May 31, 2002
We're expecting thunderstorms in The Big Apple. I know this because the media are trumpeting the news all over my consciousness every three minutes or so. I'm not sure why this is necessary, or even desirable. Don't you miss the good old days when every single thing was not considered Big News? When thunderstorms just happened, and then they were over and the sun came out again? Somehow we survived without all the announcements running across the bottom of the TV screen, or blaring from the radio. Harrumph!
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF SIGN 'EM UP FOR THE ACADEMY
Reuters reports that western England's police have cracked a tough burglary case involving a number of antiques. Their lead detective in the case was a squirrel. Yes, I know the rodents in your neighborhood are not nearly so astute, preferring to spend their time and energy trying to locate and dig up the three thousand nuts they each buried last fall and can never seem to find again. But this squirrel, who is apparently destined to remain nameless (perhaps he is planning to continue working undercover), led the police to the scene of the crime, providing them with evidence in the arrest of a burglary suspect. A spokeswoman for Avon and Somerset police said, and I am not making this up, "A 29 year old man was arrested at 1:20 a.m. suspected of burglary. When officers returned to the scene of the crime they were met by a secret squirrel." She added, "The squirrel indicated it wanted the officers to follow it by running a little, stopping and then looking back before continuing." The squirrel then climbed a tree. At the base of the tree the police found the stash, a collection of pottery and porcelains. Please do not ask me how the police recognized that a squirrel who was running away, stopping and looking back wanted to be followed. In New York they all do that. Maybe we should start following all of them in pursuit of the many unsolved crimes on the books. The Avon and Somerset Police are trying to keep the story of their new civilian aide quiet. "We are not keen to highlight this", the spokeswoman said. "We never like to encourage vigilantes."
TRULY WACKY MOMS DEPARTMENT
In the Alsace region of France there is a town called Gerstheim, where they really know how to mind their own business. The town is located along a half-mile stretch of the Rhone-Rhine Canal and, when scads of police officers and soldiers began showing up and wading around in the canal, none of the townspeople exhibited any curiousity. Perhaps they thought the personnel in the canal were simpply cooling off on a hot day. Or a hot week. Even the 172 objects the police brought up and set on the canal's banks didn't draw any questions from the 3000 citizens of Gerstheim. As one of the canal's lockmasters put it, "Not my business". The objects being brought up from the canal were part of one of the largest series of art thefts in history. They had been stolen from museums and chateaux all over Europe, during a rampage that lasted seven years. And they had arrived in the canal via the hands of the angry mother of the prime suspect in the theft. Oh, and the objects were clearly visible from the banks of the canal. Two cyclists noticed something glinting in the canal, got a boat, paddled around and found pieces made of gold, silver and china. They called the gendarmes. In Switzerland, one Stephane Breitwieser eas arrested in connection with the theft of a bugle from the Richard Wagner Museum. He later confessed to stealing about 60 paintings by 17th and 18th century masters, and then slicing them out of their frames. He then re-framed them and kept them at his mother's home in the town of Eschentzwiller (pronounced Gezundheit!). When her son was arrested, Mrs. Breitwieser became understandably distraught. She did what any (completely insane) mother would do. She chopped up, burned and threw out the paintings. Then she packed up the small heavy objects, drove 55 miles north, and threw everything into the canal in Gerstheim. Also, a walker in a nearby town found what he thought was an old piece of carpet in the bushes, and that turned out to be a tapestry stolen from a Swiss museum. When asked how the people of Gerstheim could exhibit absolutely no curiousity, even after the police showed up and began wading around in the canal, one replied, "the police dive in the canals a lot." Okay.
FUN SITES TO EXPLORE
SPIDERMAN-Now that everyone has fallen in love with the sexy arachnid, we should all educate ourselves regarding the vast variety of collectibles associated with the character. Like Spiderman toilet paper - a must have. LINK
ANTIQUE ILLNESS - In case you don't believe medicine has come far, visit here to dabble in 19th century ailments. The site's interactive, so you can get a diagnosis, and perhaps a bloodletting. You'll learn all about 19th century medicine, and you get to decide about your treatment. If you're wrong, you'll cause your own death - cyberversion, of course. LINK
ENIGMA MACHINE - the code-breaking machine credited with helping the Allies beat the Germans in World War II now has an online museum of its own. This is a great place if you love brain teasers. Some of this stuff was kept secret until the 70s. LINK
We're off to the country, He Who Is The Light Of My Life and I, to brave the rural version of the horrendous thunderstorms (oh noooo!). Tomorrow evening we will surely attend the great country auction at The Old Red Barn in Cuddebackville, NY. Vince and Bob will once again be auctioneering, and The Lovely Linda will be running things. What could be better? If you've a mind to be joining us, bring money. In the meantinme, there are yard sales and garage sales and group shops to be explored. Get out there and rummage around! Have a great week, Accumulators. Happy hunting!
© 2002 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.
Antiques and Collectibles Newsletter #181
U.S. Library of Congress
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