Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Signs of Craziness

Dennis Fisher, a correspondent for the Boston Globe, featured mycrazyhobby.com in the Online Finds column in the Home/Lifestyle section.

Read it here »

Friday, February 08, 2008

What do the Beatles have to do with collecting signs?

Back in December, I got an email from a chap called Alex over in the UK. Alex is the producer of a radio program and wanted to know if I'd be interested in doing an interview for the show. We set up a date and they called on a Sunday afternoon (I knew it was them thanks to the crazy, un-American-like phone number on my caller ID), and I chatted with Nick, the show's host, for a good 15 minutes.

We rapped about the usual -- how the collection got started; how many signs I have in the collection; which is my favorite, etc...

But I was just as excited when the conversation turned to the Beatles. Over in the UK, the "Penny Lane" street sign is one of the most sought after by sign thieves, according to Nick. (For those who are not Beatles fans, Penny Lane is a steet where Paul McCartney and John Lennon would meet to catch the bus to the city; they wrote a song "Penny Lane" that was released on the 1967 Sgt. Pepper album.) He wanted to know if there are any signs here in the U.S. that have the same appeal. What is the most coveted sign in the States, he asked.

People over here usually want street signs with their names on it, I explained, or signs that can have a double, mind-in-the-gutter meaning (like High Street or the I-69 shield). But I did bring up that I had read about the Abbey Road sign as being stolen many, many times... so many times that the blokes who run the street department in Westminster finally posted the sign high enough out of reach in order to deter the thieves. (Another Beatles connection, as the group's 1969 album was named for the street/studio.)

Talking about signs and the Beatles on a Sunday afternoon. It doesn't get much better than that.

See the Wikipedia entry about Penny Lane »

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Learning to drive in Jersey, 1950

I bought a New Jersey Driver's Manual that appears to be from the 1950s (there's no date on it anywhere, but I can tell from the design). I purchased it online, which is sometimes a gamble since you can't flip through the book before you buy it, but I'm rarely disappointed.

This one has two pages of signs and some 1950s-style illustrations throughout. The drawings of the cars, gas station attendants, and even the top coat and hat of the male figures throughout reflect a simpler time.

It's fun for me to see how traffic control has changed since this manual was published. Case in point: "(The stop sign) is eight-sided, or octagonal, in shape and contains the word 'stop' in black letters on a yellow background." There's no mention of white letters on a red background, which means that this manual was published well before 1954, when the design changed from yellow to red.

Visit the Stop & Yield section at mycrazyhobby.com »