Oil-Can Geetar Man

Double click for a larger version of the oil can guitars...
Double click for a larger version of the oil can guitars…

“Who draws the crowd and plays so loud, baby, it’s the guitar man
Who’s gonna steal the show, you know, baby, it’s the guitar man
He can make you love, he can make you cry
He will bring you down and he’ll get you high
Somethin’ keeps him goin’ miles and miles a day
To find another place to play”

So sang the band, Bread, in Guitar Man. Billy Joel sang about the piano man. I would imagine that many of the main-line instruments have had people sing about them at one time or another. But I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone sing about the piccolo person, have you? Or they cymbals player? Why is that? I don’t get it!

Anyway, I shot this picture this past Saturday at the Johns Creek Art Festival in, of all places, Johns Creek, Georgia. It wasn’t really so much an art festival as a craft fair with lots of booths and people hawking their wares. There was some original art, some dance and music, but as an art festival, I was disappointed, but I did get some pictures, like this, that helped me feel better about it.

I don’t think that I’d ever seen oil cans built into guitars before. Of course, they are, I think, just works of art and not really playable, but I wonder what they would sound like, don’t you?

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1944, two liquid gas tanks exploded in Cleveland, Ohio, killing 130 people. It took all of the city’s firefighters to bring the resulting industrial fire under control.

At 2:30 p.m., laboratory workers at the East Ohio Gas Company spotted white vapor leaking from the large natural gas tank at the company plant near Lake Erie. The circular tank had a diameter of 57 feet and could hold 90 million cubic feet of the highly flammable gas. Ten minutes later, a massive and violent explosion rocked the entire area. Flames went as high as 2,500 feet in the air. Everything in a half-mile vicinity of the explosion was completely destroyed.

Shortly afterwards, a smaller tank also exploded. The resulting out-of-control fire necessitated the evacuation of 10,000 people from the surrounding area. Every firefighting unit in Cleveland converged on the East Ohio Gas site. It still took nearly an entire day to bring the fire under control. When the flames went out, rescue workers found that 130 people had been killed by the blast and nearly half of the bodies were so badly burned that they could not be identified. Two hundred and fifteen people were injured and required hospitalization.

The explosion had destroyed two entire factories, 79 homes in the surrounding area and more than 200 vehicles. The total bill for damages exceeded $10 million. The cause of the blast had to do with the contraction of the metal tanks: The gas was stored at temperatures below negative 250 degrees and the resulting contraction of the metal had caused a steel plate to rupture.

Newer and safer techniques for storing gas and building tanks were developed in the wake of this disaster.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: According to Irish legend, Jack O’Lanterns are named after a stingy man named Jack who, because he tricked the devil several times, was forbidden entrance into both heaven and hell. He was condemned to wander the Earth, waving his lantern to lead people away from their paths.

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