Wednesday, July 29, 2009

She Started It

Our niece and her family were going to Cleveland for a reunion of the Polish relatives on her dad's side. She wrote, "Did you hear the one about the frog who traced his roots to Warsaw? He was a tad Polish."

No way could I just let that go. I e-mailed a reply. "Did you hear the one about the mad scientist who cobbled together a frog-monster out of bat wings, an "eye of newt" and other odds and ends? His name was Dr. Frogenstein."

Almost immediately another pun bubbled up in my sick brain, so I sent a second e-mail: "Did you hear the one about Frogbert McNamara? They made a documentary about him called "The Frog of War."

It's an illness. I'm sorry, but we can't help it.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The CuisinART of Shoplifting

A recent letter to the editor of our hometown weekly caught my eye. The writer complained that our local Macy's no longer carried replacement brushes for his Sonicare because they kept getting stolen.

Let me tell you what happened to me. The store was having a sale on food processors, so I bought one. Unwrapped it, set it on the counter, and then noticed that the plastic spatula looked a little worse for wear. Comparing my "new" appliance with the picture on the box, I soon realized a shoplifter had put one over on the store. Some jerk had bought a new food processor, carefully wrapped the old one in the carton, sealed it and returned it to the store for a refund. Clever, but slimy.

Fortunately, I had no problem taking it back. I was so annoyed by the whole thing that I chose a refund rather than an exchange.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tiresome Old Goats

I love the patient, measured way with which Sonia Sotomayor responds to the needling by Hatch, Sessions, and Graham.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sampler Madness

Our niece gave us a framed needlework sampler for our cabin in Ohio. It wasn't exactly a gift, just something she couldn't use and thought we'd like. Wanting to keep the cabin spare and bare, I donated it to a silent auction fundraiser back home in Maryland, estimating its value at $150.00.

A few days before the June 6th auction, I typed "sampler" in my browser window on a whim and was amazed to discover that 19th century samplers were coveted by collectors of antique needlework and fetched prices ranging from $90.00 to $38,000.00. Our sampler was "wrought" in 1836 by Martha Southwick of Dublin, NH, when she was 13 years old. I quickly withdrew our donation from the auction so that we could have it appraised. I sent a few inquiries to online appraisers. This week, I learned from a 1982 New York Times article that our sampler, part of a estate of a serious collector, was valued at $4500.00 over 25 years ago.

"Visions of sugarplums danced in our heads."

Skepticism soon began gnawing away at my euphoria. Yesterday, I typed “Martha Southwick sampler” in my browser window. A picture of “our” sampler came up as an art print or poster available from 35 online dealers. Next, I visited a Southwick genealogy site and found two messages addressed to Martha's descendants, posted in 2001. One was from a woman interested in selling her art print and the other was from a man who had an actual sampler. He thought he might have the original. Silly man.

By now, we had come to the sad realization that we most certainly did NOT have the original either, but I hoped that what we had was at least a reproduction. However, no Martha Southwick sampler showed up on the many websites that sell sampler reproduction kits. Phil was pretty sure that we had an art print. By 9:30 last night, I could stand the suspense no longer. We gingerly peeled back the paper sealing the frame so as not to damage the hoped-for cloth, and found that what we have is--TA-DA-- an art print. It’s a very good print, because it appeared like real cloth and yarn when viewed through the glass.

I think we’ll hang our sampler in the cabin after all.