Monday, April 24, 2017

Do Mermaids Dream of Electric Eels?

Mermaids are real.

They are at least real in Florida...
And in Great Falls, Montana.

When you think about it, almost anything is real in Florida. They've had Zombies, Super Storms, Hanging Chads. So why can't mermaids be real in Florida.

If you wish to encounter these sirens, all you have to do is go to Weeki Wachee Springs State Park . Yes, it is a state park run but the state of Florida with Mermaids. It does beg the question, are mermaids state employees? State park rangers typically are considered state government employees, so do Mermaids get state benefits?

Living life underwater is hard. One should hope these Menfolk have at least a union. And eating seafood all day, one would hope that those benefits included dental (Have you ever tried to crack open a clam shell using only your teeth?).

In Montana, however, making a living as a mermaid is much more challenging. Not only do they have to survive in a swimming pool sized tank and harsh Montana winters, they have to survive on the dollar bills strangers tape to their enclosure. These mermaids are obviously not state employees. 

Sometimes the Montanan Mermaids try to break through their tanks they can swim to safer, warmer waters in Florida. These mermaids dream of dental plans and dancing with manatees as any self-respecting mermaid should. 

So remember, when you pay your taxes in Florida, you help keep a mermaid from going on aquatic welfare.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Who Mammothed Better?

When was the last time you rated your Mammoth? Why, you might ask? Well, I have encountered two museum quality models of mammoths in my adventures, and I have to ask myself, "Who Mammothed Better?"

Unfortunately there isn't a Mammoth Westminster Kennel Club judging the worthiness of the world's mammoth specimen, so i figure I should turn it over to the most impartial of voting groups out there, the internet. So I present the question, is this Mammoth Hot or Not?

Does the model mammoth of the Paige Museum at the La Brea Tarpits strike you as hot or not?

Or does the mammoth of the Royal British Columbia Museum rate hotter or notter?

I have my choice for which one is the sexier beast. And that would be the Canadian one. But what about you dear readers? LA Mammoth just seems too Californian. Maybe it's the hipster, mop-top, skull cap that this creature has going. It's just too groomed for me. The BC Mammoth has a certain rugged northwestern vibe about it. 

The choices we have to make...

Of course we all know that of all wooly mammoths out there, there is only one with enough face and fame to get all our hearts a flutter and that is Mr. Snuffleupagus. Let's be honest, his mammoth eyelashes can stop hearts. But if you throw Snuffy aside, who would it be? Who Mammothed Better?

From the Mr. Snuffleupagus Wiki Entry

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Beyond the Alligator Man

Many years ago, I posted briefly about Jake the Alligator Man, smascot of Marsh's Free Museum in Long Beach, Washington. But beyond that glued together taxidermist dream, there are so many other wonderful things at this tourist trap/junk shop.

There are of course the standard two-headed calves and twin-bodied sheep.

But where else in on the Pacific Coast can you find a mounted Werewolf? 

Or a giant Owl?

Or a Swamp Ape? 

When given enough time, one will realize that anything can be made with the ass end of a deer, old dentures, and googly eyes. 

As a kid, this place inspired my interest in taxidermy. Ethics of hunting for trophies aside, I firmly believe we should respect this as an art. A wall mounted animal head may not be as powerful as a diorama at a museum, but there is craftsmanship involved. 

At one point in time, I considered going to taxidermy school. I researched a program located in Montana that had a dorm and a meal program. I had been out of work for close to six months at the time and was trying to reinvent my career. The dream was to learn how to do majestic mounts of animals in various poses, show my skills to local museums, and then become a curator of sorts. 

I envisioned the program to be something like Space Camp, but with more flannel, beards, and dead animals. Dorm life would have been great! I would share a bunk with a hunter with an ironic name like "Buck" or "Tracker" or some of variation of a Palin family first name. And of course, there was the meal plan.  Every morning we would eat pancakes and then work on skinning a moose or elk or something and then we would put that animal back together so it looked like it was alive. 

Once I figured out how perfect of a scenario this would be, I explained this master plan to my mother as we ate dinner. She told me that I needed to find a job. My rebuttal was that this was my next path to employment. More importantly,  I explained that taxidermy school had both a meal program and the dorm.  At that point she changed her position and simply stated, "You need a girlfriend." 

Needless to say, I never did join taxidermy school. 

And when I think about it, I wonder how good the meal plan really was.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Introducing "The Map of All Known Palm Trees in Portland, Oregon"....A Passion Project

Everyone has a list of things they dislike, distrust, and has a general disdain for in life. With pathological fervor, we rant about such things and make out contempt publicly known. The internet and the "blog format" has become a safe place for people with such vitriol to openly share their views with a marginal segment of the population.

I have my list of things I disliked and distrusted things. In no particular order, I present the following.

  • Fans of the band Everclear
  • People who ride unicycles
  • Carrots
  • Butterflies
  • Sushi sold in Midwestern States
The list could, and does, go on ad infinitum. But today, I present a more concrete thing that I dislike and have a pathological loathing of...Palm Trees growing in the city of Portland, Oregon.
put: I hate seeing palm trees in the city of Portland.

For a few years now I have said that I plan to map out every known Palm Tree location in this city. Now with the power of Google Maps, I can actually plot out every one of these invasive trees just to show how ridiculous these plants are in our land of cedar and Douglas fir.

Image from

So the question must be asked, "Dude...I mean really, dude. What's your beef with palm trees?" And that is a damned good question. I actually love palm trees. When I would visit California as a kid, I was always wanted to see palm trees. Driving down the wide streets of Sacramento, nearing the capital building, seeing palms brought me simple joy and wonder that only a child could experience. I loved the fibrous trunks, the mighty fronds, and the through there may be coconuts near by. Even as a college student many years ago, I drew a comic titled, "Fun in Getting to Vallejo," which was a short piece about mailing myself to California so I could see palm trees. 

But here in Oregon...Nope.
Nope...Nope...and thousand times Nope to palm trees. 

Is this a rational dislike? No. Is any ranting, rambling, screed ever rational? No. 

Thus I present: The Map of All Known Palm Trees in Portland, Oregon. This will be an ongoing compilation to concretely mark where every palm tree in this city is located. I have one location mapped out at this point. One can simply click on the above link or they can venture over to the corner of NE 16th and East Burnside to experience these palm trees themselves. The map shall be ever evolving and new updates will be made as new observations are made. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Mannequin...But More Real

The film Mannequin is a work fine art rarely appreciated in our hustle and bustle contemporary lives. I consider it to be a wonderful documentary in the same lines as factual films like Independence Day and 2012. In the documentary, Andrew McCarthy falls in love with a show room dummy who happens to be Kim Cattrall before she was not made of plastic, silicone, and Botox. Zany things happen, there are magic necklaces, a guy named Hollywood who had great sunglasses, and there is more importantly love. It's a simple factual story with a simple factual plot. 

Blah, blah, blah, et cetera. 

So the thing that isn't known about the factual documentary Mannequin (and the follow-up documentary Mannequin: On the Move) is that the movie is really based on mannequins of workers in Northern British Columbia. 

Yes, Canadians.

So in Canadian museums, late a night, human figures made of cloth and nylon, stuffed into traditional clothing come to life in small town museums. 

In fact these two individuals roam around drinking Molson's and maple syrup. There really isn't any love story happening with these two individuals. But the love of lumberjacking and fishermanliness is all that needs to happen in the cold cedar forests of the northern woods. 

No magic necklaces are needed to wake these two Mannequins, all the magic is in the Canadian wilderness.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Needed Skills for the Modern World

A strange thing happened while I lived in the wilds of Montana over the past few years...I became a You-Tube survivalist. What might a You-Tube survivalist be? Well, essentially, it means that you sit at home with your cat learning survival skills from "experts" who post videos on the internet all from the comfort of your home and without the need to invest in camouflage uniforms or high-powered assault rifles. 

During this period of time, I learned a lot about how to make fire without the use of matches, how to make huts out of tree branches, and how to fish without using a rod or reel. Essential stuff when you live in a city. But in Montana, you never know when...oh let's say a SUPER VOLCANO ERUPTS or some other situation might arise in which all useful skills need to be thrown out the window and you absolutely need to make a fire in a much more difficult manner than flicking a Bic to light paper. 

So when I strolled across this book I figured, "hey I already know how to start fires with my knowledge from the internet so I might as well start being really prepared and learn how to bomb proof my house."

I mean, EVERYONE'S house should be bombproof, except for maybe those pesky terrorist types. We shouldn't let them have bombproof houses. What extra steps can I take to make myself even more prepared? Do I need a more secure basement? Do I need metal siding? Something to keep out radiation perhaps? I bet it all requires concert cinder blocks. All good preparation needs cinder block loving attention.


There are no houses in this book. Horses, yes. Houses, no. 


So my survival skills can't be enhanced with this book. And well neither can my horse saving skills. 

Just look at the picture, if these horses stepped on a land mine, where is the metal plating that would be needed to keep your steed's legs in place? Or what about bombs dropped from above? Surely some aerial protection for the horse can be built. Nope...

Now I am going to have to sit with more You-Tube videos and learn how to completely enclose my nonexistent horse in lead and cinder blocks to keep it protected from evildoers. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Montanans Love their Mannequins

Yep, the title pretty much sums it up. People in Montana, or at least those who create dioramas for the regional and county museums of this vast state certainly love mannequins. Perhaps not as much as the people of this film, but enough to use them ubiquitously throughout and to mixed success.

This first picture postcard is actually an old tableau no longer extant in the town of Virginia City. VC, as those in the know (I really don't know who that is) call it, is kind of a historic tourist trap of sorts. Once abandoned, then restored, once filled with mannequins recreating olden day life in the west, now filled with souvenir shops…only a few of the vivid dioramas remain. Most have weathered and crumbled. 

 I believe the cobble is one of the few visible dioramas left visible in the town. Here, the cracks in the figure's skull are very visible showing signs of age and disrepair.

These other mannequins are from other various museums throughout the state. While the one below is more likely a custom job the rest are probably cast offs from defunct catalog and department stores long closed from the main streets of Montana. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Putting the Fun in Fundamentalism…or is it Putting the Mental into Fundamentalism…I get confused sometimes.

Sup everyone…Y'all know who I am so I don't need to introduce myself. Everyone seems to have these ideas of the things I like to do. So I figured I would tell it to you straight. These are the things I like to do in my day-to-day life. 

Sometimes, I like to drink from my crunk cup.

Sometimes I like to kick it with pimps and hoes.

Sometimes I like to, well…I have no idea what is going on here…

Sometimes, I just end up hanging with my homies...

Keep it real. YOLO. 

***Wonderful World of Clutter author's note: Yes this is the third religious themed post in a row…While this is a holy trinity of sorts, I hope it doesn't happen again.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Rocks of Ages

Nothing amuses me more than roadside attractions. Religious themed roadside attractions become an added bonus for me as they seem to rarer and rarer finds.

On the road south to Red Lodge, Montana, is a decaying spot called Pathway Thru the Bible. This walk through rock garden is reminiscent of the Petersen Rock Garden outside of Bend, Oregon, but with none of the grandeur and much more proselytizing.

One would actually miss Pathway if they didn't have a keen eye trained to the road. Trees practically cover the hand-painted sign indicating that some stop even exists here. Nothing really states much about who built it or why. Well, why they built it is pretty obvious…teach about the bible…through walking through ambiguously organized rocks. But it still remains mysterious. 

As I strolled through the grounds, a woman with a weedwhacker hacked down grasses off in the distance on the property. While normally I would stop and converse with the property owners of such establishments, I figured I would take pictures and let this woman manicure her property as I wandered around without being acknowledged.

It is hard to tell whether this rock garden really saw better days or not. It didn't have the aura of outsider art or the craftsmanship of a planned tourist attraction. If anything, it felt like a forced Sunday school project--something kids were subjected to build begrudgingly when egg crates and cotton ball mangers weren't enough.

I wonder though…Where did the abalone shells come from in Montana?

And of all of the scenes to depict here for a walk through of the bible, was it really necessary to have Lot's Wife as a Pillar of Salt depicted? It seems like some more inspirational things could have been presented. Perhaps it was just a the best use of the medium at hand.