Category Archives: Ephemera

American Football

In some places football is more than a sport, it’s more like a religion.   But as I grew up in a city with a fairly awful professional football team, and went to university with a terrible college football team,  I never became a fan. (Except that football is a great excuse for parties and boozing, so I guess I am a fan of sorts, sometimes).   My college was playing against the local team, and my friend didn’t want to go, so I thought ‘what the heck (or something quite similar)’.  I had been to a game of the same two teams about 30 years ago, so perhaps it was time to do this again.

And as this local university is a military academy, they had a military pre-game show.  It does require a certain talent to be able to jump out of an airplane and land in the center of the stadium.

It’s a lovely stadium, the sun was shining, and we had been drinking delicious Bloody Marys in the parking lot.

The teams had to do a bit of running about before the game starts.

Whenever the home team scores a goal, a squadron of cadets comes out and does the same number of push-ups as the score.   And the score was rather large at the end.  😉

Halftime means that a marching band must come out.

After the game was over, I realized that I had not taken any pictures of the actual football players.   So here’s a picture that shows some of the football action on the giant stadium screen.   When one is at an game, the players are the ants down on the field.  When one watches at home, the television cameras always bring the action close.   And this game was being televised, so there were camerapersons racing up and down the sidelines.   All in all it was an interesting experience, but perhaps I shall wait another 30 years before I do this again.

 

 

Still more windows

I have become fascinated with the bits of ephemera that people use to mark out their interests and affiliations.  And as always, I seem to find the most interesting ones as I am driving along (I know, pay attention to the road instead).  But I do run across some stationary ones in the parking lot where they are easily captured.

This family chose ‘Day of the Dead’ stick figures to indicate their family members, which is an interesting choice, unless they are actually skeletons.

The woman who owns this car came up to me as I was snapping this photo and I had a little chat about my photographic project (okay, I’m sure that she thought I was at least slightly weird).  She said that she got the sticker from Amazon, and that she liked peacocks.   Then she showed me her peacock tattoo (it had a lot more detail).

This one commemorates (probably) a trip to Hawaii and the lovely beaches there.  The turtle (Honu) is a Hawaiian symbol for wisdom and good luck, and Honu can be a guardian spirit (Aumakua) too.   The starfish sticker has all the symbols of Hawaii: hibiscus, sea life and the islands themselves.

Here’s another fan of the ocean, but with a more mythical bent.

And I think that both of these drivers should be very careful when parking, not to get to close to this fellow.   He obviously has a different agenda.

 

Pumpkins

What exactly goes into the flavor of the season, ‘pumpkin spice’?  Pumpkins by themselves have a sort of vaguely vegetal flavor, but pumpkin pies (which have somehow overcome the odds to become an essential part of Thanksgiving) mainly taste of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and sugar.

But there are some choices one can make when choosing a pumpkin.

It was a beautiful fall day out in the country (a mere 25 miles from town) and there it was, a farm stand selling every sort of pumpkin for every sort of need.

For instance, here are albino pumpkins for those who dislike the color orange.  I have no idea if they are also white on the inside.

There were also pumpkins for those who find ordinary pumpkins somewhat boring, these ones had an attractive striping to them.

And then there are tiny pumpkins for those who don’t wish to do any heavy lifting (available in regular orange or white).

For those who appreciate a challenge, there are the giant pumpkins, which weigh as much as a small child.  All of these pumpkins will last for a long time as decorations, but these varieties are not really good to eat (unless one is a deer, the ones near my house think they are delicious).   And it is a lovely thing to have a choice.

Sunsets

One of the many ways that people divide themselves (without resorting to a sorting hat) are whether one is a lark (getting up early for the worms) or an owl.  I seem to be an owl.   I have heard tell of the beauty of sunrise, but whenever I experience it I am invariably groggy and half asleep.   But sunsets are a different matter.  First there is that lovely twilight, then the encroaching darkness.  And of course one does not get a spectacular sunset every evening, so it is more impressive when one does.  I don’t remember sunsets when I lived in the Midwest, I think the West has the best.

Like this one at M’s cousin’s, with the yellow to orange colors of the setting sun.

I saw this one over the mesa when I went to visit M’s uncle recently, it started out with just a touch of pink that burst into this lovely glowing spectacle before fading away.

Sunsets can also be more subtle, with just a smear of color against the horizon.

Or like this one, with faintly pink clouds contrasting with the twilight and the lights of the neighborhood.

I captured this view from my living room (good thing the window was clean).

Here’s a recent one, without even a tinge of pink and the mountain hidden, it’s still beautiful.

 

Kitties

When my friends complain that they are stressed out by the news, I have a simple solution:   quit watching the news and watch cat videos instead.  As I do not want to link videos (after all I didn’t create them) to my site I offer instead some cute pictures of my friend’s cats.

The young tom is quite probably a Maine Coon cat.  He has a long lanky body, especially hairy toes, and a long fuzzy tail, all of which are characteristic of the breed.   The yellow female comes from the local animal shelter, so her parentage is unknown.  But she has lovely stripes in her fur and on her skin, so she is possibly part tiger.

As tiny kitties they enjoyed sharing a basket when they got tired of romping through the house, chasing each other and imaginary foes.

When they got bigger it was a matter of one kitty to a basket.

But that was okay, as there is always a box handy.

Boxes are great places to rest in, and one can always bite and fight the box.

And boxes are perfect places for napping.

 

It is hard work being a kitten.

But they do grow up so fast, here he is today, ready  and alert, looking to pounce.

And he keeps getting longer and lankier, just like the breed standard.

She was rather standoffish today, not sure if I was a friend or enemy, so her she is keeping a wary eye on me.   And I noticed that as she has gotten older her tail has gotten more and more fluffy, so perhaps I am quite wrong about her parentage.  Based on her tail, she is possibly part squirrel.

 

More windows

Once I start noticing a thing, like the white stickers on car windows, I start seeing them everywhere.  Of course the very best ones that I glimpse are the ones I see as I am driving along.  And it would be impossible to pull my phone out of my pocket (the seatbelt holds me securely in place) and snap a picture before the traffic light changes.  Oh well, sometimes these things are just meant to elude one’s grasp.   But I did manage to capture these images on parked cars.

In lieu of stick figures, Star Wars seems to be the next most popular way to graphically illustrate one’s family.  I have seen Darth Vader as paterfamilias, various storm troopers, and this one, with the large war machines,  At-At’s, for the parents and the smaller war machines, At-St’s to show the number of kids.  Must be some sort of fan, eh?

I loved this sticker from the moment I saw them pull into the parking space.   The combination of the cheerful yellow truck and the image of the elephant, it was really quite striking.   (Although they probably don’t have a pet elephant waiting at home).

I saw this one in the same parking lot as the elephant, and I somehow don’t think that it has an ulterior meaning, it was just a pretty thing.

And then there is this creepy sticker.   It’s on a rather nice SUV, but this girl wants everyone to know that she is a scary person at heart.

So we have seen these people’s obsessions, and you see my obsession, taking a peak into their souls.

Pterror on Parade

Operating on the theory that any photo can be improved by adding a pterodactyl, I had decided that this years’ photographs of the parade should include Pteri.   There is a certain sameness to every years’ parade, we can only guess at what year the pictures were taken by the changes in the hairstyles of the spectators (although it is easier to guess which photos are from the distant past, they are in black and white).

One can always tell when the parade is going to start (never on time), some sort of police vehicle leads the way with ear-splitting sirens blasting.

Shriners are a service organization (made up of mostly old guys) that are an essential part of any parade.   Besides marching around (or riding, often in tiny cars; as I mentioned they are mostly old guys) they do raise money for a children’s hospital.  On this day one of the old guys fell off the float (he was okay) and this delayed the parade for a bit.

To be a proper parade, there must be floats.   And a float must have lots of crepe paper, possibly tinsel or glitter, and people throwing candy to the crowd.  And I must say, there was a delicious variety of candy on offer (we gave the bits that we didn’t like to nearby children.)

Because this is a large gathering of people in a sparsely populated area, the politicians were out in force flogging their wares in the hope of securing our votes.  In this particular parade anyone who wants to can participate, but, politicians have to pay $100 to be in the parade.   This thrifty group has the placards of several additional candidates on the truck.   The main politician is making a big deal out of her maiden name, to show that she is the third generation of this political family to be running for office, (no, apparently we can’t ever get rid of political families).

And a parade is as good an excuse as any to ride one’s horse down the main street.   There really is no other reason, as there are no businesses in town.

Then it was on to the main business of the day.  Free food (courtesy of the cattleman’s association) and a chance to visit with old friends and former neighbors.

Over in a meadow

Once upon a time I had an ordinary boring suburban lawn.  You know the sort, you water it to make it grow, then you mow it to keep it tidy, then repeat again and again.  It’s a mark of respectability to have a nice lawn.   Some years ago, we started out with a thirsty bluegrass lawn. Then there was a drought, and the bluegrass mostly died.   (We really never liked bluegrass, but it came with the house).   When the drought was over we replanted the yard in native buffalo grass.  (It does not grow very tall and it was what M’s Grandma had in her yard).  But over time various other plants have encroached into the lawn.

This yellow buttercup seeded itself into the lawn this year.

As did this sunflower, although I suspect that the squirrels may have had a hand in it’s being there.

Flowering sage was planted in the flowerbed near the house, but found this a little too confining, so it escaped out into the lawn.

Oregano flourishes near the front steps.   A favorite of the bees, the plants sprang up from seeds that leapt over the concrete.  Every year this patch gets a little bigger, perhaps it will completely take over my yard in due course.  That’s not a black snake hiding among the plants, it’s the hose.  (I do water things every now and again).

And who is the master of this tiny kingdom?   Why it’s the bunny of course.

Windows

If ‘eyes are the windows of the soul’, what are actual windows?   And more specifically, the windows of one’s car?  We generally live an anonymous life, one can’t tell much about a person’s interests from just a quick glance at the person.   But on one’s car it is easy to put out the information about what one is interested in.

Although it is sometimes a puzzle to figure out the enigmatic meaning behind the window.  Is this a romance reader, or a cynic?

To graphically show one’s stick figure family, was an early trend, mostly it was parents and the number of kids.   But this person has a complete family and doesn’t need anyone else, just her two dogs and a cat.

This one is based in a realistic depiction of the pooch and it was quite a large sticker.

This person wanted people to know that they were not a local.

This is my friend’s car.  While the end stickers are easy enough to decipher, the middle one is a little harder to figure out as it shows a rotary cutter, which is what one uses to cut up fabric for quilts (’cause scissors are just too slow).

Another enigmatic sticker (well it’s enigmatic to those who don’t follow anime).

So true.

 

 

 

Going South

I once again found myself in the city to the south.  At one time, it was much more prosperous than my town, it had industry and lots of good paying jobs.   But the industry is gone, and now the city looks to attracting the leftover tourists from our town.   And one of the many reasons to go there is this tourist area.

I think that they call it neon alley.   There is always the question of what to do with the signage of a building, folk art that let one know instantly what the business was selling.   (Although I am not sure what the lamp with Aladdin written on it was advertising, possibly magical wishes).  Most of these are no longer going concerns, although at least one of these businesses still exists.

Cigar stores used to be part of the urban landscape, it was a manly thing to smoke a cigar (me and M used to smoke cigars when we went camping to annoy the insects).   And back in those days when smoking was allowed they also sold cigarettes.   The turquoise sign came from a little family-run cafe over on Main street, and we did patronize it when it existed.

These bits of ephemera are just randomly placed on this half block long brick building that has been partially restored.  Located right across from the train station, it had a commercial function at one time.   But now it houses a Senator’s office, a lawyer’s office, a cafe, tavern and an antique shop.  The newer part looks to have been built in 1903 and the building survived years of neglect to remind us of the past.

The background painting surely was done a really long time ago.   I can’t imagine anyone bragging about selling wine from Herrman, MO (I have tasted these on a bet).   Greyhound still offers service, but doesn’t even have an office, let alone a waiting room.   One just stands on the corner near a parking lot.

And a final bit of unusual ephemera is an ancient British telephone box.   Of course it does not contain a telephone, or even cards advertising ladies who will answer one’s every need.   But it does make one wonder “how the heck did this get here”.   And possibly “why”.