Monday, May 24, 2010

Sign O' The Times 7

This is a bar along Main Street in Pittsburgh, at the boundary of the city's Bloomfield and Lawrenceville neighborhoods. I'm thinking that you won't find a lot of tea partiers here.

Then again, maybe you might. I didn't check for a back door to the place.

It seems that someone is a fan of the fictional characters in the Jack Aubrey - Stephen Maturin series of novels by Patrick O'Brian, the first of which is titled Master and Commander. These novels increased in popularity with the release of the excellent 2003 film starring Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany. I watched the film again this past weekend, and was just as impressed with it as the first time in the theater.

I'm wondering if the kind of men depicted in the novels or the film really exist in the world anymore. The argument is certainly there that a comparison is useless given the time difference and the fact that these are fictional characters, but we need that kind of leadership, knowledge, and most of all, diversity and balance if we as Americans are to continue to thrive on the world stage. The gradual, incremental signs of our reduction to just another nation are prevalent in every standardized test result, police report, or act of intolerance that passes muster for news these days. Some people choose to ignore the news - is that any path to a solution?

Speaking of ignoring the news, the marketing geniuses at the Airmall at the Pittsburgh Airport have come up with another gem of a display ad for devotees of the First Church of My Stuff.

To its credit, the Pittsburgh Airport has some really great display items. There is a lifelike sculpture of Franco Harris at the moment he caught the Immaculate Reception. There is a gorgeous Alexander Calder mobile, relocated from the old airport, hanging above what is known as the Airside Core. And among my personal favorites is a small kiosk devoted to Mister Rogers, with recordings of the Johnny Costa theme music, memorabilia, and the timeless message that this Pittsburgh treasure imparted to millions of American children - "You are special".

These are beautiful trees in an urban visual park, which is also beset with abandoned dog turds like the example above. As a comedian parodying Mister Rogers might joke, "Can you say 'desperate'? I knew you could".

On a more uplifting and local front, consider this example of display advertising for the Box Canyon Lodge in Ouray. The owners of this establishment, by their choice of vehicle (pretty nice for a utility van), and the tasteful manner of advertising their business on it, give off the message that they are very conscious of the image of their business. From the looks of it, they've succeeded in getting the attention of those who would otherwise not pay much attention.

Like me.

Here is a closeup of the photo of the lodge that adorns the side of the van. They did a nice job of bringing their business to the forefront, just by decorating their van in a classy and not overly pretentious way. Just because of this, I would consider looking into the Box Canyon Lodge for a weekend getaway.

Nice job.

Enjoy the rest of your week.

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