batteries together with rubber bands or zipties or something less insulting to the environment? Could we design solar chargers for rechargable batteries?

We will have to, if we expect to keep the right to ownership of this planet.

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

#a262 :: Religious medal

November 2, 2008

ENLARGEWe hold these things close – our beliefs.

They guide our acts, they govern our thoughts, they control how we vote, whom we love, what we do in the dark.

And we bind ourselves to these intangible self-truths with talismans – headdresses, tefillim, hair shirts and medals.

This is an odd little find – it looks to be celebrating the jubilee of some holy event or other in the year 2000 – and I can’t say I’ll keep it. For though it’s heavy and finely shaped, it speaks for a religion I hold only the deepest, yet most ephemeral ties to.

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

#a261 :: Candy wrappers – War of the Worlds on Twitter

November 1, 2008

ENLARGEI’m winding down from a raucous, madhouse Halloween night.

It was also my son’s birthday. It’s been deadline time for a pretty ambitious project at work. It’s the day a friend got married in the space of 10 minutes at lunchtime at the top of a mountain (up the wrong side of which I hiked before figuring it out and sprinting up the right side to arrive, breathless, sweating and LATE).

And it’s brought me through a hugely fun 36-hour experiment in social networking.

I blogged about it a good deal on my workplace blog – which is viewable only by my in-house colleagues – so I’m reposting it here … (more…)

Filed under: Artifact, Ephemera, Jetsam, symbol | Comments (1)

#a260 :: Meteorite!

October 31, 2008

030908.jpgOh my gawd:

Readers of this blog know that I don’t tend to post gushy teenage exclamations like “oh my gawd” that often (as in, never) But here it is, one of those Heavy Little Objects that really makes you say “oh, my effing gawd:

A chunk of bona-fide space rock.

But check the picture – click it to enlarge – it’s not like any rock I’ve ever seen. It’s all shot through with holes and what looks like some kind of organic matter, like veins or worms or something … (more…)

Filed under: Artifact, Found Object, Microfiction, Part | Comments (0)

#a259 :: Polly Pocket shoes & handbags

October 30, 2008

ENLARGETiny accessories for teensy simulacra, these silicone shoelets and bagettes piled up in my daughter’s room until her obsession with Polly Pocket wore off and she tired of them and moved onto a new obsession.

At some point, she got it into her head that she could sell them on eBay. I think she’s more excited about selling something on eBay than making any money off them.

She laid out a neat arrangement – I helped with the shoes – I shot the 14 dolls, 20 dresses, two shirt-and-pants sets (for the two boy dolls) and the tiny furniture, and next week when it’s art/music/internet night again, we’ll put it all up on eBay and see who bites.

She’s 7.

Filed under: Fetish, Miniature, Model, Part, Toy | Comments (0)