Category Archives: Anthropology

Mostly Amazing Strangers

Hour interview with Investigates podcast

Amazing Strangers Wendell iconToday I did an extremely frank interview with Christian Sears on his “Investigates” podcast. We talk about the past, future and behind the scenes of Amazing Strangers. Here’s that interview, a link to the Homeless Exposer blog, and below it are the videos in which we chatted about.

Videos discussed…

The Peeper Project includes the Inside Edition & CNN segments, plus behind the scenes of the peepers caught. And this is the link to all the Methods of a Peeper series.

The Joey Boots video about True Story ASA and the blog I wrote about Adam Saleh who got thrown off the Delta flight last year.

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Updates for Fall 2017

Jesus Dressup crownhanger logoIt’s that time again when I haven’t updated long enough to finally get an email asking if I’m still doing the site and/or selling Jesus Dressup magnets. The answer’s yes. Plus I’m also selling Trumps & Mohammeds as well. Can you think of anywhere else that combo of themes is available??

In total I have 8 different sets of magnetic dressups available all to be shipped in time for the holidays. Be warned- I’m opening my final box of Lady Gaga Jesus Dressups (40 sets per box). So get yours now, because those won’t be printed ever again.

Amazing Strangers Wendell icon

At the moment I believe I’ve posted the last Amazing Strangers video for a while. You can see all of  the latest ones there in the right sidebar. There comes a time when I just can’t seem to find anything worthwhile enough to edit. But that could change at any point because I am indeed working through all those folders preparing a paperback book which’ll be stories & art, but mostly photos of Union Square Amazing Strangers.
My local bookstore/coffee shop Book Nook has offered to print it up for me through their publishing company, West Vine Press here in Whitehall. Then later this winter I’m planning to host video presentations here at the shop. We’ll see how that goes. I’ll be sure to make the book available for purchase here on the site.

I’ve yet to get any offers on a place to stay in NYC to encourage more frequent visits. But I do have a friend willing to rent me a room for a month in May. If it’s still available to me by then I’ll be taking her up on the offer. That’s when you can expect brand new, current footage added to youtube.com/normalbobnyc.

In other interesting Amazing Strangers news, my friend Nick (New York Nico) back in 2014 purchased one of Roman’s signs for a dollar, and has since had it framed! It’s now hanging in his hallway, and I thought you all might like to let your envious eyes lay upon this lovely piece of art.

Get me back

Amazing Strangers Wendell iconYes, I’ve returned to NYC for one week, and much to my surprize I discovered I can pick up right where I left off without hardly a stutter. And I had a blast! In fact, I yearn to come back again. But I need help. One basic help, actually.
1. Accommodations.

If I had offered to me a place to stay for a week that wasn’t just a sofa in a living room, but instead an actual room with a bed, it could be done. I could return periodically throughout the year to document this Square. And it’s still going on there from what I witnessed. The regulars still haunt those steps, and I’ve got contacts for so many others who are happy to show and update me on their lives. I have so much footage and had a lot of fun my week there. But damn if my achin’ back and tired eyes were ready to leave after a week of sleeping on a futon in a living room.

Now, listen to this. If there were also a stove to make eggs & toast, and a coffee maker to brew my Bustelo each morning before I set out, I could do two weeks. Two full weeks of content for YouTube’s Amazing Strangers a few times a year. How great would that be? I’m more efficient than I ever was before. The amount of footage I acquired in one day visiting is more than I ever got any day prior to moving away. I have more of an urge to get interviews, document events, and obtain valuable footage than ever before.

So that’s what I’m hoping. Someone out there who sees the value in what I’m doing with access to a living quarters in NYC generous enough to offer a room with a bed. I do dishes. I clean up after myself. I buy my own supplies. I buy my own plane tickets and taxi cabs.

Greetings from Union Square
Greetings from Union Square

I know it can sound like a lot I’m asking. I lived in NYC for 13 years and never once did I let someone stay rent free for a week or two in their own room. I have friends offering me a sofa for days at a time, but my body and mind isn’t cut out for that much roughing it any more. It used to be, but no longer. Otherwise I see myself maybe coming once a year, in spring, for a week. That’s the full extent I can manage on a sofa without a door to close.

I get how to many this might seem petty, or snobbish. Like I won’t come unless I get a red carpet. Fact is, when you’re in NYC spending most your time in the busiest, craziest parts of town, you need that sanctuary at the end of the day. A solid rest with peace & quiet to get back into it the very next day at 100%. Having to go to sleep when the last person in the house leaves the living room, and waking when the first roommate’s alarm goes off and they’re walking past your bed to make cereal, you don’t get that needed rest. Especially needed when you’re almost 50 years old.

My hope is after you see the amount of great content I’ve gotten after just one week it’ll prove I’m worth it to someone out there with offerings. I’m ready to come back and document the park & people we’ve grown attached to over the years. There’s a limited window of time for this unique project to even continue. I realize that too. So let me know if you can be of assistance. I’m ready.




From the Mines of West Virginia

Aaron Osborne/West Virginia coal miner
Aaron Osborne/West Virginia coal miner

Dude, I’ve been stuck watching your Union Square videos for days. I love them!! I’m an underground coal miner from southern West Virginia, and I’ve always loved New York. It’s the light of the world. And your videos are just as good as taxicab confessions or something like that, they just need the exposure or the right advertising and I think they’d be a hit. It’s just sad to me that I can’t make the drive to Union and most of these people probably won’t be there. Except for maybe Signs and Wendell, and they’d probably run me off lol. But thanks for the entertainment man, it’s honestly been great.

The outside of the Oceana, West Virginia mine I work in. You can barely see the drift mouth, to the left of the middle blue building
The outside of the Oceana, West Virginia mine I work in. You can barely see the drift mouth, to the left of the middle blue building

Your views on religion are spot on, and I love watching you calmly and very courteously tear them down. It’s beautiful to watch😂😂😂… I’m 34 years old, and was raised in church. And I slowly started forming my own opinion at 15, kinda like somebody trying to sell you a bullshit Rolex. You want it to be real, but you’re just kinda like “ehhhh iiiii don’t know…”

I tell ya man, it's honestly a living hell. But you depend on each other so much, you form a bond closer than family. And you look forward to work to see your guys, and everybody brings each other food, candy, equipment. And it becomes fun. A band of brothers for sure.
I tell ya man, it’s honestly a living hell. But you depend on each other so much, you form a bond closer than family. And you look forward to work to see your guys, and everybody brings each other food, candy, equipment. And it becomes fun. A band of brothers for sure.

I know ur busy, but I’d love to bullshit with ya for a bit. Gimme a yell man, I got a lot of questions about New York and some of the people. Btw I hope your parents are well, and I love your dog, the sticks crack me up (FB pics). I have a siberian husky that’s full of energy. I love dogs. But anyway bro, I never meant for this to go on so long. Gimme a shout man. I would love to bullshit for a bit.

RIP Joey Boots
Aaron Osborne
Continuous Miner Operator at Blackhawk Mining LLC

(Aaron and I have since messaged each other several times on Facebook.)