Category Archives: Weirdness


From the “Oh, no, she didn’t!” files:

Yes, I have binders full of baseball cards. Yes, over 80 of them have this man’s face on them. And yes, out of all those cards, this really was the one I chose to take all the way to Pennsylvania for an autograph.

Why? I dunno. Why do I do anything? I think the more pressing questions here are why this card exists in the first place (I know it’s a Broder, but that still doesn’t explain how the photographer talked him into this shoot) and who told him that mustache was a good idea.


Amarillo this morning

We went to the International Route 66 Festival in Amarillo this weekend. We left Texas this morning and just got home a couple of hours ago. Here are a few of the visual highlights from the trip:

Cowboy Motel sign on Amarillo Boulevard, a.k.a. Route 66.

Totally planning to eat here next time we're in town.

Not on 66, but south of Amarillo on Sundown Lane: The strange Ozymandias sculpture, a replica of ancient ruins described in a poem by Shelley. The faux ruins are accompanied by a faux historical marker. Both were commissioned by Stanley Marsh 3, better known as the man responsible for Cadillac Ranch.

The old Roadrunner Drive-In building in Vega has a new roof and fresh paint.

The Roadrunner sign. Love the lettering.

A sparrow rests on the steering wheel of an abandoned vehicle in Conway.

Restored Phillips 66 station in McLean.

Angry Birds: We annoyed a ginormous flock of barn swallows by driving under the overpass where they were nesting on 66 in western Oklahoma.

I've never seen so many nests in one place.

There were actually four times this many.

Lucille's on Route 66 west of Hydro.

Some friendly Californians drew peace signs on the Dreamcar at a truck stop in San Jon, N.M.

We made a sad discovery on our journey home. This pretty little station on 66 west of El Reno, pictured above in 2009 ...

... sustained a direct hit from a recent tornado. This breaks my heart.

Despite ending on a sad note, the weekend was very good. We went to the E-group breakfast, which is sort of like a family reunion for roadies; participated in the preservation project at the Triangle Motel (where I got very dirty, a little sore, and a little sunburned); went shopping and visited the authors’ and artists’ exhibits on Sixth Street in Amarillo; cruised over to New Mexico; had pie at the MidPoint Cafe; discovered a great taqueria on Amarillo Boulevard; had some good New Mexico beef jerky; went to the awards banquet; and even found time to do a little geocaching along the way.

Hope your weekend was good, wherever you were.


Dashboard decor

For your viewing pleasure, here are a few photos of my ever-expanding collection of dashboard tchotchkes:

A chimaera now guards the roadrunner, who is hanging out with a phoenix, while Poseidon menaces a Care Bear and a stuffed gecko …

… and a sea serpent hitches a ride next to the steering wheel.

A minotaur and a unicorn join the usual suspects for sushi, ignoring the disapproval of a nearby mermaid.

Meanwhile, glow-in-the-dark lizards adorn everything from the armrests …

… to the panels above the seatbelts …

… cling to the ceiling …

… watch over the speedometer …

… and hang out with mythical beings such as this gryphon …

… and Adonis a certain Hall of Fame second baseman. And just in case I need to keep track of something …

… I’ve installed a convenient bulletin board, complete with peace-symbol thumbtacks, next to the steering wheel.

Loctite gel is my friend.



PLEASE NOTE: These photographs were taken on private property. While efforts are under way to restore and reopen the property to the general public, the site is currently rather fragile, and it’s littered with various hazards that make exploration unwise. Should you decide to visit, please — for your own safety, and for the protection of a historic landmark — respect the rules, obey the posted signs, and refrain from trespassing on areas that are not yet open to the public. Trust me: There’s a reason some of this stuff is fenced off.

Picture yourself in a familiar location. It’s a location you’ve been visiting on a regular basis for at least a decade. You know its history well. You’ve taken out-of-town friends to see it at every imaginable time of day or night, under all sorts of weather conditions, and at all different times of year. You’ve photographed it in the snow, wandered its grounds in the summer, and helped clean it up after an ice storm.

You think you know it well.

And then, one afternoon, you open your e-mail to find a photograph showing a part of the property you’ve never seen. You can’t believe what you’re seeing, so the next day, you go out, camera in hand, to see it for yourself. As you come around a corner, you look up, and you are met with this sight:

That’s right. Mushrooms. Over a dozen of them, ranging in height from three to five feet, arranged in a sort of fairy ring around a dried-up pond obscured by 10-foot-tall rushes, thorny brambles, and little scrub trees.

It’s not that it really surprises me to find out that there are giant concrete-and-fiberglass mushrooms behind the Ark at the Blue Whale. It’s just that they’re so … well, so perfect.

As Ron correctly points out, mushrooms are often found amid decay — and there’s plenty of decay on the grounds surrounding the Blue Whale.

The rickety, half-collapsed dock.

The weather-ravaged Ark.

The bottomless boat with the strange Cthulhu figurehead.

Given the decay, the dampness, and the vaguely hallucinogenic vibe surrounding the entire property, the mushrooms just seem perfectly matched to their setting.

I was half-disapponted to find the old snakepit empty. Somehow I was expecting to find it occupied by an outsized caterpillar … and if a striped cat had spoken to me from the branches of a nearby tree, I wouldn’t have been at all surprised.

Ron will have more about the mushrooms — and the efforts to restore the Ark and surrounding area — on his blog later today. I’ll try to find out where you can send donations, too. The Blue Whale is rapidly becoming my favorite Tulsa-area cause.


Is it wrong …

… that I think the Jack Chick tract I found on my windshield this evening is the funniest thing I have seen all week?

I probably shouldn’t laugh at it. It’s unconscionably homophobic, and I absolutely hate it when people use the Bible to justify bigotry. But this thing is so far over the top that it really borders on self-parody. No, I take that back. It doesn’t border on anything. It crossed that border a long time ago and is already deep into the interior of the Land of Irony.

Seriously: This thing looks like what you’d get if The Onion started printing religious tracts.


This was a misprint. It was actually supposed to say: “Whatever is required to get national attention is valid. If that includes lying out of your arse in the name of Jesus to garner support for your own bigoted world view, so be it.”

“It’s that time again!”
“No, Daddy! Noooooo! For the love of everything that’s holy, don’t drag me to the Keane-Eyes Gallery again! I promise I’ll be good this time!”

Check out that perpetrator’s back hair and Cro-Magnon build. And you thought fundamentalists didn’t believe in evolution. Shows what you know.

“Dude, Lot just said his parents are out of town until Thursday.”
Bitchin’, Dude! We’ll stay in your home tonight, Lot.”

Is it just me, or does that guy on the left look like a cross between Leonard Nimoy and Ziggy Stardust? I knew the Teletubbies were gay, and Bert and Ernie have raised suspicions, but is there something I don’t know about Lamb Chop? Because that certainly looks like her on Tonight We Party’s right arm.

Speaking of Tonight We Party, what’s up with that outfit? How does a dress like that even happen? I can just imagine the conversation that led to that:

“Hey, Wally, what do you want to do tonight?”
“I dunno, Beav — what do you want to do?”
“Well, Donna Summer’s in town. We could try to score tickets to her show. Or we could head over to the toga party at Lot’s place. Rumor has it Otis Day and the Knights are going to show up again.”
“I know — let’s do both!”
“Swell idea, Wally! But what shall I wear?”

Something tells me Chick had waaaaaaay too much fun drawing some of these frames.

I’m dying to know who left this gift on my windshield. Was it an earnest would-be missionary blanketing Red Fork with tracts to save our heathen river-rat souls from damnation? A neoconservative operative who mistook the tie-dyed rainbow pattern on my car for a political statement? A wiseacre student playing a good prank on his hippie English teacher? A gay friend with a marvelously wry sense of humor? A secret pal who knows of my fondness for kitschy subcultural ephemera? Who knows?

Ah, the mysteries of life in a red state….



The bleak December

Ah, distinctly, I remember,
It was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember
Wrought its ghost upon the floor.

— Edgar Allan Poe

I can’t believe it’s already December. It doesn’t feel like 10 months since I was celebrating the start of pitchers’ and catchers’ camp, or nine months since spring break, or eight months since EOI testing … and it definitely doesn’t feel like almost a year since the first Trip Guide ad landed on my desk.

It’s amazing what an endless series of deadlines will do to distort your sense of time.

I am SO not ready for another Trip Guide season. I need about three more bowls of chili from the Rock Cafe and a few Christmas decorations in the living room before I can even begin to wrap my head around that….


KISS it, calculus.

Normally, you’d look at something like this and think, “OK … somebody has way too much free time.”

In reality, I have absolutely no free time. This is what I was doing while I was supposed to be doing my calculus homework. I will almost certainly regret that decision tomorrow morning, when I am crawling out of bed at the butt-crack of dawn to try to finish all my assignments before we leave for Tucumcari … but for now, let’s just enjoy the moment and contemplate what sort of mind would produce something like this. 🙂



If the WordPress iPod app actually works, this post will include crappy cell-phone pictures featuring highlights from my trip to Las Cruces: Blue Swallow Motel on Route 66 in Tucumcari; green chile breakfast burrito from Kix on 66 in Tucumcari; motel sign in Vaughn; World’s Largest Pistachio in Tularosa; giant roadrunner in Alamagordo; and Royal Host Motel in Las Cruces (with restaurant next door).

If this doesn’t work, I’ll upload better quality pictures when I get home.


Cookie Crisp

For reasons I cannot begin to comprehend, I’ve spent the past two days craving Cookie Crisp. I don’t particularly like Cookie Crisp, but I kept thinking about it.

I finally got a box tonight at Reasor’s. While I was eating some this evening, Walter came in and began pestering me for a bite. I held out for a while, but of course I eventually caved and let him have one of the tiny cereal “cookies.” He wolfed it down as if it were tuna.

I thought it was strange when he stole dog food out of Jason’s bowl, but this is at least 8 percent weirder.

I hope you’re having a Cookie-Crisp-and-kitty-kisses sort of evening, wherever you are.