The “Brick house” Edition :: Issue #275, Rusty’s Electric Dreams

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

– Maya Angelou

Rusty's Electric Dreams, an inbox zine by Rusty Blazenhoff

An inbox zine for positive deviants and the people who love them
Issue #275 :: The “Brick house” Edition :: 07:08:2020

Brick house…

I’ve been carrying around a single red brick since I was a kid. It’s not visually impressive. I mean, it’s a brick and a funky old one at that. But it holds a lot of significance to me. It holds a lot of “weight,” if you will.

What’s so special about this brick? The little Cape Cod town where I grew up was once home to the famous West Barnstable Brick Company factory. Millions of bricks were produced there until the Great Depression stopped production forever. When I was young, the factory’s ruins were located about half a mile from my childhood home, if you walked the railroad tracks and cut through the woods. Or so I hear.

My dad’s side of the family has a tradition of putting one of these embossed West Barnstable bricks in their home’s hearth. My mom told me that my grandmother would gift them to people when they were moving into their new home (which makes me think it was a “thing” outside of the family too). Well, at some point in my childhood, I was gifted one. And I’ve been hauling this dang clay paperweight around for over 40 years, just waiting to put it in its permanent place. 

Now, my brother has been talking about relocating his family to a different state for some time now. And all his talk of moving got me thinking about where I want to be when SJ flies the coop for college… which is like three years away. (Yeah, crazy, I know.) As I started dreaming about life after the Bay Area, I started thinking of that brick again. It’s totally possible that I could finally have a home for it in the near-ish future. That may not seem like a big deal but what that really means is that I’ve grown up enough to envision myself owning a house! ME. All by myself. (You have to understand…I’m a late bloomer.)

Now, my brother is moving, and soon. Just last week he asked if I had a W.B. brick I’d be willing to sell to him for his family’s new-to-them hearth. I pulled mine out of storage and briefly contemplated giving it to him. But then I realized I needed it. I mean, I’m so close to placing my brick in my hearth… right? I told him ‘sorry, no,’ and he 100% understood. Within a couple of hours, not one but FIVE of these bricks showed up for sale online (like I said, millions were made back in the day). So, now he’s got one too.

It’ll be a minute or two but I’ll take a picture for you all when I can finally place mine — in 2023?

Rusty Blazenhoff
P.S. The front steps of my childhood home were also made with these bricks. Yes, that’s me in 1976.

As seen on the Internets

Shannon LaNier as Thomas Jefferson

You can’t choose your family: It’s no secret that Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, owned people. One of these enslaved people was Sally Hemings. At just 14, Jefferson began having a “sexual relationship” with (read: rape) with her and, over her lifetime, she bore six children with the Founding Father. Well, a sixth great-grandchild of theirs, Shannon LaNier, recently posed as his famous relative as part of Photographer Drew Gardner’s Smithsonian-commissioned Descendants project. Powerful image! Shannon writes, “I’m only 1 example of how #slavery has not only separated the country but also made us more in common & connected than some may think!” [Now watch this 2012 Key & Peele skit.]
:: This symphony kills fascists

:: Simpsons’ “steamed hams” bit as aHa’s “Take on me”

:: Humorously turning the stereotype of “If you ever hurt my daughter” trope on its head Thanks, Andie!

:: What native land do you live on? Thanks, I!

:: “Cracking the Sitcom Code” exposes the formula of TV shows

:: Weird Al’s music video for “Hamilton Polka” is silly fun

:: Vintage ad: “Putt Putt to the Pizza Hut” 

Real perfume you can actually buy: way!

Lost in (smelling) space: What does space smell like? According to NASA astronauts, it’s a “mix of gunpowder, seared steak, raspberries and rum.” Ok.  Well, in 2008, to give would-be astronauts the full sensory experience of being in space, NASA actually developed a fragrance based on that smell. More recently, a company managed to get that recipe with “sheer determination, grit, a lot of luck, and a couple of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.” Now, mere civilians can buy bottles of Eau de Space through an already funded Kickstarter campaign ($15).

Featured Event

[Two weekends] Officials of the Marin County Fair clearly understand that food is half the fun of going to the fair in the first place. So, despite not being able to host the actual fair, they are offering two drive-thru fair food events. I mean, what is an American summer without fried dough (or is that an “elephant ear,” or a “funnel cake”?)? It’s not right, is what it is

  • Get your fair fare July 10-12 and 17-19, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., at the parking lot of the Marin Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium facing Civic Center Drive in San Rafael, CA

Don't blame the lettuce

Don’t blame the lettuce.

Rusty’s Electric Dreams is a (mostly) weekly inbox zine by Rusty Blazenhoff for positive deviants and the people who love them. If this was forwarded to you, please consider subscribing yourself.

Described as, “One of the most inspiring, weird and off-kilter collections of curated kitschy ephemera for the big-brained.” People like it.

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