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The San Francisco Examiner from San Francisco, California • Page 163
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The San Francisco Examiner from San Francisco, California • Page 163

San Francisco, California
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5 i kg mm mm MAYBE YOU didn't know that roast pork is the national dish of Czechoslovakia. mountaineer mean when be says he's going out 'grandma ing'?" A.That he's going to log a little wood off somebody else's land. Used to be. If you asked backwoods boy where he got all that firewood Hacked up in his yard, he'd say, "From grandma's placer YOU AND I aren't the first to notice that the phlloden-dron likes to grow up tree trunks. In Greek, "phllo" means "love" and "dendron" means "tree." THE WATER In a fair-sized watermelon most likely weighs more than you weighed on the day you were born.

PTIMBTSIlEOOVnt Wroore nrlfUy from heart surgery than pesttmlsta, cal researcher lay that. Doubtlessly true. Optlmtott, those dreamers, recover from everything more quickly than pessimists, do they not? DIETERS, PLEASE note: Chinese icupressurlsts tell obesity patients they can dl- -mlnlsb their appetite by squeezing the earlobes for one minute. OVER A short distance, very short, a hippo can out. dash a world-class sprinter.

ITS THE ROASTING that destroys the poison In cashews. Incidentally, they're not nuts, you know, they're seeds. TWAS THE rich of old, with their lace-ruffled sleeves, who insisted on wing forks at the dinner table. Hard to keep those ruffles out of the gravy without forks. 1 Q.

"WHAT ONE thing makes grizzly bears go Into hibernation on the same day?" A. Wind-driven snow. It hides their tracks and covers their den entrances. Wildlife scholars repeatedly have radio tracked bears to their dens. That storm condition always exists.

IF YOU so desire, you can buy an off-the-shelf mink Jacket for the hood ornament on your Rolls Royce. OF THE payroll folk tlonwide, one in five wears uniform. PRAIRIE FIRES renew the prairies, too. STATISTICIANS In Sweden say that their studies suggest the woman most likely to tommit suicide is the female medical doctor. ANOTHER Albert Eln-stein took up comedy and changed his name to Albert Brooks.

Have you seen his act? Many have. THERE ARE two types of stress distress and custress. That's the happy, exhilarating kind. You get it when hitting a grand slam or kissing the bride or betting on the ponies. Q.

"WHICH DIVE deeper, whales or turtles?" A. Turtles. To be specific, leatherneck tea turtles. They've been checked out at 3,900 feet down. They -dive more deeply than any other air-breathing animal A SNAIL mates but once, and that takes half a day.

ARLINGTON CEMETERY Is the burial place of only two U.S. presidents. Say John F. Kennedy and William Howard Taf t. Can you also name the five U.S.

presidents not buried on American soil? Popular trick query of late. Answer Is Nixon, Carter, Ford, Reagan and Bush. THAT FISH known as sole was called that for no better reason than that it looks like the sole of a shoe. Q. "WHAT'S blc" dog?" A.

One that's scared of strangers. There are xenophobic people, too, please note. YOU CAN say this about the trumpeter swan: Us neck is as long as its body. AT LEAST some of the waste hauled out of rubber factories, I'm told, is used to make wine. Q.

"CAN SEXUAL organs be transplanted?" A. Evidently. Medical records in Greece detail the case of a mother who donated her organs to her daughter so the daughter could conceive, which she subsequently did. SWEDEN HAS 100.000 lakes. Remarkable, what? Not as remarkable as Alaska, though.

With more than a million lakes, AMSVI3DEPT. Q. "ANY SUBWAYS In A. Only In Cairo. PRICE OF unleaded gasoline in Norway at last report was $150 a gallon- THE LONE WOLF didn't elect to be alone.

He was kick cd out of the pack. Q. "WHAT'S THE most popular home-grown fruit or vegetable?" A. Tomato. By far.

i i Plan to move eye-popping landmark lays an egg "BY HOUY MORRIS 1 a Marietta, Ga. rhat the Eiffel Tower is to Paris and the Leaning thing, to ride out on a moonlit night and look up at the Big Chicken's eyes rolling around I mean, that was something," he said. Cobb County was mostly farmland then. As growth splraled in the 1970s, the chicken took on added significance as a marker separaUng old-line Marietta from the Yankee newcomers of East Cobb. "What that chicken really does Is It divides Cobb County," said Kinney, 65.

a newspaperman In the area for nearly 50 years, you're traveling north and you go east at the Big Chicken, It's like a different world. Everybody drives Tower is to Pisa, I IK'- NV- I jF? East of the Big Tit: r-T-t mi.i, it 'v7' Al Chicken, they -drive BMWs; west of the chicken, they're all Democrats; restaurant. According to Barbara Patterson, wife of Smyrna City Administrator John Patterson, her husband was only joking when the franchise's representatives asked what they could do to comply with Smyrna's annexation requirements. "Well, you could build us a big chicken like they have over In Marietta," Patterson told his wife he suggested. Apparently taken aback, the representatives said they were not allowed to build anything but the standard Fried Chicken restaurant design.

ft: But a month later, they returned noting that their lease on the Marietta establishment would expire in 1993 and that the property was tied up in probate court, they offered to move the Big Chicken from Marietta to Smyrna. "Poultry In Motion!" cackled a front-page headline in the Atlanta Constitution. And, in no time, the local news media were awash In barnyard metaphors. It was no laughing matter to citizens of Marietta, Mayor Vickie Chas-tain said. Her only opponent in 1985 was a Republican dressed in a chicken suit, and last year he appeared on an early-morning radio talk show broadcast from a bucket truck perched close to the beak of the Big Chicken.

That night, the television news coverage was full of statements by outraged Big Chicken lovers, Chastain said. "One guy said, 'I couldn't find my way home without the Big and when the reporter asked, 'Would you fight for the Big the man said, 'I'd give my life for Chastain recounted. Freckle-nosed Charity Bryan, 14, who will enter Marietta High School this fall, said the threat of losing the Big Chicken made people realize how much they would miss it "There was a big to-do because they really cared about it; it really mattered," she said. Big Chicken is to Marietta, as officials of neighboring Smyrna have learned. i When word leaked but this spring that Smyrna had designs on the region-i landmark, Marlettans rose in protest some of it deadly serious, but most of.

It tongue in beak. The Big Chicken Is five stories tall, of beige-andbrown sheet metal, and was built in 1963 at the Intersection of Roswell Street and Highway 41, known then as "The Four-Lane" because It was the first four-lane highway in Georgia and the main road connecting Marietta with Atlanta, 18 miles to the southeast The chicken was designed by restaurateur S.R. (Tubby) Davis and a Georgia Tech architecture student whose name has gone unrecorded to advertise "Johnny Reb's Chick, Chuck -and Shake," which was then a new 'drive-in chicken and hamburger restaurant. It became so dominant a part of the landscape that residents and merchants quickly adopted it as the area's most visible landmark and the simplest way to give directions. in Kentucky Fried Chicken -leased the restaurant which became the company's biggest-volume franchise until Interstate 75 diverted travelers from Highway 41 in December 1976.

"7 Designed to withstand 100-mile-iper-hour Winds, with movable eyes, beak and comb, the chicken was a breathtaking sight, said Bill Kinney, senior editor of the Marietta Dally Journal. "If you think that wasn't some S-' BIASSOCIATCDmSS Built In 1963, the Big Chicken in Marietta, stands five stories high BMWs and Mercedes and votes Republican, and they have small dogs. They're all from the East Coast "To the west of the Big Chicken Is Marietta, the county which has always been a Democratic stronghold. I've heard folks from East Cobb say they've never even been to Marietta." The chicken also has stood as a homely symbol of continuity throughout the nearly 20-year of rapid development and constant construction that once made Cobb the second fastest-growing county in the nation. War clouds gathered over Marietta and Smyrna in March when Kentucky Fried Chicken tried to persuade Smyrna officials to annex land for a new ger moves, an egg she will not lay.

If Smyrna wants a chicken, we'll help you raise your own, feed it mash and scratch and all our old cornpone." Chastain, who Is retiring from office later this year, confessed mixed feelings about the big bird. "Part of me says, 'Look at it it's big and But, then, it is a landmark. or not we chose it, it chose us, and it's here to stay." "You Just don't move our landmark. The Big Chicken is something everybody kinda grows up with. When you say, 'Meet me at the Big there's no mixup.

No one says, 'Which The chicken dispute was quickly laid to rest, and Chastain presented Max Bacon, her counterpart in Smyrna, with a handmade plaque reading, "The Big Chicken can't be moved, no matter what they say. Its beak no lon SBBI The Pencil etieifFhat Inspired an Artistic Empire Sharp BY WAYNE KING Dover, N. J. rfHEN TONY LORDI was a little boy in i if i Newark, he could glimpse the Em I A I pire State Building from some street VmJ corners. One day when he was 5, his parents took him to see It does not remember the building itself.

the world," Lordi said. "The dome of the Chrysler Building is more interesting in some ways. But If you ask a guy on the street where the Chrysler Building Is, he might say Everybody knows where the Empire State Building is." But why would a man tar and feather it? As some subliminal hint to Mayor Edward Koch? A statement of existential rage? 1 "No!" said Lordi, who also dotted the tar and feathers with costume jewelry, rather as If a chicken had had an accident on the way to the chicken's ball. "Because it's kooky! It's cra-zeee! It's kooo-KEEEE!" He has made 50 or so reproductions of the Empire State Building in the past two years, with various degrees of "kooky" embellishments. In one of his more recent versions, he topped the structure with yet another icon of the age a plastic Incredible Hulk.

Ntw York Tlmn sorts Of thirigSmini, tat and feathers, shells, foam rubber, mirrors. They sell titf ib $10,000 or so, and Lordi is gaining a reputation because of them, i Lordi Is represented by the Jack Gallery in the SoHo area Of Manhattan, which has shown his works twice. The artist had a show in the spring at Fair-leigh-Dickinson University, and 20 of his Empire State Buildings are on display in, where else, the lobby of the Empire State Building. Each day, 32,000 people go through there. Lordi has another show coming up in November at Broadway Windows, a New York University gallery.

It is heady stuff for an obscure art professor, albeit one who used to be a moderately successful country and popular songwriter who knew Willie Nelson and was recorded by Gene (Be-Bop-a-Lu-La) Vincent in the early 70s. His newfound fame has all come about In the past year or so, in a testament to enormous energy and an artistic vision that is part iconography and part small-boy-in-the-treehouse. His studio is pin-neat, but It is filled encrusted with shelves bearing virtually every known piece of American kitsch: a teddy bear made of hundreds of tiny cowrie shells, a 1932 Popeye figurine, miniature horses, a rhinoceros, a Florida orange shaped like a pig because it is a piggy bank, a plastic B-29, a cobalt-blue bottle of Wild Country Aftershave shaped like a 1951 Raymond Loewy Studebaker, a black leopard planter, an ashtray that plays "Let Me Call You Sweetheart," a palm-tree thermometer and a three-pound glass hatchet from Coney Island, circa 1938. These things inspire him. But what inspires him most is the Empire State Building or rather the 29-cent-pencil-sharpener version.

The building, he says, is an icon of the age as well as an arresting work of architecture. "It's probably the most famous building in What he does remember is the little building his parents bought for him, a reproduction plated a funny bronze with a pencil sharpener. It was a few inches high, and it cost 29 cents. "I was fascinated by it," said Lordi, who is now a gray-bearded 49-year-old art professor at the County College of Morris. Today, Lordi makes his own reproductions of the Empire State Building, mostly about six feet high, which is four Inches taller than he is.

Instead of bronze, they are covered with all SUNDAY PUNCHAUGUST 6, 1989 PAGE? I.

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