Monday, March 06, 2006

No Quarter (Part VII)

So after, what, six years of people beating on them about the lame-ass coinage they have produced, you'd think the Mint would print enough money to buy a clue. And finally, finally, finally we are starting to see some Intelligent Design in these things - but not before producing another dodo or two.

Here we see noted naturalist John Muir moments before he was slain by a California condor, which had taken flight from a nearby stump. OK, it's not a stump, it's a boulder. OK, it's really El Capitan, best known for its appearance in an otherwise forgettable Star Trek movie. Actually, the formation shown is called Half Dome, and while nicer looking is less better known than El Capitan. Half Dome also serves as a litmus test for all Californians - is the dome half-empty or half full?

Seriously, this is to the problem of showing things in deep perspective when you have fractions of a centimeter to show that depth.

Rating C = Lame, but at least they didn't show the state shape.

California had its murderous condor - Minnesota has its giant killer loon. Here we see it sneaking up on its prey, a pair of boat-bound Lutherans who are stunned by the sudden appearance of a giant grey monolith in their favorite fishing spot. Soon one of them will touch it, and suddenly be given inspiration for the state invention - the Bass-Master.

Then the loon attacks and eats them.

And by the way, this takes the cake for most disturbing use of a state outline.

Rating D= Lemme look at Ohio again. Nope. It's not that bad. But it is close.

Now things start getting interesting. Oregon doesn't have a lot that it wants to brag about (and the Mint didn't want to use their original idea - big letters saying "PLEASE GO AWAY!"), but it chose a nifty spot that I like. Looking at this quarter reminds me of the time Kate and I drove to California to rescue her car. On the way back, we stopped at Crater Lake for dinner, and put our names into the queue if a room at the rimside lodge opened up. Then we sat on the balcony in easy chairs, drinking tea until they told us we could stay the night. Then we switched to wine.

But pleasant memories are not the only reason to love this coin. It feels good with that clear space in the middle, and it looks good. Perspective done right. And no deadly avians.

Rating A = Way Cool

So it took New York to bring Liberty in, and it takes Kansas to show another coin stalwart, the buffalo. This is another brilliant coin that is dominated by an image of the bison, and only upon examination do you see the state flowers (sunflowers) he's about to eat. And they are both natives.

A very smart incorporation of multiple elements. Well, two elements, which is shows restraint, another Kansan virtue.

Rating A = Way Cool

West Virginia
And lastly, a quarter that makes me want to break into song:

Well, I heard Monkey King blog about her
Well, I heard ole Monk put her down.
Well, I hope Monkey King will remember
The West Virginia New River Gorge Commemorative Quarter don't need him around anyhow.

Actually, the New River Gorge Bridge is pretty impressive from a geek level - second-highest bridge, longest steel span, that sort of thing. But I remember seeing it from the top as opposed to bottom, as most people, you know, drive on the bridge and never see it from river level. And even though it is a pretty esoteric site, they did get the perspective nice, much like the Oregon coin.

Rating B = Yeah, its nice picture. But it's still just a bridge.

More later, as we wrap this up.