Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Oddities: Meme-O-Matic

I got an e-mail the other day from friends who read in their local paper about Portland's "Velveteria black-velvet painting museum, the 'Zoo Bombers' who race on kiddie bicycles down steep roads near the Oregon Zoo, the Voodoo Doughnut shop and the nude bike festivals." They wondered if I'd blogged these very Portland oddities and I had to admit that, while I had seen references to a couple of them on an episode of Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations," I hadn't actually written about them myself.

It's not that I don't appreciate the quirkier corners of life in the Northwest. It's just that I myself (and yes, I admit to a certain middle-brow boredom with goofiness) don't find them particularly interesting. Plus, they're covered in other media that thrive on that kind of stuff.

But, like the graffiti I've written about before, certain little items of street art do attract my attention. So when we were at Navarre the other evening, what should we find when we got out of the car but a little vending machine shaped like a house with the mysterious name "Meme-O-Matic"? It purports to tell your fortune by digesting the content of dreams that you submit on a piece of paper.

Now whether this little machine actually works, I can't tell you, but you can't help but wonder what it is, who made it, and what if it really worked? That it just sits there piquing the curiosity of passersby makes it so much fun. And worth writing about.

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