|I didn’t know many people at the Ig Nobel cookout, so I started chatting with two people wearing identical Sponge Bob shirts and tailored black shorts. “Yes, my husband and I have worn identical outfits every day for the past 27 years,” Nancy Featherstone told me. “Before that, we wore identical outfits only on weekends.”
Nancy and husband Don are Ig Nobel old hands — Don won a 1996 Ig Nobel Prize for inventing the pink plastic lawn flamingo.
I’m devastated that I won’t be able to go to this year’s Ig Nobels — we’re booked to be in Vienna on October 6 — but I’m helping with the slide show, and it will be awesome.
p.s. The earliest known rendering of a flamingo by a human artist is a Neolithic cave drawing in Spain, of approximately 5000 B.C., according to the Washington Post.
p.p.s. From the Amazon book blurb for Don’s flamingo book:
More than 40 years ago, artist Don Featherstone capitulated to reality and accepted employment with Union Products, hired to render a white duck and a pink plastic flamingo in three dimensions. The rest is cultural pop history: the Featherstone flamingo was born.
p.p.p.s. Don Featherstone, 1997 interview:
Throughout history, people have loved statuary. There’s plenty of evidence, in old paintings, in carvings, even in ancient hieroglyphics, that people have always loved to decorate their surroundings. In early America, for the longest time, there was no lawn ornamentation. Around the turn of the century, the Europeans started bringing over lawn ornaments in the form of bronze statuary. They were beautiful, and very popular, but few people could afford such things. Keep in mind that, before plastics, only rich people could afford to have poor taste.