I’ll save the canned speech about how The Portland Orbit has to write an obligatory year-in-review column. Is it in the contract? By now it’s a habit. I expect the Pittsburgh Orbit will be doing it so if I hope to survive in the blogging game, I have to emulate my nemesis. The competition ends here. I’m just trying to get something done. This year I’ve just tried to get by. I’ve had to reconsider my outlook on life, maybe that’s what we all do this time of year. I’ll spare you the list of calamities. With luck, we can hope no year will be worse than good old 2022.
Looking back, I wrote some obituaries–fine subject matter for a blog, but there’s no shame in honoring loved ones. I wrote about mannequins and conducted a longish interview with Jeff Dodge. I managed to compiled images for blog posts of lawn deer statuettes, Mt. Hood images used in advertising and stop sign defacement which makes people stop to decipher the message. Sure I was a bit defensive when I wrote a whole post about an nasty comment someone sent me, but hey, I am always looking for material. The rest was holidays, Halloween, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and a comprehensive, overlong Blues Fest review. Then there was my election primary literature rehash and a second run in with my guitar hero Peter Buck along with a report from out of the area. For as much time as I spent hiding in my house wondering if I was agoraphobic, I did manage to get out a bit.
I thought I had a story, but I found another. That’s serendipity that anyone can get behind. This blog is inspired by random displays of creativity. Here I discovered, way outside of Portland, handmade signs that made me realize Portland hasn’t cornered the market of unbridled creativity. In Neskowin, cute, sometimes clever and what seemed like kid created signs did double duty. Folk Art combined public service. It sprang out of a tiny neighborhood on the coast. The signs cried out to me making me appreciate the outsider art begging people to drive slow.
The significance of 2/22/22 didn’t dawn on me until Willard Simmons, from the Pittsburgh Orbit, pointed it out. It was easily the most significant and amazing date of the year. Willard challenged me to write a post involving 2’s. I had to seize this date. The opportunity wasn’t going to arrive until 3/33/33, ah, 3/3/33, I mean, when we’d be writing about threesomes, I guess. There was a problem. Instead of getting the research team into a google car to drive around photographing everything and looking for examples of two things or pairs or whatever, the researchers stayed home googling stuff. The resulting compiled cubicle listicle was fun and Willard seemed pleased enough but I couldn’t help wondering what I missed. In desperation, I seized on Celine Dion’s two Portland show cancellations and learned that Celine fans were called Celiniacs. There’s probably related fan art but I can’t dedicate six weeks of my life to go down that rabbit hole. One Celiniac seems to have turned fandom into high art creating the movie Aline. Sadly, the retirement of Celine Dion, due to health concerns, means there will be no more shows to cancel.
My Celiniac fan art parody wound up in the Silver Apple Gallery in Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Photo by Kirsten Ervin.
See Willard’s double doubles from this year’s historic date:
I’m a collector. When I collect images I want to share them. My lawn deer obsession must have started with my feeble attempts at painting ceramics animals as a kid. Lawn deer call to me in their tacky splendor, their cement bodies and bad paint jobs substitute for the real thing. It’s all about the elevation of a wild animal into cartoonish ceramic caricatures. A deer on the lawn indicates that a homeowner likes deer and loves to decorate. I had my chance. Right there at a store, years ago, where a man cradled a lawn deer. Asking why seemed confrontational or crazy. I can barely understand why I like lawn deer myself but I was happy to have a format to display the images I’ve collected over the years.
Remember the new year is a chance to start off with a clean slate at least for a couple of days until all the resolutions have gone by the wayside. Happy New Year and keep reading!!