One reason to visit Aichi this summer

Jerry's Map

You’ll be able to see this amazing “map” at the Aichi Triennale Exhibition in Nagoya from August 11. It’s like Picasso meets Sim City.

I love his daily task method: each day he picks a card and that’s what he’ll work on that day. It’s fascinating to hear him talk about working on this labor of love, a task that he admits will probably never be finished.

More info:

Jerry’s Map (biography)

More about Jerry’s Map


Speaking of bent trees…

And speaking of bent trees (yesterday’s post), here’s something interesting about the Native American tradition of bending trees to mark trails. They observed how young trees were bent by nature (because of wind, ice, fallen trees) and did the same thing in order to use the bent trees as navigation markers.

“Did Native American Bend These Trees to Mark Trails?” (from Atlas Obscura)

“The casual observer views them merely as deformed freaks; but careful observation and comparison of the nature of the deformities indicate that these trees did not acquire their strange shapes simply by accident.”

This story is interesting to me because of all the skeptics who still doubt that such shapes could be human-made, despite plenty of evidence that they are. Hmmm. Sounds like a lot of climate change deniers, doesn’t it?

A trip around America’s punny businesses

Punny Businesses

If you like to play with language, you’ll like this: “Behold: The Ultimate Crowdsourced Map of Punny Businesses in America” (from Atlas Obscura).

Before you go looking in your dictionary for the word “punny” please stop and think about it (and you might not find it in your dictionary anyway). If you know the words “pun” (a play on words) and “funny,” you’ll figure it out.

Browsing the map is one kind of language test. Can you understand English puns? Are any of them funny? (Many are eye-roll worthy for native speakers, too, so don’t think English speakers think all of these — or even that many — are actually laugh-out-loud funny.)

Here are a few examples:

  • Human Bean — a coffee shop in Bend, Oregon
  • Hair Force — a hair/nail salon in Hawaii
  • Wok N Roll — a restaurant (presumably Chinese) in Vermont
  • All You Knead — a bakery in Beacon, New York
  • Vacman and Bobbin — a vacuum cleaner and sewing machine sales in Concord, New Hampshire
  • On What Grounds? — a coffee shop in Berlin, Maryland
  • The Lone Arranger — a florist in Ingleside, Texas
  • Olive Or Twist — a bar in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

I like this, too, because it’s crowdsourced. When you want to gather a lot of information, what better way is there than crowdsourcing?