Creature from Outer Space Lands Next Door

Those who know me know I’m not an art critic like my friend Oma.

I can’t draw a straight line even with a ruler. (Why do rulers have those little bumps and notches, anyway?)

My sister, who always seemed to have a crayon or colored pencil in hand, was the artist in our family. On summer days, she’d insist we draw pictures, then critique each other.

I always won the coveted “Loser” title.

But even someone who can’t draw a straight line knows what she likes, or doesn’t like.

Take this outlandish “artwork” that recently appeared on my neighbor’s backyard deck:

What is this thing?

What is this thing?

At first, I thought I wasn’t close enough to capture it in all its glory without being seen myself. But once inside, I cropped the picture to eliminate the background and there it was.


I found myself at a loss to call it by name.

Now maybe I’m not cultured enough. Or I’m not seeing its rustic charm. Or utility.

Maybe it’s not supposed to be pretty.

But shouldn’t we know what it is?

I mean, somebody went to some trouble assembling it (unless it arrived like that from Mars). And somebody paid good money for it.

What is it?

I’ve compiled a list of possibilities. See if you agree:

  1. It’s a dog. See the metal link “collar” around its neck? And the springy tail? Probably canine. At least it doesn’t require feeding, brushing, or picking up its waste.
  2. It’s a horse. Look at those clunky hooves and the way they’re solidly on terra firma. Why, it even sports horseshoes!
  3. It’s a slinky toy. That disjointed body can only be compared to Slinky Dog from Toy Story.
  4. It’s an abstract railroad. Witness the “wheeled” head. The way it stares off into the distance, raring to travel to far-off lands.
  5. It’s an alien. No one I know has ever seen an alien, so this creature could very well be from a foreign planet. The blessing, I guess, is that there’s only one, so we probably don’t have to fear a takeover.
  6. It’s an old computer. My neighbor is a tinkerer. Perhaps this is what he does on weekends — takes apart old computers (or washing machines) and uses the scraps to create “art” as a side venture. Some people will buy anything if you give it the right moniker.
  7. It’s a flowerpot. That empty “bowl” might be designed to hold pansies or herbs. Something to brighten the deck.

As I said, I don’t really know art, but this doesn’t look very “art-y” to me. I’d go so far as to call it ugly.

But I could be wrong. What say you?

P.S. My money’s on No. 5, the alien. After all, check out that horn-like thing extending from the top of its head!

30 thoughts on “Creature from Outer Space Lands Next Door

  1. Debbie, you are an artist in your approach to dealing with this “object’ before you, asking all the questions and critiquing its value. My initial reaction, beyond the ugliness factor is this person wants to have a pet but doesn’t want to deal with the responsibility of taking care of one- the story behind the story. I saw a dog but enjoyed your list of other possibilities. Love your playful posts!

    • That was my initial thought, too, Kathy. However, my neighbor has a big dog and several cats, so, unless he’s trying to hint to his menagerie that they can be replaced with a less-needy creature, that can’t be it!! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Clearly, this is a fire ant, the bane of Texas gardeners, hikers, farmers and etc. In short, everyone who sets foot on dirt around here has to watch out for them. The “fire” comes from the delightful sensation of their bite.

    If I had that thing (and I’d pay money for it!) I’d put it out to repel other fireants from my neighborhood, sort of like hanging a plastic owl on a boat to discourage real birds from roosting.

    • I’ve been attacked by fire ants, so I remember well their sting! Somehow, I think I’d prefer a plastic owl than this creature. But not one of those plastic snakes, ha!

    • You like this thing?? Hmm, I’m rendered speechless. Perhaps he’s trying to tell me something with it — after all, the back side is pointed in my direction, ha!

  3. I think its a DOG—I mean, it kindof favors an “ugly”—let’s say plain dog. After all, NO dog is ugly.It’s definitely rusty and I’d venture to say that your neighbors have no taste! Wouldn’t you HATE to see the inside of their house?? Are these the same peeps w/the 24-7 fire pit? How BIG can you build a privacy fence up there?? And you were a wonderful artist. love you–sissy

    • Yes, they’re the ones with the 24/7 fire pit. This UGLY “dog” is just one more travesty — I’d have photographed the others, but I didn’t want them reading my blog, recognizing themselves, and retaliating! and I shudder to think about the inside of their house. We’ve got a privacy fence, but it’s obviously not tall enough. And you’re sweet to remember me as artistic when I wasn’t. Creative, yes. Always. Drawing/painting just wasn’t my medium. love you right back!


    LOVED your #5!!!!

    It reminds me of something you would see in the cartoon, “The Jetson’s”, OR something you would see in the movie, “Star Wars.”

    Yup, to me, it definitely looks like a dog.

    FUN post, Debbie!


    • Glad you found it amusing, Ron. Now that you mention it, it does look like something you might see in “Star Wars.” I like that movie, so I’ll try to console myself when I’m forced to look at this dog’s backside every single day, ha!

  5. A dog. Definitely a dog. And I think in the summer the little dog dish should be filled with some annuals so there’s a spot of color. I like the juxtaposition of rustic, rusty, industrial with something colorful and alive from nature. If your neighbor puts the two together – then it’s redeemed (in my humble opinion).

    • Well, Barb, I hope my neighbor manages to redeem this “dog.” However, considering the other things decorating his yard, I’m not counting on it! Lovely, colorful annuals would serve a more useful purpose. If the “dish” gets beautified, you can bet I’ll let you know!

  6. Wasn’t there an episode of the Jetsons where Mr. Spacely had a robot dog?

    Why do I remember George Jetson’s boss’ name but forget that I need milk day after day?

    • That’s easy. You watched the Jetson’s when you were younger and more impressionable — and had fewer things on your brain to remember. Now your brain is chock-full of stuff, so unless you’re the one who wants the milk, you’ll probably forget to pick some up. (What can I say, I was an English major, and we’re taught to sling BULL!!)

  7. Debbie, I’m battling pneumonia and can barely draw a breath but may I say this post had me in stitches! The Son even had to say, “Do you really think your fit of giggles is helping?” ha! My money’s on this being a furry friend from the future! I too saw the tiny collar! hee hee! And please don’t hate me but I think it’s rather cute! I can almost see you trying to get close enough to photograph it! ha! The things we do for our blogs, eh, friend? Loved the post! 🙂

    • You found me out, Bella! I did rather feel like a “Peeping Debbie” when I took this picture — from an open upstairs window, no less! — all the while looking furtively around to make sure none of the other neighbors saw me. Thank Heaven for camera zoom, ha! Here’s hoping you feel better real soon, lady!

    • I didn’t think about a centipede, Monica — I think you’re onto something. Now that I look at its linked body, why, it just might be so! It’s not my cup of tea, but it kind of “goes” with all the other weird things he’s got going on over there!

  8. I was thinking CAT, but then I noticed the big, heavy chain around its neck. So I think you’re closer to correct with your DOG guess.

    I guess this could be an interesting piece of artwork if it were intermingled with other similar pieces. It just seems really out of place on a suburban deck.

    • Thanks for weighing in, Terri. I think DOG is probably what it’s supposed to be, too. Still, it’s pretty hard to tell because my neighbor has both a dog and cats as pets!

  9. It’s the next winner of the national ugly dog contest! I’m not a connoisseur of fine art, but I don’t find it attractive, but my first thought (before reading your post) was that it was a rusty dog. I like your other guesses, too. Fun!

    • Thanks for stopping by and reading, Janna. It’s not high on my Like List, either, but now that it’s covered with snow — well, let’s just say that’s an improvement, ha!

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