Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Ruby Tuesday: The Mikado Room at the House on the Rock 
by Lenka Reznicek [permalink] 
Here's my contribution to this week's Ruby Tuesday photo blog meme: a shot of the Mikado Room at the House on the Rock, in Spring Green WI. About as ruby-red as pictures get!

Mikado Room at the House on the Rock

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Thursday, July 24, 2008
farkleberries Links du Jour 182: The Original Word Edition 
by Lenka Reznicek [permalink] 


Wednesday, July 23, 2008
The Demand for Pork 
by Lenka Reznicek [permalink] 
Found in a 1954 copy of "The Demand for Meat," by Elmer J. Working [JSTOR], published by the University of Chicago School of Business' Institute of Meat Packing.

Note that while the demand for pork ebbs and flows between the war years with the economy as a whole, whole ham's popularity never reached the pinnacle of sliced bacon. No surprise there.

However, salt pork seems to remain the "red-headed stepchild" of the pork family, never matching the elegant Post-War cachet of chops. In fact, its levels drop below the horizon by the early 1950's, suggesting salt pork carried the shameful whiff of poverty.

An interesting find from the age when Meat was King in Chicago. I love the font used to caption the graphs: wouldn't that make a great T-shirt?

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Monday, July 21, 2008
Six Feet...er, Five Feet Under? 
by Lenka Reznicek [permalink] 
An update on the Canadian severed foot saga (not to be confused with the Canadian rock band, Saga) from friend James - in his apropos words, "a footnote" - "One of five feet that have mysteriously washed up on the shores of British Columbia over the past year has been linked to a depressed man who disappeared a year ago, police said Saturday." [MSNBC]

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008
The House on the Rock: World's Largest Carousel 
by Lenka Reznicek [permalink] 

Here's video from our first time at the legendary House on the Rock - a destination far stranger than I'd expected, like a day-long visit to the inner psyche of an extremely-creative-but-not-quite-sane individual. It's huge, dark, colorful, and packed to the gills (often three and four stories high) with STUFF. If this collection of collections ever had to be moved, the effort would be Herculean.

This minute of footage is the view as you enter the Carousel Room, the threshold between Tour 2 and Tour 3 at the The House on the Rock ... actually, we didn't get to Tour 3. Three-and-a-half-hours of endless ephemera was just too much for one visit, so we bailed and took the "this way to the egress" door towards sunshine, fresh air, and a semblance of sanity.

Have you ever seen the anime feature, Paprika? One of the recurring dream images virtual-reality psychotherapist Paprika faces is a juggernaut-like "Parade of Everything Under the Sun" - I have a feeling that director Satoshi Kon and writer Yasutaka Tsutsui may have been at least a little inspired by the House on the Rock for that particular part of the film.

One caveat if you plan visiting the House on the Rock...it's a bit close and pungent in many of the rooms. There's a cloying hazelnut-ty deodorizer pumped into the warren-like rooms, to ward off the stench of decay, no doubt - I'd almost rather smell mold than that saccharine crypt perfume. It's a bit offputting (note to HotR management: ventilate, ventilate, ventilate) but no need to tie an orange peel under your nose, a la the age of the Black Death. However, I would avoid any mind-altering substances while on the tour unless you want to pay a short stay at the nearest asyl..er...psychiatric facility.

Trust me on this one. One forty-something guy we kept running into apparently had a few beers at the pizza shop on Tour 2, and could have used a little straitjacket therapy.

More House on the Rock trip photos at my place on Flickr.

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Monday, July 07, 2008
The House on the Rock: The Mikado Room 
by Lenka Reznicek [permalink] 

Imagine you've just come home from an all-you-can eat Chinese buffet with a rowdy bunch of friends. Okay; so you overindulged a bit on the General Tso's Chicken and the Dragon and Phoenix Plate. No biggie.

Then the real fun began: not only did you have a few too many Shaoxing-and-Tsingtao boilermakers, you decided to get adventurous. You had to sample the fried pork intestines, the shark's fin soup, and the jellyfish salad, didn't you? Even the octopus balls and sea cucumber started to look appetizing. Little did you know that your friend's buddy visiting from the West coast spiked those Mai Tais with something...a little extra.

You come home with raging heartburn and an aching head. The room spins, and you plunk down on the couch in front of an old Hammer Horror flick.

This is what you dream.

Actually, it's audio and video of the two-story (or is it three?) Mikado, one of the "music machines"* at the House on the Rock in Spring Green, Wisconsin. The structure is based on a Dutch Mortier dance organ mechanism, packed with gilded gargoyles, a full battery of robotic/animatronic instruments and leering mannequins lit up by a riot of red and gold lanterns. With a flash, it looks like this:

Mikado Music Machine, House on the Rock

More House on the Rock photos at my place on Flickr.

[*Some call them "music machines." I call them "Calliopes from Hell."]

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