Saturday, December 09, 2006
Friday, December 08, 2006
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Recovered from a 10-kilogram box of scrap coins. From 1806, this well used penny bears—just barely—the image of Britain's King George III. Lost his colonies and then lost his mind to arsenic and porphyria. Now he sits on my grimy desk.
A couple of days after a disappointing show at Nation in DC—lousy sound system, short set—Morrissey did an unheralded show at the reception-hall-cum-music-venue Michael's 8th Avenue in Glen Burnie, Maryland. Only about 750 people came out to it, but those who did were not disappointed. Morrissey emerged on stage under the 10-foot fiber-panel ceiling, a half-unfurled backdrop (all that would fit) and greeted us, "Welcome to the bar-mitvah!" Better than the Nation show by a factor of 100.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Some of us are old enough to remember savings passbooks, where every deposit, withdrawal, or interest payment was duly and carefully typed into small passbooks the customer kept. The passbooks were a bit smaller than passports but had the same important feel to them. I come across old passbooks every so often and am frequently impressed by the diligence with which people put money into their savings accounts. Apparently the U.S. now has a negative savings rate (heaven knows I do), but this wasn't always so. Here's one from 1977-78.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Notgeld was emergency money locally issued by towns, businesses, and municipalities primarily in Germany between the two world wars. The graphics and lettering are often quite beautiful (if difficult to read). These, and about a hundred other examples, were part of a fascinating collection of odds and ends I recovered from a house in Arlington, VA. Presumably the previous owner was one of the gentlemen shown in the old photo-booth snapshot I found among the lot. Most of the collection, which included coins, music boxes, South American carvings, and vintage keychains, seems to have been built in the 1950s.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
The company where I work part-time recently had an IPO. A $15.00 dividend was given for each share an employee owned prior to the IPO. Checks arrived last week.
I'm dimly aware as I track through the drab officeplace that many of the people I dully interact with are now fantastically flush with cash. The prematurely gray AA who's been here for decades, the hyper-focused project coordinator with her ridiculous shawls, the avuncular suburban dad whose work is a mystery to me, the homely Focus-on-the-Family member who writes copy (it's your lucky day, Mr. Dobson)—all these people just got many, many thousands of dollars in the mail, many into the six figures.
Me? I had squirrelled away 12 shares, thank you. $180.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
1. Where does a fella find a bottle like that. Note the old slot machines.
2. This drawing kinda makes me uncomfortable.
3. Those Quaker oatmeal packets are to me what madeleines were to Proust.
4. Did Freddie lose his eye?
5. What did Victor do? (dated 1/26/1972)
All the preceding items were recovered from a large old file cabinet that once belonged to a Washington, DC, schoolteacher who taught in the 1960s and 70s. Among all the teaching guides (most having to do with Negro history, from back when "negro" was the preferred term) were treasure troves of ephemera that the teacher, Mrs. Turner, had saved, presumably to use in teaching. There were old food labels, newspaper clippings, notes from students and faculty, and drawings.
Monday, October 02, 2006
Yesterday was the Crafty Bastards art/craft festival in Adams Morgan. Joy of Charming Vices was kind enough to host one of my Trashball! machines at her booth. I'd spent much of Saturday making Trashballs, 158 of them to be exact. When the show ended at 5pm, there was one Trashball left, which I happily gave to Joy. My take: $39.50 in quarters. Oh, yeah...
Phung, looking absolutely superb, was in a fashion show for Unsung Designers during the festival. Lordy, this girl has got it.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Old calling card recovered from discarded ephemera. A terribly suggestive bit of paper, I can't help but wonder what this card was once tied to, to whom it was given, and what happened afterward. Note how "Miss" was effaced—loss of virginity, maybe? Or is that just me and my dirty mind?
Recovered from discarded ephemera. This is the label from Book I (of four) of a painstakingly written outline of "Montgomery's English History", done in fountain pen in September 1920 by Miss Martha. A sample from page 5 is above.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Washington, DC, like many other cities, was very hard hit by riots following MLK's assassination in 1968. The photos show some of the aftermath and were recovered from a discarded photo album. Each was labeled on back with the location.
1st photo: 14th St. and Park Rd., NW
2nd photo: 14th St., NW
3rd photo: 8th St. and H St., NW - Kay Jewelers
4th photo: 7th St. and Florida Ave., NW
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
1969 penny found in damp grass in College Park, MD. Few people care for pennies anymore, and there is pending legislation to stop minting them altogether. But people would do well to save their pre-1982 copper pennies (since 1982, they're made of zinc with copper plating).
According to this website, a copper penny's melt value is now $0.0224392, or 224.3900% of its face value. So if you've got too much time on your hands, get thee to a bankery and buy a lot of pennies and get to sortin'!
Lovely bit of writing I found in the basement of a University of Maryland frat house today while struggling to remove a gargantuan industrial stove. This was actually in the oven. The writing has a stutter but then maybe this was the work of an emerging playwright...
Nice group show I'm in at Senate Realty, located at 909 U St., NW. Several other accomplished artists are in the show. Click here to view the e-vite.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Just 4 weeks after getting "Still Ill" [title of a Smiths song] tattooed on my forearm, the stars aligned in such a way that I got to meet a former Smith, the Smiths being a band I unabashedly revere.
Andy Rourke was in town to DJ at Rock n' Roll Hotel, a new venue on H St., NE, here in DC. As luck would have it, Phung and I have become friends with Coby, who's married to RnR's co-owner. These felicitous circumstances led to a very relaxed 30 minutes visiting with the superb former Smiths bassist.
I labored to avoid discussing his history with the band, a topic that I would imagine he gets a bit tired of discussing with wide-eyed acolytes, though I confess it came up a couple of times, with only one elliptical reference to Morrissey. Mostly, though, we talked politics, marriage, the molecular structure of Balian sand, the emerging dialectic in the great Hobo Debate (tip of the hat to John Hodgeman), and our favorite Peruvian porn stars.
Anyhow, thanks Andy. You are a very nice old bean and Phung and I had a dilly of a time.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
After nearly one year of not painting, I finally started again. Here's the first result. Fastow is the title, no need to ask why.
Now all I need to do is finish three more by Sunday morning because I committed to doing a group show here in DC. Details on that are forthcoming.
This is but a tiny fraction of all the crap I need to list on eBay. Recently I got a huge cache of gun accessories, mostly holsters and belts, on one of my junk-removal jobs. I don't really care for guns at all, but I'm staggered at how well crafted these holsters and belts are; they're like expensive handmade Italian shoes, except you slip your revolvers into them.
I'm also surprised at what people throw away. Certainly these things are worth something. Indeed, people are already bidding.