Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Almost in time for Groundhog Day

With the winter we’ve been having, it’s no surprise that on Sunday Punxsutawney Phil – that rat bastard! – saw his shadow, which means six more weeks of winter.

Anyway, not that I’m confusing groundhogs with gophers, but it was onPicking up the mail gopher Groundhog Day that I saw an article on Huff Po on a museum in Torrington, Alberta (Canada) that rivals the local alt-cult museums that I blogged about just last week.  The Gopher Hole Museum contains 47 “disturbingly lifelike little dioramas” containing  taxidermed gophers in tableaux mordants of humble, everyday Olympic gophersevents like picking up the mail, to special occasions, like the Olympics.

I don’t necessarily agree that these little dioramas are “lifelike,” but I’m completely down with them being disturbing.

I do understand some of the impulses here.

Who among us has gone through life without anthropomorphizing our furry friends a time or two. And let’s face it, what with evolution and everything, all that anthropomorphizing may not be such wishful thinking.

And while many of us may have been able to stay our impulse to put a tutu on the dog or a sombrero on the cat, this has not likely stayed our impulse to ooh and aah over puppies in Halloween costumes or to purchase that perfect birthday card with the sombrero-wearing cat on it. Not I, said the fly. (If the fly could actually speak for himself, rather than just buzz annoyingly around.)

Still, I can’t imagine stuffing and dressing up dead animals, and posing them in dioramas.

I leave my diorama imagining to my hopes that one day my sisters will join me in an activity that ranks quite high on my bucket list: to create a Peeps diorama and enter it in the Washington Post’s annual contest.

But to each his or her very own…

The Gopher Hole Museum does not appear to have an official website, but some locals have set one up. It contains pictures of all the dioramas, and everything you need to know about getting to the museum, which is open June through September, and costs only $2. Definitely a bargain, even by daffy museum standards.

But perhaps not enough to take me off the beaten path an make my way to Torrington, Alberta.

Meanwhile, in another parallel to a recent Pink Slip post, one of the dioramas seems to be paying tribute to the Rockabilly sensibility – right down to the poodle skirt. Sure, this would have been more authentic if she were also wearing Rockabilly gophersbobby sox (with loafers or saddle shoes or white sneakers). And let’s face it. A gal wearing a poodle skirt would not accompany it with a shrug and pearls, which looks like something June Cleaver would have worn on date night with Ward. No, Linda or Nancy or Debby would have on an orlon sweater, maybe even a cardigan buttoned up the back, and a brightly colored silk scarf knotted at her neck. I am perhaps being too harsh here. Perhaps Canadian Rockabillies do things differently, eh.

I’ll end with one of my favorite of the gopher-amas:


I admire this one for the attention to detail – the crockery on the table – and the harmonious use of blue and white. But mostly I like what the plain-spoken man of the house has to say. “Boy am I ever stuffed.” Truer words never put in a word balloon over someone or something’s head.

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