In this Wednesday, May 16, 2018, photo, retired plumber Barney Smith, 96, center, greets a visitor to his Toilet Seat Art Museum in Alamo Heights, Texas. Smith, called “king of the commode,” began his commode art museum in 1992 and is looking for a buyer who will preserve his collection intact. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
It’s not quite Game of Thrones, but it’s certainly been a game of thrones for this Texas man.
Barney Smith, the 96-year-old owner/creator of the Toilet Seat Art Museum, is gearing up to abdicate his throne overseeing a bunch of mini-thrones. Smith has been decorating the toilet seats that fill the museum for more than 50 years, according to an Associated Press story published on Tuesday.
Smith had promised his wife, Louise, that he’d stop at 500. That was 850 toilet seats ago.
“If I would have just read my Bible as many hours as I spent on my toilet seats, I’d be a better man,” he says with a twinkle in his eye.
Smith said the museum started as a way to display hunting trophies: His father would “spend hours cutting out, sanding and varnishing wooden shields to mount his antlers. The son figured a toilet seat lid would do just fine,” the Associated Press reported.
“Well, I’m a master plumber, retired,” he says. “I thought I ought to stick with my trade.”
The museum officially opened in 1992 and has since drawn visitors from every state, as well as tourists from 83 countries.
Now, Smith is seeking someone to take over his collection of toilet seats. He doesn’t want money; rather, he wants someone dedicated to preserving the art.
“I want all 1,350 (toilet seats) to be intact in another museum somewhere,” he says. “It’s not the highest bidder. It’s not being raffled off.”
A book, King of the Commode: Barney Smith & His Toilet Seat Art Museum, is being released on Saturday, just in time for Smith’s 97th birthday, the Associated Press reported. Its publisher, Daedelus Hoffman, said he hopes the book will help Smith attract a buyer for the collection.
Read the full story here. (It’s actually a pretty interesting piece — Smith sounds like a character, and there are some nice photos and a video of the museum.)
Hafthor Bjornsson, who portrays Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane in the HBO series “Game of Thrones,” gestures during an interview on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, in Concord, N.H. Bjornsson is taking part in the annual New Hampshire Highland Games and Festival this weekend in Lincoln, N.H. (AP Photo/Kathy McCormack)
I had a witty intro planned for this piece, but it would have contained spoilers for those of you who aren’t caught up with Game of Thrones (I couldn’t tell you about spoilers for the books because I haven’t read them).
So, I’ll tell you this: A hulking actor from the hit HBO series is coming to the Granite State this weekend to compete in the New Hampshire Highland Games & Festival.
The games, held annually, are “one of the largest and most diverse commemorations of Scottish art and culture in North America,” according to the event’s website. The events on tap for this weekend include everything from Scottish fiddle and harp playing to “heavy athletics” and feats of strength. (The Red Hot Chili Peppers also will be performing throughout the festival weekend, fun fact.)
Hafthor “Thor” Bjornsson, who plays notorious Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane on Game of Thrones, will compete in events starting on Saturday. This will be his third time participating in the games, which began on Friday and run through Sunday in Lincoln, N.H.
The 6-foot-9, 400-pound Bjornsson said he will be lifting heavy stones over his head and throwing a 56-pound weight with an attached handle over a horizontal bar with one hand. The Icelandic actor is also planning to lift a car in a strength demonstration event.
As one does.
Read more on Bjornsson and the games here.