The readymades on my neighbor’s lawn; or, The ghost of Duchamp alights in North Carolina briefly and is gone.

The night before trash day in suburbia rarely brings such exciting visions as this Duchampian fountain on my neighbor’s curb. A tremendous storm—the first rain in many weeks—had just passed through, and the porcelain sparkled as if some great wet mythic meteorological Tidy Bowl Man had scoured everything clean.

The Ready Made on My Neighbor's Lawn

In suburbia, on the night before trash day, the only sight more gratifying than a commode on the curb is three commodes on the curb:

Three Seats of Ease

The storm knocked over one of the toilets, shattering porcelain all over the road. The remaining johns stood silently by, two smooth white sentinels keeping watch over the night.

Urinals (Three, White)

Shattered Porcelain Dreams

This last photograph below is a bit of a time lapse thing. Perhaps a bit too poetically, I titled it Never Returning, the Spirits Depart the Fountain. I don’t know what it means. Then again, I don’t know what three toilets on the street mean either. Dave?

Never Returning, the Spirits Depart the Fountain

All photos posted to Flickr by Sample Reality.

A Return to Sesame Street (Fisher-Price Style)

Since Elmo was (regretably) such a success with our son, we’ve rescued a bunch of old-style Fisher-Price “Little People” from my parent’s attic, including a few Sesame Street characters. Here we’ve got Bert and Ernie (circa 1974) tooling around town in a garbage truck.

Whose garbage truck? I’m not sure. I don’t recall Oscar the Grouch actually being a sanitation worker. In fact, wouldn’t he more or less be the enemy of Sesame Street’s trashmen? I mean, I think he had rabies or something.

In any case, Niko loves the toys, and it’s weird watching him play with the very same slobber-encrusted, booger-smeared toys that I played with thirty years ago. I don’t know who was more upset when Ernie went missing for a week, Niko or me.

[My Sesame Street photos on Flickr]

Warning!! Playground Swing Seat

Playground Swing Seat (Larger Image)
Posted to Flickr by samplereality.

There’s a playground around the corner in my subdivision, and it’s loaded with warning signs. There’s even one on the toddler swing seat, alerting all who read that “improper installation, maintenance, use, or vandalism can damage seat and lead to serious injury.”

What I find intriguing about this sensible sign is that it speaks to all sorts of people at once: the workers who installed the swing, the crews who maintain the parks, the parents and children who use the swings, and the teen pranksters who vandalize such parks. All are addressed in a single, leveling sentence. And it’s punctuated, without a trace of irony, with the phrase “Made in the U.S.A.”

So, “serious injury”–especially to a child on a seemingly harmless swing–that ranks high on the Deadly Suburban Danger Sign Scale, maybe all the up to Code Orange.

As an added bonus, I’ve geotagged this sign: N 35° 29.42390′ W 80° 49.60180′

Update: Looking back at the photograph of the swing seat, I realize that it looks awfully a lot like a pair of worn, dirty, stiff underwear. I guess that adds a whole other dimension to the warning on the swing.