October 9, 2000

Thanksgiving II

Today is Thanksgiving in Canada.
(I find it strange to pass milestones a second time in the context of the journal; it doesn't feel like a whole year has gone by.)

For last year's entry I looked up a bit of the holiday's history on the web, and added some personal gratitudes:

I do have a lot to be thankful for though, including the following:

My children. They are strong and healthy (*insert appropriate superstition to ward off the evil eye*) and turning into good people. Also, my relationships with them. I must have done something right!
Yes. My children are still first on the list and always will be.

My father, still alive and kicking at 83. We're waiting for some test results but I won't think about that until I have to.
Well he's been through a lot and he's much more frail than he was last year at this time but I'm thankful he's still here at all, and still able to live independently.

I was born in the right place at the right time. I experienced both the 60's and the internet and I'm not likely to take the influence of either for granted.

My freedom, both personal and political.
Add to that, a sense of social and financial security.


Bifocal eyeglasses.
Yes and the fact that I'm naturally myopic so that taking off my glasses creates instant magnification.

Yes. And books.

My friends, both online and off.

Did I say internet?
Yes I did.

I can also add this journal. I'm still finding it difficult to articulate exactly why I do it and exactly what I get out of it but after over fifteen months I know it has made a difference. Writing it has increased my awareness of myself and the world around me; having others read it has boosted my self-esteem and enabled me to make some valued friendships online.

The journal has also enabled me to tackle long-term projects such as

  1. changing the world
  2. documenting urban monstrosities
With regard to the latter, I am pleased to report that a motherlode of urban (and non-urban) creations has surfaced in, of all places, Rhode Island!

Rhode Island, formerly best known (to me) as the home of Jim (jimsjournal) and the home of my favourite swing-blues band Black & White, whose drummer is a long-time IRC friend.

Hence, today's

Linque Du Jour:  The Potato Heads

In a brilliant marriage of marketing and blatant commericalization, the State of Rhode Island has seen fit to anoint Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head as Family Travel Ambassadors. The Governor of Rhode Island, Lincoln Almond, (a nut as a governor? the papers must have fun with that one!) personally officiated over this ceremony.

See, the Potato Heads (a classic American children's toy) are manufactured by Hasbro, which is based in Rhode Island.

So not only has Mr. Almond sold out his state's image, he's also created a blight upon its landscape by having twenty-eight (according to the website; more like forty, according to Jim) six-foot tall sculptures of these characters scattered around the state. As with the other monstrosities I've discovered, (moose, cows, pigs, buffalo) the sculptures are individually decorated by the ubiquitous "local artists".

Thus we have (among others)

Tourist Tater

Electric Potato

Surfer Potato

Fisherman Potato (this one looks like one of the seven dwarfs!)

Edgar Allen Potato

Couch Potato (abysmally upholstered)

and my personal favourite:
Eric The Head

The others can be seen by surfing from the link here;
they're also the subject of an about.com article.

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