Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Where the roadrunner lives

My grandfather used to subscribe to a magazine called "Arizona Highways." Every month, the mailman dropped his copy into the house through the mail slot at his front door, and eventually, I'd get to read it, and every month, I'd thumb through it, and see page after page of pictures of cactuses, you know, what the Latin-speaking population called cacti. 

Great spiny prickly desert plants and vast arid desert scenes! That's what the magazine was all about. And then people started talking about moving to Phoenix, Scottsdale or Tucson for retirement because it's so warm there and you don't have to shovel snow and so what if it's 128° there - it's a dry heat!  Just like in your oven!

I know some fine people who live in Arizona, and I really don't have anything against the state by and large, but I think all that heat must be getting to some people I do not know.

For instance: this recent tweet from the Arizona Dept. of Public Safety.  
"It appears an artist got creative near Casa Grande and turned a cement truck drum into a space capsule! Caused a stir on #I10 this morning."
What happened was, decades ago, someone abandoned the drum part of one of those cement mixers - those big trucks that drive around stirring up future sidewalks - alongside highway 110 in AZ, and recently, an artist named Jack Millard decided to turn it into a piece of art.  

"Henry! Is that Apollo 12?"
He turned it into what is supposed to look like an old Apollo spacecraft. Look at the picture.  Does it really look like something that's been to the moon, or came FROM the moon?

Still, people called the police to investigate it. And after an exhaustive study, they were able to determine beyond any doubt that it was, in fact, an abandoned cement mixer.

Millard, as artists will, turned the matter into a struggle for artistic freedom for all those working in the field of painting and decorating old cement mixers:

"As an artist, you know when you're on the right path when those in authority question you for what you're creating. This encounter turned out peaceful and even a few laughs. - Don't give up hope," he wrote.

He's also trying to find a way to move this thing closer to the highway, and of course, after that will come the parking lot, the admission fee to see the sight, the souvenir stand, the "I Saw The Cement Mixer From Outer Space" T-shirt, and the movement to have the whole episode memorialized on a commemorative US postage stamp.

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