March 16, 2002
Greetings from The Fog Capital Of The World. Shut up, San Francisco and
London. This week the title is ours. I hope to see the ground from our
forty-second floor window sometime soon.
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF UNAUTHORIZED SOUVENIRS
Babies born in Sweden have always had their little heads kept warm in the maternity wards by standard hospital caps. Dressing patients in their own clothes instead of hospital garments is forbidden in Swedish hospitals. But the little hospital issue caps were so cute, and everything about a new baby is so precious and memorable, proud parents were taking the caps home with their babies as wonderful mementos. This forced the hospitals to buy a steady stream of new caps. Well, no more. Swedish authorities have solved the problem by discontinuing the use of the desirable baby caps. They now keep the babies' heads warm with underwear. According to Reuters, Lena Nordstrom, head of the maternity ward at Kalmar hospital in southern Sweden, told the press that the skivvies "didn't look all that bad" when rolled up snugly around the babies' skulls. No word on a study of cross-dressing Swedes being planned for 2022.
PANIC ATTACK DEPARTMENT
Some of us collect some unusual things. Gail Bornstein of Escondido, California collects exotic animals. In fact, she has among her collection a five foot tall emu, a flightless bird who is a native of Australia. The bird, named Mu, had a wild adventure for most of last week. It all began when Mu was kicked by a pregnant donkey (oh, those hormones!), and escaped from the 20 acre ranch on which he lives. He eluded his owners for two solid days, running amok through San Diego County. Nearby residents dutifully called police and said they thought the authorities should know that an emu had been seen roaming about. I find this fascinating. These folks must keep their ornithology textbooks right by the window. Still, emus reach 150 pounds in weight, and can run at speeds up to 30 miles per hour, so people definitely must have looked up from their Monopoly games when he went by the front lawn.
Three animal control officers showed up and managed to blindfold the bird. This is probably not a difficult job, since emus have tiny heads (and tiny brains - you'll see what I mean in a moment). Mu was wrestled to the ground and tied with a rope, but he managed, in the process, to dislocate the finger of one of the officers by kicking him. Emus can deliver powerful kicks if they feel cornered, and I surmise that this emu must have suspected he might be cornered when three strangers threw a blindfold over his eyes, wrestled him to the ground, and tied him up.
So - now the officers bundled him into a transport van and set out for the animal control center. On the way, however, Mu deliverd a powerful kick to the back doors of the van, causing them to fling open, and causing him to fall out and land right in front of Escondido High School, just as classes were letting out. Imagine coming out of home room and seeing a giant bird, tied up with rope and wearing a blindfold, flopping out of the back of a van and onto the street full of cars and buses. "It was chaos", said Lt. Mary Kay Gagliardo of the North County Animal Shelter. She added, "The pavement was hot". Police stepped in to direct traffic, while the animal control officers rescued Mu from becoming roast emu en blacktop. A tranquilizer was administered to the hapless bird and Ms. Bornstein, who had by now arrived with a horse trailer, took him home to the ranch, where he is recuperating in a barn. The emu is said to be unharmed except for a few scrapes and a serious case of the vapors.
AN OSCAR STORY
No, I'm sorry. There is no escape from this topic the week before the Oscar telecast. Gig Young was a handsome, suave, talented actor. He bit the dust in 1978, when he shot his young wife of three weeks, then killed himself. But, he had won an Oscar for Best Supporting Role for his portrayal of a slimy dance marathon promoter in 1969's "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?". The statuette disappeared when he died, purportedly purloined by agent Martin Baum, who is now 78 years old. Young's daughter, Jennifer Young, 37, is seeking to get her rightful inheritance back. It appears that she has struck a deal with Baum, and will get the Oscar when he dies. Jennifer has had some experience with the courts. Her former roommate is Heidi Fleiss.
Okay, Accumulators, off we go to the country house. We have more floors to
put in, and little snow drops and daffodils to observe as they come poking
out of the earth. Pat yourselves on the back, Northern Hemispherers. We've
made it through another winter! Please join me in wishing much luck and
success to Blake Friedman, who is making his solo concert debut tomorrow in
Chicago. Just sixteen years old, and with a magnificent set of pipes, Blake
is going somewhere folks. Remember his name. Have a great week,
Accumulators. Happy hunting!
© 2002 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.
Antiques and Collectibles Newsletter #174
U.S. Library of Congress
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