Here's a weird stop along the circle of life. Thanks to a Kickstarter project, the footsteps of a 14-year-old me and millions of others have found a new destiny: amplifying the volume of some stranger's iPad or iPhone.
The Sounder is an iPad/iPhone stand and amplifier with some real Americana credibility built in. In fact, it's 100 percent Americana. Each of the wooden stands is handmade (with an assist from some power tools) from old-growth lumber reclaimed from 19th century structures, including the Coney Island boardwalk.
Right now, Howard Fink, the author and carpenter behind the Sounder, is offering the Coney Island edition for a discounted Fourth of July price of a minimum $175 pledge (normally one would require a minimum $250 pledge).
Fink says the history behind the simple stand-amp goes back almost half a millennia -- the wood spent five decades being trampled on by sweaty families and hyperactive kids (a la Eric Mack on the 1993 trip to visit the grandparents) only after enduring four centuries as a living Greenheart tree.
Non-Coney Island Sounders are available for pledges of as little as a $75 pledge, and Fink guarantees that the trees they hailed from originally were growing when George Washington was president.
It might not be as "smart" as this, also on Kickstarter, or this magnetic , but the Sounder has class by the bushel.
If you do spring for one of these, please let me know if you find an old piece of ground-in, fully chewed Juicy Fruit gum on the surface. I lost it about 20 years ago on that boardwalk. Old trees are one thing, but to be reunited with the saliva of one's most joyful bygone days? Now that's a (admittedly creepy) collectible.