Posts Tagged ‘lost toys’

Skyliner, Falls, late Feb. 2014

We are all getting antsy for spring to arrive…winter has been hanging on and on for dear life.  It’s been hard to access the river because the water level has been high.  Most of the places I visit at the Falls of the Ohio State Park are currently under muddy water.  We have had just a handful of nicer, warmer days, but that has accelerated the melting of the snow and ice throughout the more than 800 hundred mile long Ohio River Valley.  I don’t mind the cold so much, but it’s harder to do what I like to do on a swollen waterway.  Here’s how one of my spots under the railroad bridge looked during my last visit.

muddy, high water at the Falls of the Ohio, Feb. 2014

Not a pretty picture seeing a river as brown as gravy.  Lots of logs and wood floating on top and when you look more closely…there is also plenty of plastic and polystyrene in the mix too.  Another view this time with me standing on the wall that separates one side of the river from the other.

high river at the Falls, Feb. 2014

All those white spots are pieces of Styrofoam.  With my usual haunts inaccessible I moved further east…just outside the park’s entrance.  There has been a lot of activity in this area that has caught my notice.

Skyliner on the riverbank, Feb. 2014

There has been a campaign on the Indiana side to make the river more accessible particularly in areas that afford a good view of Louisville’s skyline.  To do this the vegetation has been bulldozed away.  I came across an elderly person walking her dog and she said to me quite unsolicited..”Bout time they did something to clean up this mess!” as she pointed a thin finger in the general direction of the river.  In this case, one person’s mess is another creature’s habitat.  The true “mess” comes from all the plastic bottles and chunks of man-made junk that make it into the water.  No amount of removing trees and creating views will help with this and it seems what we prefer looking at is a very selective process.  I brought my collecting bag along.  I’m hoping to pick up materials to use in an upcoming art workshop at the Carnegie Center for Art and History, but I find a few other interesting items as well and photograph them upon discovery.

Taco Bell cat toy, Feb. 2014

I came across this smiling yellow cat toy that I think came from a fast food establishment.

plastic containers for paint, Feb. 2014

Finding these paint containers made me realize how hungry I’ve become for color.  I’m looking forward to the world turning green again with color notes supplied by wild flowers.

bright orange plastic paratrooper, Feb. 2014

This plastic man with his bright, radioactive orange color was hard to miss.  He was a skydiver or paratrooper in a former life and probably fell to earth using a plastic parachute.

Skyliner with the City of Louisville behind him, Falls of the Ohio, Feb. 2014

There were other signs from life that the season’s are about to change over.  I’m ever alert to what the birds are doing.  I spotted my first Red-winged Blackbirds of the year and they are among the first migratory species to arrive.  Male Northern Cardinals are singing their courtship songs and scouting out the best spots to build a nest.  On the river, however, I spied what I consider a bird sign of winter.  A nice sized flock of Lesser Scaup ducks were mostly sleeping and relaxing on the surface of the water.  In this area, it seems we see more duck varieties in late fall and early winter. Here’s a peek at the scaups.

White-winged Scoters, Falls of the Ohio, Late Feb. 2014

Before I move away from the ducks…I found one other to add to my growing collection.  This is a Mallard decoy made from plastic.  Not too long a go, I found another plastic decoy representing the Pintail Duck.

found plastic Mallard duck decoy, Falls, Feb. 2014

One other bird note…I heard them before I could see them, but I knew what they were instantly.  The familiar calls of migrating Sandhill Cranes winging their way back north.  Like geese, they fly in V-shaped formations to avoid the air turbulence created by other cranes flapping their wings.  These birds are high flyers and this was the best I could do in taking their picture with the camera I have.

high flying Sandhill Cranes, Feb. 2014

As February becomes March…the forecast for the Kentuckiana area is calling for freezing rain and snow.  It appears that Old Man Winter will be hanging out for another week.  Spring will eventually get here and already you can tell that it stays light outside longer with each passing day.   I am, however, really eager to see how the river has rearranged this familiar landscape.

Skyliner on the Ohio River's edge, Feb. 2014

Once the Ohio River recedes there will be a new landscape to explore and who knows what I will find?  I like that each year is different from the last.  Well this post is drawing to a close.  Thanks for visiting and see you soon…from the skyline of Louisville and the Falls of the Ohio.

Looking toward the skyline of Louisville, Late Feb. 2014

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Okay, by now you know that we have had our share of floods, etc…at the Falls of the Ohio.  The Ohio River has gone up and down a couple of times over the past two months.  This post is devoted to toy finds that I have made during the moments I could access the riverbank and surrounding environs.  I think one of the biggest reasons I love visiting this place is that I always find something interesting left behind by the river.  This activity keeps me from spending money at the flea markets and antique malls and yet satisfies my need for visual stimulation.  I came up with my post’s title by looking at what I found recently.  Weirdly, this time I found three Mickey Mouse related objects and searching my brain…I don’t think I have even found one previous one before?  It all started with the first image in this post and …

…then I found these broken glasses.  A week or so after that find came this.

I think this was some kind of self-inking stamp.  And now for the piggies and they come in graduating sizes.  Let’s start with the smallest.

This pig is next in line.

Now this was a bit of a disturbing find bobbing in the waves and it’s considerably larger in size than the previous pigs.  I’m not sure what kind of toy this used to be…but here it is.

I have found other plastic farm animals and here’s the latest selections.

I’m surprised I found this because it’s a small, neutrally colored fragment.

I also find a lot of different kinds of heads.  Perhaps the most common are doll heads.  These are the most recent.

I even found a couple different types of Santa Claus heads.

Although he’s no Santa…this guy does have a beard.

Even more heads!!!

I think this is some googly-eyed clam or something?

This find was different.  It’s the first fake nose I’ve found out here and reminds me of Woody Allen’s early comedy entitled “Sleeper”.

I have an “impressive” fake food collection going and here’s my latest goodies.  In my last post I showed one fake banana…and here’s the other.

A bunch of celery followed by conjoined plastic hot dogs.

There is just so much of this stuff out here…now for some other random finds.  I especially like this Flintstone toy and wonder if it’s old?

A whistle shaped like a banjo?

Telephone number one.

Telephone number two…proof of evolution?

I could go on for a while, but realize this is a lot to take in and so I’ll close with the keys to my heart.  Take care everybody!

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I thought I would post a recent collection of photographs of some of the stuff I’ve come across since mid April.  The river has been very up and down during this time and accessing the shoreline hasn’t always been possible.  Whenever I come out to the Falls, I’m also interested in what else I can find in addition to what I can make from some of this stuff.  I’ll start with this “Sunny Ball” I found lying in a pool of water with a sheen on it!  I see this frequently as it surfaces through the sands.  Here’s another.

The iridescence isn’t just motor oil (although there has to be some of that here) but also includes decaying organic matter in the form of old leaves.  In this case, there is also fluff from cottonwood trees.

Nice recent cracks in the mud.  I’m not sure what the blue plastic object is, but the tracks going through this scene are from a white-tail deer.  How about some more found faces?  Here’s another lost ball with images.

I found this ball when Julia accompanied me.  Here’s another image from that adventure with a Halloween theme.

For those of you unfamiliar with this American custom, on October 31, children go door to door in their neighborhoods in costume and collect candy.  These plastic jack-o-lanterns are popular for storing the candy.  Here’s another I recently came across peeking out among the debris.

I also find many other figurative toys.  The more traditional dolls I come across frequently make disturbing images.  I’ll save those for another time but I think these are interesting as well.

His shirt says “Forty the Legend Continues”.  I wonder if this is a novelty item from a barbeque establishment along the river?

Another pig-themed…not certain what this is?  It could be the lid from something and was about two feet across and heavy.  His eyes caught me as I walked across the sand.

Continuing with pigs…here’s a plastic stopper? I found recently.  Maybe this belongs with a bottle of pig perfume?  Nice bow tie.

I’m walking along looking and listening for birds when my eyes are drawn downward and I see a “Big Bird” I wasn’t expecting!  I lifted it off the ground and a quick photo is taken at the place of discovery.

I came across this lying on the sand and maybe because of the orange color, may be a Halloween novelty too?  It was flat and lightweight and the white spinner-thing spins.  Perhaps off a glider toy?  Anyway, it has personality as does my next image.

The “A” is for Alvin of the Chimpmunks’ fame.  He is a little worse for wear.  The river is very tough on everything.  He is posed by some carpeting that washed ashore near this object.

Came across this just yesterday and I “love” (almost hate to say this) the patina on this plastic snowman bottle.  I popped this into my collecting bag.  I imagine this must have been floating out on the river for a while to acquire this surface color.  Not sure what I will eventually do with it.  I think that’s about it for now.  I have one more image, also from yesterday.  I came across a really large expanse of beach left high and dry and this was its surface.  This is what’s created when a really large piece of Styrofoam gets chewed on by the river and floating logs…a Styro-aggragate.

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I am always photographing the junk I find at the Falls of the Ohio.  Looking through my newer images I was amazed by all the toys I have come across recently.  Now these are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  All time, this would be an immense category on its own.  When I’m doing my usual posts, I’ll throw in an odd find if I think it contributes to the story.  Otherwise, this stuff just gets buried in my computer.  Maybe when I’m an old man, I’ll come back and revisit this stuff.  By then, a lot of this junk will appear dated and nostalgic.  I’ll probably look that way too!

All the stuff I’m about to present is made of plastic, which is made from resins derived mostly from crude oil.  I remember seeing a picture of a middle class American home with all its plastic contents arranged in the front yard.  It looked like just about everything this house contained was made from plastic and it was shocking!

I have been following the news lately about that oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and it has me feeling very anxious.  I don’t know why more people aren’t getting freaked out about this?  Essentially, you have a hole drilled deep into the ocean’s floor that’s hemorrhaging oil and the attempts to plug this hole haven’t worked.  The slick is already hundreds of miles long and will soon come into contact with the Gulf Coast’s rich estuaries.  A couple of years a go, my family vacationed in Gulf Shores, Alabama and it was fun and beautiful.  I don’t want to imagine those white beaches fouled with oil.

I debate with myself about whether something like this event can be considered a “natural disaster”?  Granted it probably doesn’t fit the usual definition, however, haven’t we (as a species of animal) that originated here make us “natural” as well?  Isn’t a big part of the problem that we have successfully convinced ourselves that we are on some other plane and that life’s rules don’t apply to us?  Aren’t all man-made disasters in effect natural disasters?

Often it seems more convenient to bury our heads in the sand and pretend events like this oil spill have no long-term effects.  Where is the outrage and our will to do the right thing?

Life is interconnected to life and it is ridiculous to think our mistakes don’t affect other organisms that have a right to exist in their own right.

Everywhere life is under pressure from the global scale of our activities.

The sad truth is unless we find ways to reconnect and revere nature…we will eventually will be  hammered by it.  One thing I see over and over at the Falls is that life is indifferent and doesn’t play favorites.  Will we be the architects of our own undoing?

If crude oil is a disappearing resource, doesn’t it make sense to use it for things that really matter?  Do we truly need to lock so much of it up in uses that are this disposable and forgettable?

Often it seems to me that we are in a big rush to go nowhere as fast as we can.  Why the big hurry?  Life is short enough and consuming everything we come into contact with isn’t going to make the experience more meaningful.  It’s past time to slow down and rearrange our priorities.

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Just to help pad a month of posts shortchanged by computer woes…I’m publishing some recent finds of mine at the Falls of the Ohio.  I found these objects (and more) the last three times I visited the river across the way from Louisville.  Something about the lay of the land and the prevailing currents push all sorts of floating stuff onto the park’s shoreline.  I found the colorful gourd above about two feet away from this neon yellow-green softball that was losing its cover.  Here are more recent gourd images.

First, here’s a round, variegated gourd…followed by a knobby, elongated, variegated, squash.  Perhaps they are Thanksgiving decorations?

Although it looks like it could be some kind of strange seed pod, the “laces” give it away.  It’s a novelty American football…with “French ticklers”?  Definitely, one of the oddest balls I’ve come across and worthy of being added to my “Balls of the Ohio Collection”.

I came across this tiny smiley-face ball lying face up in the sand.  Another tiny find was this toy hat.  I added a walnut to give you a sense of its scale.

I kept the hat and don’t be surprised if you see one of my Styrofoam figures wearing it someday.  A few months a go, I did a post about “sea life” in the Ohio River.  Well, I recently came across another candidate for that story.

The pincers on this sand toy crab pivot back and forth.  My last image is a flattened inner tube.  Usually, I find tires, but this believe it or not is a rarity.  The way it is just laying there all sphincter-like in the light, caught my eye.  I’m working on new categories of objects seen in the Falls context and I will include them here as they develop.

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mutant toy, 7/09

I tried something different the other day at the Falls.  I found the headless body of a plastic toy sheep and decided to improvise a new head for it.  The results are not much different from some of the imagery coming out of Japan.  I found a collapsing, materially fatigued yellow rubber ball and added a few acorns, polystyrene ears, and other bits of plastic and then photographed it in the riverine landscape.  My kids think it’s cute!  Here is another image of it showing the other side.

mutant toy, 7/09

I’m always finding different toys.  Some of which you can see in my Pages collections.  I recently came across two other plastic animals and here are their portraits as the river gave them to me.  I think they work with the mutant bunny as a kind of genre since they depend on non-naturalism for their effectiveness.

plastic pony, 6/09

I like that it is difficult to judge scale from these images.  They could be very large or very small.  That ambiguity has been a part of my project from the beginning.  With my other Styrofoam pieces you need to look at what else is in the picture to find clues to judge scale.  To my mind, they are all the size of life.  It’s interesting to see how the internet treats these images since that can be variable as well.  The objects get tumbled by the river, while a similar thing occurs with the images electronically.  Here is a recent plastic pony I found and a blue-eyed pink elephant too!

pink elephant toy, 5/09

Okay, you talked me into it…here is a bonus image!  This was taken during my last outing.  If the Pink Panther were one of those bog bodies found in the peat moss of northern Europe…it might look like this.  I think this was originally a large, plush toy, but the stuffing is gone now.

pink panther?, 7/09

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