Saturday, July 03, 2010

Apocalyptic Ostriches (Saturday's Adventure, 5)

This Saturday's Adventure: A Hastily-Planned Visit To A Scary Art Park.

Last week's adventure was to visit the art park run by "Dr. Evermore," an artist who lives and works just outside of Sauk City in Sauk County, Wisconsin -- the artist's claim to fame being "The Forevertron," a giant metal sculpture that he built out of scraps and spare parts.

I decided on the adventure about 9 a.m., and called the number ahead of time to make sure it was still open. "Sure," said the lady who answered the phone. "What time will you be arriving?" I said we'd get there between 11 and 12, and she said "Well, I have to go pick up the artist at 11:30, so if you're there and it's locked, just park by the surplus store and enter it that way."

I didn't know what that meant, so I filed it away as unimportant. The Babies! and I then spent the morning playing at McDonald's and eating breakfast while Sweetie went to her spa and got... a massage? A haircut? I'm not entirely sure, but she went there while we went and had hash browns and McGriddles, because she wanted to come with us.

Then, when she was done with that, we packed up some snacks and headed off on a road trip to The Forevertron. Which is this:

When we got there, the gate was, as mentioned, locked. So we drove up the street to the surplus place, but didn't see anyplace that looked like we should park there, so we drove back to the gate and parked, where Sweetie waited while reading and I got out and looked at the greeting-sculptures on the side of the road.

Mr Bunches liked the spring on this one, and seemed oblivious to the fact that it was a giant metal insect looming over him:

The lady and the artist finally arrived at 12:15, which was when we got let inside -- by then, there were two other cars waiting to get in, too. We drove in and parked off to the right and began to look at sculptures like this:

That was right outside our car. The whole place is loaded down with weird giant metal things that all make me think of the Skeeziks from my old Uncle Wiggly game, if the Skeeziks was steampunk. Mr Bunches started out strong:

But it didn't last, as the further we went around the circular park, the more skittish he got. I tried to get him to stand with us to take a picture under a giant metal beetle -- kind of like a traditional family photo if your traditional family lived in the matrix:

But he wouldn't come back by me and Mr F, and then, right after that picture was taken, he began walking more quickly towards where we'd begun. When I tried to get him to come over by a flying saucer and a group of birds:

he began yelling at me as I got close to the birds, and didn't stop until we got back.

"I think he's scared," Sweetie said, and I had to agree: Mr Bunches wouldn't go near any of the sculptures and when he saw our car, he ran to it and said "Come on," while trying to open the door. It seems the wonders of a 30-foot-tall bird with the body of a metal cello:

Are not Mr Bunches' cup of tea. But you can see why:

Mr F did better, but he also didn't pay much attention to the art, either -- he was more interested in throwing rocks into the puddles that lined the paths here and there, and less interested in skeletal metal ostriches from an apocalyptic future:

And robotic bands:

Before we left, the lady who'd had to pick up the artist tried to cheer up Mr Bunches by making him a neat little tinfoil hat - -but he'd had enough. We headed back home, where Mr Bunches celebrated his freedom from scary sculptures by not taking a nap.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Abraham Lincoln was a poet? (Friday's Sunday's Poem/Hot Actress 54)

My Childhood-Home I See Again
Abraham Lincoln

My childhood-home I see again,
….And gladden with the view;
And still as mem’ries crowd my brain,
….There’s sadness in it too.

O memory! thou mid-way world
….’Twixt Earth and Paradise,
Where things decayed, and loved ones lost
….In dreamy shadows rise.

And freed from all that’s gross or vile,
….Seem hallowed, pure, and bright,
Like scenes in some enchanted isle,
….All bathed in liquid light.

As distant mountains please the eye,
….When twilight chases day—
As bugle-tones, that, passing by,
….In distance die away—

As leaving some grand water-fall
….We ling’ring, list it’s roar,
So memory will hallow all
….We’ve known, but know no more.

Now twenty years have passed away,
….Since here I bid farewell
To woods, and fields, and scenes of play
….And school-mates loved so well.

Where many were, how few remain
….Of old familiar things!
But seeing these to mind again
….The lost and absent brings.

The friends I left that parting day—
….How changed, as time has sped!
Young childhood grown, strong manhood grey,
….And half of all are dead.

I hear the lone survivors tell
….How nought from death could save,
Till every sound appears a knell,
….And every spot a grave.

I range the fields with pensive tread,
….And pace the hollow rooms;
And feel (companions of the dead)
….I’m living in the tombs.

And here’s an object more of dread,
….Than ought the grave contains—
A human-form, with reason fled,
….While wretched life remains.

Poor Matthew! Once of genius bright,—
….A fortune-favored child—
Now locked for aye, in mental night,
….A haggard mad-man wild.

Poor Matthew! I have ne’er forgot
….When first with maddened will,
Yourself you maimed, your father fought,
….And mother strove to kill;

And terror spread, and neighbours ran,
….Your dang’rous strength to bind;
And soon a howling crazy man,
….Your limbs were fast confined.

How then you writhed and shrieked aloud,
….Your bones and sinnews bared;
And fiendish on the gaping crowd,
….With burning eye-balls glared.

And begged, and swore, and wept, and prayed,
….With maniac laughter joined—
How fearful are the signs displayed,
….By pangs that kill the mind!

And when at length, tho’ drear and long,
….Time soothed your fiercer woes—
How plaintively your mournful song,
….Upon the still night rose.

I’ve heard it oft, as if I dreamed,
….Far-distant, sweet, and lone;
The funeral dirge it ever seemed
….Of reason dead and gone.

To drink it’s strains, I’ve stole away,
….All silently and still,
Ere yet the rising god of day
….Had streaked the Eastern hill.

Air held his breath; the trees all still
….Seemed sorr’wing angels round,
Their swelling tears in dew-drops fell
….Upon the list’ning ground.

But this is past, and nought remains
….That raised you o’er the brute.
Your mad’ning shrieks and soothing strains
….Are like forever mute.

Now fare thee well: more thou the cause
….Than subject now of woe.
All mental pangs, but time’s kind laws,
….Hast lost the power to know.

And now away to seek some scene
….Less painful than the last—
With less of horror mingled in
….The present and the past.

The very spot where grew the bread
….That formed my bones, I see.
How strange, old field, on thee to tread,
….And feel I’m part of thee!

About the poem: I was going to try to find something patriotic, but I stumbled across that had poems for middle-schoolers, and out of curiosity checked out what poems they had there. Amongst the amazing offerings -- Bukowski, e e cummings and more poets that we never learned about in my middle school, a school where people protested 8th graders reading Salem's Lot -- were a poem by Abe Lincoln. I immediately began picturing Abe at a poetry slam, all emo, his beard shaved down to a sole patch, wearing a retro t-shirt featuring Space Invaders In StovePipe Hats. Then I went off to call my agent and pitch that as a show. Then I remembered I didn't have an agent, so I ate some toast instead.

About the Actress: Don't worry, Hunk lovers. When Sweetie proposed Jenna Fischer -- who will forever be Pam the way Bob Dnver will forever be Gilligan (or, for you younger people, the way Danielle Fishel will forever be Topanga), she also asked if I wasn't going to feature men as the Hot Actress (which I'll do if you want). I suggested bringing back the Hunk Of The Week in some form, and Sweetie agreed -- so you'll be seeing that, too.

Shopaholic (Worth A Thousand Words, 1)

Worth A Thousand Words presents pictures from my life with a one-word caption. It's a new thing I'm trying. This intro doesn't count towards the one-word-limit.


Quote of the Day, 46:

I'm so excited about this smoothie thing!
-- Sweetie, on the phone today.

It was almost exactly a year ago today that Sweetie confessed her long-felt desire to love a smoothie. Sweetie's always thought Smoothies were cool, but she didn't like the yogurt in them.

Today, though, Sweetie told me (breathlessly) that she'd gone to McDonald's, and that McDonald's had smoothies on the menu, and she'd gotten one, and she'd loved it. She told me that early on in the phone call I traditionally make to her before lunch, and then at the end of it, reiterated her excitement about the whole smoothie thing.

The only real question now is what goals Sweetie has left. She's done it all, now.