Category Archives: Dime Museum

Oddities Worthy of a Dime Museum

Controversial Confederate Memorials vs. Slavery Memorials

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A recent story from THE GUARDIAN featured recent conflicts in New Orleans stemming from the city’s decision to remove many monuments deemed to celebrate the ideals of the Confederacy– mainly slavery– as offensive to modern concepts of human equality, justice, and opportunity.…/gun-shoot-civil-war-statues-n…

This reminds me of the 2015 flap in Cornelius, NC, about it’s very own Confederate Soldier Monument. It was erected around 1910, after most Confederate vets had died.

Many believe these statues were erected in Southern towns and cities– so long after the Civil War, to reinforce the spirit of the new Jim Crow laws, and inform Yankees that the ‘South’ (or at least the people who had money for such statues) had not

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Funny Snack


Liberal Rednecks- Introducing Mr. Trae Crowder

crowder tshirtAnd now for something completely 13406921_472053256338676_720802718420717353_ndifferent (finally).  

Big media ignores this, why?
#1 comes from the South and isn’t about food.

#2 hasn’t appeared in the NY TIMES Style Section.

Visions of the South – Religious Fraud?

North Carolina’s Governor never approved this invitation to this religious event. 

As with so many religious organizations, the truth is a very elastic thing. 

Why don’t these people pay taxes? Newspaper didn’t bother checking the truth of the claim. 





Visions of The South – Monument

Confederate Soldier Monument Becomes Homage to Christo


This 3o ft. soldier on a high pedestal  in Cornelius, North Carolina (25 miles north of Charlotte) stands about a mile from my house.  It was erected in 1910 to memorialize Confederate soldiers who had died about 50 years earlier.  The South was well into the Jim Crow era, and similar monuments sprouted at that time across the South, paid for by local private associations riding the wave of post-reconstruction prosperity of the industrializing South.  Confederate soldiers could now be held in high esteem, as memories of the death and destruction of the war faded, and reconstruction laws had been rescinded. The discriminatory Jim Crow laws were deemed sufficient protection against African-Americans gaining any prosperity or power that might threaten the white establishment.  The soldier, though in rest pose, remains armed.  The pedestal, wrapped, Christo-like, in a blue plastic tarp includes a bas-relief Confederate Battle Flag (stars and bars) and a beefy field cannon.

Soon after the massacre of 9 African-Americans on June 17, 2015 at a Charleston Church by an avowed white male racist, who draped himself in Confederate Battle Flag gear, the Confederate Flag quickly became an anathema to much of the civilized world.  Public buildings, especially the Columbia, South Carolina State House quickly removed the flag that had flown there for decades and survived had scathing international criticism and boycotts of the state.

Also,any of the monuments were immediately covered with graffiti making uncomfortable associations of the flag with the Nazi swastika, the KKK, and general anti-racism statements, plus the names of the recently murdered– perhaps in an attempt to memorialize them along with the Confederate soldiers who had fought to help preserve slavery.

This particular monument’s graffiti was quickly shrouded by the local Cornelius police who said only that it had been defaced by “profanity.”  Other photos show no profanity– at least in the traditional sense of lewd sexual references or violent curses.

The statue was unwrapped for a few hours while several local men tried to scrub and power-wash the black spray paint.  A photo of that work appeared in a local monthly newspaper. See more photos at 20150807_083537

However, I noticed a few days later, the blue wrap was back on.  Was thegraffiti too difficult to clean by non-professionals?  Had the mysterious group returned immediately after the cleaning to spray paint again?

I walked up to the monument, and saw that a sign had appeared, warning that the monument was private property and under 24 hour observation with an infrared camera.  I didn’t see a camera, but the phone number is good, just haven’t been able to connect to get the story.

P1020994A friend decided to visit it with a few friends after a bar crawl one night.  Within minutes, four local cop cars pulled up, asked for ID and what they were up to.  They said “just sight-seeing,” and all held their hands over their heads and pulled their shirts up.  The cops just left.  But it was a touchy situation.  They wondered how busy it was in the little town, if four cars could be dispatched so quickly.

In a recent news dispatch, the Mt. Zion Methodist Church, which had earlier denied that the monument was erected on church land, admitted that indeed it was on church land, putting them in the difficult position of perhaps supporting an extremely unpopular cause.  On the other hand, Southerners can have very different views about their traditions and heritage, so there is an on-going conflict.  And for whatever reasons, the blue wrap remains in place.  It will probably be there for a while, because the topic easily inflames passions.  Passion can be a dangerous thing in the South, and finding a compromise solution will be as difficult as it was during the Civil War.

christoThis is an example of Christo’s artful wrapping.  Underneath is the German Parliament building.

My First Memory of Christmas and a Song for the Kids

Old time Coca-Cola ad with Santa Claus holding a Coke bottle

Santa Coke


This ad was made the first Christmas I can remember, and so I’ve always associated Coke with Christmas.  Many friends, especially John Waters, do too.

In celebration, here is a young boy’s ditty honoring holiday joy:

Jingle bells, Santa smells
Cow pie on his sleigh,
He sat in it,
Now he’s havin’ a fit,
PU lets run away.

Dashing through the snow,
To the outhouse ‘cross the road
My butt’l be so cold
Sittin’ on that hole.

I surely wish that my
Dream comes true tonight.
An indoor can
For this ol’ man
Would be a warm delight.


Art inspires

gasoline_24-bDavid Campany – artist, writer, curator, and Reader in Photography at the University of Westminster – recently published Gasoline (Mack, 2013), a book of newspaper photographs depicting gas-related events between 1944 and 1995. It is a sampling of twentieth century car-culture, filling stations, and other accouterments, primarily in the United States. The prints were collected from North American newspapers in the process of liquidating their print archives.

Gasoline is split into two sections – fronts and backs of the photographs – separated by a short interview with Campany, printed in silver text on toothy black paper. The book is soft-cover, but stiff, with a red paper dust-jacket, similar in size and color to a school folder. The title shares the cover with a photograph of a woman in her vehicle, arm draped across the steering wheel with her face obscured. The car, the woman’s hair, and the sunlight are all airbrushed to perfection. It could be an advertisement or a fragment from an early Rosenquist painting.

Idea stolen fair and square from

Visions of the South

cyclewideRan into a couple guys out for a ride, enjoying the crisp fall weather along theBlue Ridge Parkway outside of Little Switzerland, North Carolina.  Their bikes were eye-popping, and they had driven nearly 100 miles from Sevierville, TN.

vestSaw many Harleys out on my ride, with a substantial increase in trikes.  Prices for these shiny beasts approach $30,000, and personally I’d choose a Miata convertible to escape the wind and the rain.  But these guys surely wouldn’t be caught dead in a Miata.


Nevertheless, looking at them leaves me full of wonder, and I’m glad there are people in the world who do such meaningful, nutty things and these are some of the best artists I’ve seen in a while.  trunk

This car shows a “convenient”  way to carry your lunch.  Thanks to Mr. W.G. Shular for being a fearless artist.

How Football Trashes American Culture with the Baltimore Ravens as Prime Suspects

As someone who grew up in Baltimore, though I played soccer as a kid, and so escaped the brainwashing that is American football, I thought I should watch at least a few minutes of the Super Bowl last Sunday.

I saw a few plays where the Ravens’ quarterback hit every pass, SF fumbled the ball, and the Ravens appeared to get two touchdowns in about five minutes.  It seemed more like a lop-sided high-school football game.  Every slightly successful play by either team triggered a disco dance among the players, like they had just discovered penicillin.

I already have dark thoughts about football as a thinly veiled exhibition by highly steroided men in extremely tight pants who can’t keep their hands off each other and whose big thrill is forming writhing daisy chains on the grass.  But it’s probably not that.  I mean, this is prime time American TV fueled by Bud Lite.

And should I mention tatoos?  Now I know why so many people these days want big tats.  They want to be football players too!

So after watching a few minutes before returning to Michael Moore’s autobiography, I catch an  article in that could spell redemption for the Ravens, and football.

Now that they’re #1, maybe they could part with a few pennies to support the shuttered Edgar Allan Poe house in Baltimore.  That’s right, author of “The Raven,” whose Baltimore home is less than a mile from the stadium– as “The Raven” flies.  The football team only purloined the name of maybe the best known poem in the English language, for all the threatening symbolism, mystery, and supernatural powers it infers on the players.

Come on Ravens, share the wealth.   If you don’t pony up an endowment to save Baltimore’s Poe House and museum, you should change your bird name to Randy Newman’s Dirty Little Seagulls.  But Randy’s still alive and might sue you.

The Ravens won the game by being bold and brave.  Let’s see them be creative, and honor and preserve the legacy of their literary creator.  Or perhaps some dark and dreary night suddenly there may come a tapping as if someone gently rapping, rapping on that stadium door.

Thanks for the inspiration to: 


Beauty Beauty, Look at You, I Wish to God I Had It Too

Surfing through photos of all the beautiful people at Elton John’s 2012 Oscar Ceremony Viewing Party, I came across these two Russian models hob-nobbing with the jet set.  John Waters attended too, of course.  Wonder if he spoke to them much.  They would be good characters in one of his films.