About the Giant Muh

Abby and I pose on a sunny July evening in 2019.
Abby and I pose on a sunny July evening in 2019.

The Giant Muh is Richard R. Barron, a professional photographer living in the bucolic splendor of southeastern Oklahoma. Richard was married to Abby S. M. Barron from October 2004 until her death in March 2022. Their hobbies included hiking in the adventure playground of the Colorado Plateau, flying, climbing, camping, music, writing, and film-making.

“Look left look right
To the moon in the night
and everything under the stars is in your arms
Cause there is a light, in your eyes, in your eyes…” ~Mat Kearney

“What is freedom? That one has the will to assume responsibility for oneself.” –Friedrich Nietzsche

“Merely existing doesn’t make you worthy.” –Dr. Laura Schlessinger

“You don’t conquer fear. You learn to get excited by it.” –Gary Busey

“The truly good man is not aware of his goodness, and is therefore good.” –Tao Te Ching

“Knowledge itself is liberation and redemption.” –Carl Jaspers

“One must shed the bad taste of wanting to agree with many.” –Friedrich Nietzsche

Your host on the trail at New Mexico's Bisti Wilderness, 2009
Your host on the trail at New Mexico’s Bisti Wilderness, 2009

“Dirty and pure, a characteristic of those who think intensely.” –Franz Kafka

“The Universe doesn’t owe you a sense of hope.” –Richard Dawkins

“Neurosis is a way of avoiding nonbeing by avoiding being.” –Paul Tillich

I'll tell them how the cow at the cabbage.
I’ll tell them how the cow at the cabbage.

“The god of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully. It is unfair to attack such an easy target.”  –Richard Dawkins

“In the end, one loves one’s desires and not what is desired.” –Friedrich Nietzsche

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” –Anaïs Nin

“A moment of realization is worth a thousand prayers.” –Natural Born Killers

“The best of photographs is itself a treason.” –Albert Camus

“Those who fear death imagine they know what no man knows.” –Socrates

“Does the infinite space we dissolve into taste of us then?” –Rainer Rilke

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” –Albert Einstein

“Sometimes you have to accept the fact that your past is not going to get any better.” –Dr. Laura Schlessinger

“What is meant by ‘free will’? It means ‘to be able’, or else it has no meaning.” –Voltaire

“The obvious can sometimes be illuminating when perceived in an unhabitual way.” –Daniel Quinn

“Art is the distance that time gives to suffering.” –Albert Camus

“The passion for destruction is also a creative passion.” –Slacker

“Everything possible to be imagined is an image of the truth.” –William Blake

“How do I know about the world? By what is within me.” –Lao Tsu

“No one was ever injured by the truth.” –Marcus Aurelius

“When all else fails, the future still remains.” –Jean-Paul Sartre

“The underlying order is chaos.” –Slacker

“We sat and watched as the moon rose for the very first time.” –Dead Can Dance

“Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to a garage makes you a car.” –L. J. Peter

“We spoonfeed our adorable remorse, like beggars and whores nourishing their lice.” –Charles Baudelaire

“If we believe absurdities, we will commit atrocities.” –Voltaire

“A well-dressed woman is never cold.” –Friedrich Nietzsche

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” -Anais Nin

“How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?” -Fight Club

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” -Abraham Lincoln

“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” -Albert Camus

Richard and Abby hike at Canyonlands National Park, Utah, October 2010.
Richard and Abby hike at Canyonlands National Park, Utah, October 2010.

“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” -Sylvia Plath

“The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.” -Vladimir Nabakov

“And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

“What is life? It is a flash of a firefly in the night. It is a breath of a buffalo in the winter time. It is the little shadow that runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” -Crowfoot

“Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” -Malachy McCourt

“There’s more to living than just breathing.” -Peter Falk, Anzio

“Men kill each other because they like to. You face a man with a gun in your hands, you live more intensely at that moment than in any other moment in your life.” -Robert Mitchum, Anzio

“Paradise is exactly like where you are right now, only much, much better.” -Laurie Anderson

“Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.” -Albert Einstein

“People living deeply have no fear of death.” -Anais Nin

“To you I’m an atheist. To God, I’m the loyal opposition.” -Woody Allen

The Giant Muh
The Giant Muh

Why “Giant Muh”?

This story starts a couple of weeks before the invention of the zero. Before the zero was invented, everything started at once, and that usually meant we were running late.

M7 and I had more free time in those days. Our favorite thing to do before the invention of the Muh or the discovery of the Mohedrus was Earth toss. It was pretty simple. On weekend nights we would sit in M7’s living room long after his wife had gone to bed, tossing a stress ball back and forth across the room, literally for hours at a time. The stress ball, designed to be soft so you could squeeze it during times of stress, looked like a little Earth.

Your host in New Orleans, June 2001
Your host in New Orleans, June 2001

As the repetition of the game liberated our minds, we came up with all sorts of wicked cool stuff. Examples:

  • “Even if you have an eraser, you can’t un-write something.”
  • “Space takes up a lot of room. I’ve found that if you let most of the space out of a piano, you can fit it in your trunk.”
  • “My modus operandi is nothing but a diarrhea-ic thought process.”
  • “The search for the absolute always ends in hot, futile tears.”
  • “One massive, unsymbolic Universe, moving toward nothing. Strangely, such a concept makes me happy.”
  • “Me writing poetry is like taking a dump. I don’t want to be anywhere near the product, but the process is okay.”
  • “AAAAAH! I forgot the oats! You got me talking about Jesus and I forgot the oats.”
  • “Vegans are happy because it’s impossible to be morose when you’re farting all the time.”
  • “Hay fever. Hay pneumonia. Hay coma. My last breath is a sneeze.”
  • “Romance is just a bunch of smarmy, limp-wristed, narcissistic mental masturbation.”
  • “When God was handing out holidays, Buddhists thought He said ‘Go take a dump,’ so they weren’t even in line.”
  • “If a blind man is about to die, does he hear his life flash before his ears?”
  • “I don’t understand! How can you not know exactly where the poop is going?”
  • “What would the world be like today if, when he was 17, Franz Kafka had had a summer job at Disneyland?”
  • “In every bullsh!t there’s a pearl.”

So, we were young intellectual supermen, dreaming of a gleaming futureopolis.

One night, out of the blue, Mohedrus popped into my mind. We couldn’t stop laughing about it. It was the funniest thing we had heard or said in weeks.

Later, some months had passed. I came into his kitchen where he was cooking paella, and he greeted me with, “Muh.”

I invented Mohedrus and he invented Muh.

Putting the Muh into our daily liturgy wasn’t as easy as one might think. It was possible to overuse it. You would say Muh and people would look at you blankly, like a house cat staring at lettuce. Or they might confuse it with the Muhvagon, which most certainly isn’t the same thing.

Other times, I found myself failing to use the Muh. One time M7’s young daughter told him, “Daddy, Richard never says ‘Muh!'” I knew I had used Muh around her, but I am ashamed to admit that I might not have been forceful enough with its deployment.

Eventually, the Muh and the Mohedrus established themselves. In 2001 and 2004, I photographed an object that we nicknamed the Mohedrus. It isn’t the Mohedrus itself, but a facsimile.

I have only actually seen Muh in fleeting glimpses, which is its very nature. Ultimately, Muh lives within us all.

The Mohedrus
The Mohedrus

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