MEMORY STIR CRAZY
Who’s right? Are you right? Or are they right? Did you have too much coffee and are more worried about being right or wrong than you usually are? Are you an authority on it? Do they know how smart you are…or how dumb? Have they found out about you yet? You know, that you really don’t know. I know you don’t know. At least I think I do.
When five people sit around a poker table and one hand wins, everyone agrees who is the winner, the smartest player, the rightest player, the luckiest player. It’s absolute consensus that everyone can see. High hand is not a matter of opinion, it’s a matter of obvious fact.
I was driving down the road yesterday to begin my adventure when I drove past a sign. My eyes had played tricks on me every time I drove past, because I couldn’t believe that anyone would put up a big sign that big, with that name. Can we please all sit around the advertising poker table and agree that there is some consensus around preference? Common sense at least?
I’d drive past this sign again and again and see BABCOCK FURNITURE. Actually, I’d see Babcock Furniture. Sure, I could be a little dyslexic as a super benefit that feeds my creativity, but my ad brain just couldn’t see what it actually said. Would you shop in a store that promoted Bad Cock and more? Who want’s bad cock? Much less choose to name your website BadCock.com .
Anyway, there it is. Right or wrong. An authority or not. They are millionaires selling furniture at numerous locations throughout the area; in contrast, I got disrupted when I realized I bought 3lbs of organic grapes for $9.00! If I was to go out on a limb here, besides sitting around the poker table, I frequently doubt that anyone really knows anything. Exceptions to every rule and all that.
Next to the furniture store was a car lot that sold used Jaguars. Is it a better car than others? Is the status worth the price? And now that Ford makes them, do they not look like a Taurus with a Jaguar emblem on the hood? Is it just me that can see the emperor is really standing there naked?
I shot this crashed up, burned out Jaguar Convertible because I thought it looked beautiful in its mangled mess. Not a straight line, nothing aesthetic to offer but a lot of jagged ribbons of black and white. Something so opposite of perfection seems to become unique and attractive to me; it becomes art.
Down the road a completely different set of advertising geniuses had an idea. No one was coming to their Architectural Salvage Yard with traditional advertising, so they decided to start throwing parties and inviting people. Is that not the same as advertising, but only better? Wouldn’t you rather come to a junk yard for a party, free beer and hot dogs… or would you respond to a print ad that says, “Need Junk?”
I went for the party. I had an epiphany. I strolled through the outdoor lots and had memories triggered, characters reminded, curiosities stirred and got paused for no reason that I’m aware of. Ever hear that expression, “I’ll do that when pigs fly”? I once got a gift of a black cast iron flying pig. I carried it with me for a while and re-gifted it, leaving it abandoned on someone’s porch long ago.
Drifting off into memories of that porch, how I repaired the vinyl siding over and over, attached the spindles in the upper corners between the posts and the ceiling, stacked the bails of hay for the cat to sleep on and that damn door that never shut right. Memories stored but not forgotten.
This photo below didn’t necessary remind me of any woman in particular, but most women in general. You know who you are, saying “No. Stop.” with one hand and pulling up your toga with the other.
I had once gained a great deal of weight and then lost it. Actually, this has been going on throughout my life for as long as I can remember. One time I worked at this place where I made friends with this guy. He was formerly a monk in a seminary but after deciding it wasn’t his thing, he launched himself into the world as an authority on Human Relations.
He directed the HR department at this one group I worked with. Let’s call him Louie. Anyway, when we met, I looked portly just like him. He even was balding at the top of his head in that monk crown pattern. Over time, I shed the weight and went from the portly fryer look to movie star model look.
One day he called me into his office and inquired as to how I shed the pounds and inches. I explained to him about the magic of grapefruits, to which he decided to make his ritual as well. I hadn’t seen him for a while after that and then I got a call to meet him in his office, he had to discuss something with me.
I arrived and we caught up and he explained that the diuretic properties of the grapefruit were making him go to the bathroom too often each day and he decided he’d rather be fat. I listened with compassion as I learned once again how different people are. This statue below reminded me of Louie.
At another time, I went to design school with a completely different guy who was a master carpenter. He looked like a mountain man with that amazing chiseled beard. I always wanted to grow a beard like that, but with this sparse wispy Jew hair on my face, it’ll never happen. All the growing energy me thinks has gone to my brain or my belly and the hair on my face would rather grow out my nose or ears than on my face.
Anyway, after we graduated school, I was a Business Broker for a short time, and I hooked this mountain man up with this cabinet shop that was for sale and he decided to move there with his newly married bride. They couldn’t afford a separate home and chose to live in one of the offices, leaving the showroom for customers while he made the cabinets in the back. There was a kitchen but no bathroom in this place.
In order to accommodate his wife’s necessary needs, he’d fill up an empty dry wall mud bucket with saw dust from the shop and he instructed her to use it as her toilet. I believe they lived there for several months like that before they packed up, threw in the towel and ran back to Ohio. This guy below reminded me of my woodworking buddy with the beard.
I worked at this other place one time and the picture below, reminded me of one of the partners who had a really bad back. When we would meet in the board room, he would always bring his own pillow to sit on. He actually walked around carrying a pillow not a pigeon, but he did have that same painful look on his face.
Years ago, I lived in this odd apartment building in Manhattan with round balconies facing brick walls of other apartment buildings. Miraculously each day, I would get in the elevator and this gorgeous Indian girl would always be in there. It was as if we always left our apartments at the same time and entered the elevator one after another.
Over time, we became great friends. She is quite famous in India and throughout this country and is astoundingly beautiful. This statue torn probably from some other odd apartment building somewhere, reminded me of her.
I did some website and brochure design work for one of the sweetest men in the world. By day he is a financial adviser, but on his own time, he sings in a choir. When we’d meet to discuss his projects, I would always notice how his beard would stick out of his chin in the strangest way and how his cheek bones got round like balls when he smiled.
I have this great friend who is one of the most creative guys I know. One time, while he was remodeling his apartment in New York City, he decided to pave the floor with colored marbles rather than tile. Yes, those round colored marbles that roll… he set them in mortar and made art out of his bathroom floor.
He also has published books on how to open beer bottles without an opener and has amassed one of the largest photo collections of unique rural mailboxes. This array of dead sinks made me think of him. I know he would do something amazing with them.
Isn’t it amazing how some people just love dragon flies? I got to think of another dear friend when I saw this colorful rusty statue below.
I call this one below, “Mary Two Balls.” It actually did not remind me of any one and I loved the shot for no damn good reason.
Have you ever seen that movie, “How to Train Your Dragon”? I got reminded of another dear friend who is a genius with Tangos Tiles. If you don’t know what they are, you gotta look it up and play with them. It’s an ancient game of moving tile shapes around to form silhouettes of abstract and familiar shapes.
She is an Aeronautical Engineer and one time while playing competitive Tangos, we were talking about favorite movies and she mentioned the one with the dragon. I of course went out and bought it. To this day it remains one of my favorites as well.
One time long ago, I was in Florida with a friend during Christmas. Way out on one of the beach keys, a man had a front yard with a Santa and his sleigh stretched out across the lawn. Instead of reindeer, the man had attached pink flamingos to pull Santa.
Okay, a secret about me. I love to read and write but I don’t read as many books as I would like either because I don’t know the ones I should read or the ones that get recommended to me don’t hold my attention. One of my favorite books is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
When I saw this statue below, I was reminded of my time with that book, and what some of the characters must have looked like.
Poor Louie getting diarrhea from eating too many grapefruits.
I went on a date a long, long time ago. We met in Manhattan, had a few drinks and learned about each other. She told me how she loved doggies so much, that she married this wealthy old dude, who bought her a ranch in Vermont, so she could rescue all the stray and unwanted dogs in the world and bring them to the ranch.
She had this vision of thousands of fenced in acres filled with stray dogs who ran in packs and were liberated from all the kill shelters. He was old and she was young and it wasn’t working out. She agreed to drive me back to the train station. We got to her car and made-out in the car while parked at the curb.
It was a cold night, don’t know if it was a three-dog-night. But, the three dogs frozen in stone put a pleasant smile on my face with that memory.
If you do a Google Search for the name, “Barry Stein”, Google will return 19 million pages. The number one position is owned by a famous artist with that name who crafts art portraying exotic frogs. Somewhere on that page, not too far past frog Barry, but way past all the doctors with the same exact name, you’ll find me.
Isn’t it great the way dogs sleep curled up and resting on their tail. Dogs are so amazing.
Over the years, I’ve met many beautiful women with not the best complexions. Seriously, amazing eyes, gorgeous hair, rock’n bodies, beautiful smiles but not the best skin.
One of these days I’ll get this black and white thing down. And what exactly does it mean when someone says one’s photos look too Camera Club?
Inside the huge warehouse located in the middle of the Architectural Salvage Yard, I took many photos, but none from the interior appealed to me for some reason. This one exception below I got tickled with because of the cross colors, that they are beads and who doesn’t think a Peace symbol is groovy?
Memories stirred and put back behind me, I went off in search of the Big Cat Habitat. Who knew there was such a place around here? I gotta tell ya, this place… I suspect any place, is loaded with the crazy and weird if you look hard enough.
Anyway, I eventually found it and got a little disturbed. Mighty hunters and extraordinary wild beasts pacing behind bars, freaked me out a bit. Containing the magnificent for profit and view makes me wince, thinking the mighty cats surely were going stir crazy. I chose to believe that something worse would have happened to these cats were they not rescued and cared for by these folks. But of course, I could be wrong.
There were a few other animals around the place and most were behind bars in visually blocking cages. There was this one prehistoric bird though that reminded me of another time in New York City, when I had gotten my first and only pedicure. Getting my feet rubbed and soaked was great, getting my nails cut and filed was even better.
When it came time to pick out a color, that’s when I got a little unsure. I went with purple because I figured it was winter in New York, back then, and who would see my feet? Well, I don’t know about you, but I walk around barefoot quite a bit and suffered some unexpected embarrassing exposure with the cable guy, the mail man and the cleaning lady.
If I was ever forced to do it again, I’d go with clear or maybe a metallic bronze, silver or gold.
Do you think the reason why turtles have been around so long is because they eat so much salad?
This last one I shot with all my magic. I waited and waited for just the right look and summoned all my powers and though I shot it through the bars, through the cages, through all the barriers that contained this wild creature, through some miracle of focus, depth of field or whatever… I managed to make those bars disappear!
There you go, mighty cat… be free.