Monday, July 20, 2009

Sand & Snow

We took a long weekend and went to Portland, Oregon to visit Molly and Brad, our daughter and son-in-law. They have an annual thing in their courtyard square called "Sand in the City." The city trucks in tons of beach sand and corporate teams spend all day Friday building a sand sculpture(s) which are then on display for the weekend.

(Right) A Hungry, Hungry Hippo

I've always been intrigued by this kind of thing, the roots of which were probably spurred by my experience with a snow sculpture contest in college. It ended up being a non-snowy weekend, but we had a friend with a truck, so we trucked in a few pickup loads of snow for our sculpture.

So, what did we choose? Around that time of my life, the big movies were Fiddler on the Roof, The Godfather, The Sting, The Graduate, Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, etc. Movies you've all heard of. None of us felt really skilled at creating a statue of Paul Newman or Marlon Brando. So we chose a "B" movie, modeled after the poster for the movie "Frogs." (Tag line" "If you are sqeamish, stay home! Cold green skin against soft warm flesh!") Among my fraternity buddies, maybe one of us had actually seen the movie, and if they did, it undoubtedly was the second feature of a drive-in, and alcohol was probably involved. Anyway, let's face it, a giant frog is already pretty much in the shape of a mound of snow. But we did get the mouth sculpted pretty well, and I was in charge of getting a rubber glove mounted so the hand would stick out of the mouth at the proper angle, not wanting to compromise the artistic intentions of the director. I don't remember how the competition turned out. We were proud of our five foot high reptile and his cold green skin. (We spray painted him green) I was disappointed that our frog was thawing pretty bad by the next day, and the frog had obviously spit out the hand. I never got a picture of it. It was back in the day when there were no digital anythings. In spite of our promotion and homage, Frogs did not receive any Academy Award Nominations, in spite of having Ray Milland as it's headliner.
For you younger readers wondering who Ray Milland was, he was the winner of the Best Actor Academy Award in 1946 for "The Lost Weekend." His role was described as "The desperate life of a chronic alcoholic is followed through a four day drinking bout." After watching himself in "Frogs" I think Mr. Milland went on a five day drinking bout...after making sure his check cleared.

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