Round-up of Wierd & Wonderful

Devilish Misappropiation

This item was being sold on Amazon as an “antique fruit basket” but it was … really not.

The listings advertised various uses for the pot, including as a wine bucket. / Photo: Amazon

It’s actually an old-style Chinese chamber pot which was used in homes before modern plumbing was widely available. It was also a spittoon, commonly placed in public places like hospitals and schools so that people could (ahem) expectorate in a sanitary fashion.

Luckily the items for sale on Amazon (now delisted) were brand new and not really antiques. At least, we hope. Read the original South China Morning Post article here.

Through Snow, Rain and Psychedelic Sun

My favorite man on the street drops by at least once a week at my front door. He delivers mail, Amazon packages and a cheery “Hello!” He’s the Canada Post mailman. Throughout the pandemic Canada Post employees have delivered essential services and creative director Andrew Lewis had an idea to thank them for their work. Originally it was for a commemorative postage stamp but then it morphed into full size decorated mail trucks.

Creative director and graphic artist Andrew Lewis designed a program for Canada Post last year to thank the corporation’s employees for their service during the pandemic. Today, his art is roaming across the country on four wheels. (Canada Post)

Asked about his inspiration, this is what he said:

A lot of people had rainbows in their windows and hearts and things like that last spring and summer,” Lewis said of the symbols he spotted on his walks through London neighbourhoods.

“So I made this fun, kind of psychedelic image because I wanted something really positive and happy, and this is a weird, gloomy and kind of oppressive time.” 

According to this CBC article forty of these decorated vans are on the road in major cities across Canada. I haven’t seen one yet but I’m keeping my eyes peeled.

Toronto, Canada. February 2021

11 Comments

  1. The spittoon story is hilarious! and yet now. So many things are mislabelled when out of context, out of culture.

    But it brings to mind intentional appropriation (in art, in fashion) – thinking specifically of fashion designers who use antique kimonos to cut up and refashion into modern garments. Am not sure how I feel about situations like those.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am not a traditionalist so I probably have a different view. I’d rather something like clothing get used rather than moulder away. It depends on the item though. Destroying ancient monuments to use the stones doesn’t seem right, as was done with the Angkor temples in Cambodia and old Roman forts in Britain. Even then, I can wonder about the trade-off between immediate human need & historical significance. Stuff to think about.

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      1. I’m with you, Sandy; I tend to think that repurposing for a good cause is better than preservation for its own sake. But it always comes at a price, doesn’t it. It really isn’t that simple and issue at all.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. That colourful van is great! We still have the rainbows etc in windows around here, and there’s also a house near me that has its entire front door painted as a rainbow – although that could be an entirely different message related to ‘pride’ I guess 🌈

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely little positive moves all around the world, like painting this van in bright colours to encourage cheerfulness. The spittoon’s descriptions beggars belief. Yuck, yuck. I had enough of spittoons as a nurse in a geriatric men’s ward in the late 70’s – when most men smoked and had emphysema. You can imagine…..

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    1. One of the more unpleasant aspects of living in Beijing, was seeing people spitting in public. Young & old, men and women would be sucking up their lungs and expectorating in public. It was quite alarming. I could only hope that a spitoon was nearby, but honestly I never saw this item before.

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