Art Of The Inexplicable

I like some public art and I dislike other public art — but at least I can usually understand what the art is attempting to convey.  No more!  A new bit of public art in Columbus has me stumped.

It’s the creation of a Brooklyn artist named Janet Zweig, and it appears on a wall behind the Key Bank building in downtown Columbus.  It’s a series of unadorned words on an otherwise blank wall.  The first five words were selected by Zweig, they were “Columbus never came here, but . . . ”  Every two weeks or so, new words, suggested by Columbus residents and visitors and chosen by Zweig and curators of the piece, have been added to the wall.  A statement accompanying the piece explains:  “Generative text can tap into an unconscious that often discovers hidden, insightful, poetic, and sometimes humorous truths.”  The new words are selected in an attempt to shift the meaning of the words, and the stated “goal is to change the meaning of the sentence (or sentences) each time a new section is added, in an attempt ultimately to capture the soul of Columbus, as described by its residents.”

I’m not sure words on a wall could ever “capture the soul of Columbus,” but if these words have done so Columbus must have the soul of bathroom graffitist or an adolescent who thinks “Mad Libs” are hilarious.  Does anyone from Columbus actually think this piece reflects well on our fair city?

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Savoring A Taste Of Indian Summer

When you’ve had a wet and cooler than normal autumn, a few days of Indian summer — and I recognize that is not a very politically correct term, but it’s the only one I know — is very much appreciated.  Yesterday and today, the good citizens of Columbus, Ohio enjoyed daytime temperatures that hovered around 80 degrees, nighttime temperatures in the 50s, and clear, sunny skies.

Of course, Indian summer never lasts long; you have to enjoy it while you can.  For us, it’s ending all too soon.  Tomorrow, showers and cooler temperatures are in the forecast, and then the weather is supposed to get worse as we move toward November.

Squeezing Into “Skinny Clothes”

Conventional wisdom dictates that, if you haven’t worn an article of clothing for a year, you should just get rid of it.  If twelve months have passed without it being taken off the hanger, the reasoning goes, issues of style or fit make it highly unlikely that you will ever put it on again.

I disagree with the conventional wisdom for two reasons.  First, I’m cheap.  Second, I think that, if you haven’t worn that jacket or pair of pants for a year due to weight gain, you should keep them around as a tangible reminder of how far you’ve let yourself slide.  Stepping on a scale, unpleasant as it might be, is an abstract exercise.  What difference does six pounds make, really?  But if you try to put on trousers that you haven’t worn since last fall and you realize the waistline now cuts off your circulation, you’ve got a powerful, concrete, and embarrassing indication of where you stand.

I have a sport coat that is about 30 years old.  I know this because I have a picture of me, UJ, and Dad taken in 1986, and I’m wearing it.  It’s been hanging in my closet since, donned with decreasing frequency until all wear stopped during the 1990-2010 interregnum.  At that point, my packed on poundage made any effort to struggle into the jacket look like the scene from Tommy Boy where Chris Farley rips David Spade’s jacket to shreds.  It was humiliating — but I resolved to keep the sport coat, anyway, as a reminder and a goal.

At the start of 2012, I decided the time had come to get back into “jacket shape.”  Nothing extraordinary — just trying to eat a little less, drink a little less, and exercise a little more.  I’ve made progress, and recently I took the plunge and tried on the jacket.  Happily, I was able to put it on without spraining a shoulder or sending a button rocketing into the bathroom mirror.  It’s still a tad snug, but I felt a real sense of accomplishment.  I’m glad I’ve kept it around.