Newsletter #243

May 7, 2004


Greetings Accumulators!

Well, I've got a new email program here, one that I can use with a spam blocker, which, believe me, I really need. The recent explosion of junk mail makes it a chore just to open the mailboxes. Never mind that I could have gotten rich a million times over by now, or that I could have enlarged, shrunk, or changed any part of my anatomy you care to consider. I could have given up my day job, gotten any number of free trips and cool merchandise, fired my boss, observed all sorts of gruesome-sounding sex acts, and obtained every drug known to man (and some that aren't) at low, low prices. I don't regret having passed up all that, not one bit. And the big plus is that this email program has a spell checker. This is very important for someone like me. I am actually an excellent speller. However, I am, without question, one of the worst typists alive today. I can type really, really fast. But then I have to go back and fix all the errors. And I do so love having someone immediately pointing out, in red, every single mistake I make, before I even get to the end of the sentence. Never mind. These newsletters should be easier to read from now on.

From Dave Barry, my idol, comes this story by way of the Fabulous Petey Dunne. The Dan River textile plant in Danville, Virginia, was closing and laying off its workers. To cushion the blow, so to speak, each layoffee was given a severance package that included a $100 Walmart gift card, a Dan River cap, a calculator, a plaque, and "three redheaded Barbie dolls". Okay, the Barbie doll idea was a dumb one, but maybe the company was trying to gift their soon-to-be-ex-employees with someone else who had recently made a big life change. Although, I'll be honest: any forty year old woman who runs off with an Australian boogie boarder is in serious need of counseling and an estrogen shot (still, no man ever deserved being dumped more than Ken). But the Dan River cap? Who is going to want to wear one of those when the company has just let him go? Hey, thanks a lot, Boss.

As you may have heard by now (how could you avoid it? The broadcast media have to fill up those hours and hours and hours of news telecasts with something, don't they? And "Friends" is finally over, so they've got about a 23 hour hole in the daily schedule), a painting by Picasso recently sold for $104 million. The 1905 painting, entitled, "Boy With Pipe", set a new record for art at auction. The record was previously held by a Van Gogh painting. The auction, which was hyped to death beforehand, lasted just one minute and was held at Sotheby's, that bastion of honest auctioneering. Also sold: Picasso's 1932 painting ``Le Sauvetage,'' or ``The Rescue, for ''14,792,000, and his ``Nu Accroupi'' (``Seated Nude'' ) for $11,768,000. This is why I stick to cartoon cels and advertising prints.

I suppose that if you devote your life to being completely crazy, really work at it for decades, you can count on someone turning the evidence of your insanity into a lasting monument to your loopiness. In Mexico City, there is a small island in the middle of Teshuilo Lake, uninhabited except by millions of vermin and one really eccentric collector. Julian Santana has spent the past 50 years going through the trash dumps of Mexico City, collecting discarded dolls, and bringing them back to the island, where he ties them to trees. Now, the Mexican government has put up the money to build a museum on the island, a museum honoring the myriad Betsy Wetsies and Midges hanging from the foliage there. And lest you think he's in any way monomaniacal, you should know that Mr. Santana does not spend all his time hanging dolls in the trees. No, he also grows vegetables, which he trades to the folks who come out to the island in boats with more old dolls, and then he hangs those (the dolls, not the people in the boats) in the trees. Mexican journalist Sebastian Flores said, "The island is impressive on full moon nights because there is no electricity and you see all the dolls hanging and some small animals coming out of their mouths." I'm sure you are as impressed as I am with this image.

So, Accumulators, I'm off to dinner with He Who Is The Light Of My Life and our good friend Randy Robins, who will undoubtedly lead me unto too much sangria. Sunday is Mother's Day, and we are looking forward to spending it with the clan. If you are a Mom or have a Mom or know a Mom, have a wonderful day. And a great week. Happy hunting!


2004 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.
Antiques and Collectibles Newsletter #243
U.S. Library of Congress
ISSN 1520-4464


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1996-2004 Judith Katz-Schwartz. All rights reserved.