December 23, 2000
Who convinced us that this would be fun? That signing, addressing and
mailing endless cards; wrapping and labelling mountains of gifts; cooking
and decorating until you drop - would bring us joy? Why, it was the retail
operators and their evil henchmen, the advertising executives, of couse!
Lucky for them I'm a staunch supporter of the First Amendment, or I might
be making an unsavory suggestion or two here. I'm on deadline for a book
and two articles, too, and time waits for no woman, no matter how important
it is for her to deep condition her hair! Still, it's a welcome relief
from the bustle to type to my Accumulators for a few moments. So, before I
start racing around again, go to sleep, get up tomorrow and do it all
again, let's review some news.
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF DOESN'T SHE HAVE A BIRTHMARK OR SOMETHING?
Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, already famous for the dignified rationality of their leaders, have been duking it out over who owns a 2,600 year old mummified Persian princess. It would never occur to any of these guys that people are not possessions, even if they are so wrinkled that Elizabeth Arden wouldn't even take on the challenge. Now we hear that the current issue of Archaeology Magazine reports that Ms I Am A Royal Even After I'm Gone is a fake. It seems the poor pruney princess was seized by Pakistani police as part of a murder investigation (not hers, although that would be hilarious). One Oscar White Muscarella, of NYC's Metropolitan Museum of Art, happened to be visiting the magazine's offices one day (probably just checking in to see if there was anything old and interesting lying around), when the editors, who must have been desperate to fill up some pages, asked his opinion about the object of all that Mideast affection. He replied that the description of the mummy sounded very similar to some photos of a mummy, also encased in gold, sent to him last March (sort of your ancient pin ups, as it were), by someone acting on behalf of a mysterious Pakistani dealer. Of course, the photos were of the same Stuffed Tomato who was causing all that international trouble. Mr. Muscarella says he had decided the mummy in the photos was a fake because the inscription on the gold breastplate was a modern forgery, probably no older than 70 years of age. One has to point something out here: maybe the breastplate is a fake, and the mummy is real. Since the breastplate was made of gold, and the mummy is made of - I don't want to think about that - maybe someone just stole the breastplate and replaced it with a fake. Otherwise, we'd be dealing with someone who was a modern day expert at long lost ancient mummification techniques, now wouldn't we? As for the over-the-hill sultry sultana - who said fame is fleeting? If you can possibly stand to read more about this story, you'll find it at www.archaeology.org.
BEATING THEM TO THE PUNCHCARD DEPARTMENT
If you're sick of hearing about chads, pregnant chads, and hanging chads, perhaps you'd like to hear about some related folly. The County of Palm Beach, Florida, determined to make a buck off their fifteen minutes of fame, has been considering putting their Votomatic machines up on eBay and using the proceeds to help defray the cost of a new optical scanning voting system (completely idiot-proof, which is exactly what they need). Well, St. Croix County, Wisconsin got there first. They put 20 of their Votomatic machines, including presidential ballots, up for auction on Liquidation.com. Minimum bid is $300, or $1,700 less than they say the machines are worth. Palm Beach County, undaunted, has announced they paid only $188 each for their machines in the 1970s, and an additional $100 each for booths to go with them, and that they have more than 5,000 for sale. Now, we should all think about why anyone would want one of these.
AHA! I KNEW IT!
I've long been suspicious that employees of shipping carriers drop-kick my packages for sport. Now comes a report from KSTP-TV of Minneapolis-St. Paul, who managed to videotape Northwest Airlines employees doing just that to USPS packages and letters. Well, not drop-kicking, but, they were playing basketball with them. A Northwest spokesman made a lengthy response to the media regarding the incident and, not surprisingly, said absolutely nothing.
Well, gee, Accumulators, this was a welcome break. Artie and I will be
joining some friends on Christmas Eve, for a celebratory dinner honoring
the birthday of our friend Phil Rossetto's mom, Marguerite Rossetto; and on
Christmas Day for Christmas dinner at the home of Archie, Chase, Eddy,
Mickey, and Shadow Ferguson. We will then be rolling ourselves into the
car for a visit to Lake Champlain, which I hope has no food anywhere near
it, with our dear friends the Fergusons. Somewhere in there (Sunday
afternoon, actually) is a little Chanukah celebration with the family. I
hope this holiday season brings you joy and delight, and that the coming
year brings you good health, prosperity, and much happiness. Have a great
week, Accumulators. Happy hunting!
© 2000 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.
Antiques and Collectibles Newsletter #136
U.S. Library of Congress
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