A few of you asked whether that building shaped like a picnic basket I featured a couple of weeks ago was for real. Yes, it is, located in Newark, Ohio, and home of the Longaberger Basket Co. I have no Photoshop skills, nor could I think this up on my own. Here's an aerial photo of the real deal:
Meanwhile, one of our recent lightning storms smote what was possibly the most enormous and garish Jesus statue in existence (known around these parts as "Touchdown Jesus"). You couldn't miss him driving up I-75 between Cincinnati and Dayton. That's TJ on the left, and the remaining steel structure on the right.
But I was truly taken aback when I read that PETA offered to provide the church money to rebuild the gigantic statue in the form of a Jesus with a lamb in his arms and an inscription that reads: "Blessed Are the Merciful. Go Vegan" (I shudder to think how large a font would be required to make that message visible from I-75.)
PETA's letter of offer said, "As thanks for working with us to spread this lifesaving message, we will also send your congregation free copies of our 'Christianity and Vegetarianism' pamphlets, vegetarian/vegan starter kits and children's stickers showing a baby chick declaring, 'Jesus loves me too!'"
Yikes, Eggy happily enjoys and prepares many vegetarian and vegan dishes. But forcing extremist views down anyone's, er, throat, not so much.
It makes me sad when the city where I've lived so many years, and which has many admirable arts and culinary traditions, plus increasing revitalization, makes the national news for things that make us look like a hick town, or worse, and apparently TJ has made the national news. (I'll redact what I was going to say about some of our former embarrassments.)
Another upcoming effort really makes me smile: An installation of painted pianos throughout Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky "on streets, in public squares and parks, and at other fun locations – for anyone to discover and play" and in conjunction with Cincinnati Public Radio. Called "Play Me, I'm Yours," this is something that apparently has been done in London, NYC, Sao Paolo, and Sydney (paging Diva!). Here's a clip:
I guess they're looking for old pianos to be donated, have artists in place to paint them, and are looking for people to be watchdogs over these pianos in public places. (Hmmm, how could I phrase doing something like that on my resume?) I love the idea of this kind of interactive art. Just can't imagine what the heat, humidity, and rain may do to them. Many people may have old and out-of-tune pianos taking up space and happy to donate to the cause. My mom would not be one of them, although I would love to get her to Cincy during this event and cajole her into playing out in the fresh air!
To get off my soapbox and share something truly goofy . . . from Nebraska, the state where I was born, here is Car Henge (yep, I'm not making this up either):
Car Henge is a bizarre midwestern tribute to Stone Henge (you know, that one in England, where pagans/Druids hung out and worshipped the Sky and the Sun and the Solstice). This one is made of abandoned cars. I can't think of Stone Henge without thinking of Spinal Tap (back during my early manuscript-wrangling days in NYC, I had the odd privilege of getting tickets to film previews via the magazine I worked for; no one anticipated this movie!).
To wish you all a belated happy Summer Solstice, here's a clip that I hope you makes your outlook on the week go up to an "11" - which is always "one better than," isn't it?
Check back for my announcement of July Culinary Smackdown. I promise it's coming soon.