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#351 :: 1977 Hot Wheels Funny Car

January 31, 2005

SUNDAYSUNDAYSUNDAYYYY!!! TOP-FUEL DRAGSTERS AND NITRO-METHANE-BURNING, FIREBREATHING FUNNYCARRRRS!!! *** PLUS ! *** THE GREATEST MONSTER-TRUCK CRUSH-OFF OF ALL TIMMMME!!! ONLY THIS SUNDAYSUNDAYSUNDAYYYYYY!!! That radio ad was just burned into my head in high school, by which time I had (mostly) graduated from an inexplicable addiction to poring over dogeared issues of Hot Rod and Top Fuel. […]

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January 30, 2005

FRIENDS: HLO will be down for the next day or so as I switch servers. If I were an expert DBA, I’d have it done in 60 minutes, but the fact is I’m just this guy who knows a little HTML, so I’m slogging through all the command-line jungles without much of a machete. The […]

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#350 :: Dymo Label-Maker

January 25, 2005

Just 20 years ago, this was the state of the art in signifyin’ machinery. Clicking the grip feeds embossable tape in: Select a letter by turning the alphabet wheel. Squeeze to print the letter – your grip sandwiches a bit of the colored tape between a positive-negative pair of dies, stamping the shape of the […]

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#349 :: Miniature Flour Mortar

January 24, 2005

Resisting too hard the temptation to imagine mice milling a single grain of corn in it with itty-bitty pestles, he blows a metaphorical gasket and slides into it feet-first, to a Bizarro dimension of workaday rodents. There, on their teensy little Internet, one particularly hunched-over and graying mouse, fancying himself still younger than his years, […]

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#348 :: Juego de Lucha Libre

January 23, 2005

Announcing a CONTEST. It’s been quite a while since I last offered a prize to those of you who visit HEAVY LITTLE OBJECTS on a regular basis, but with post 350 approaching (and the end of the one-year commitment I promised myself I’d give to this project) it seemed an appropriate time to do it […]

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#347 :: Sugar Skulls

January 22, 2005

These are sold traditionally on Dia de los Muertos, Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebration in October. Until I found them in Los Angeles last week at a Mexican curio shop, they existed f0r me only in the imagination, as drawn in a Ray Bradbury story about two dissolute tourists trying to sort out their […]

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#346 :: Dress

January 21, 2005

I’m a man. If it weren’t obvious by now, this should make it so: I love women. Undeniable, ravishing, mysterious, unsolvable and glorious in every respect, they enthrall me past all reason. For me, the dress – in general – has deep symbolic weight: container, protection, enhancement, embodiment. If clothes make the man, so can […]

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#345 :: Fossils

January 20, 2005

Imagine you are conscious until the final period of this post. You eat dead sloths, mammoths – whatever you can find. You drink from a pondful of acrid-smelling water, thirstily, stepping into the water, you find your forepaws mired in asphalt. Gingerly you tiptoe back, but your paws go in deeper, and soon your up […]

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#344 :: Pepper

January 19, 2005

Edward Weston did one of these in 1930. The color of this glorious vegetable really snaps your head back, the finish like something with 12 turbocharged cylinders and leather interior. ‘Nuf said.

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#343 :: Incense

January 18, 2005

The perfect expression of the ephemera of the olfactory world: a matchboxful of stamped, pressed incense. You break off one of the 16 sticks, stand it in a tiny glass receptacle in the box lid, and light it. It burns for about 10 minutes, breathing a scent more aromatic and intelligent in smoke form than […]

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#342 :: Finger Rosary

January 17, 2005

I’m not a particularly parochial guy, but then again, I’m not the most well-traveled, either. The foreign cities I’ve visited glitter for me, a chain of diamond-hard memories lush as the foetid jungles around the Red Fort in Agra, crisp as the calligraphy in the silicon hive of Tokyo’s Akihabara – and full and distinct […]

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#341 :: Mexican Glass Eye

January 16, 2005

George Carlin has this beautiful riff about possessions. At times, my obsession for nifty little things begins to remind me of the passage that goes: That’s what your house is, a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get…more stuff! Sometimes you gotta move, gotta get a bigger house. Why? No room […]

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#340 :: Painted Tin Mirror

January 15, 2005

This festive little tin vortex reminds me of the stupid amount of money I spent playing arcade games in college. One that comes to mind is Tempest, a crabwalking dance with paranoia and the chaos of alien battle. I’m making it sound more complicated and less dramatic than it was. You stared down a vortex […]

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#339 :: Pre WW II Samurai

January 14, 2005

My father‘s father gave these fine gentlemen to him I believe, but I don’t recall the history beyond that. I emailed Dad, who made a gift of them to me couple of years ago, to see what more could be told. They are both samurai, with bodies of straw and heads of china, turned out […]

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#338 :: Miniature Hacksaw

January 13, 2005

How do I approach each heavy little object? Where do I begin to write? Which toggle switch in my simple brain gets thrown, and which blathering subroutine will it trigger before I emerge on the other side thinking, “Man, that sucked, but it’s late and I’m too damn tired to do anything about it. The […]

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#337 :: Hot Wheels

January 12, 2005

I grew up a car nut in the late 60s and early 70s, awash in STP stickers, borrowed issues of Hot Rod and a hardcore lust for muscle cars. I still dream of a lime-green ’74 Hemi ‘Cuda or a ’67 Shelby Cobra Mustang riding on glittering Cragars. I collected Hot Wheels and raced them […]

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#336 :: Plastic animals

January 11, 2005

At some point – midway between the Playskool block-sorting drum and the Thomas the Tank Engine fetish, we began to sort our two young children’s toys. Bricks, gears, stuffed animals, dress-up clothes – all were assigned translucent plastic bins in a pine toy rack – and my wife would spend a happy, idle hour every […]

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#335 :: Wallpaper Print Block

January 10, 2005

The oil lamp guttered and went out in a little puff of soot. She sat, thumbs a-fidget, not wanting to stick her finger with the needle, but unable to keep still, with her sewing on the lap of her crinoline hoopskirt, in the dark. “I’m done being pleasant about this, ma’am,” Mr. Quimby had muttered, […]

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#334 :: Digital Press Kit

January 9, 2005

Science holds that birds have magnetic brains. Tiny though they are, little chunks of avian gray matter gravitate toward the correct pole (depending on the season) based on a sensitivity to their position in the magnetosphere: *Some birds have their own “compasses” built into their brains and orient according to magnetic north. In one of […]

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#333 :: Glass Insulators

January 8, 2005

Electric current is a powerful, brittle force. Carried safely to its destination it can warm homes, chase the darkness, demolish mountains and launch a nuclear war. Put something in its path – water, wood, flesh or any less-than-perfect conductor – and it flies apart, electrons scattered, their headlong rush of purpose derailed. Glass insulators have […]

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#332 :: C-3PO Pez Dispenser

January 7, 2005

Modern man has a relentless, hardwired hunger for the institutionalized fetish. We worship computers, guns and stuffed animals with the same fervor reserved for prophets and rockstars. We commercialize our obsessions. We build our very obsessions into fetishes. Physical objects give meaning to the otherwise baffling ethereality of daily life. Unable to find enough mutual […]

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#331 :: Oil Can

January 6, 2005

Hang around cars long enough, and you gain a reverence for lubrication. For want of a few drops of oil, the gears of the world could grind into stillness, and cool to dead silence. Which might or might not be a bad thing, depending upon how much you listen to your inner Ted Kasczynski. This […]

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#330 :: Automotive Logo – Print Slug

January 4, 2005

My grandfather was a newsman. He helped the St. Petersburg Times get started, and in later years he ran a Linotype. A story and a half high, the huge machine with its weird keyboard (ETAOIN SHRDLU instead of QWERT YUIOP) let the operator bang out lines of hot metal type in a few seconds instead […]

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#329 :: Rook, Knight

January 3, 2005

The game set has not yet been invented, but the pieces are constantly in play and the rules subject to random, violent and sudden change: The King moves in bold strokes across the spherical, blue board at will and at random, heedless to cries from his own Pawns. The Handlers and the Blind Pawns give […]

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# 328 :: 75-Foot Tape Measure

January 2, 2005

At a certain size, you start letting the experts do the measuring. Boats – believe the manufacturer. Homes? Your realtor’s bonded. Anything over 50 feet or s0, you’d rather see a pair of guys in hazard-orange tunics and hardhats fiddling with lasers than trust your own wits and tools. Mis-measured real estate lands in court, […]

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