The Need for Intelligible Graffiti

Graffiti is defined as words or pictures scribbled or drawn on a wall or other structure.  Graffiti is only slightly younger than dirt, as evidenced by the photo on the right.  This picture is from Kom Ombo Temple in Egypt (courtesy of Wikipedia) and was clearly drawn by a political supporter of Anubis, the ancient Egyptian God of the Afterlife.  (Note:  Last speculation is written tongue in check.  Please fact check all blog information before including in any written reports on which an educational future hinges…..).

The picture on the left was recently taken in my daily rambling ambles about Astoria.  Clearly, this collaborative work is the result of millions and millions of years of inbreeding.

Graffiti has often had a political and/or social critique component.  An anonymous tool with which to criticize authoritarian governments under cover of night and spray can.  Or, in the case of Kom Ombo, darkness, chisel and hammer (again, see NOTE, above).  At some point, however, as our drawing materials became smaller and more portable, our thoughts and missions also become proportionally smaller.

Today, much of the graffiti I encounter is usually posted on the walls of bathroom stalls in bars and consists of such meaningful, thought-provoking and life-changing messages as “Willie and Grace BFF” and “There’s something in your nose. It’s my fart.”  Really?  Is this all we’re capable of intellectually – even if alcohol is involved? What happened to the grand literary tradition of writers producing great masterpieces whilst drinking themselves into early graves?  Edgar Allan Poe, gods rest his soul, is struggling for a way to rise from his grave and smite us all with a raven for this illiterate jibberish.

I propose a poetic challenge to all of you readers out there.  Gird yourself with a Sharpie of your choice, brush up on your Rumi, Khalil Gibran, or Sartre, and take to the stalls.  Let’s prove to the Wizard that we do have a brain!

Lonely House Looking for Love

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Up on Alameda Avenue lives a sad, lonely house. Inexplicably abandoned, it sits dark and forlorn, slowly decaying. This is not an uncommon site throughout Astoria. However, in a City that frequently bemoans its lack of affordable housing, why is there no partnership between City, County, college and/or other organizations to rehab these structures? If these homes are structurally unsound, why are they left to die a slow painful death? Perhaps we need an edifice euthanization commiittee? Humanity for houses!

Clatsop Cairn

Clatsop Cairn
The Clatsop Cairn

As I was wandering about yesterday, I came across this cairn next to the parking lot at Clatsop Community College.  For those of you who are cairn-challenged, a cairn is defined as “a mound of rough stones built as a memorial or landmark, typically on a hilltop or skyline”.  So, at least the placement of the stack was technically correct.  However, the randomness of the location leads one to wonder why it was placed there.  And, by whom?  Was someone commemorating a particularly good parking space day?  Or was it to declare the parking lot as a particularly important and noteworthy landmark?  More importantly, was it constructed by one person in one session?  Or, is this a group project in process?  Perhaps its a secret society that flourishes in the nooks and crannies of Astoria.  A group dedicated to the construction of cairns in clandestine places.

I think we all need to be on the lookout for more appearances of random rock stackings as we go about our daily business….

Climate and Colors

After the past few days of gloomy, gusty, guessing weather, I found myself paying particular attention to the bright yellows of the daffodils and the pink blooms on various trees around town.  (As a side note, as one who is horticulture-challenged, what are those trees?)  I began to wonder whether bright vivid colors are Mother Nature’s way of compensating us for cloudy rain-soaked days.  If so, then why are the tropics so vivid? It isn’t as if they lack for Vitamin D-infused sunshine.  If anything, the tropics should be the most monochromatic place on the planet.  Conversely, what palette should Mother nature apply to Antarctica?  It is – almost literally – a blank white canvas.  However, there can also be blindingly sunny days?  Now there is a conundrum…..

 

Once Upon A Time….

Welcome to the mental meanderings and musings related to all things Astorian.  As a relatively recent transplant to this magical mecca, I wanted a forum to share my observations of things around town.  Astoria is like no other place I have ever lived – an urban fairyland, replete with drunken trolls, sorcerers mixing potent (and tasty) elixirs in bars and gallant knights and ladies who occasionally save us from ourselves.  The cast of supporting characters is endless and ever changing, as is the scenery around them.

I hope you will tag along as I experience my own Journey of Discovery through this land of legends, landslides and liqueurs.

Bon Voyage!