Monday, June 20, 2011

Thought Provoking Exhibit

 I’m no art connoisseur so it was with bit of skepticism that that I recently greeted Thornton Dial’s “Hard Truths” exhibit at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Dial is a folk artist who grew up in Alabama, turning things like paint cans, wire, rusty car parts and straw into art.

Dial’s collection is certainly thought provoking. In fact, here are just of the few of the thoughts I had as I toured the collection.

· Is gluing a Barbie to canvass actually art?
· Is that a goat?
· Is that sanitary?
· I’m glad I ate before this.
· I knew a guy who had stuff like this in his front yard. People thought he was crazy.
· Why would you do that to Mickey Mouse?
· This is kind of scaring me.

Amidst these thoughts, however, I did manage to find a couple of works that appealed to me. The PR guy in me loved the piece about Morley Safer of 60 Minutes fame. Dial apparently felt persecuted by Safer in a piece on the news magazine. (Imagine that). He responded with a piece called “Strange Fruit: Channel 42,” which shows a figure, presumably Dial, hanging from a TV antenna. Sure beats a letter to the editor.

I also appreciate a piece that featured bright flowers blooming against a stark background. The colors popped compared to the rest of collection, which consisted of mostly dark themes like Sept. 11 and racism, portrayed through anguished faces.

The remaining sculptures, drawings, etc. made you think ... even if you just were thinking about keeping the lights on when you got home or how you should have made that guy an offer for the concoction in his front yard.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Turned Off by the Radio

Trying to save a $70 diagnostic fee, I dropped by Advanced Auto Parts recently to get a reading on my Explorer’s “service engine soon” light.

I shut down the truck hurriedly, hoping to get in and out. A crusty older lady, who had probably been servicing cars since the Model T, was willing to help. She grabbed the computer, walked to the car and motioned for the vehicle’s keys.

As luck with have it, this no nonsense lady happened to start my truck – and its radio -- just in time to hear some of the raunchiest moments in the history of the “Bob and Tom Show.” “It’s a little saucy,” I said, hoping to break the awkward silence. She said nothing, raised an eyebrow and turned the knob to silence the offending noise.

“It’s your EGR valve,” she said.

“Thanks,” I replied.

“Now, you can get back to your radio,” she said, walking away in mild disgust.

I apparently had lost her respect, but at least I saved $70. And it could have been worse. At least I wasn’t listening to Howard Stern.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My Own Social Network

Ever since watching “The Social Network,” I’ve been kicking myself for not going to Harvard, befriending some computer nerds and ending up with a small part of a billion dollar start-up technology company.

Unfortunately, there were several holes in this plan, including the fact that I wasn’t smart enough for Harvard. But even at the University of Louisville, I managed to meet my fair share of computer nerds. I used to congregate every day for lunch with a number of them from the university’s Speed School of Engineering.

I was taking a basic programming class at the time. All those 1s and 0s were far beyond the comprehension of a lowly communications major. So I’d seek out the Speed guys and buy them lunch while they knocked out my homework.

Alas, I was not to launch the globe’s biggest social networking site. None of geeky friends did either. But I did manage to pass Basic Programming.

At the time, that seemed like enough.