Have you heard the one about a shrink-wrapped boulder?

English: Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Image via Wikipedia

Ludicrous, as defined by the World English Dictionary, means “absurd or incongruous to the point of provoking ridicule or laughter.” I can understand why that word comes to my mind so frequently. I will refrain from overt political commentary, but much of what I observe on the national stage is, in my eyes anyway, ludicrous!

Now preposterous is another very fine word! Dictionary.com offers, “completely contrary to nature, reason or common sense; absurd; senseless; utterly foolish.” Synonyms included, “unreasonable, excessive, and ridiculous!”

These two words have been playing on my mind today.

Perhaps you were among the respondents to a national poll ranking the popularity of each state in the country. I do hope you weren’t in the majority rating California the most disliked state in the nation! Preposterous! Or maybe ludicrous! Who is behind the Public Policy Polling? I’d like to see what questions were asked. Maybe this wasn’t even a legitimate poll, but it has had its day in the press! No worries. I keep thinking that we are certainly overcrowded for a place no one appreciates!

But then I heard something on the news this morning that supplied me with a possible glimpse, probably a good clue, as to why WE in the Golden State are apparently viewed as a little odd.

Here’s today’s headline! “Rock is one day closer to LACMA.” Yep! As I sleep tonight a 340-ton boulder will continue along its journey from Riverside, California to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. This boulder, a 22-foot-rock, will travel 105 miles to end up, as one article put it, “to sit on the lawn” behind LACMA.

I am now following this momentous journey via museum tweets, not because my interest in the details is all that high, but because I find so much humor attached to the way it is being reported. One news reporter commented that this “may be” the largest boulder moved since the ancient Egyptians–I think that claim may be preposterous, or is THIS ludicrous!

However, today’s LA Observed gave me the best chuckle: “A crowd of several hundred cheered and shivered as the behemoth began its epic journey. Covered in white shrink-wrap to ward off taggers, it rode on a massive red transporter and looked, under the bright lights like a well-lit iceberg…” I can’t stop laughing!

I know many of you live in more civilized parts of the country and world (aka less hated), so you may not be familiar with tagging. That would be defacing…here in Los Angeles taggers are often euphemistically referred to as “graffiti artists.”  Isn’t that special! The transport must be very slow if the concern is that the boulder will be attacked by opportunists jumping out along the highway with spray paint in hand! You just can’t make this stuff up!

As a LACMA member, I’m not yet critical of the museum’s decision to go forward with the project–It is privately funded.  But I only wish the museum had been brave enough to go forward with it sans justifications.  “From the construction teams on site who have been digging the 456-foot-long slot and preparing to install the megalith, to the transport company, to the permitting fees paid to twenty-two cities in four different counties for the transport, a great deal of the privately raised funds for ‘Levitated Mass’ has gone directly into the local economy.” Oh please!

I’m waiting to formulate a final opinion of the art-to-be, but I do admit to finding it just a wee bit preposterous that our already highly complex highway transportation system is going to absorb the impact of this mammoth project, even if it is moving in the middle of the night! And I’m wondering if it is ludicrous for me to think that the cheering crowds lining the streets to see this “shrink-wrapped boulder on a truck” will be similarly enthusiastic and inclined to pay the museum fee to visit the exhibit once it is installed and referred to as art? Oh I do hope I’m proven wrong!

And that’s the way we do things in California.

You’re welcome…Debra

24 thoughts on “Have you heard the one about a shrink-wrapped boulder?

    • I’ll tell you, Meg, with all the care that’s going into the project, I’m sure it will arrive safely! It’s very difficult for me to picture the “how” of it, but it will definitely be a conversation started when it lands. I do hope you’ll be able to visit and I’ll look forward to your observations :-) Dehra

  1. I think we could also add the descriptor “bizarre” to this solid rock news… and we have plenty of ludicrous and preposterous here in the Windy City as well — most of the time it involves our politicians. They might even have shrink-wrapped rocks in their heads….

    • Sometimes it helps to just laugh at the observations–I know you do that well! I’ve been holding back just a little bit, trying not to be too negative, because I know myself, and think it would be just like me to see the final exhibit and suddenly be enthusiastic and impressed at the feat. I will be watching it closely! And I do think it’s bizarre–at least in the transporation effort :-) Debra

  2. “The most disliked state in the nation?” I had no idea. When did we pass Mississippi and Texas? Lots of people love our weather and our produce, San Francisco, Yosemite. Many people love Los Angeles, either because or despite it hauls a shrink-wrapped boulder to its museum under dead of night. My favorite museum lawn ornaments are the giant shuttlecocks in Kansas City.

    • Yes indeed, Sharyn! The first report I heard was that California was the most “HATED” state…the words themselves made me laugh! Maybe we are resented for our moderate temperatures, but Florida didn’t make the list! So funny! I’ve never been to Kansas City, but if I have the opportunity, I will definitely go for the shuttlecocks! So glad you’re feeling better, Sharyn! Debra

  3. First of all, I appreciate the way you began and ended the post by using words. Secondly, it takes a lot of people to make the world go around – thus not much is surprising. Well done Debra!

    • You are so right on that, Frank! And “art” is always a controversial topic of debate…a fun discussion for me. My main issue in this complicated project is concern for the stretches of highway that absolutely must be impacted by this project. If all goes well, I’ll perhaps soften my view! :-) Debra

  4. Dumb. That’s another word, Debra., and I say that as one who supports the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art. The fact that private funding is making “the move” possible doesn’t make it any less dumb. Besides, aren’t those funds considered to be tax deductible contributions to the museum? I just think the tax dollars sacrificed to move a rock could have been put to better use, say, in the schools.

    • Aha! I’m going to quote you! I had not thought of the tax credits! It’s going to be interesting to see how it even “makes it” to the final spot! I have so many questions…like where does it “sleep” during the day! You can’t just pull over to the side of a road! I’d better check my “tweets” this morning. Once safely installed I’ll take pictures, and we can all decide if it was worth the effort. And by the way, you did know that Illinois ranked only slightly higher than California in that poll, didn’t you? :-) Debra

  5. Ludicrous, indeed. I’ll second ChgoJohn = money better spent, though I remember the day the Picasso went up in Chicago; all the hoopla, everyone wondering what on earth it was. It was the day I got my first pair of contact lenses, the eye doctor was downtown, and I could suddenly see better.

    Illinois was also on the list, Debra, just a few states below CA. I’m sure our crafty governors who’ve been jailed didn’t help. Illinois is a wonderful state with just about anything you can want from farms to big cities, national forest to prairies, Lincoln to Second City. Oh, you get it. . . and I love CA, having visited there several times. I am always curious as to who sanctioned a poll, what was its purpose, who were polled? Good post, Debra.

    Now, about that rock . . .

    • I’ve really only been to Chicago, and it was fabulous! I did travel by train, though, and saw quite a bit of beautiful open land before reaching the city. I love the diversity of offerings in every state, and I get a little frustrated when sweeping comparisons highlight the negative aspects of any region. I guess it’s just human nature to criticize! Whenever we travel I find delights I would gladly transplant home. I will keep us all posted on the boulder…I’ll take pictures of the installation and we can determine its strength of character :-) D

  6. Now that is a BIG rock, Debra! :-) Because Britain is littered with megaliths which were moved often great distances millennia ago, for various reasons, I can just about understand the concept behind this. But shrink-wrapped? That did make me chuckle.

    I can never understand how these polls come up with the conclusions they do. Who gets asked and what questions are they asked? Sigh….

    • I think the shrink-wrap was what set off the laughter. The idea that it was deemed necessary to protect it was almost distressing to me! It survives millennia and then is “captured” and shrink wrapped. So indignant! I’ll be reporting back on this one :-) I’m glad you came by today for a visit, Perpetua! Debra

  7. Yes, indeed, the boulder traveling on the indescribable “vehicle” of 200 wheels (saw that on the news). I did wonder if the gawkers were viewing the rock or the transport gizmo?! I guess I overlooked the shrink-wrap stuff; I must have been glued in real amazement to Big Red (name of transporter). Now that IS a site to see. And, speaking of LA’s taggers and their penchant for unusual surfaces, how will LACMA ever keep them off the rock once it hits the destination and been “de-wrapped”? Is this ludacrius or what?

    • You have a good point about its final destination and protection, Ellen! Hmmmm. That will be interesting. Will it have its own guard? I’ve been following Tweets from LACMA…they’re certainly getting a lot of pre-publicity with this, aren’t they? We’ll have to go out to see it together:-) D

  8. Pingback: Curiously following the path of the boulder…the BIG one! | breathelighter

    • It’s a big and wonderful world, isn’t it, and a shame sometimes that we can’t travel to see more! I believe you’re in Ireland? I hope I’m right about that! And I have never been to your beautiful part of the world! I’m glad we have the opportunity to share a bit even if it is simply through our blogs. Sometimes I begin to think I’m much better traveled than I really am! LOL! Thanks so much for stopping by, and I hope you have a good weekend. Debra

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