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Description of Pictures: A new version of the Stickman Robot outside of the National Museum of American History
Partially Reviewed: Rough draft. I've gone through these pictures once, removing the worst ones, some duplication, etc. I usually take sequences of 4 or 5 pictures at a time and there are lots of near duplicates. I'll be doing a final review later which will cull the pictures down some. To be honest though, I'm way behind on doing final reviews.
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Copyrights: All pictures were taken by Bruce Guthrie who retains copyright on them. Free for non-commercial use with attribution. See the [Creative Commons] definition of what this means. "Photos (c) Bruce Guthrie" is fine for attribution. Feel free to use in publications and pages with attribution but you don't have permission to sell the photos themselves. A free copy of any printed publication using any photographs is requested. Descriptive text, if any, is from a mixture of sources, quite frequently from signs at the location or from official web sites; copyrights, if any, are retained by their original owners.
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Wikipedia Description: Toynbee tiles
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Toynbee tiles (also called Toynbee plaques) are about 250 messages of mysterious origin found embedded in asphalt in several major cities in the United States and three South American capitals. They are generally about the size of an American license plate, but sometimes considerably larger. They contain some variation on the following inscription:
IN KUBRICK'S 2001
ON PLANET JUPITER.
Some of the more elaborate tiles also feature cryptic political statements or exhort readers to create and install similar tiles of their own. The material used for making the tiles was long a mystery, but evidence has emerged that they may be primarily made of layers of linoleum and asphalt crack-filling compound.
Articles about the tiles began appearing in the mid-1990s, though references may have started to appear in the mid-1980s.
People and things referred to:
"Toynbee" refers to Arnold J. Toynbee, a famous historian. "Kubrick's 2001" refers to 2001: A Space Odyssey, co-written and directed by filmmaker Stanley Kubrick.
The majority of tiles contain text similar to that above, although a second set is often found nearby. Several of these allude to a mass conspiracy between the press (including newspaper magnate John S. Knight of Knight-Ridder), the U.S. government, the USSR (even in tiles seemingly made years after the Soviet Union's dissolution), and Jews. The writing is of a similar style and poor quality.
A tile that used to be located in Santiago de Chile mentions a street address in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 2624 S. 7th Philadelphia, PA. The current occupants of the house know nothing about the tiles and are annoyed by people who ask.
Toynbee-tile enthusiasts believe that a native Philadelphian created the Toynbee tiles because of the large number that appear in the city, their apparent age, the variety of carving styles, the presence of the "tile creator's screed" (see below), and the Philadelphia address on the Santiago tile.
Interpretations and "The Idea":
According to letters written by the tiler, allegedly uncovered by Toynbee tile researchers in Philadelphia in 2006, "Toynbee's idea" stems from a passage in Arnold Toynbee's book Experiences, pgs. 139-142:
Another possible interpretation is that the Toynbee reference comes from the science fiction writer Ray Bradbury's short story "The Toynbee Convector", which alludes to Toynbee's idea that in order to survive, humankind must always rush to meet the future, i.e., believe in a better world, and must always aim far beyond what is practically possible, in order to reach something barely within reach. Thus the message might be that humanity ought to strive to colonize Jupiter—as in Kubrick's work—or something greater, to survive.
Arthur C. Clarke's short story "Jupiter V" contains elements in common with 2001 and mentions Toynbee several times.
Another explanation may be that the tiles quote a short play by David Mamet, 4 A.M., written in 1983 and published in the collection Goldberg Street: Short Plays and Monologues in 1985. In the play, a radio host (inspired by Larry King) impatiently listens to a caller who contends that the movie 2001, based on the writings of Arnold Toynbee, speaks of the plan to reconstitute life on Jupiter. The radio show host quickly points out the factual errors in the caller's assertion and the logical fallacies of his plan. Mamet has spoken of his belief that the tiles are an homage and seems flattered by them.
Researchers for the upcoming documentary "Resurrect Dead" claim to have uncovered several pieces of evidence that predate Mamet's play, including a 1980 call by the tiler to Larry King's radio show.
A complex of four tiles was once located at 16th and Chestnut Streets in Philadelphia. Consisting of four panels of barely-legible italic printing, this work can be interpreted as being a lengthy complaint about the artist's enemies. A possible transcription of its message reads:
John Knight Ridder is the Philadelphia thug hellion Jew who'd hated this movements guts- for years- takes money from the Mafia to make the Mafia look good in his newspapers so he has the Mafia in his back pocket. John Knight sent the Mafia to murder me in May 1991 [illegible] journalists [illegible] then gloated to my face about death and Knight Ridder great power to destroy. In fact John Knight went into hellion since of joy over Knight-Ridder as great power to destroy.
I secured house with blast doors and fled the country in June 1991.
NBC attorneys journalists and security officials at Rockefeller Center fraudulently under the "Freedom of Information Act" all [illegible] orders NBC executives got the U.S. federal district attorney's office who got FBI to get Interpol to establish task force that located me in Dover England.
Which back home Inquirer got union goons from their own employees union to [illegible] down a "sports journalist." Who with ease bashed in lights and windows of neighborhood car- as well as men outside my house. They are stationed there still waiting for me.
NBC CBS group "W" Westinghouse, Time, Time Warner, Fox, Universal all of the "Cult of the Hellion" each one were Much worse than Knight-Ridder ever was mostly hellion Jews.
When K.Y.W. and NBC executives told John Knight the whole town gloated in joyous fits on how their Soviet pals found a way to turn it into a...
The tiles appear to be the work of a single person, perhaps James Morasco, a Philadelphia carpenter who in the early 1980s tried to interest Philadelphia-area newspapers in a similar idea; Morasco would have been in his 70s when most of the tiles were laid.
Morasco died in 2003, but new tiles have since been seen in Philadelphia. Until 2007, most were much smaller than "original" tiles. Post-2002 and pre-2007, they also displayed a very different font and styling than the older tiles and tended to leave out words that were found on the originals.
Where the first ones said: TOYNBEE IDEA IN Kubrick's 2001 RESURRECT DEAD ON PLANET JUPITER
The newer ones state: TOYNBEE IDEA MOVIE 2001 RESURRECT (sometimes "RAISE") DEAD PLANET JUPITER
Newer style tiles have been embedded on several major highways, including Interstate 476 in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, and Interstate 95. In June 2007, a tile was found on the city square in Noblesville, Indiana.
In 2007, tiles have been discovered in Philadelphia that are quite similar to the multi-colored original tiles, leading some to believe that everything has been the work of the same person throughout the life of the tile phenomenon. The font and message are the same as the old ones, and the subtext is a return to some of the older ideas as well. These tiles were glued with a thicker layer of asphalt glue/sealant than older ones.
About six more were found on Route 1 North bound starting in Drexel Hill in Delaware County going north through Philadelphia in late 2007 and early 2008. The plates are much larger than the originals and have red italic writing on them.
Theoretically, the method of laying such a tile is simple. Toynbee-tile enthusiast Justin Duerr says that a newly laid tile was once found and examined. This new tile was wrapped in tar paper and placed on a busy street early in the morning. The pressure exerted by automobiles driving over the tile for weeks on end pushes it into the road surface. Eventually, the tar paper wears away, exposing the message.
A Toynbee-tile enthusiast Website reported a tile found in Pittsburgh that included deployment instructions, which the reader transcribed as "lenoleum, asphalt glue (?) in several layers, then placing tar paper over it so that car wheels won't mess it up, and apparently the heat of the sun on the tar paper will bake it into the street". This tile was located near the Pittsburgh Hilton, and has since been paved over.
Destruction and conservation:
Tiles that are located in the middle of busy streets and highway on- and off-ramps tend to wear away quickly and also can become victims of resurfacing; smaller tiles and those located close to pedestrian crosswalks tend to be in better condition.
The messages on most of the Toynbee tiles are generally not thought offensive. Hundreds of tiles have been destroyed during the course of regular road maintenance. The city of Chicago has declared the tiles "vandalism" and vowed to rid the city of any tiles they find. Municipal officials in Philadelphia, the city with the most tiles, have no comment on the tiles.
A large tile complex, apparently the tile maker's rant against his enemies, was destroyed when Chestnut Street in Philadelphia was being repaved. One tile located at the corners of Talcahuano and Santa Fé streets in Buenos Aires, Argentina since at least 1996 is damaged and unreadable, apparently broken up by traffic-induced surface distortion of the asphalt on which it was laid, which softens during the hot summer.
There is no public or private agency dedicated to conserving Toynbee tiles. Many tiles now exist only as photographs taken before their destruction.
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2018 photos: Equipment this year: I continued to use my Fuji XS-1 cameras but, depending on the event, I also used a Nikon D7000.
Trips this year:
(February) a Civil War Trust conference in Greenville, NC,
(May/June) an American Battlefield Trust conference in Newport News, VA,
(July) my 13th consecutive trip to San Diego Comic-Con via Reno, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Los Angeles,
(August) 2 two-day trips to New York City,
(September) an American Battlefield Trust dinner in Chicago, IL with on route visits to Charleston, WV, Louisville, KY, Saint Louis, MO, and Toledo, OH,
(October) another two-day trip to New York City for the New York Comic Con.