Feb 1, 2009

A stone without a sail is like a rock with radar

Harford County is virtually devoid of public art. The people here have more important things to spend their money on - and that's o.k. But for those wary few who aren't obsessed with the SAT, the SUV, "the nose running brats in love with Batman,"* the landscape can be troubling. If Las Vegas resembles what America would have looked like if the Nazis had won the war,** Harford, increasingly, looks like America if the Soviets had - shoddy, soulless, and bleak.
However, there is at least one piece of art, tucked away in a shabby little shopping center, known as "The Fallston Mall." It's a boulder, floating between two pylons, affixed with what looks like a steel bubble-wand on top. Originally, there was cloth stitched in the middle of the ring, making the thing look like it was waiting for a strong wind to come along and set it twirling. Perhaps it was meant to be some sort of whimsical tornado detector, but what ever it was supposed to be, it always brought a smile to my face. The cloth, like the parking lot, rotted away years ago. Now it looks like a rock with some sort of Cold War era range-finding equipment attached - one of those improbable inventions from an old newsreel - the "sonic rock" or some such, and I still like it, even without the cloth.

* From 'Marriage' by Gregory Corso
** "The Circus-Circus is what the whole hep world would be doing on Saturday night if the Nazis had won the war." (
Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)

Photo: Canon EOS 50D & EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS lens