Tea Time With Jesse

Six of One, Half Dozen the Other

The joker is wild with two eyes on the same side

Posted by middlerage on February 10, 2010

I passed a pawn shop today. It was named Picasso’s Pawn. The emblem adorning the logo was a decidedly non-cubist image of a joker. wtf?

Several questions come to mind. Why a Joker? Would doing business with a the universal (or at least western) theme of foolery, knavery, tom-foolery be a prudent choice? Do they understand the gravitas of the Picasso-nym? Okay so maybe I am not being open minded enough – Picasso is a surname, maybe there are many branches of the Picassos scattered around the world. This area has a large latin american immigrant population, and the pawn shop is in a latino dense neighborhood. No different than Smith’s Coin Laundry?

As an aside, I recently learned that the emblem of three, connected, golden balls that are the symbol of  you see on most pawn shops is the image of their patron saint Nicholas – of Jolly St. Nick fame.

Apparently Nicholas got his start as a kindly bishop in old Anatolia and the three golden balls denotes his kindly act of sneaking gold into the homes of desperate poor people. Now, methinks, the adjunct emblem of pawn shops should be two brass balls to symbolize their brazenness of co-opting the symbol of somebody who was nice to poor people for use in their industry that is not renowned for its kindly disposition towards poor people.

UPDATING: Daveed supplies an appropriate image:

As another aside, when I was working for NASA, there was a large international project in the works for an Earth observing satellite to investigate cloud aerosols. The original name of the project was Picasso. The estate for the late artist objected, not sure why, I mean what could be less harming to your reputation than a non-commercial, scientific project to enhance understanding of our world? Nevertheless the family was recalcitrant and the name was changed to CALIPSO.

No idea if the satellite was to be constructed in a cubist manner.

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3 Responses to “The joker is wild with two eyes on the same side”

  1. Daveed said

  2. Daveed said

    Drag, wordpress changed the url of the image I was trying to post for your blog entry. http://abowlofstupid.com/wp-content/2007/01/brassballs1.jpg

  3. middlerage said

    @DAveed – HaH!

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