Friday, January 16, 2009

Mystery Object: Bottle In A Broom

One of the things that make collecting so much fun is finding a thing, an object, a thingamabob, a gizmo that just can't be identified. Try as I might, I have not found one these things on the internet and none of the antique collectors with whom I come in contact has ever seen anything like it.
"It" is a whisk broom wrapped around a half-pint size bottle.
Now I can imagine all sort of uses:
The valet who dusts off your clothing and then has access to a quick nip, all the while keeping it secret.

The housewife who brushes up the dinner table and then decides on a short snort -- you know, something to take the edge off.
The old man cleaning out the car on a Saturday morning needs a little fortification -- but not so's the neighbors will know.
Maybe hooch and secrecy are not involved -- but then why keep the bottle under wraps?
It is obviously a manufactured item, with fine tight stitching around the straws, a nicely made cork stopper - but nary a name tag anywhere
What does my reader think?
Help me, please

Friday, January 2, 2009

Who Says There Is No Santa Claus?

In a message dated 12/24/2008 10:52:58 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, writes:

> Santa and Science
> 1) No known species of reindeer can fly. But there are
> 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified,
> and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not
> completely rule out flying reindeer, which only Santa has
> ever seen.
> 2) There are 2 billion children in the world (persons under
> 18). But since Santa doesn't (appear to) handle
> Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, or Buddhist children, that reduces
> the workload by 85% of the total-- leaving 378 million
> according to the Population Reference Bureau. At an
> average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household,
> that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes there is at
> least one good child per house.
> 3) Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to
> the different time zones and the rotation of the earth,
> assuming he travels east to west (which seems logical).
> This works out to 822.6 visits per second.
> This is to say that for each Christian household with good
> children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of
> the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stocking,
> distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat
> whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get
> back into the sleigh and move on to the next house.
> 4) Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are
> evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we
> know to be false but for the purposes of our calculations we
> will accept), we are now talking about
> 0.78 miles per household, a total trip of 75.5 million
> miles, not counting stops to do what most of us do at least
> once every 31 hours, plus feeding, etc. That means that
> Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3000
> times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the
> fastest man-made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe,
> moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second. A conventional
> reindeer can run, at tops
> 25-30 miles per hour.
> 5) The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting
> element. Assuming each child gets nothing more then a
> medium sized LEGO set (2 lbs.), the sleigh is carrying
> 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably
> described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer
> can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting the
> "flying reindeer" can pull TEN TIMES that normal
> amount, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine--we
> need 214,200 reindeer. This increased the payload--not
> even counting the weight of the sleigh--to 353,430 tons.
> Again for comparison, this is four times the weight of the
> HMS Queen Elizabeth.
> 6) Three hundred and fifty-three thousand tons travelling
> at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance.
> This will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as
> spacecraft re-entering the earth's atmosphere.
> The lead pair will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy
> per second, each. In short, they will burst into flames
> almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them,
> and creating a deafening sonic boom in their wake. The
> entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26
> thousandths of a second. Santa meanwhile, will be subject
> to centrifugal forces of 17,500.06 times greater than
> gravity. A 250 lb. Santa (which seems ludicrously slim)
> would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by a
> 4,315,015 pound force.
> In conclusion, if Santa ever DID deliver presents on
> Christmas eve, he's now dead.

Now, I don't know who ENovak is and all those mathematical calculations are well and good -- but his conclusion is sideways. Santa Claus would not be dead. How else to explain the miracles that have occurred around the world on this day? Santa Claus could be dead from all that exertion? C'mon Virginia, of course Santa Claus would be alive and well and asking for more. There's a little bit of Santa Claus living in all of us. And that's how this miraculous delivery job gets done. Ask any of the billion of Santa's adult elves who have stayed up half the night wrestling with packages that say "some assembly required." It's obvious to the most casual observer. Ask any five-year-old.
Santa Claus dead? I think not. He's just real tired.

Illustration Courtesy: Webweaver's Free Clip Art