Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Jesus Ultrasound

Hi all you Madonna of the Toast fans! Did you miss me? Doesn’t seem like I missed too much in the world of the visual manifestations of religious and secular icons, though I do have one to share.

This Jesus on the Cross ultrasound: according to this Fox News 6 report, Monet Sledge from Lorain, Ohio, went to the doctor, pregnant with her first child, “expecting to see little body parts . . . Like a face, arms and legs." The baby girl’s legs, as seen by her doting mother, however, are extended in such a way to resemble Jesus’s stretched arms. In Sledge’s words: “I was shocked like really.”

Some people have told Sledge to sell the ultrasound image on eBay. Others think the image means the child will have a blessed life. Only time will tell, but the best news of all is that the baby is healthy.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

What I See in Dick Cheney's Sunglasses

If you are reading this, I find it hard to believe that you haven’t seen this White House sanctioned photograph of Dick Cheney – Friday’s infectious internet entertainment (and of course entertainment becomes the news, or is the news: makes you wonder). Here is something from Wired.

Seems pretty clear to me that the reflections in the Veep’s shades are his wrists, maybe some knuckles. They bulge in such a way that led some (okay, many) to speculate whether or not Cheney had lied to his wife and instead of going fishing, got strippers (and who says that you can’t do both at once?). Upon further examination, everyone now seems to agree that there is no woman in front of Cheney (although those Bohemian Grove summer retreats sound pretty wild, but this was in Idaho).

This was the lede that circulated:

The Virgin Mary on a grilled cheese and the Illinois-shaped corn flake appear to have new competition for webbies' fascination . . .

Our relationship with the image is on a fast track to a destination that I can’t locate, though I’m certainly along for the ride. What’s really interesting about this Cheney picture is that people are studying and speculating about an image of a reflection (another image). They are not examining the actual reflection. The stories I tend to relate are about one person’s interpretation of a physical object marked in some way with a recognizable, iconic form, and how then that is disseminated into the culture.

This tendency to find meaning in the abstract, to see something and make it mean something, or want it to mean something, strikes me as a trait that makes us human. The conspiracy theorist tries to force in one more piece of the puzzle; someone down on their luck sees a just budding tree that makes life a little, or a lot, better; the carefree kid yanks a burnt Pop Tart out of the toaster, sees a sneaker logo and sells it on eBay. We invest meaning in the visual – for an array of reasons from the spiritual to the absurd – for the sake of recognition. What we see is how we place ourselves in this world.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted my 100th entry. It’s been more than a year of compiling these stories in the wake of the book, and I am floored by how they still draw me in because of how they mirror and reflect our world. I’ll be traveling for the next couple of weeks. I might chime in, I might not. But come May, I’ll be back, looking to spruce the place up a bit, trying to take all of these little stories and weave them together. It’s certainly something I do in Madonna of the Toast, but these stories don’t stop.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Gnarled Jesus Profile

Ohio’s Ashtabula Star Beacon reports that Greg Wolfe and two others were chopping wood last week when this log got spit out of a “gasoline log splitter.” When Wolfe’s friend said it looked like Jesus, Wolfe ignored him, busy with the task at hand. The log was set aside, and once the men were done, they all agreed that it looked like Jesus. The pensive human lines of the wood are definitely noticeable, especially the nose, cheek bone and lips. One person suggested that Wolfe should view this log's creation as a sign that he doesn't spend his Sundays in the right place.

Now, Wolfe has the gnarled profile on exhibit at his store, Andover Appliance, in Andover, Ohio: “he’s trying to spark interest within the public to come and take a look at it.” Do I smell an eBay campaign in the making?

And speaking of eBay, after more than 13,000 visits in less than a week and 96 bids, the Jesus Spoon from last post sold for $760. How about that?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Jesus Spoon

In Hardin, Kentucky, JW Davis’s daughter pulled this spoon out of the dishwasher where she works and brought it home. She had noticed the face of Jesus, and her dad saw it, too. Now the spoon is on eBay. Ninety bids have escalated the price to over $600 (as of Saturday afternoon).

Davis has been very active on eBay, posting links to news stories about the spoon and directing potential bidders to sites that contain better photographs of the spoon (“It was very hard to photograph because the image almost appears in 3D.”). Davis has also sweetened the deal: the winner of this auction receives the spoon specially encased, along with photographs and media memorabilia like newspaper clippings.

According to this 9 News report, Davis said: “I'm just hoping that if I get rid of it, it's a blessing to somebody because of the image that's on it." Davis also expressed his hope that ultimately the spoon would be on display for public viewing.

With all of the iconic foodstuffs surfacing these days, I guess it only makes sense that famous flatware would follow.

No word about what Davis’s daughter’s boss has to say about her taking the spoon.