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10 March, 2009


There was that pro-test song about "Signs, signs, everywhere are signs, messing up the..." blahblahblah. The guys who recorded it it made their millions, bought mansions, and posted signs at the gates to keep people out. Or at least that's what thjey did if they were typical baby-boom hypocrits.

I've obsessed over signs in my own ways. Stealing them now and then, ripping a few down just for the satisfaction of removing lexic-hell from the face of the earth, reading plenty just for the satisfaction of being one in a million.

And I collect them, more than ever since the ready availability of digital cameras. Why? Weirdness mostly, but it's alsways possible to rationalize it as professional interest or reasearch when people have the huevos to approach me and ask. I've amassed an archive, lost it when I crushed a hard drive, and begun again.

The best are often home made. People with a burning desire to say something to the world. Good, bad, or crazed, but generally heartfelt. Now and then, someone like this who cannot say all they need with just one sign. Given the age of the vehicle, I'd have recorded this as a historic site if it weren't on private land, but I get the feeling that the last thing this guy would want is the guvament telling him he had to leave this culutral resource alone.

Then there are the official signs, frequently swelling the ranks of the unintentionally hilarious, fodder for irony buffs. This one was part of a series demarcating a wildlife area, but elk can't read, and the trees have a voracious appetite. Had the program that put this sign up not gone extinct, they might have put up more signs.
Or rather, they might have "signed" more. Signage experts sign places, they do not put up signs, because verbification is validation in the kingdom of Jargon, where most consultants live. Signing solves all problems. Experts in futurology, linguistics, hubristics, and other fields are currently at work developing signs for nuclear waste dumps, designing warning icons that will make sense to our descendants millenia down the road to ruin. (Meanwhile, we avoid deciding where the signs will actually be used, but that's another rant.) Signs for boundaries, for rules, for education.
Signs, signs, everywhere are signs.

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