October 11, 2013

The Revitalizing Power of Zebra Penises

This probably won't mean much to any of you two people who actually still follow this ThunderJournal, but there's major road work taking place in front of our store. The road definitely needed to be upgraded, since it was like driving on the lunar surface.

That said, this isn't just some minor blacktop upgrade; they're completely tearing everything out and putting down a brand new blanket of concrete, complete with new medians (one right in front of store, thank you very much--stores love having a barricade keeping an entire side of traffic from being able to turn in to their parking lot), extensive planters, bus shelters, and glorious new zebra penis monoliths!

Zebra what now?

Okay, they're not actually called zebra penises, but that's basically what they look like to me, and I'm betting you'll agree. You see, I was steered towards an online PowerPoint presentation that shows what the 2nd St. SW, Rochester, MN road revitalization project will entail, and it entails towering zebra penises.

It's part of a larger attempt to re-brand our little section of Rochester, MN as "Uptown," which means "Not Downtown," from what I can understand. Basically, the city of Rochester looked at its basket of discretionary taxpayer lucre and said "Let's waste some of this here money! The taxpayers aren't using it! Hell, they just gave it to us, after all!"

And thus zebra penises were approved.

"Oh, Ryan," you say. "Surely you're exaggerating."

No. No, I'm not.


"Oh, Ryan," you say. "That doesn't look at all like. . . um. . . damn. Would you look at that zebra penis?"

So, how did this zebra penis "art" come to pass? Well, like all good city planners who think highly of themselves and their intellects when they really shouldn't, it started with a quote:


It must be difficult to write something as pretentious as:

"a love of all things water-related, Anne Jefferson blends hydrology, geomorphology, geology, and climate change in her work. She has a Ph.D. from Oregon State University and is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geology at Kent State University, Ohio."

A love of all things water-related? Does that include drowning?

Anyway, from that long-winded quote, the PowerPoint presentation goes here:


Fascinating. From there, the PPT rambles for a few slides, so I'll just provide a quick PhotoShop of my own explaining how the whole flow chart works:


This is apparently what happens when you "blend hydrology, geomorphology, geology, and climate change in your work." You end up with huge zebra penises. Consider yourself warned.

Technically, the zebra penises are referred to as "Urban Markers." A city needs Urban Markers, apparently, so people are made adequately aware that they're in an urban environment, just in case all the people, buildings, traffic, businesses and human activity somehow escapes notice.


We begin with an African American male laughing with two translucent females. The male is even sort of cupping his groin, indicating he's making a not-too-subtle joke about the looming zebra penis in front of them.


The artist called this piece "Zebra Penis at Dusk." Thomas Kincade had nothing on this guy's mastery of light. He's also a mastershader, I'm betting.


This piece is titled "Pigeon Looking Down on Zebra Penis." Honestly, I can't believe no one raised a hand during the presentation and yelled "ZEBRA PENIS!"


The artist was kept up at nights, trying to come up with a title for this slide. Then, one night, he sat bolt upright and yelled "Woman Prefers Bifurcated Zebra Penis!"


During one city planning meeting, a member spoke up and said "Look, I love the whole zebra penis concept. However, I just don't think a huge, erect African equus phallic symbol is suggestive enough. Is there a way we can incorporate the word "UP" into this wasteful and pointless monument somehow?" And the artist said "NO PROBLEM!"


When it comes to wasting taxpayer money on "art," no single zebra penis will suffice. If the funds are available for a large zebra penis, surely there's more available for a bunch of lesser zebra penises (equus penii?). What I like about this is it looks like the smaller zebra penises are following in a line behind the adult zebra penis, like ducks, or geese, or ZEBRA PENISES!


To make this more accurate, the guy standing in front of the zebra penis should be holding a cardboard sign that reads "Homeless. Please help. God bless." Not sure what the guy in the foreground is contemplating. Perhaps he dropped his wallet in the garden in front of him?


Never underestimate the power of symmetric, evenly-spaced zebra penises. You know you're in a powerhouse urban environment when there's a surplus of zebra penis monuments.


The man is sitting there, pondering which was a bigger waste of taxpayer money: the zebra penis on the left, the bench he's sitting on, or the bus stop that looks like it's half full of water--I'd say it's half empty.


The contractor had to include some shameless pandering, of course. Before today, when you heard "Mayo Clinic," you'd think "world class healthcare establishment." Now, thanks to me, when you hear "Mayo Clinic," you'll think "ZEBRA PENIS!"

Posted by Ryan at October 11, 2013 02:54 PM | TrackBack

What in the actual hell.

Posted by: Keith at October 14, 2013 11:13 AM
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