December 31, 2002
We're back! Back from the sunny Caribbean, the beautiful beaches, the
killer views, the scuba diving, the jet skiing, the parasailing. We had a
great time, and we're tanned. Well, Artie is tanned. I never tan. I go
directly from White As a Ghost to Medium-Well-Done. This is why beach
umbrellas and SPF50 are my friends. We're relaxed and recharged and ready
to start the New Year. But not before I type to you, Dear Accumulators,
once more in 2002.
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF I WOULDN'T TOUCH THAT MATTRESS IF I WERE YOU
For those of you who don't know, The Mustang Ranch was the first legal brothel in Nevada. It is now closed, and its owner has skipped to Brazil to escape a federal fraud and racketeering conviction. So, the government decided recently to auction some of the artifacts from the business: nude paintings, matchbooks, Mustang jackets and the bed from The Jungle Room. I know what you are asking yourself right now: what would anyone want with a souvenir from a bordello? Well, what would anyone want with Playboy Magazine? Don't try telling me you enjoy the incisive wine articles. Pahleeze. Anyway, Jack Drace, a former bouncer for the Mustang Ranch, which closed down in 1999, said, "It's kind of sad. It was just a lot of fun out here. You could see all types of people, from street people to governors." Oh no. If this gets out, what will happen to respect for our politicians? Some of the prices realized: The Jungle Room bed and other furniture sold for $550; nude paintings sold for up to $1,000 each; Mustang jackets, originally priced at $30, fetched $300 to $400 each. A rival bordello owner paid $1,200 for 30,000 Mustang matchbooks. Other geniuses had this to say about The Mustang Ranch: "The Mustang Ranch is part of American history", and "It's the most famous brothel of all." No word on what happened to all of The Mustang's female "ranch hands". Probably all out there somewhere cooling their round heels.
JUST IN CASE YOU THOUGHT IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO GET ANY MORE TASTELESS THAN
THE OSBOURNES DEPARTMENT
Two men were recently arrested in France for selling cigarette lighters depicting Osama Bin Laden standing next to the World Trade Center. They were taken in for questioning by offcers in Marseille, and later released. Besides the lighters, they were also selling fake Louis Vuitton and Prada handbags. Police said they could have been charged with "violence connected to the events recalled". Whatever that means. And the Vuitton and Prada companies would have strung them up by the thumbs.
AND NEXT YEAR'S TARGET MARKET: THE ESKIMO COMMUNITY
A British firm is making a pretty good living shipping fake snow to Siberia. The company, Snow Business supplies the snow, frost and ice for films, shop window displays, and winter sports events. A nightclub in Siberia even requested a delivery of flakes for an indoor seasonal display. The company currently has 168 different types of snow as well as frost, ice, snowballs, snowmen, icicles, igloos and icebergs. Cool!
HERE'S A FUN SITE
Ghost Town Gallery - A pair of Swiss photographers traveled around the Southwestern US snapping pictures of genuine ghost towns, towns once made vibrant by the California Gold Rush, and now abandoned. Very interesting! LINK
So - off to the New Year's Eve celebration at the home of our dear friends,
the Nachowitzes. I wish you all, Dear Accumulators, a healthy happy and
peaceful new year. May anything resembling war pass us by like a bad dream.
If you're going to a party, please, please, have your last alcoholic drink
at least one hour before leaving. Better yet, designate a driver, and you
can sleep all the way home. And watch out for the other guy - maybe no one
loved him enough to take his keys away. Have a great week, Accumulators.
We'll be back together in 2003. Happy hunting!
© 2002 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.
Antiques and Collectibles Newsletter #203
U.S. Library of Congress
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