Innovative photographer Troy Paiva, whose work I'm proud to say has appeared in both Weird Texas and Weird Arizona, has just announced a fresh redesign of his Web site Lost America: Night Photography of the Abandoned West.

Featuring an updated layout, the site now offers even more of Paiva's captivating images shot among the urban detritus of the American West, some of which have never been displayed before.

To celebrate the grand re-opening, he's also offering a limited-edition folio comprising 10 prints of his amazing and colorful night shots captured at California's Pearsonville Junkyard. Only 25 sets will be made, each signed and assembled in a hand-made slipcase.

Photographer Andrew Qzmn (just you try pronouncing that) braved last year's Russian winter to visit the town of Chukhloma, where he found breathtaking examples of 19th-century, handcrafted, wooden architecture left abandoned among the trees.

Located about 300 miles northeast of Moscow, the houses, known as Terem, are wonderfully ornate, trimmed heavily in detailed latticework much like the Victorian "gingerbread" houses found in the U.S.

Such elaborately carved homes are evidently scattered all across Russia, slowly succumbing to the elements, though some have been incorporated into open-air museums in an attempt at preservation. Sounds like an idea worthy of adoption here in America, where our urban ruins are instead fenced off and left to the weeds.

I've never been a fan of the ubiquitous rectangular motor homes that resemble little more than giant shoeboxes on wheels, but the new Inhalt concept camper that's being billed as the solution to boxy, cookie-cutter RVs appears to be as much an answer to unimaginative design as half a ton of dynamite is to a beached whale.

Its creators, Christian Freisling and Thersa Kalteis of Graz University of Technology in Austria, insist that their "multicellular caravan" fills a need for individualist tourists looking for tailor-made travel digs. Using an online wizard, users can choose a layout that suits their needs, and a computer generates the configuration. As their Web site explains in typical, artistic obfuscation:

The caravans are produced using the principles of "mass customization": this allows both the individual wishes of the customer to be accommodated while producing the caravan with series methods.

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A series of photographs taken of Marilyn Monroe before her rise to stardom, which have never before been seen by the public, were discovered just last month filed away in the archives of Life magazine.

The photos depict a more innocent-looking Monroe, free of the formulated, glamorous image for which she would later become famous. At the time, she was better known as a model; her biggest film role so far was a small part in The Asphalt Jungle.

The photographs were discovered by Dawnie Walton, deputy editor at, as she was looking through the company's digital archives. Upon further investigation, Walton found that the photos had been stored away and forgotten in a New Jersey warehouse.

Life photographer Ed Clark spent the afternoon photographing the 24-year-old model and actress in what is believed to be Griffith Park, Los Angeles, sometime in 1950. ... Continued

On a recent trip to Oklahoma, while riffling through boxes of photos at a junk shop, I came across this terrific, and rather intriguing, postcard-size ballyhoo advertising a freak bull and a two-headed calf. It was a natural purchase.

When I got it home, I began digging for more information based on what few clues I had: a map on the back of the ad coupled with the name "W.A. Rasor." Turned out, the story behind the postcard was even more interesting than the ad made it sound.

In 1941, Ohioans and dairy farmers Wilbur and Nessie Rasor became the happy foster parents to a calf sporting twice the number of heads one is accustomed to seeing on such an animal. It didn't live long, but even after it was stuffed, the rarity proved to be a popular roadside attraction that patrons were more than willing to pay 10 cents apiece to see in person. It's said the calf was such a draw that Mr. Rasor used to buy cars with buckets of dimes. ... Continued

Since discovering Christine Berrie's vintage-camera drawings, I haven't been able to stop browsing all her other illustrations.

Among my favorites are her pencil drawings of microcars, like those seen earlier at the Roadside Resort, as well as her vintage radios and images from Coney Island.

Subjects are scattered in various categories at her Etsy shop, which offers limited-edition prints of her work, so I recommend spending a few minutes browsing.

And while you're at it, I also suggest checking out more of her work at her official site, where you can catch a montage of even more of those wonderful microcars.

As a collector of vintage cameras, I absolutely love illustrator Christine Berrie's pencil drawings of these 19 old shooters.

The limited-edition print, made available at Etsy, is was up for sale at the amazing price of $35 — a steal, natch, since it quickly sold out thanks to her sudden exposure at Neatorama.

But wait! She still has other camera prints for sale!

The ever famous neon sign welcoming visitors to "Fabulous" Las Vegas, Nevada — perhaps the most famous Googie sign in the world — has just been accepted into the National Register of Historic Places.

The landmark sign, which has stood at the far south end of the Strip since 1959, is one of very few things in Vegas that hasn't changed in the past five decades. It was designed by graphic artist and Las Vegas native Betty Whitehead Willis, who also designed the city's Blue Angel Motel and Moulin Rouge Hotel signs.

The sign was inducted into the register on May 1, but the official announcement was made yesterday by Clark County officials, who also revealed the new plaque marking its designation.

The sign, which over the years has become a hot photo opportunity for tourists, was made safer in December of last year for visitors wishing to get their picture taken next to it. The city renovated the median on which it stands and added a 12-space parking lot. Before, visitors were forced to park in the street and run across traffic to get to the sign. ... Continued

One of my favorite examples of Googie signage has always been the Sigel's Liquor sign that stood in front of store No. 7 here in Dallas. With its bubbly neon circles, jaunty font and shiny sputnik, it always gave me a smile when I'd pass by.

It had been on my to-photograph list for far too long when I got the word that store No. 7 was being razed, and the sign, which had stood at the corner of Inwood and Lemmon since 1953, was being removed. Of course, I raced right out to get some shots, but I was already too late. The liquor was gone, the store was a pile of rubble and the sign was nowhere to be seen.

Thankfully, Sigel's recognized the sign's importance and preserved it, hoping to move it to another of their stores in Addison. And the Addison City Council, thankfully, has voted to make a "meritorious exception" to their rule against neon signs, so the old orange-and-aqua beauty should be making smiles again soon.

Some of my favorite roadside attractions consist of everyday objects exploded to surreal proportions. This is why I took notice of artist Damien Hirst's Hymn, which, although it was created in 1996, seems to be making the blog rounds as of late.

It's a 20-foot, 6-ton, bronze replica of the classic Young Scientist Anatomy Set, a.k.a. "Anatomy Man." It sold for £1 million (a little over $1.57 million).

In 2000, Hirst was sued for copyright infringement by the toy's manufacturer, who sells 10,000 of the models each year. They settled for "goodwill payments" to two children's charities.

Three other copies of Hymn were reportedly created, but I'm having trouble locating where any of them are currently on display. Anyone know?