April 7, 2003
Thanks to everyone who wrote to find out if I was okay. I was. My computer wasn't. It's still acting in a very odd manner, but He Who Is The Light Of My Life has been puttering around, uninstalling this and reinstalling that, and it is functional for today, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to type to you. We are having a fierce snowstorm in New York today. April 7th - my oh my. Birds and flowers were in abundance in Central Park this morning and, as I walked through, I felt sorry for them all, since I knew what was coming, thanks to live weather bulletins from my friendly TV weatherman every three minutes or so.
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF PEOPLE WHO SHOULD STICK TO COLLECTING STAMPS
Welshman Tony Evans, 54, spent five years collecting rubber bands and using them to create the world's largest rubber band ball. Already we begin to have an inkling that Tony has way too much time on his hands. Not content to sit and admire his creation, Tony decided to take it up in a plane and drop it out to see if it would bounce. I should mention here that it truly was the world's largest rubber band ball. It weighed a ton. That's 2,000 pounds. So, he got into a plane flying over Arizona and the pilot (another genius) reached a cruising altitude of one mile, so Evans could drop the ball. It took 20 seconds to hit the ground and created a 4ft wide crater and a 20ft cloud of dust - but did not bounce. Instead it collapsed on impact. Its remains are currently on the bottom of the crater, according to the Daily Record. After the ball disappeared into the earth and went to Rubber Ball Heaven, Evans said, "It was my pride and joy." One can only hope Mr. Evans does not have children. "I'd have loved to see it bounce up into the sky", he added. "But it was an incredible sight." A television show paid for the whole event, which was filmed by a skydiving cameraman. No, I don't know which show, but I'm sure we'll all find out.
UNAUTHORIZED SOUVENIR DEPARTMENT
A young Canadian tourist who took home a brick from the Great Wall Of China as a souvenir has repented and sent it back. The South China Morning Post reports that the young man, reprimanded by his father for stealing the brick, and ordered to return it, carefully wrapped it and sent it to the maintenance department of the Badaling section of the Great Wall.
In a related story, the residents of a section of Beijing have given up their only public toilet in order to donate the bricks to the rebuilding of the historic city walls. The Beijing Morning Post reports that the restoration of the walls, which date to the Ming Dynasty, has been hampered by a shortage of old bricks. But residents of Wenshuihe Hutong , a small lane in the town, remembered their public toilets were built with bricks from the old city wall and offered to give them up. Isn't that sweet?
GIVING NEW MEANING TO THE PHRASE, "HITTING THE STREETS"
A new Italian board game requires players to assume the role of prostitutes. It is named, appropriately enough, Puttanopoly. Don't you just love it? The game was actually developed by an organization which works for the civil rights of prostitutes, and players, in order to win the game, must dodge police raids, avoid turf wars, and escape would-be murderers. This is a tough way to make a living. And of course, the Mafia is involved too, since players are not just hookers, they're hookers owned by the mob. Each "prostitute" starts the game penniless with a "slavery contract" forcing them to pay up to 90% of their earnings to their pimps. If a player is lucky, she can earn a week's wages in one turn, be rescued by a client, or - and this is my favorite - "win a trip to work in Amsterdam." Like that's a prize. The game's inventor, Daniela Mannu, said: "Everything in the game is true. The idea is to give people an idea of what prostitutes are up against in this country."
Sorry, Accumulators - this is atesty email program, and I'm afraid I'll lose you. I've already rebooted twice during this newsletter. I fell like The Underground Typist, putting out some clandestine newsletter. Here's hoping you stay warm and dry, and that I get to send another out soon. Have a great week, Accumualtors. Happy hunting!
© 2003 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.
Antiques and Collectibles Newsletter #213
U.S. Library of Congress
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