Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tio’s Tacos – Everything, Everywhere


What would your house look like if you kept everything that came in.  Not everything with some, if only minimal value, but everything.

Would you decide to make humanoids out of mussel shells and soda caps? Paving stones from light switches and defunct GPS receivers? Shrine walls from colored bottles, fountains from light fixtures, and chorus-line torsos from Barbie dolls?

Martin Sanchez has done this and more at his restaurant, Tio's Tacos, in Riverside CA. For 17 years he has created, molded, cemented, fastened, and fabricated just about everything from what is – at least to the rest of us -- junk and nothing. And then he put it in his yard for all to enjoy.

Here is a sampling. Click to embiggen any photos.

Atlas from bottle caps:


People (and two detail images from the right-most figure) made from miscellaneous stuff, including a AOL disk (remember how many of those we all once had?):



Shrine and “skeleton” (see below) buildings made of bottles:


Inside of the shrine, and close-up of the “deceased”:


The “skeleton” building has a dino and a human skeleton embedded in the floor, and a spiral of running water in the middle:


Some more “people”:



Did John miss the “Restroom Door” sign”?

BathroomFriends BathroomFriendsDetail2 BathroomFriendsDetail  

Santa would love to see what was “up on the housetop”:

roof roofDetail RoofSentry       

Did I mention that the food was good here?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Burma Shave

Those of you of a “certain age” will remember cruising down the road in a car with a metal dashboard, a circular bright-light button on the floor, a front seat that went all the way across the car (girls had to figure out the “correct” amount of distance for a first date – somewhere between hugging the passenger door and hugging him), little side window vents with a pull-down-and-push latch, and not even the hint of a seat belt.

And as we traveled in our two-lane “blue highway" world, we often saw a series of signs that formed a jingle that made us laugh-- ads for a shaving cream called Burma-Shave.

According to Wikipedia, the “company's original product was a liniment made of ingredients described as coming ‘from the Malay Peninsula and Burma’."  Burma Shave roadside marketing began in 1925, but after many successful years sales finally declined and the company was sold to Phillip Morris in 1963.  Phillip Morris immediately removed the old highway signs.

But apparently not all of them.

We were driving down a small road here in Southern California near Aguanga. Aguanga lies along the old Butterfield Overland Mail stage route (in operation from 1857-1861), and  there are still a few remnants and historical markers for places where the stage stopped as it headed to or from the Pacific coast.

All of a sudden, we saw another piece of Americana – Burma Shave signs, still in place!  The first two were too broken and bleached to read, but the last four were in somewhat better shape:



According to Burma-Shave.Org, this sign was erected in 1940. The complete text is:







And they were placed on a curvy, hilly road!  What a fun find this was.

Monday, March 15, 2010

This and That

Location: Here and there in California:


This is the solid back of a fifth wheel, painted to look like you can see inside (trompe l’oeil).


Guess Daddy isn’t so popular anymore.


A skull with heart-eyes and a pink “hair” bow.  Somehow I don’t think a big burly guy was driving THIS truck!


Can you figure out what the billboard company is trying to tell you?

Friday, March 05, 2010

Acorn Woodpeckers: A Bushel and a Peck

Location: Lake Cachula, Ca

This is an Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus), numerous in this park:

They are fun birds to watch -- they make holes in trees and then stuff the holes with acorns, presumably for an emergency food store as the birds prefer a diet of insects. The acorns are wedged so tightly in the holes that even squirrels can't get them out, but keeping them this tight requires a lot of maintenance -- as they dry the acorns shrink, so they must be moved to smaller holes. All that "tree tending" keeps them quite busy!

Some of the trees, called "granaries," have an amazing number of holes in them. The woodpeckers re-use the holes from year to year.

So what's with the "bushel and a peck" in the title? The peck is obvious -- they are woodpeckers, and, of course, they peck wood -- and acorns. They also live in groups, and a group of Acorn Woodpeckers is collectively called ... you guessed it... a "bushel of woodpeckers!"