Picking Through the Detritus

Yesterday’s trashcan mystery started out as a strange curiosity, but as is often the case when babooners take over, it went to unpredictable places.

I gave you toy pirate ships in a city park garbage can alongside a child’s private “Do Not Read!” notebook. In response you delivered sibling rivalry, homeless people, overflowing shopping carts, reality TV, Candid Camera, dumpster diving gourmets, exasperated parents, a possum rug, Buddy Holly 45’s , a heartbroken Russian double agent, marooned space aliens, curfew breaking park rats, an infuriated older sister, a naked lake swimmer in a fishing cap and two goggle eyed anglers, and goats (from space) of course.

And that was all before it got dark. Really dark.

I’m sorry to say I don’t know the true answer to the mystery. I do know that less than an hour after I notified police that there were possessions abandoned in the park, the boxes were picked up. There was identifying information in those boxes, so it’s possible the situation that led to the dumping, whether it was innocent or sinister, has been resolved. Well, if it was sinister, it’s probably not “resolved”, but it might be exposed.

I only wish, after reading your comments, that tim’s 10,000 precious baseball cards had been part of the thrown away bounty. Those, I might have picked up.

I am planning another blog holiday to concentrate on a different project for a few days in early November, and I would be delighted to welcome more guest bloggers to the fold. All you have to do is write a main post on a topic that interests you, and then watch the fun happen as inventive readers spin your inspiration off into all directions.

Former guest bloggers are encouraged to step forward, including those who wrote a few weeks ago. You do not need to be a regular commenter to apply. In fact, all you need is to know that the opportunity exists.

Have you ever had your idea taken to a new place by other people?

41 thoughts on “Picking Through the Detritus”

  1. Rise and Shine Babooners:

    Oh, boy — this is really about wildly undirected creativity that produces new ideas, new ways of being, and no predictability. I think that it is really the story of our country’s history. Columbus came here looking for riches; Puritans arrived touting religious freedom. Voila, and 400 years later we live in a wildly affluent, capitalistic, conflict-ridden 24 hour news cycle. It might appeal to Columbus, but maybe not those early Puritans.

    Did any of those pioneer women making scrap quilts out of floor bags ever see art quilts developing? What an art those are.

    About 26 or 27 years ago I sat down with my son, some paper, and a box of crayons. The idea was that I would teach him to color a picture. But I don’t believe he ever colored a picture. Instead he would lay out the crayons end to end on the floor, building roadways for his micromachines. We had a lot of crayons, so those roads went down the hallway, then into the living room, and back to his bedroom. Or he would draw intricate mazes with post-it note pop-ups that became little detours to nowhere within the maze. I kept some of those and they are still dear to me.

    Just not what I had in mind.


    1. Loved this post, Jacque, and I think Jim alluded to this too. Parenthood has been one change of plans after another for me. I used to think that if I just could make a good plan and run with it, that was security. I am now beginning to think security is knowing things will work out somehow (usually in quite unexpected ways) if you just go with the flow.

      Almost everytime, where we have ended up has been far more magical than my limited intellect could “plan”.

      Would this be your son the scientist by any chance?


  2. Dale… I’ll do a day in November. I think it’s about my turn!

    My dad was great at taking things in a different direction. Once, when I was in college, I was whining about a poetry class, he almost convinced me to start a door-to-door whole wheat bread delivery service. But that was part of his charm. If you took position A, it would almost guarantee that he would take position B, even if you knew he staunchly believed in position A.

    I’m taking the day off. The teenager actually asked me if I could get one of these days off (MEA) so we could do something together. It was so shocking a request that I just had to do it! So have fun today… I’ll check back later!


  3. i have a need to have my ideas taken by someone else in almost all cases. i am the idea guy not the detail it to the end guy. i love having someone else fix it and get it back to me to see if thats what i meant. i develop new stuff and have a vision and give it to someone to teeek until its done.
    i also have ideas that get stolen, hijacked and transformed into some mutant version of what i had in mind and take great delight in seeing how this can get twisted when the premise of the concept is no longer there as a reference point.
    i had a company that made coasters. the little things you set your drinks on so you don’t get rings on the table. it was china so a set o coasters in a nice box was going to cost a dollar. put your own design on it. i showed it to menards and they were going to give them to ther employees as a christmas gift from the company. they were going to use the menards racing team logo and so i gave it to the guy who made the coasters. well a new guy had been hired to handle the details in china and the factory was a little anal also so what turned into fiasco of detailed sample making at huge costs to the company came about because the new guy wanted to prove his worth, he kept asking for more and more varaitions on the design and the cost went higher with each outlandish request the samples were made and air freighted over numerous times. each time the buyer wuld have a little different idea and the guy in china woud do 15 variations on that and send the samples. the way i would work would be to tell the factory here is waht i want. they woud send me a picture i would forward to the buyer an he would tweek it on paper and by the next morning we would be on to phase 2. with the new guy samples air freight and redesingn we wer eurnnigninto weeks and thousands of dollars. the project got canned at a loos of 20 thousand dollars on what would have been a 50,000 dollar order and the new guy learned what not to do and went on to become the president of the company. i couldn’t stand it so i got out to do my own thing because the layers of senseless detail and playing telephone drve me nuts. now i do it directly and find the companies i have success with are the ones with very direct communications and the ability to get an idea rolling with my vision as the sole directing influence. i have 3 new projects now and it is fun juggeling them.


    1. tim, that’s pretty cool.
      It’s good there are idea people like you in the world. Even better when you give me the idea and then leave me alone to create it and not change your mind with a better idea before the first idea is even done.


  4. so do we wait for steve or do we start the “steve real life mystery” in a group effort form. i heard once taking an improv class that the biggest rule is that you take whatever the last person introduced as their element to the equation and believe it to be 100% true and part of the ongoing storyline form that point forward.
    i think if we just add to the story with the next twist that sould be enough to get it going.
    so here goes:

    steve woke up to a beautiful morning at the cabin with the sun shining in trough the windows and the crisp fall air making the leave that were left on the trees rattle like …


  5. Because of the “Lake Effect” there were more leaves up on trees right around Superior than inland, as Lake Superior creates its own micro-climate. Even late in October the aspens weren’t quite naked and the birches carried enough leaves to rattle in the breezes coming in over the lake.

    Walking awkwardly in sock feet, Steve maneuvered around the urine pools on the cabin floor. Katie, the old blind diabetic setter, had complicated walking in the cabin last night. Steve made coffee with eyes half open, listening to KUMD, the Duluth student station. It is the closest thing to Radio Heartland in the north country. After mopping the floor, Steve played with the glowing embers in the wood stove to get a real fire going again.

    And then thee came a knock at the door. Actually, not the door. The cabin has a woodpecker with a leather strap hanging down, and if someone yanks this it makes the woodpecker whack on the cabin wall. Steve opened the door and stood there in amazement. The stranger with a weather-worn face had apparently arrived by bicycle.

    “If I didn’t know better,” stammered Steve, “I’d say you might be Clyde!”


  6. the leathery faced visitor eyed steve with quizzical suspicion and then looked inside and did a quick double take at what he saw in the corner. there a naked woman with a baseball cap was sitting in a chair and reading last sundays newspaper while drinking a stiff cup of coffee. cmon in and meet evelyn shes my next door neighbor and was good enough to bring me my baseball cap which i forgot on the swimming platform earlier this morning


  7. evelyn was one of those women who was more comfortable out of her clothes than many women are when all dressed up. She sipped her mug of coffee, her pink tongue swirling around the mug’s opening. “This is lovely coffee,” she said, “but it needs . . . it needs . . . it needs goat’s milk!”

    Clyde, who seemed to have a theory about everything, spoke up, “I believe in short supply chains.”

    “In that case,” said Steve, “we need to nip down Highway 23 a few miles from here. There Barb has a herd of goats. You can put your lips right on a teat. Man, a supply chain doesn’t get any shorter than that!”

    “Isn’t she a pirate?” asked Clyde.

    “Do you have anything a pirate would want to take?”

    “No,” said Clyde after reflection.

    “Let’s get in the Outback,” said Steve. “We’ll be at Barb’s in less than an hour.”

    Clyde demurred. “I came by bike and I will go out by bike. If you keep it under 60 mph, I can draft you.”

    And so the three people and blind old dog glided down lovely Highway 23, evelyn shocking oncoming traffic by painting her toenails in the passenger seat. Clyde, true to his word, was able to pedal at highway speeds, his legs a blur. And then they were at Barb’s idyllic farm tucked in the woods.


    1. But poor, naked Evelyn WAS COLD!. It’s October in the Outback and she was still naked. EVelyn weighs 300 pounds, so there is a lot of her to chill. She asked to stop at her house on the way and donned some flannel so she would survive the trip.

      But on the trip she entertained Steve and Clyde with stories of her naked forays in warmer weather…..


      1. she had to open the back window of the outback and yell the stories to clyde but the window being up actually aided him in the drafting behind the wagon slipsliding through the north country with evelyn yelling and kumd playing loudly in the background, clyde all the while enjoying the outing legs a blur and taking mental notes on the surroundings for his blog and facebook journal entries later in the day.


  8. Good morning to all,

    My dad told me that if you want to get something done at your work place you let your boss think that your idea for doing something is his or her idea and then it will get done. The negative side of this is that your boss might take the credit for doing something that you actually did. I had a boss who I thought had done an amazing amount of work, but it turned out she presented a lot of work done by people who worked with her as her work and didn’t give them credit for doing it. When I was a graduate student I was credited as the secondary author on a publication where I had done basicly all the work that was reported in the publication.

    Many very good changes in my life, that I didn’t expect, have come from being a married person and raising children. I will not go into any details about my relationship with my wife and children, but I have benefited a lot from family life in ways that I couldn’t have anticipated. I guess my idea of family life was very much changed in a good way by my wife and children.


    1. details are what we love round here jim. cmon
      write your own book and give yourself credit. its not to late. heck you’ve already done the book writing part once. it’s not that hard to give yourself credit.


      1. Tim, I don’t mind giving details about most things. When it comes to things about my family, I stay away from details because I think it is best to keep this information private. I don’t mind if other people share information about their families. I just think I shouldn’t do this. I am willing to say more about my parents who have both passsed away.

        I have thought about writing a book, but that is a lot of work. I am a slow writer.


      2. understood and acknowledged.
        it was leo buscaglias (the author of “love”) who’s mother went bak to college at age 69 or something like that. when someone asked ” what are you thinking about? you will be 73 when you graduate!” she replied “that’s ok, i am going to 73 that year anyway” go for it jim…
        all we have is time until we don’t . then it doesn’t matter.


    2. it is amazing to me at how many stories there are of people stealing credit for others work. do they never get discovered? do the ones who discover them not want to blow the whistle because they too are guilty of project theft? does it make sense to credit someone on how good the assistants on the project are when in fact the assistants do it all?


      1. Blowing the whistle on a boss isn’t usually a good idea. Whistle blowers are really needed, but some times they suffer more than the person they out. There are some laws that protect whistle blowers, but they don’t always provide the protection that is needed.


      2. Yes, don’t use your name when tell on the evil doers. Oh! Oh! I think we have already talked too much about this. Is that the FBI knocking on my door?


    1. Thanks Renee. That completes our group this time around – Jim, tim, Madislandgirl, Sherrilee, Joanne and Renee! More information to follow!


  9. I am really good at cultivating invasive garden plants. Does that qualify as a good idea gone wild and out of control? Right now we are digging up our Snow on the Mountain, a pretty plant I remember from my childhood that really went to town and is invading our lawn and strawberry beds. It is really hard to kill and smells bad. We also planted some purple campanulas that went wild and which I now treat as a weed. Same thing for the transcandantia. The catnip would be a problem save for the drug-addicted, free-roaming neighborhood felines who keep it in check for us. they are better than a herd of goats the way they mow that mint down.


  10. i am a tree hugger but i do use roundup which is a non selective weed killer. it kills whatever it touches and then rather than leave residual chemicals in the gorund it goes completely neutral and you can plant grass seed or petunias in the same soil where the snow on the mountain, purple campanula or the catnip was. it is a very toxic chemical but used as it is supposed to be used it works like a charm for whatever you are after. i put it on thistle , creeping charley quack grass, all with a cotton cloth while wearing rubber gloves.
    its an option


    1. I felt better about using Roundup when I found out you can use it for organic gardening – the residue and half-life is virtually nil. I’m not a fan of chemicals in gardening and farming 9or lawn care), but willing to use Roundup.


    2. Roundup, like other pesticides in the market place, has been tested by government agencies and found to be safe to use if used properly. Some people think that it is safer to use than most pesticides. It is not allowed in certified organic crop production. Some have said Roundup is more hazarous than is usually believed and has been link to causing illness in test animals in Europe. Apprently these tests in Europe have been ignored here or are not really a true indication that Roundup shouldn’t be sold here. I don’t like to offend my friends that are organic and I am not sure that Roundup doesn’t have some bad effects on health and the environment, so I don’t use it.


      1. Jim, if I can pick your brain-I’ve considered Round-up for a nasty bit of buckthorn growing in a place I can no way dig it out of, but every time, I cringe and just keep whacking it back. Any ideas of alternatives???


      2. Round Up is really made for grasses and broad leaves; it won’t work on woody plants and it’s not *supposed* to affect trees — but I wouldn’t push my luck on that. And things with a long taproot- thistles and such take repeated heavy dosings to kill…
        But no, it won’t work on Buckthorn…
        A cell phone company that has a tower on our property. Several years ago they added dirt to the tower ‘guide wire’ bases and it all came up ragweed and thistles. I asked the company to spray those and they came in with something that sterilized the soil for the next 5 years. Absolutely nothing grows on those areas. … not exactly what I was looking for… of course this dirt pile erodes now, and you can see where the run off moves into my fields, because nothing grows there either. And I can’t find out who to contact to tell them to stop applying this stuff every couple years.


      3. Snow-on-the-mountain, and its non-varigated cousin, green goutweed, are both resistant to glyphosate (Roundup). The only thing I’ve found that really works is to dig it out. If you can find someone who wants it, tell them they can have it for free if they dig it. People pay good money for it at garden centers.

        For buckthorn, see if you can get a weed wrench. If it’s too big to be wrenched, lop it off a few inches from the ground (or cut with a saw if it’s too big to be lopped) and apply brush-b-gon concentrate full strength to the severed trunk. You can cover it with a plastic bag secured with a twist-tie to insure that the herbicide stays put and doesn’t wash off in a rain. I’ve had pretty good success killing off buckthorn this way, although it occasionally requires more than one application.

        Now that I’m thinking about it, it seems to me the name brush-b-gon is no longer used, but the same product is still available, it’s called poison ivy killer or something close to that. The key is that you don’t try to spray it on the leaves – get the concentrate and apply it directly to the stump.


      4. I was never very good at recomending herbicides for weed control. I am empressed by the information from Ben and Linda. It sounds right to me. I’m not againest some uses of herbicide. I think it is beter to avoid using them if possible.


    3. I Rounded Up the Snow on the Mountain 3 weeks ago, and it hardly looks sick. This is mean weed that we wil have to eradicate by hand.


  11. In answer to today’s question (coming late to the game today…busy day…), yes I have had my ideas taken to new and different places on a regular basis. Most any set design idea I have had has mutated based on ideas of the director, other designers, availability of volunteers to build it (and their ideas). Sometimes this has worked well. On a couple of notable occasions, the director altered my set without telling me mid-construction (not acceptable – and caused me not to work with one of those directors a second time).

    Have a great weekend all. Not minding the rain forecast for tomorrow – will give me an excuse to be inside with the sewing machine finishing Darling Daughter’s Halloween costume.🙂


  12. I’ve not created ideas that others confiscated. That’s not the nature of my business. When I have an idea, I turn on my computer and start crafting it. The concept is not worth much. All the work is in the creation of the product, the actual writing.

    Ideas for products are far more easily stolen. I heard of someone who created a red & white bandanna whose design included trout flies instead of amoebas. She sold it to the most famous mail order trout fishing business in the country. Next year the product was in the catalog again, but with a different supplier. A friend owned a company that created high quality tackle bags (canvas trimmed with leather) and gun cases, etc. His main customer was an upper class mail order house. It took his bags around to various oriental sweatshops until they found a supplier who would radically undercut the price of the originator of the product.

    My dad was an internationally respected designer of stuffed toy animals. When he came out with a new animal, some folks would send the toys to the Orient where they were cut open on the seams so the body panels could be traced and copied. Soon my dad would be competing with stuffed toys that were his own creation, only they were sold under the name of rival companies. He never had any luck using law to restore justice.

    Writing involves more sweat and less profit than many businesses. One of the compensations is that it is too much work for people to try to copy you! :}


    1. Writing involves more sweat and less profit than many businesses. One of the compensations is that it is too much work for people to try to copy you! :}


  13. Greetings! I wasn’t sure how to answer today’s blog, as I am not an idea person. But I could be someone like Tim’s administrative assistant and do the necessary things to make it happen. Type the documents, fill in forms, set up meetings, take and type up notes, arrange travel, order lunches, plan events, make copies, fax, file, etc. All the mundane tasks that are required around getting things done in the business world. That’s what I do. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


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