Category Archives: Shaggy

Happily Issolated

Jesus Dressup

I’m very pleased to announce I’ve just put in an order for a new Star Wars Jesus Dressup set. I was inspired, to say the least, after seeing Episode 7. Keep in mind however that I will not be able to display this on my site, for what I think is an obvious reason. They will be available in about 2 months (possibly 3). So if you’re a diehard fan like me, you’ll just have to keep an eye out for “IMAGE NOT AVAILABLE” item in my store. They’ll be slightly less discreet than this in stores that’ll carry them for me.

Normal Bob in Bowie shirt
In 1987 my friend Elizabeth’s sister Kathy was drawing David Bowie on shirts for $50 a pop. I’d seen the one Liz had and had to have one for myself. So my friend Travis & I each gave her $50 so we could each have one.

David Bowie’s death sucked. I thought, and hoped, it could possibly be a prank when I first read it. But after a bit of looking around I realized it was real. I found an old picture of me from 1987 of me wearing my hand drawn shirt I paid a friend $50 to make for me. She only drew David Bowie on shirts. I wore it all the time, and I still have that shirt to this day. I bring it up because it also gave me an idea for a Bowie-theme Jesus Dressup set. That might be next on the list.

Amazing Strangers

union square crew
Spidey, Shaggy & Roman reunion

I spoke with Shaggy yesterday, and it sounds like his antics haven’t slowed down in the least! He’s got a Starbucks apron which you might have seen in one of the videos from years ago, and he’s been throwing free-loaders out of Starbucks this winter with it! He told me after work he walks in there with the apron on and shouts, “Folks, welcome to Starbucks! Let me warn you, if you have not purchased a coffee or food item I am going to have to ask you to leave!”

He said that immediately after his announcement the place goes quiet, but nothing really happens. Then he gets his coffee and sits down and notices people start to slowly clear out, and the only people sitting at tables and hanging around have coffees.

He sees some employees shake their heads when he does all this, and once one of them came over and told him he can’t come in with the apron on. He responded, “What are you going to do? Throw me out? It’s a free country!”
After that they seem to have left him alone.

So beware. If you’re going to Starbucks to sit at a table without buying anything, Shaggy might be there to call you out!

I have to admit I do with I was there to film him doing that this winter.

As for me, at the moment I am really enjoying the isolation. Whatever it is I’ve been doing these last 20 years in the big, crowded cities of NYC and Chicago, getting away from it is just what the doctor ordered. Everyone keeps asking me if I miss NYC, and the answers still no. Ask me again in spring.


Amazing Strangers Hate Mail!

There’s been a plethora of condemning words and scolding from my comments section on YouTube directed at your’s truly over things that have been happening at the Square lately. So many people are offended to find out that their comments might not be getting the respect they deserve from me, and they’re lashing out with personal insults, bold accusations and even threats to come kick my ass and smash our phones! So I thought maybe if I respond to this lengthy complaint letter I could clear up some of these misunderstandings, or confirm their vitriol.

Mr. Nobody’s Flickering Light

“Please don’t post my messages, or talk about it with your strangers, including your Shaggy…”

Subject: Circus

Please don’t post my messages, or talk about it with your strangers, including your Shaggy friend; I’d prefer to remain off the roster.

I’m ill and stuck in bed mostly, and have watched all of the Stranger videos. I think watching makes me feel iller, but I have some fascination, similar to seeing mosquitoe larvae swimming in a dirty puddle.

My general impression is that NYC must be heavily centered around cultures related to the performing arts. The strangers all share desires related to the spectacle. It seems obvious that many of the people you record from the steps are seeking you out, and putting on a show specifically because they’re aware of the camera.

Even social characters supposedly with psychological problems, like Dusty, seem to me to be clearly acting. But it is a blend with their personality, where their act isn’t entirely separate from their real persona. Which is partly why most of these people would be diagnosed with personality disorder.

It’d be interesting to go through the list of people and try to diagnose them to identify their specific motivations and dysfunctions.

But I hope you’re open to critical analysis pointed at you too, because it looks like you’re part of that same thing. Except, rather than being a trashy dysfunctional actor, you’re the director. Rather than be the spectacle, you play the quieter top-down behind-the-lens kind of overseer who puts the show together.

It’s a free public circus, and you claimed them as your freaks, to create a park of novelty and drama, that through the clearer defining of what already exists, you are able to brand in your name and essentially charge admission.

Except I looked at your numbers, and product, and you’re at the level of the bums asking for change. Which makes it interesting, because you’re kind of like a homeless director.

This gives you freedom, but what you do with that freedom is apparently build family with the mentally retarded and disorderly. Which makes your issue as interesting as theirs, because why would someone do that?

You apparently grew up in Christian land, so maybe when you were little there was tremendous desire to break out of that restricted lifestyle. Maybe that’s where you developed appeal for “punk”, and atheism. Maybe it is your own fetish, but you still haven’t been able to free yourself completely, so you find comfort in watching others do it for you, where you can pretend to be “normal”, when really you know you’re nothing of the sort.

Maybe in Christian land you felt like the freak, because compared to them you were. Maybe that bothered you, so you moved into a garbage dump, where relative to them, you’re Mother Theresa. But you’re also freer to act out, and embrace your inner punk.

But you’re an old man. Don’t you want a functional family? Are you married? Children? Did you escape a heart break when you ran away to the island of the freaks? Maybe you suffer from something similar to Shaggy. He seems to have a developmental problem where he is rooted in the persona of a 12 year old, along with low intelligence that might classify as mild retardation. You seem smarter, and more like 16, but still, similar in that you’re choosing to hang out in middle school for years.

It looks like maybe you started out with more documentation, and “freaking out squares”, which you learned can bring income with the magnets. You need to do more than sell some magnets, and shocking the world with trash TV is another opportunity to get attention, which really shows that you yourself are in the business of the spectacle, just like them.

But after a while you seemed to get really integrated into the native culture and it became your family, possibly even a main source of love. In the process, you create drama that wouldn’t exist, because you’re living as savages who are part of a family.

Like with Zippy, he clearly admired Shaggy, and that attraction to the love of the park family had him talking crazy of wanting to throw his life away for this tribe.

I feel the whole situation is being neglected. The park should be a facility built for the mentally ill, where qualified people are cleaning them up and preventing things like tooth loss and infection. They shouldn’t be brought to a hospital and released, they should all live there permanently. New York is really failing, in that they seem to leave wild wounded animals to infest the parks, only providing police to overlook.

One thing I can’t figure out is this:

This gem I never really talked about on the site. It’s moments like this that make me wonder if I’m the only one who totally appreciates what I do.

Describe what happens here to your buddy and he’ll look at you funny and say, “You subscribed to that channel why?”

In my eyes however, it’s a red ribbon.

It’s a video of you apparently mocking the dog molester guy. Put that together with your Christian bashing, and chuckles when Shaggy puts others down, and I’m wondering if your main motivation is to attack people. Is what you’re doing here to appreciate making fun of some guy where he sees it but doesn’t get it or whatever and walks away? To communicate with the wildlife through hand gestures? Is your red ribbon that you chased him out? Put down a retard and declare victory? Surely you’re not that stupid are you?

Maybe it has a lot to do with lust and love. Maybe the punk girl you fetishize is far more common there. Maybe the fleeting wins of catching the punk girl on camera, sometimes in states of undress, to have her coming to you confusing the attraction for the camera with attraction to you, opportunity to be close and interact with her, is worth much more than money to you. Maybe sometimes you have sex with them, maybe the masturbation material is enough, maybe you hold out on dreams one might bond with you.

Maybe you, like the rat in the hat, are under delusion that your production could be the next big thing.

Mister Nobody

MN,Well first of all, I don’t think there’s anything to fear in having your letter posted, or shared with Shaggy or anyone. I’ve never understood why people email me such rude & condemning letters, then prefix it with “Please don’t share this with anyone, or tell anyone what I’m saying, or tell them my made-up name!” You emailed me completely anonymous, then categorized me, in blunt detail, somewhere in-between a sad, lonely, old man and that guy who whipped the Elephant Man with his ringmaster’s baton. If I can take the public shaming, so can you. You’re just going to have to deal with it being posted for people to see.I will say however you did nail some of your descriptions of me on the head. I admit to my fascination with freaks, punk girls, and people living on the fringe all being directly related to the restrictions of my youth. Talking with my mom today she mentioned that my desire to plop myself down in the middle of such chaos probably has a lot to do with my struggle to be outgoing. By putting myself there people come to me. I know this is true. This also has a lot to do with why I enjoy Shaggy’s friendship so much. His ability to do and say things I cannot and his outgoing nature has always impressed me. I’ve said it before – these are parts of him I admire and would like to have rub off on me. Some of it has, and I am a better person because of it. Also, as a friend of Shaggy’s, you don’t know shit about him. I couldn’t hang out with someone for a decade if they weren’t smart. If you can’t see the cleverness in his observational skills & street-wise, then maybe it’s you who’s lacking something in the brains department?

In response to your more ugly assessments of me, I think you only reveal your own sad outlook while you are stuck sick in bed living life through YouTube videos. Instead of giving me any sort of break and considering that I’m attempting to be as honest as possible in these videos, like it or not, you assume most of my reasons are devious. What you see as “exploiting the retarded” or making fun of people with psychological problems, I see as showing real street life without sugarcoating or patronizing.

My main source of income is in the Jesus magnets, which is about 90% wholesale to stores across the US and worldwide, none of whom found me through my Amazing Strangers videos. I don’t know where you got your “charge for admission” accusation, or thinking I have some money-making agenda behind all of this. This probably reflects your perception of others (and in many cases, rightly so). However, anyone who actually knows me knows that money is not my first, or even my tenth motivator (I mean, I actually went and produced Mohammed Dressup fridge magnets! For profit?). There’s going to be no mainstream show from what I’m doing (too raw & politically incorrect). I put no ads on my videos, and charge nothing for anything I’m doing there. I actually lose money by making the postcards and giving them away, which I do because it’s fun, and I’m very proud of it.

Believe it or not the #1 motivator for me making these videos is because it’s a priceless truth-stranger-than-fiction diary of my daily experiences. The events that happen here are like nothing else, and documenting them is something only those involved can truly appreciate and understand. If you’re not at the park all the time like we all are, you’ll never fully get it. This fact is proven to me again and again in the comments section under the videos.

Anyone who actually comes to Union and experiences what’s happening there in real time immediately gets put in their place. You may have some grand solution for how we should be acting in each video, but the second your ass is there on the steps you’ll see how your ideas flop, and the way Shaggy and I handle ourselves actually works, and the lessons learned of value. The social experiment of it all should leave no question as to why it’s so interesting and so worth documenting.

When I first began my site I knew one thing I’d have to endure would be viewers assigning me the worst possible traits for why I’m doing what I’m doing, and then hearing their vivid analysis like it’s somehow so insightful. But since day one my main concern is not for what people on the internet think of me (a radical idea in today’s world), but instead only caring what people who actually know me in real life think. This is why my site has had such longevity (13 years), while others fail.

Having a wife & family has never been on my todo list. Expressing myself artistically I’ve found to be extremely fulfilling, and I’m having way too much fun being unmarried, kidless and free to change my mind anytime soon.

Thank you for your feedback, but next time please take into account your bedridden illness distorting how you perceive others before you put it all in print and hit “send.”

Btw, NYC is clearly not the city for you.

Normal Bob

Welcome to (the new Latest Updates location)

This winter has turned out to be the longest of winters I’ve ever spent away from the site. Not that I haven’t been able to keep myself busy, but it did in fact turn out to be a much needed break. Since October of 2000 I’ve not gone once without making some sort of content update at least every couple weeks. And on average, consistently updating it a couple times a week, for 13 years! But the internet’s changed drastically since then. One of the changes I’ve witnessed is there being less of a need for constant obsessive updates. Competing for continual content on the web is a no-win race, and can quickly lead to extreme burnout.

Happily, I can now confidently say that the struggle to maintain a significant flow of traffic is no longer necessary for me to maintain a stable income. The steady demand for Jesus magnets on store shelves has freed me from those worries. That’s what I’ve spent the last year working to guarantee. Cold calling stores, sending samples, and fulfilling orders has proved to be a very fruitful venture. Asking my Facebook friends for names of possible stores has done what in the past I thought impossible – A useful purpose for Facebook.

Have no doubt however that the site remains my pride & joy. I’ve got big plans for 2013. The one that’s in the forefront of my mind at this exact moment is the project I just put the final payment on this afternoon. The Prophet Mohammed Dressup magnet sets!

Mohammed Magnets & Postcards
Mohammed Magnets and Postcards ($30)

Seriously, the last time I felt this excited about a project was when I received the first Jesus Dressup magnet samples back in ’04. Earlier this week the Mohammed samples landed on my doorstep, and let me tell you, they are a sight to behold! If you see me on the street, feel free to ask to see it! I am one proud papa. And the new version of the online game (you’re dressing him in modern men’s fashions from Target & The Gap) is available for play immediately! There’s also Prophet Mohammed postcards available for purchase too. 100% legally mailable postcards that can be sent through the US Postal Service for just pennies a piece! No envelopes required so The Prophet’s image can be seen the whhhhhooooollle way! Across the nation and over oceans! I encourage you to get a pack for yourself to send your heartfelt wishes to friends, loved ones and anyone else you think might appreciate seeing the long lost Prophet. I’d also like to think that this latest endeavor will give my Hate Mail section a much needed shot in the arm. We’ll see what happens now won’t we?

All right Bob. Stop. I’m too excitable about all this right now. There’s more to talk about.
*Catches breath.*

There is, of course, another exciting year of Amazing Strangers at Union Square about to begin just as soon as the weather gets agreeable. Which reminds me – Shaggy is coming out with his own line of products this year too! His book, DEATH TO THE READERS, is available on Amazon for just $3, and available in print very soon. There’s also going to be tee shirts too, which if you’re an observant follower you’ll see Shaggy’s been wearing it in some of the videos that’ve been posted recently.

I have a list of art projects I’m working my way through too. As they happen you can rest assured they will brought to your attention. This leads me to the next important update. My Latest Updates section of the site is being archived for good, and this spot here at is where all things related to all of my sites will be posted. IMPORTANT: If you have a subscription to the old Latest Updates page you’re going to have to resubscribe at this one. The old one is no longer operational. Nothing will change about the layout at, but I’ve come to realize that the web does demand that I present a format more friendly & familiar to today’s first time visitors. And here we are.

So please, click the Subscribe button on the right and stay tuned for another fun year from me,
Your only true friend,
Normal Bob Smith.