Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Seahorse Pedestal

I am beginning to think that I am not alone in my passion for the southern icon which is the seahorse birdbath. Yard enthusiasts display various treasures and wonders on and in their beloved fluted clam shell pedestal.

eventer79: Apparently the parents of the frolicking children in this bath aren't at all concerned that kiddos will soon be frolicking in bird feces.
Yummy!


Score:

  • Seahorse birdbath: 3 points
  • Children statuette: 1 point
  • Cardinal: 1 point
  • Bricks: 0 points (but nice touch)

Subtotal: 5 points

Creativity Bonus

For what appears to be tots riding side saddle on a dapper cardinal whose liftoff exerts such thrust that the entire concrete structure could be lifted aloft thus necessitating the weight of the bricks - 3 points

Total: 8 points

Someone needs to put helmets on those kids.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Eagle Has Landed

Everyone knows that I have a soft spot for sea horse birdbaths. If you find them, take a picture of them and I will post it. We have seen seahorse, upon seahorse, upon seahorse heck we have even seen naked chicks on seahorse birdbaths. So proudly presenting a patriot tribute submitted by Feldspar:
An American Eagle majestically spreading its wings above my favorite kitsch item of southern culture:
As an added bonus, another kitsch item, the bench for spooning frogs under the shade of an umbrella sans the actual frogs. (Complete set added for clarification) Also some very nice items of interest in the side yard.

Score:
  • 2 particularly evil looking bunnies: 2 points
  • Lighthouse: 1 point
  • Lifeless Duck aground by the lighthouse: 1 point (Lighthouses are always luring poor unsuspecting ducks to their doom)
  • Eagle: 1 point
  • Birdbath: 1 point
Kitsch Items
  • Seahorse birdbath: 3 points
  • Frog umbrella (without the frogs): 3 points + 1 point for keeping the furniture after the frogs vacated the premises.
  • Donkey pulling cart (not painted which is sad): 3 points
  • Windmill thingy (non-functioning): 1 point
  • 2 people-like figurines: 2 points


Subtotal: 19 points

Creativity Bonus

For the spectacular placement of a flying eagle who may or may not be carrying a fish plucked from a seahorse birdbath: 3 points.

Total: 22 points

They should put that on the back on the North Carolina quarter - Take that First in Flight.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Elephant Walk

Collectors are a funny breed. One yard artist may choose to collect geese or deer another may have a fondness for ducks. Sometimes there are mass collections of birdhouses, favorite holidays or decor themes.

Belgian-mom submits a yard with an Asian flair. I am guessing Burma.

Score:
  • 2 elephants (not speaking to each other at all): 2 points
  • 2 pagodas: 2 points
  • 1 bird bath: 1 point
  • 2 bunnies (hey, these are Burmese Bunnies): 2 points

Subtotal: 7 points

Creativity Bonus

For placing a pagoda in a birdbath for optimum leaning tower display: 2 points

Total: 9 points

Do not look up Burmese rabbit on Google Images unless you like to see snakes eating said bunnies.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Along Life's Highway - The Letter Box Edition

Once in a while a yard is so grand, the scope so vast that the feature must be filmed in panoramic vision. So now presented by eventer79 in CinemaScope (sort of):

Please take a moment to click on each image and pan from left to right. Thank you.

eventer79 submitted the photo work and the tally count. My comments are added in red.

Score

- 1 non functioning pump: 1 point
- 2 Canada geese: 2 points
- 1 white owl: 1 point
- 1 raccoon on a stump: 1 point
- 1 half-cherub in a birdbath (if is only a 1/2 and a cupid like cherub, I'll count it): 1 point
- 1 fishing boy who's lost his pole (seems to be an epidemic. Guys you got to hold onto that thing): 1 point
- 3 random animal sculptures that I can't tell what they are -- I think one was a frog.(hmm always call it if you can, heck make it up): 3 points
- 1 non functioning well: 1 point
- 1 UNC mascot: 1 point
- 1 turtle on a stump -- he was big and white and he doesn't really show up: 0 points ( I can't find him)
- 1 owl: 1 point
- 1 chipmunk on a cutout: 1 point
- 1 statue on a stump: 1 point
- 1 big strand of Xmas lights still up on trellis arbor thingy (Holiday Bonus): 3 points
- 1 Xmas wreath on porch (Holiday Bonus): 3 points
- 1 other strand of Xmas lights on porch (Holiday Bonus): 3 points
- 1 girl in blue dress cutout: 1 point
- 1 fawn laying next to her: 1 point
- 1 light up neon palm tree: 1 point
- 1 lady statue next to that: 1 point
- 1 bald eagle nailed to tree (do we get extra points for crucified listed species?) (oh come on, you know you are working a huge score here but yes, I would give extra for that alone): 1 point
- 3 green frogs: 3 points
- 1 red kissy dutch couple (Kitsch factor): 3 points
- 1 banana peel cutout (?) (I have no idea why): 1 point
- 1 owl on a stump: 1 point
- 3 deer (baby is laying down behind lantern): 3 points
- 1 Captain Ahab (still running from the giant man-child in the other yard?): 1 point
- 1 frog next to him: 1 point

- You left out the lighthouse: 1 point

eventer79: And that is not even everything in that yard, but everything I could get with our little work camera!!!!

Subtotal: 43 points

Creativity Bonus

There are a lot of things going on and I do like the Eagle nailed to pole - good negotiating. I am somewhat disappointed in the small number of kitsch items and I did not see any shock value: 2 points

Total: 45 points

So exciting, we almost hit the 50 barrier.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Little Bit of the Green

Some yard artist are very dedicated to their craft. They keep their enthusiasm for decorations way beyond your typical Christmas wreath or Halloween pumpkin. Commonly a favorite statuette is used to display upcoming festivities.

Belgian-Mom submitted the following repeat offender giraffes:
Gaily festooned in St. Patrick Day garland.

As a bonus in the right top corner:

A Moravian Star which is a Christmas decoration and I'm counting it.

Score:

  • 2 Giraffes: 2 points
  • Holiday star: 3 points

Subtotal: 5 points

Creativity Bonus

For giraffes adored in St Patrick Day green glitter: 2 points

Total: 7 points

Maybe this could be a trend. I expect to see bunny ears on those guys next month.

Tomorrow: Greatest yard... ever

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Feeling a Little Nautical

Driveway markers are a staple of yard artist everywhere. Lions are common of course. I see eagles quite a bit and horse heads too. Therefore, I am thrilled by examples of driveway border creativity. Why not let your driveway advertise your passion!

Feldspar submits:

"In response to an earlier post featuring 2 lions, I offer this picture of 2 multihued marlin. Look down the driveway for more nautical theme items."
Well let's look down the driveway...


I am going to take a wild guess here... um, so they fish? (but not common ole' cane pole fishing)

Score
  • 2 marlin - 2 points
  • 2 fish - 2 points
  • 2 birdbaths - 2 points (I think that there is an angel in one of the birdbaths, I want to comment but I won't)
  • subtotal: 6 points

Creativity Bonus

For the gold and aqua marlins forever leaping out of pristine Caribbean blue water and for the continued marine presentations within the compound: 2 points. Plus 1 point for the presentation of the marlins on little wooden boxes in lieu of the fancy brick pedestals (where they belong).

Total: 9 points

For the record, are those marlin or are they sailfish?

Stay tuned for the best yard EVER submitted!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Nature's Cruelty

*WARNING* due to the graphic nature of this post, viewer's discretion is advised. Please remove small children and sensitive adults from the room before preceding to the end of this post.

Nature shows always leave me shrinking and sniveling behind a throw pillow but being a professional biologist, Eventer79, has been toughen to the natural order of things and submitted the following display for scoring:

Eventer79: It appears Mama Duck, according the cruel laws of nature, has spurned little one-legged baby duck and shoved him away from the nest and siblings. He languishes, unloved and rejected on the hillside, a victim of natural selection which always weeds out the weak and malformed...

Score:

  • Mama Duck (with her disdainful expression of scorn and rejection): 1 point
  • 3 duckings including hop-a-long (sorry): 3 points

Subtotal: 4 points

Creativity Bonus

For having to witness the cruelty of nature and observing the strong healthy duckling look away as Mommie Dearest watches without remorse: 2 points

Total: 6 points

6 points is a cheap price to pay for the life of a one-legged duck.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Scale - A Basic Principle of Design

Scale is a pretty important tenet of design. Items that may be delicate and intricate can be lost in a large presentation or some item you might really cherish can look like a massive ungraceful concrete pillar.

The Higher Power took this shoot and it is a good example of "I am going to count it because I don't think it's art" or "wow, look at that giant statue"


The goddess (I am guessing) is taller than the windows, she is taller than all the landscaping in fact she looks taller than the side door. Even a two-story colonial would have had problems with her.

Score

  • Colossal goddess draped dramatically: 1 point

  • Christmas wreath: (holiday points, 1 for each month): 3 points


subtotal: 4 points

Creativity Bonus

For the out of proportion statue placed on a stone pedestal in front of a single story ranch: 1 point.

Total: 5 points

I would have given you so much more if she wore holiday garland

Monday, March 9, 2009

Fishing Boys

I am letting all yard aficionados know that as of today after the first full weekend of March, I am gunning for all and any Christmas decorations still on display. Consider yourself warned.

A discovery has been made concerning little men-boys and fishing poles. It's a huge theme out there. As much as I have played this game I never stopped to noticed how prolific these creepy little guys are. Probably because they are not as showy as say your spectacular seahorse birdbath is or as secretive as a garden gnome.

Score
  • Man-boy eternally trying to fish although his pole lays uselessly under his feet: 1 point
  • Snail: 1 point
  • Kerosene lamp: 1 point (unless they light it a night then it would be cool but 0 points)
  • Garden globe, viewing orb whatever you like to call them: 1 point
  • 2 satellite dishes: 0 points (but amusing because there are two)
and

Christmas wreath: (all dried up, the tinsel tarnished and bedraggled): 3 points
Subtotal: 7 points

Creativity Bonus

For how awesomely coordinated the fishing bench is to the house shutters: 1 point

Total: 8 points

Please won't someone put that fishing pole back in the little guy's hand. It is cruel.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Sad Demise

It's like the Call of the Wild only with a pygmy bear and a giant gnome.

Score on this sad little tableau

  • Gnome (dead or injured): 4 points
  • Grieving bear: 1 point

Creativity Bonus

For the howling of grief over his fallen gnome comrade: 1 point

Total: 6 points

This is what it sounds like when bears cry.

You Don't Do That

A while back I did an entry on my personal favorite: the seahorse birdbath. The following yard missed being added to the collection but it is probably just as well.

No one needs to do this ever again!

First, this is not art.

Second, please do not place a nude female in a seahorse bird bath. It offends me and probably may offend some poor unsuspecting house finch.

Oh, and don't think I don't get it. This is probably a fountain and water will come cascading down the nude's back à la Flash Dance.

Score
Seahorse birdbath: 3 points
Naked chick: 1 point
subtotal: 4 points

Creativity Bonus
As a matter of scale, this is quite a structure for a single wide. Also someone had to find the naked girl and come up with the brilliant maneuver of placing it in a birdbath and probably having to rig it to dramatically spurt water. 2 points

Total: 6 points


I apologize for everyone who has What A Feeling stuck in their heads. I am not one to suffer in silence.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Our First Scandal - CSI North Carolina

For those of you who are not regular readers of Along Life's Highway, take a moment to review:Its All In The Details.
Belgian-Mom has requested (demanded) a recount submitting the following foresnic evidence with these comments:

I examined my photos again and there are points missing.Attached is my evidence. There are three sea shells, a cherub bird bath, a possible other frog, and a whole other geese family and deer family.

Now normally I would not suffer re-counts and I did confer with my partner The Higher Power who is firmly against this but I cannot bare to let all this work go to waste.

This a panoramic photographic of said yard with arrows indicating areas that were cropped off in the original blog entry. Click on the photo to admire the photo in its entirety.

In evidence, the tiny cherub birdbath. In the orignal photo smitted it was a smeary blur.

The other entire geese family. Please note the 2 deer in the background, also not counted.

Ok, you got me there. I did not realize there were two geese families. I did crop off the group on the right because I opted for what I mistakenly took for a better angle.

The scene of the crime

The points I missed:
- 3 geese and 3 baby geese - 6 points
- Cherub birdbath: 1 point
- 2 deer: 2 points

an additional 9 points could have been awarded.

"They was taking plaster tire tracks, foot prints, dog smelling prints, and they took twenty seven eight-by-ten colour glossy photographs with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explaining what each one was to be used as evidence against us. " - Alices Restaurant, Arlo Guthrie


Sea shells still do not count.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cheating

(Today's entry is brought to you by The Higher Power. Given that I am usually Player1, then The Higher Power is without a doubt Player2. )

--------------------------------------------------------
Cheating........ Because when you make up a game, its only a matter of time before someone else makes a up a sneakier way to beat you at it.

Whether or not you choose to acknowledge its existence, lets be honest, cheating is a very real and fundamental element to any game (at least in my family) the yard-art game included. In my opinion there is an appropriate time and place for cheating, and if done correctly is neither shameful nor dishonest (well, maybe still dishonest… but at least not THAT shameful).

To set things straight, I am NOT a fan of cheating explicitly to win. I think that kind of cheating displays immaturity and lack of skill on the cheater’s part. However I AM a fan of cheating out of boredom, ill will, or to see how gullible the other player is.


What’s so special about this yard? Endless opportunity!

Of course like anything the best cheating takes practice and skill. Sure the other player may not be avidly scanning your side of road, but nothings going to stop them from snapping their head around to check your fake call (if they’re the passenger). And if they’re the driver they already have a pre-emptive scan on both sides of the road. So timing is everything.

So when are the most appropriate and/or entertaining times to cheat?

--------
Scenario #1

You’ve been riding for the last 20 minutes and nothing more interesting than a small family of geese has been counted. You’ve entered a “dead zone”. Boredom sets in.

Being the sly devil you are, you see an opportunity arise in this nicely manicured but otherwise bare yard.

Player 2: I see 2 geese!
Player 1: Ok

Player 1 keeps driving, oblivious to your act of deceit.

2 points

Appropriate? Maybe… you’ve been in a dead zone for a while and no one’s going to discredit you a couple geese and those 2 measly fake points you got. But entertaining? Not really, actually that was a pretty lame call for even a real yard. Are you satisfied? Was it worth it? Are you any less bored now?

--------

Scenario #2

You’ve exited the dead zone, but since then Player 1 has pulled ahead 85 points. You are feeling spiteful. A strikingly similar yard is passed.


Player 2: Ah! Dutch people kissing! Only repainted yellow and black!
Player 1: Really?? Yellow and black??
Player 2: Yeah! They must be Steelers fans or something…
Player 1: Oooo! How creative! You can have 2 extra points for that!

Player 1 drives on, still oblivious, but entertained by the thought of pro-football/gardening fanatics.

5 points

Ahh! Both appropriate and humorous! Now you can laugh quietly to yourself about how gullible Player 1 is, and bask in your own cleverness while enjoying your 5 hard-earned points. All of this eases the sting of your horrible losing streak (now only by 80 points!)

--------

Scenario #3

Your improved mood soon vanished as Player 1 passes a Wonder Yard, which miraculously gives them another 50 points. You are enraged. Your side of the road seems to have nothing except for a bunch of similar looking blank yards.

Player 2: Uhhh… 4 lawn gnomes!
Player 1: Wow, really?
Player 2: Yeah! In a circle!
Player 1: Creative arrangements too?
Player 2: Yes! …And I think they’re doing a séance! …With a garden orb!
Player 1: Wow!! This must be the sighting of a lifetime!

As driver, Player 1 turns the car around to go look at the wondrous yard and catches you in your filthy lie. You let emotions take over and went too far, and now you have the reputation of a cheater. As just punishment you are shamefully stripped of all your points and the game ends, you dirty fraud. You spend the rest of the car ride thinking about what you did, and hoping someone will play with you again on the ride back.

Monday, March 2, 2009

It's All In The Details

Belgian-Mom has once again ventured out in the daylight to submit a yard for play. I like displays set up like this yard. The groupings are easy to count, but there are subtle undertones that could be easily overlooked. The photos taken from various angles help a great deal for the count.


3 geese - 3 points
2 goslings (There could be another but it is not clearly determined in the photo. Also they are probably ducklings but what is the fun in that ) - 2 points
A teeny tiny man in a hat (???) - 1 point


Another goose, who has fallen and begged the others to leave him behind: 1 point
Pig and piglet: 2 points
Birdbath: 1 point
Deer: 1 point
White duck: 1 point
White wishing well (non-functioning, I assume): 1 point




Bright yellow frog (a rain forest variety?): 1 point

Subtotal: 14 points

Creativity Bonus

A very good display of various animals presented for public enjoyment but no real element of surprise or creativity. 0 points


Total: 14 points

What the heck is that wing thingy beside the birdbath?

The Cow Goes Moo

Where are all these overly large livestock statues coming from? First and so far the grandest was the Giant Chicken and now - The Cow.
It's a minimalist approach to be sure. But why plop a dozen geese or bunnies down in your yard if you can have one large bovine.

Score

cow: 1 point

Creativity Bonus

Player1: What will you give me for a large cow, it's big, it's got a cow bell!
Player2: It's not Giant Cow. 0 points
Player1: Dang, that's cold.

Total: 1 point

The only prescription is more cowbell

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Going Fishin'

We don't have hearts of stone, we can be moved by cute and wholesome scenes. Sometimes yard displays are pleasant and serene, full of happy animals and fishing boys.

Sometimes little men appear to be boys who fish but are really magic overlords that enslave forest creatures within an evil ring of stones. I'm sure I saw this in a movie somewhere. Look at the squirrels, they are pleading for your help.

Score
  • 2 man-boys: 2 points
  • 3 squirrels: 3 points
  • 2 hedgehogs: 2 points
  • 1 duck: 1 point
  • 2 frogs playing checkers out in the yard: 2 points
Creativity Bonus

For the animals trapped with the ring of power and the hedgehogs plotting their escape: 1 point

Total: 11 points

I think the head boss is packing heat