Newsletter #201

December 7, 2002

Greetings Accumulators!

Quite a blizzard we had in New York yesterday. We got six inches of snow here in The Apple, and ten inches up at the country house. That amounts to more snow than we had all of last year. Amazingly, the snow in New York City is all gone today, having been replaced by grey slush. Magic!

You must rush off to China immediately! Leave today. You're going to have to arrive there before anyone else if you want a shot at collecting all those hilarious "Chinglish" signs and menus before the government banishes them to obscurity forever. The Chinese government is fed up with road signs, public notices and restaurant menus aimed at English speaking tourists, signs and menus that fracture English by poor spelling or awkward translation from the Chinese. With the increase in Western tourism in China, this is becoming ever more embarrassing. The simplest errors are the easiest to figure out, like "fried pawns" or "bean eurd". But there are signs and menus out there that are pretty hilarious if you're not the one trying to figure out where you're going. Some of my favorites: "Collecting Money Toilet", for a public pay toilet; "To take notice of safe, the slippery are very crafty", a warning about slippery roads; and a menu that listed "crap", that delicious fish known to us Westerners by the much-less-funny name of "carp". I predict that future travel in China will become a little less amusing.

In the apparent ongoing worldwide contest to produce the dumbest and most offensive "art", we have a new winner! At least for this week. Chilean artist Antonio Becerro is planning to exhibit a chronically misbehaving schoolboy in a gallery for three days, in his school uniform, with "Faulty Edition" stamped on his forehead. According to the newspaper, Las Ultimas Noticias, the boy will also "occasionally wash stones to symbolise his aggression." Okay. But that's not what wins the artist this week's prize. No, it's his previous exhibit, called Oil Paintings on Dogs. That one consisted of dead dogs found on the streets of Santiago, which the artist stuffed. He then did paintings on their fur and arranged them in different poses.

Silent Movies.Com - Check out the rogues and heroes at the site dedicated to the screen stars of yesteryear. If you think they're obscure, bear in mind that fifty years from now Tom Cruise wil be in the same boat. LINK
Is There A God? - In these troubled times, one may well find oneself asking this question. The Onion AV Club asked various celebrities, like Conan O' Brien and John Leguizamo, the question, and then collected the responses here. LINK
2002's Best Inventions - Some of these are amazing - like the foam rubber microphone, the tomato vaccine, the dog translator, and the landmine destroyer. Also, look back at the best inventions of 2001. LINK.

A few notes, Accumulators. Happy Birthday to my brother, Arnie Katz, Chairman of The Federal Chamber of Commerce. Great guy, and he is kind enough to look older than I do (well, not really - I'm just trying to give him a little poke). Tonight, He Who Is The Light Of My Life and I will be at the Old Red Barn in Cuddebackville, NY, where another wonderful country auction is being held. Included in this auction are the items contestants gave up on The Montel Show. They are being auctioned off to raise money for The Montel Williams MS Foundation. Along with Vince and Bob, the regular auctioneers, and the Lovely Linda, Sale Manager, the guest auctioneer selling these items is - well, it's me. So come on down and give generously, or say hello, or just watch me embarrass myself. The auction also has about 500 other lots, and there's some great stuff. If you want to see what's up for sale tonight, visit the Old Red Barn Auction's web site at If you can't make the sale, feel free to send a check made out to The Montel Williams MS Foundation to me at PO Box 286572, New York, NY 10128-0006. I will personally hand your contribution to Montel Williams.

Have a wonderful week, Accumulators. If you're snowbound, take the time to organize your collections, dust them off, and re-display them. Read a good book. Call an old friend. Speaking of which, my book makes a great Christmas gift. It will show you how to take that less-than-perfect-item you got cheaply and turn it into something worth more money and prettier to look at. And it'll make you laugh while you're doing it! They're an inexpensive gift, and you can order up to three at no extra shipping expense. If you order by December 17, and you're anywhere in the US, you can have the books before Christmas. Stay warm, Accumulators (a lot easier for you Aussie ones!). Happy hunting!

2002 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.
Antiques and Collectibles Newsletter #201
U.S. Library of Congress
ISSN 1520-4464


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1996-2002 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.