Wednesday, February 27, 2013

It's the Former, not the Ladder

This is another of those photos which makes you wonder what happened five seconds after the photo was taken.  I can just about see the guy falling, paint and tools flying, videos being posted to youtube, etcetera people laugh, lawsuits are sent back and forth - yeah, good times.

But, (you knew there was a but, right?) this is really not the case here. Look closer, my dear readers. This ladder is not being misused, nor will it bend/break while the guy is up there.  Check out the way it's set up there.  You can see the special locks and overall design along the legs and at the apex.  Recognize it? Yeah, I bet you do!  THAT is the ladder you've seen advertised late at night on some infomercial where the inventor screams at how great it is and also screams how much it costs. It folds up and out into several useful positions just like in the photo above. AND it's made to do just what this good ol' boy is doing.

And yeah, it's a pretty good ladder.  No, I don't own one.  I want one, but I don't own one. Neighbor Bubba, the contractor has one and I've noted how he keeps it under lock and key and never loans it.  Yeah, it's a very good ladder. 

So, some people would look at this and think "OMG, what a FAIL!"  But we know it's not. Though maybe the guy needs some better shoes, that ladder isn't going to dump him down the steps. If it was me, however, I know I'd be stepping into one of those openings and THEN I'd fall down the stairs, followed by the  aforementioned phone video record, upload to youtube and national embarrassment. (During which brother Bubba would be howling with laughter.)

Only Good Ol' Boys can apparently make that work. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

That Mason-Dixon Line

You can't live in the US and not have heard of the Mason Dixon Line.  Living in the South, doubly so. Though many people consider this the line, surveyed by two men named - wait for it - Mason and Dixon, (Yes, amazingly so!) was the demarcation of slavery, (See above sign) in reality it was actually the border which established legally the boundary between Maryland and Pennsylvania to the north, and Maryland and Delaware to the East. That's right, the line is in the shape of an L sort of laying sideways and maybe backwards. (Delaware was a slavery state so the idea that this divided slavery is very much in error!)  

Before Mr. Mason and Mr. Dixon made their great survey, there was a very lengthy dispute as to the border thanks to the states' original charters which gave differing amount of land to the states along this area.  The Mason-Dixon Line officially ended the dispute and entered the history books in 1767 almost a hundred years before the Civil War (1861 - 1865.)    

If you're like me, you're probably having a hard time visualizing it, so here's a map which lays it all out.  

I have to admit, I always thought the Mason-Dixon Line was, well, longer. And maybe wider. And was a bit further south, maybe the straight line border between Tennessee and Kentucky.  This may be just another light bulb for a guy who wants to be considered one of the Good Ol' Boys that I don't know my Southern Heritage, but you can't blame me.  I mean, come on, the Mason Dixon line is storied and sung with such emphasis as to its delineation of the North and South (Nawthunuh an' Good Ol' Boys) that one gets the idea that it's actually a heavy red line emblazoned across the landscape! (Ok, so there are stones placed every mile and 'crown stones' every 5 miles but I'd rather see some wide red line like a giant made with a great big magic marker, like a big 5 lane highway running straight across the landscape!) 

The Mason-Dixon also marks the historical and accepted segregation of the North and South which would later define the War of Northern Aggression. (Yeah, that's a story for another day!) But for the sake of history, it's merely the end of a legal dispute. 

So, now you know.  In fact, you probably will use this in a conversation someday very soon. In double fact, perhaps you should start one ("Hey, did you know that the Mason Dixon Line is not in Wyoming? Yes, it's true!")  You should do this.  Especially if your name is Mason or Dixon....or both. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Invention Intervention - The Gun Fridge

Once again I marvel at the simple inventions of the Southern Inventor. The seeming ease at which 'purpose' meets 'repurpose.' Witness: this old Freezer/Fridge has found new life as a lockable Gun Cabinet. And what's more, it's sort of 'camouflaged' in its natural setting.  No one is going to know that this locked freezer is actually a collection of Zombie Apocalypse weaponry.  

Not too long ago, I inherited a gun cabinet from another Southerner who had decided he didn't need it.  Now, I don't have the arsenal that the Inventor above seems to have, but I thought that the cabinet would be a good place to put my BB Gun and maybe the golf club I use to hold the lid of our chest freezer open (it keeps falling on my head...not the club, the lid....try to keep up, Bubba!) 

Then came the realization that the gun cabinet is actually a beacon for those who might steal my precious BB Gun! The Horror! What can I do?  Maybe a disguise?  Yes!  I immediately thought of putting a wig and mustache on the cabinet but that just didn't seem like enough.  Plaid Pants and a Turtle neck?  Nice...but....

Ok, so I never did get the gun cabinet in place, even though I had the perfect spot for it, away from the windows and I even considered putting a large poster in front of it.  (Jimi Hendrix?  Maybe Ted Nugent would be better....) It now sits forlornly on the back patio acting as a condo for wayward mice.  

Now, I'm considering finding some broken down Freezer that I can re-purpose just like the Inventor has above. In the meantime I'll keep my BB Gun in the closet next to my golf club.  

Anyone want to buy a wig and plaid pants? 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Art and The Southerner

If you ask someone about ART in the South, most will point to the music scene and say something lofty about how all music is art.  Local hipsters will mention their season tickets to Schermerhorn and mutter under their breath 'but you've probably never heard of it..."   Ok ok ok, but what about Visual Art?  Most folks likely think of Art in the South as a pyramid of cans in the pale moonlight.  (Extra GOB points if you know the origin of that phrase) but in truth, the South has a thriving Visual Arts culture.

I was reminded of this just this last morning when walking to work from the bus stop.  It's only one block from my bus to the office and I came upon this nifty sign above. This art gallery used a special projector to put their name on the sidewalk in front of their establishment - very arty, yes? Modern, yes?  High Tech, also yes. As I stood there and marveled at the light, the box and the fact that the thing had to be on a timer, I also remembered that there are four (count 'em 4) art galleries in the single block from my bus to the office.  These are not the only galleries in the area, and in fact not the only art galleries in Downtown.  Art Plays a big part of the culture in the south.

In fact, just this last weekend, they had one of the Saturday Night Gallery Crawls.  Starts at one gallery and moves gallery to gallery.  It's a great way to see new art, visit more galleries and do it all with a crowd of like minded folks. (I'm sure there was plenty of 'unoaked chard' available for those hipsters who weren't at the Schermerhorn, Bubba!)

This is just another example of how I won't be part of the south.  (No, I have no idea what unoaked chard is, let alone how it goes with Visual Art) The fact of the matter is that I can't draw a straight line with a ruler.  My contribution to the world of art is to paint my house and stay home. Now, don't get me wrong, I enjoy art. I grew up surrounded by good art. My mother was an artist, and a fairly good one.  Books on art were all over our house.   But when I look at some of the things they call art these days - like a statue of a three headed monkey made from pencil shavings - I just sort of stare at it with wide eyed wonder.  Throw some paint at a canvas from several feet away and call it art and I sort of turn my head sideways and start to whimper.   Show me where some artist has carved a religious likeness out of his own feces and I want to just curl up in a fetal position and cry.

Yeah, Yeah, I know, art should evoke some emotion and if i want to cry because someone makes art the way I clean snot from my nasal passages then that's "art."  I guess.  Yet another reason I stay home.

Let the Hipster Southerners have at all that "art." ...and unoaked chard.