Randyland, Randyland

There’s a place called Randyland that is very close to where I live. It’s one of those places where you can’t take a proper photo of it. Well, maybe you can. I can’t. And of course I tried.

These were taken around 3:30-4 pm at the end of December. Randy of Randyland told us that it looks different at different times of the year, from different vantage points and of course at different parts of the day.

Same time, same time of year. That’s Randy in the lower left corner. I still can’t get a decent photo of this thing. It’s huge. Those are not 12-ounce bottles up there. The thing in the middle of that eye up there is a glass vessel the size and shape of a human head.

Right now the whole thing is kind of a Virgin de Guadalupe with a huge eye next to it, but Randy noted that it’s always changing. It’s been about 17 different things in the past 20 years.

Ugh. My photos. So inadequate. Go here and here for better pictures and a better sense of scale, preferably while listening to “Happyland” by Harpers Bizarre (written by Randy Newman). Then keep an eye out for a scheduled tour, or bug Randy yourself for a private showing. It’s viewable from the street, but so much better when you can see the thousand bottled little suns from their proper vantage point.

And the rest, 2017 edition

From my last two posts whooping and hollering about the amazingness of some different lands that we visited, you might get the impression that I don’t appreciate the USA. That would be wrong. I love a place that has this merry-go-round sign for a Chinese restaurant

and this giant polar bear casino

and this crazy pastime

and this sign

and this fish ladder

and so much more that there’s no way I can include even just the best stuff from a four-state road trip in one post. I love you, USA. This isn’t a popularity contest. Chill out.

For those about to rock, please place $6 in the donation box

The Republic of Molossia was not the only magical land Benny and I traveled to last week. We also visited the monuments and islands of the Petersen Rock Garden near Bend, Oregon. I was excited to go there, but the photos I saw prior to our visit really didn’t prepare me for the scope of the place. Maybe my pictures won’t do it justice either.

This place was built by a Danish immigrant in 1935 or so using unusual rocks that he had collected from around the general area. I’m not sure if he meant for the place to be a land unto itself, but it sure seems like it. There are miniature houses

of varying levels of grandeur,

a patriotic monument

or two

and even a separate island area guarded by a lighthouse

and some peafowl.

There was a cat who was trying to give us a tour, I guess,

and a chicken who was being rather show-offy about being able to walk around the moated mansion that had been roped off from us humans with caution tape

(actually, there were a lot of chickens – a lot),

but no other humans anywhere. At least none that were willing to come out and talk to us.

It’s too bad the museum was closed because I hear that inside there are little castles made out of rocks that glow in the dark. Oh well. Maybe next time.

I hope there is a next time, actually. There seems to be a lot of controversy about this place lately, around who is running the place and whether they’re greedy creeps or good stewards who are just overwhelmed by regulations and the enormity of maintaining the place. The garden keeps closing and being saved and closing again.

It’s open now, albeit in a bit of a state of disrepair. And as with all things, the future is unclear so if you want to see this place I would suggest you make a trip there soon.

The Marks of maturity

I’m back at work on a research project, and somehow found myself looking at a lot of “Daisy Bell” videos on YouTube this morning. If you are asking, “What is ‘Daisy Bell’?” I’m not going to make fun of you, because it’s a rather obscure title for what I thought was a pretty well-known song.

If I tell you, “It’s ‘Bicycle Built For Two’,” and you still look at me uncomprehendingly, I still will not make fun of you. If I go on to tell you, “It’s the song HAL 9000 sings in ‘2001’,” and nothing yet registers, I still will not make fun of you.

I hope you are not a young person with a beard who is sitting there with that bewildered expression, however. Because if you have a beard, I will think you are older than you actually are, and when I show you this video and you ask me, “Why is that potato wearing that hat?” I will make fun of you. I know it’s not fair, but that’s what I’m going to do. You look old enough to know better.

Watch. Crystals

Once upon a time I was in a band with some pretty magical creatures. This weekend I had the good fortune to hang out with two of those magical creatures. Would you like to hear about it? Of course you would.

Julie and Elana and I drove around in a really sexy red spaceship car and played with awesome dogs and lolled about in pools of varying temperatures, and we talked and talked and talked. It was such a fantastic weekend. You need to have a weekend like this. If I had my own planet, everybody on the planet would get to have at least one weekend like this. Not too many, lest it not be properly appreciated, but at least one.

It would have been a great weekend even without the Crystal Cave. But we were at this swap meet and Julie said something about a crystal cave being there right in the middle of the swap meet, and well, what would you do if you heard that there was a crystal cave in the middle of the swap meet?



We found it and went in, of course. That guy with the tooth is Bob, and he made the thing. Twice. You can read more about it and see more pictures here. As you can tell from our faces, it was not a disappointment. After we got out of the cave, Bob even let us go in his sooper sekrit light show room. I’m not going to post photos of that because… well, it was sooper sekrit and you should try to go see all of this on your own if you can.

So now I’m back in real life, but I’m still happy because that whole weekend wasn’t a dream and all these people and things really exist in the world, at least for the time being. As we were leaving, Bob told us, “Share the joy!” and so I’m doing my best. Have a good week, everyone.

Top photo and video by me; bottom photo by Elana Scherr

Grars and hypes forever

I finally got to vote in the presidential primary today, and boy, am I exhausted. How much longer until November? I don’t know if I can stand it.

One good thing about this election cycle, though, is I got this great t-shirt:


Of course I got food stains on it four hours after I took this photo this morning, but seeing as the shirt was designed by Mr. Let’s Paint, a man known for painting while riding a bicycle while making smoothies*, maybe those stains are meant to be there.

If you want your own great election shirt, greeting card, shower curtain or baby onesie, you can go here to order one and customize colors, sizes, and so on. I’m not getting paid to shill these; I just think this design is a pretty good depiction of this year’s democracy in action. USA!

*Also painting while running on a treadmill while playing chesspainting while shaving while riding a bikepainting while running on a treadmill while interviewing Eric Andre while baking cookies, etc.

Lady in cement

If you google “cement selfie,” right now you get results like this:

That’s kind of amusing, but I wish there were at least one result for this squinting but lovely behemoth looming over Riverside Drive next to the 5 freeway:



Maybe we can help that along?

Published in: on March 29, 2016 at 2:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Etiquette & superstition: interactions with a dying person

According to a New York Times interview with the artist of the painting above, Jack the black monkey was owned by an 18th century British ambassador to Italy. Jack’s owner noted in correspondence that he (Jack, not the ambassador) enjoyed enemas and grabbing the genitals of young boys. Perhaps it is no surprise that there are no companions at his bedside as he joins the choir invisible.

ETIQUETTE: When you are talking or writing a letter to a dying person, it is important that you try to find out whether the person knows and accepts whether they are dying. If they do not know, insist on using euphemisms or are not willing to accept their impending departure, you need to go along with that. Now is not the time to get into a new argument.

Start working on making your peace with the dying if you need to, let them wrap up their own loose ends, accept gifts they wish to bestow on you. Err on the side of making amends rather than expressing brutal honesty, but don’t say anything or make any promises that you would regret if the person weren’t dying. Sometimes people make amazing recoveries.

If you can’t think of anything to say to a dying person, just hold their hand.

SUPERSTITION: If a dying person’s last words are your name, you’re probably the next on your way to the pearly gates. If a dying person hits or bites you, you have to hit or bite them reciprocally if you don’t want to die yourself. Go ahead and get them back real good; a dying man’s tears are a good headache cure.

Image of “Jack On His Deathbed” by Walton Ford provided by La Petite Claudine on Flickr

Post-trip script

As usual, there were a few photos from our trip that didn’t fit neatly into other posts. I’m starting to feel like the person who shares way too many vacation slides after inviting friends over to dinner; I’ll understand if you slip away before dessert.

Three blues brothers in Rock Island, Illinois waiting

for a breakfast place to open. They will be waiting for a long time.


An excellent D & D-themed park in Carbondale, Illinois. More photos starting here.

A future water tower from the past when they had better aesthetics for the future. We stayed in a cabin close by and I got menaced by a gang of raccoons when I tried to take a photo of them raiding the dumpster.

An elephant’s grave in Oquawka. A rather sad tale.

An otherwise rather boring mall in Hazelwood, Missouri. I was expecting more from the area labeled “Circus Of Fire.” More photos starting here.

One of many lies in Hannibal, Missouri. A place that seems to be rebranding itself as the Steampunk Capital of the US. I’m not sure what that is about unless it has something to do with that Rush song.

One of my favorite misspellings outside a bar in Keokuk.

A mysterious kingdom in Tennessee.

A sign in Memphis that I would have liked to have seen at night.

Lisa Marie’s toy, which I hope has good memories attached to it.

Miss Ann’s, which shared a parking lot with

these braggarts.

I saw this after I bought some nose spray someplace.

The Frog Farm was an excellent place; we bought a small wooden alligator from the artist Louise Cadney Coleman. I wanted to buy an enormous driftwood peacock but couldn’t figure out how I was going to get that back home. More photos starting here.

The Britney Spears Museum in Kentwood, Louisiana seems to be closed but there is a pretty neat ghostly mural on the wall of the video bingo place.


I kept wanting to get my hair cut and maybe fashioned into a fancy ‘do at various places on the road, but I kept chickening out. I would have gone here but it was closed.

Abita Mystery House, which really must be seen to be appreciated fully. More photos starting here.

And then some random New Orleans things.




margeThere was a lot more. Cats and canoes, tiaras and MG conventions, miserable food at a diner where they kept trying to get us to go to the place next door instead, a delicious bag of apples. Maybe you should do this trip yourself some time.

End of the line

Today was the last day of our vacation and we ended it much like we started – close to one end of the Mississippi River, bothering fiberglas fabricators.

I swear to you that we did not spend our entire last day in New Orleans milling about a warehouse, however. We also saw an alligator balance a marshmallow on his head.

Look closely (or click on the above for a larger view). This was one talented gator.



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