Wednesday, July 30, 2008

This is a job for LETTERMAN!

It really chafes me when people litter. It suggests a disconnect between the individual and the environment. The disdain and disregard someone shows for their surroundings is often an indication of their feelings about themselves. A particularly vivid example is smokers flicking butts out car windows or onto the sidewalk; polluting themselves and then their world in succession. Vandalism and theft are much the same as littering. In Northampton I like to feel like we're all in this together. I'm a part of a community that is really an extension of my family and ultimately me. So whoever stole the big white A from the Serio's sign recently, and the H about a year ago, how would you feel if I just up and ripped your shirt off. Or your ARM!

Westfield's Lou Barlow and Eric Gaffney; aka indie icons Sebadoh found inspiration for an album title from just such an incident. But the vandals who stole the P to leave "HARMACY" were possibly making a strong statement about the anti-depressant craze and its ultimate results which is at least interesting and borders on justifiable. By the way, I would not assume that Lou and Eric yanked the P just for their album cover. I'm sure they found it this way.

In the 70s, The Electric Company on PBS was an educational show for kids who had graduated from Sesame Street. In addition to being first gig for Morgan Freeman (who created the character Easy Reader), there was a superhero who used spelling to fight crime. Letterman was his name. His arch enemy was the evil Spell Binder who would cause trouble by using his magic wand, replacing key letters to make the worse of situations (e.g.: Train into Rain). Then Letterman would take the letter(s) off his varsity sweater and correct the hazard. Where are you now Letterman! Serio's needs you!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Butterfly Shopping Cart of Gothic Street

Returning from a bill paying jaunt to Serio's today I took a walk down State Street, right on Trumbull and right onto Gothic St. Across from the courthouse I encounted the shopping cart. It was chained to a no parking sign. Carl Russo, poet and officer of the court, came out the courthouse door and yelled at me jokingly. "Hey what are you doing to my cart?!" "I'm taking its picture," I said. "It's been there for two weeks, " he added. "Maybe it's some kind of guerilla shopping cart art." I surmised.

The cart had some garbage in it which I cleared away for its close-up.

Who would litter in the butterfly shopping cart?

It reminded me of my trip to Boston with Mo yesterday. We delivered an ironing board and iron with her signature smashed glass mosaic to a show called "A Woman's Place" at the Bromfield Gallery in SOWA (South of Washington she explained). The white wooden pedestal we brought was inexplicably not big enough to position the ironing board on, so we had to just put it right on the floor. Mo said that the pedestal often says something to the effect of "Hey, I'm a work of art. Not just an ironing board, so don't paw me." Later we discussed the correct grammatical usage of single quotes vs. double quotes. To wit, single quotes are used when someone speaks within a phrase that is already in double quotes. For example: Larry said, "Ghandi said 'an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind,' but in fact it would only leave the world without depth perception." I wondered aloud what happens grammatically if the quote in single quotes within the double quotes has another quote within it. In any case, the ironing board (and iron) looked better on the floor anyway.

So I thought perhaps people would have been less likely to litter in the butterfly cart if it was on a pedestal. And even less likely if it had been in a gallery, pedestal or not.
The butterfly shopping cart encounter reminded me of something I'd found online a few weeks ago about a guy who locked two chairs to a pole in San Francisco and spraypainted Starbucks logos on them. People would visit the chairs when they were in SF and have their pictures taken on them and email the pictures to the guy along with an update on any Starbucks chair related news and their overall condition.

It's a lot more fun to pay your bills at Serio's than online or by mail. It makes it feel like 1968 or something.