Duck Duck Book

36 – field guide to roadside
08.2.2006, 10:49 am
Filed under: technology

A field guide to roadside technology / Ed Sobey. 
Chicago, Ill. : Chicago Review Press, c2006.
[MCL call number: 625.79 S677f 2006; two copies, no holds]

Perhaps you have used one of those lovely guides that help you to tell the difference between two similar mushrooms, or that illuminate why elk poop is different from deer poop.  Most of us know that if we need help with wildflowers, mushrooms & fungus, trees, birds, small mammals, animal tracks, minerals, and the like, there are field guides aplenty to come to our aid.  They are pocket-sized, and generally their contents are arranged so that you can find lots of helpful facts when all you actually know (for example) is that it’s April and you’re looking at a small, white wildflower in the Columbia Gorge.

But what if your interests lie elsewhere?  What if you look up at the wires on the telephone pole and wonder which ones are telephone wires and which are electricity?  Or what if you want to know the name of the kind of drawbridge that swings around instead of lifting up into the sky? 

The Field Guide to Roadside Technology is ready to come to your aid.  Information in the guide is arranged by location.  For example, if you’re wondering about the drawbridge, go to section 2, “Bridges.”  If you need help with telephone wires, turn to section 9, “On Utility Poles and Towers.”  Each entry explains a bit about the behavior and habitat of the item, and then gives information about how the item works, details of its unique characteristics, and a few interesting facts.  Black and white photographs illustrate each entry, and there is an index at the end of the volume.

And, Sobey’s author photo (page 205) shows him riding an elephant.

N.b., there are now several field guides to things you may never find in an actual field — Quirk Books has a whole series, including guides to gestures, stains, cocktails, tools, dreams, and more.  Multnomah County Library has a few of them:

Field guide to stains : how to identify and remove virtually every stain known to man / by Virginia M. Friedman, Melissa Wagner, and Nancy Armstrong. 
Philadelphia : Quirk Books ; San Francisco : Distributed in North America by Chronicle Books, c2002.
[MCL call number: 648.5 F911f 2002; 14 copies, no holds; one copy reference only at Central Library]
Field guide to gestures : how to identify and interpret virtually every gesture known to man / by Nancy Armstrong and Melissa Wagner. 
Philadelphia : Quirk Books ; San Francisco : Distributed in North America by Chronicle Books, c2003.
[MCL call number: 302.222 A737f 2003; three copies, no holds]

Field guide to produce : how to identify, select, and prepare virtually every fruit and vegetable at the market / by Aliza Green. 
Philadelphia : Quirk Books ; San Francisco : Distributed in North America by Chronicle Books, c2004.
[MCL call number: 641.64 G795f 2004; 11 copies, no holds]

but there are many more, by different authors and publishers.  Try searching your library’s catalog for books with the phrase “field guide” in the title.  You might be surprised at what you find!


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