July 30, 2005
Monsters and Fairies
"What they saw was not Bigfoot, or Sasquatch as I prefer
to call him; it was an enormous shadowy figure in the trees, more like
a ghost than flesh-and-blood. In a park not far from a city centre,
you're not going to get a nine-foot ape-like creature - England doesn't
have the habitat to support it. I don't mean that these are the ghosts of some creature which has died; I think it is more complex than that."
– Richard Freeman, of the Center for Fortean Zoology
Complex indeed! I have to admit that Freeman's International-Monster-Template theory (as described in this BBC Magazine article) is just plain fun. At the very least, it's remarkably creative. Anything that blends bigfoot (and other cryptids) with dwarves and fairies is right down my alley; who cares if it's true or not...
July 28, 2005
The Temporary Forest (of New York)
Look closely; we will now test your powers of observation. Do you see something odd? Do you see something astonishing, bizarre and slightly wonderful?
That's right, you guessed it – this entire forest is made out of paper! Every leaf – all 200,000 of them – every leaf on every tree is carefully cut out of paper by photographer Thomas Demand. The forest was on display at MoMA until May 30. After that, it was intentionally destroyed. And that's exactly what happens to all of Thomas Demand's often-elaborate paper creations. Which is perfectly alright, because Demand always takes plenty of photos to record his ephemeral work.
(via: Paper Forest)
July 27, 2005
Four Years of Freedom
Imagine this, if you will – walking from New York to Chicago to New Orleans (and the Southwest) to San Francisco – all in one short day. At Freedomland Theme Park, such a thing was possible. Freedomland. A miniature United States. It was even built in the shape of the United States (though a visitor to the park would have never known it without taking a look at a map of the park). Freedomland. A 205 acre celebration of freedom and U.S. patriotism... in the bronx!
Unfortunately Freedomland was not quite as successful as its inspired predecessor, Disneyland. In fact, word has it, it was just plain boring and, in 1964, after dumping four years and over 50 million dollars the park, Freedomland was finally forced to close its doors.
But the memory of Freedom lives on! All you ever wanted to know about the park (and more) can be found at Rob Friedman's Freedomland website. And don't miss his collection of Freedomland memorabilia.
Reader comment: Bob Mangels says,
Freedomland was a great park, not boring at all as you inferred! One of the best parks ever built! Way ahead of its time. It's demise was part of a plan for a housing project that would gain the land owner a better return than any amusement park could.
July 26, 2005
Awaiting Cryptid DNA
Oh, don't you just love it when a cryptid makes the international news? Scientists (yes, real scientists) are genetically testing hairs said to be from none other than Bigfoot. Could this actually be the one, the only, the terrible and rare Sasquatch? Stay tuned to the BBC as we all await the earth-shattering results.
July 25, 2005
Subterranean Pneumatic Apparatus
"Certainly the most novel, if not the most successful, enterprise that New York has seen for many a day is the Pneumatic Tunnel under Broadway. A myth or humbug it has been called by everybody who has been excluded from its interior; but hereafter the incredulous public can have the opportunity of examining and judging its merits. Yesterday the tunnel was thrown open to the inspection of visitors for the first time, and it must be said that every one of them came away surprised and gratified. Such as expected a dismal and cavernous retreat under Broadway, opened their eyes at the elegant reception-room, the light, airy tunnel, and the general appearance of taste and comfort in all the apartments; and those who entered to pick out some scientific flaw in the project, were silenced by the completeness of the machinery, the solidity of the work, and the safety of the running apparatus..."
– The New York Times, at the opening of New York's Pneumatic Subway
February 26, 1870
It's almost hard to believe – and yet, it's so whimsically delightful – a subway car, sealed off in a big tube, propelled by nothing else but tons and tons (and tons) of air. One is simply blown to one's destination!
For more info, stop by Joseph Brennan's extraordinarily well-researched (and fun) website on the subject.
I dedicate this post to those of us (like myself) who have epilepsy:
What could be better than a big brain? A multi-colored, monolithic brain, hovering like a... well, a big floating brain... over Oregon. How grand! But perhaps the human-powered brain-armored-tank, though less flashy, makes a subtler statement (though what that is, I'm not exactly sure).
Still not brainy enough for you? How about this... Behind the Brain: a giant sandstone brain.
July 24, 2005
Porsche Uber Pipes
Watch out! When Porsche restores a historic organ, they're not about to be conservative with their design. We're talking dashboard and gauges. We're talking brushed stainless steel. We're talking uber-streamlining. How does the restored organ sound? Does it matter?
This is not the first of Porsche designed high end instruments. They've also recently teamed up with Bosendorfer to reinterpret the piano. It's hard to believe anyone could improve on Bosendorfer's acclaimed sound and design, but tinselman is always open to a new instrument.
All of this brings to mind the Porsche smoking pipe. Evidentely, non-smokers thought it was beautiful. Smokers hated it. The cooling "ribs" did adequately disapate heat away from the tabacco, as they were designed to do. Unfortuantely, the ribs themselves grew unbearably hot to the touch. So when one smoked the Porsche pipe, one had to be holding it carefully by the stem... or there'd be some serious fried fingers. Ouch!
July 21, 2005
My Perfect Burial With a Fish
I now know how I will be burried. How else... inside a fish! Oh, it's just too wonderful for words!
Evidently, this isn't that unusual in Ghana, where those who can afford it are often interred in human-sized cigarettes, coke cans, chickens, airplanes, bibles, cel phones, onions and basically anything else you can think of (even a human uterus). This is so totally my way of dying!
Extremo the Clown
Greetings from Extremo the Clown (and his extremo car)! My family and I first encountered Extremo a few years back, while stuck next to him in traffic in downtown Portland, Oregon. I rolled down my window to ask him about his exceptional car. That's when he attached his red nose onto his face and began acting like a clown on acid. Or a weird blend of a clown and a liittle nervous, yipey dog. He was not exactly entertaining.... but those 10 minutes (or so) were certainly memorable.
I've since read that, when he first tried on a clown nose, he had a kind of epiphany. I guess it was almost as if a voice spoke and told him, "you are a clown; go out into the world and be thee therefore a clown." From that point on he felt – he knew – he had a vision for what he was meant to do, and he did it. Today, whenever he gets behind the wheel of his car, the Extremo-man in him "just comes alive... he actually takes over."
Of course, the great thing about Portland is that its population tends to value the eccentric; it's difficult to imagine Portland without Extremo.
Amusements For Sale
For a measly million and a half buckaroos, you can get your hands on this run down little amusement park in Wichita, Kansas. And you can buy it on ebay. To aid you in your online puchase, I've provided you with a handy aerial view of the park, via google maps (look right in the center of the image).
If you decide this purchase is a bit much, you could always set your sights a bit lower. Like this letter "U" from Disneyland's Adventure Thru Inner Space attraction. I'm very sorry... there is no aerial view of the letter U, but there are a few good bird's eye shots of Disneyland in this previous post.