Sunday, November 19, 2006

Egrets. I've had a few.

I collect 1984 Louisiana World Exposition memorabilia. I had a small but wonderful collection (i.e. bought incredibly cheap and cannot be replaced for the same price) and lost most of it to Hurricane Katrina, so I started over. This time around, I have room for World's Fair art. I've purchased several unusual posters and prints and am always on the lookout for more (at incredibly cheap prices as well).

I receive regular notices from eBay when new stuff is up for auction. Recently I got an email directing me to the following item and description:

    This colorful print is of a Penguin in the marshy reeds and there is a small expo logo on the bottom left corner and the artists signature on the bottom right. The print on the bottom reads “Louisiana World Exposition – New Orleans, Louisiana, May 12 – November 11, 1984". The signature of the artist is ‘Hugh Ricks’.

    This item is in excellent condition. Ready to be framed or displayed!

    A great piece of historical memorabilia.

Did you notice the, uhm, description of the bird?

It says it's a 'Penguin.'



Like from Antarctica, penguin.

Like living where it's snow and ice, penguin.

Like little men in black tuxedos, penguin.

Let's look a little closer at this poster and the so called "penguin" in the marshy reeds (as isn't that the natural habitat of penguins?)

Yep, in Southeast Louisiana we have plenty of penguins roaming the swamps. And isn't that the state bird too? The wild southern penguin.


So, let's look at a picture of a genuine penguin for comparison.

Oh yeah. Now I can see how they might have been confused. The resemblance is uncanny, isn't it?

So I wrote to the auction seller and said:
Hi, actually not a question, just a comment. This is NOT a print of a Penguin. :)

To which they responded:
Sorry, we do mistakes sometimes. If you don't mind telling us what the bird is, then we will update the listing. Thanks in advance for your time!

Let me now summarize for my deaf readers.


They didn't even attempt to write "pelican" which might have been closer.

Here's a picture of a brown pelican.

And actually, I could see this mistake happening. The pelican photo does resemble the bird on the poster. And pelicans do live in marshy reeds. And we do have pelicans in LA as they are our state bird and on our state flag. And a pelican was the mascot for the '84 World's Fair.

So truly, I could understand writing "P E L I C A N."


They wrote "P E N G U I N."

And of course, I replied to their message with:
While I'm no wildlife expert, I'd most likely call it a heron or egret (another name for heron).

"How does she know this?" you ask.

I friggin' looked it up.



  • At 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Yeah, but it takes so much more time to look it up and be right. It's so much easier to just put a name in. And they probably picked penguin cause penguins are all over now, in movies and such, they probably figured it would help sell the poster.

    Jeez, I miss the world fair. I enjoyed it when it was here.


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