September 9-17, 2005
Of late THOCBDC has been adrift; it's time to get on some other course. Here are four corkscrew sketches that I have hanging about.
PS: This quote comes to you via Andy Page. I think it rivals the words from the late W.C. Fields. (*)
"On the day I arrived home from my honeymoon, all we had in the flat was a cooker, bed, and a round table and chairs that I had built myself.
"At the time Brendan Behan was living upstairs.
"He barged in one morning to use the phone; he wanted to ring the pawn shop to see how much he'd get for his typewriter and when he saw the state of the place he gave my young bride some typical Behan advice - 'don't worry, he told her, 'all you need is a bed, a table and a corkscrew anyway'.""
(*) W. C. Fields, playing the role of Cuthbert H. Twillie, says "Once ... in the wilds of Afghanistan, I lost my corkscrew, and we were forced to live on nothing but food and water for days."
PPS: FLASH BULLETIN JUST OFF THE WIRES
Eye popping corkscrews!
This is an original Chairman Mao alarm clock. I bought it in 1981 during my first trip to China.
The hotel key is from the Shanghai Sports Hotel. This was long before any western chains found their way into China. I wonder if the key still fits ... surely they must have changed the lock when they realized that a guest had accidentally walked away with a room key.
I converted this old hotel message/key box into a repository for corkscrews.
PS: Her name is Ning, too. But she is not our Ning.
Yikes ... I have to do something about this office. And this one too.
I have almost as many corkscrew books as I have corkscrews. And this is not counting the books that I have in Bangkok. As you can see Don Bull is the most prolific author of books about corkscrews, having written both the Old and New Testaments on the subject.
PS: We miss Thailand.
PPS: Though I don't want to miss the Silvercash Bikini Contest.
Clutter gleaned from distant trips:
PS: One of Laurie Jones's friends ... (Charlie Varley, a photographer) ... did the cover shot for this week's edition of Newsweek. A few years ago he also photo-recorded some of the action on the playing fields at Tiger Tops. But, I am sure that today's pix is an over-the-moon one for him. Congratulations.
PPS: Number 1 or number 2, Mr. President?
"I think I may need a bathroom break. Is this possible?"
the pencil-written note reads.
PPPS: Bored with the above?
An eclectic shelf: several of the items up here are recognizable. But what about the wood structure next to the wooden head? Any guesses? My friend Porn liked this piece.
The hand blown bottle in the background at one time contained the legendary 1870 vintage of Chateau Latour. In 1967 Jeff Turnau (a fashion photographer from Miami) and I bought a half dozen bottles of it at a Christie's auction. Back then we paid $50 per bottle. Three of the six bottles had a disturbing amout of naturally occurring ullage [*] when we received them by air freight from London.
Just about the moment when the vintage had its 100th anniversary (the late fall of 1970) we opened two of them for a tasting (one with little ullage and another with too much of the same) [**]. As expected the ullaged bottle had gone bad. The one where the liquid was still in the neck was soft and shallow like an old person with Alzheimer's ... hey, it was a century old! [***]
[*] The gap between the bottom of the cork and the surface of the wine when the bottle is in an upright position. Or, as Dictionary.com says:
1. The amount of liquid within a container that is lost, as by leakage, during shipment or storage.
2. The amount by which a container, such as a bottle, cask, or tank, falls short of being full.
[**] We filmed (8mm) and tape recorded (reel to reel) the whole deal. Unfortunately, the movie and the tape are no longer around; they may have been accidentally junked or, perhaps, they just fell between the cracks ... maybe I'll stumble across them when I am searching for something else.
[***] I still have the cork ... well, the top half anyway.
John Leech from Stanley in the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) writes:
"Sir, my great grandfather worked in the cork tree forests in Portugal during the late 1860's. Yesterday you mentioned that you had a cork from a bottle of the legendary 1870 Chateau Latour ... I quote you: '[***] I still have the cork ... well, the top half anyway'. Please, can you post a photograph of it? My grandfather passed away leaving us with nothing to remember him by. I want to fantasize that this cork of yours was once tended to by my late grandfather."
I keep this 135+ year old cork in the same bottle within which it has rested since its initial insertion. As you know, the 1870 vintage was one of the last of the pre-phylloxera [*] vintages so the task of this great cork was a truly Herculean one: the preservation of that which the world will never see again. [**].
[*] From: Dictionary.com:
Any of several small insects of the genus Phylloxera that are related to aphids, especially P. vitifoliae, a widely distributed species very destructive to grape crops.
[**] To have tasted a pre-phylloxera wine from a First Growth from Bordeaux is a distinction far greater than that experienced by the wedding guests at around 33 AD when Mr. Christ turned ordinary tap water into plonk.1
1 Why was he invited to the wedding to begin with? And how come nobody really critiqued the wine this guy made ... except for some banquet supervisor who flatteringly compared the new rounds with the spent stuff? [A] And why did the party run out of wine in the first place ... cheap parents of the bride ... a lot of drunks ... wedding party crashers?
John 2: Jesus said to the servants, "Fill the jars with water"; so they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them, "Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet."
They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now."
PS: Reader Cecil Marquist from St. Petersburg, Russia (the old Leningrad) wonders:
"Some have speculated that this event took place at his OWN wedding [*], when he hooked up with Mary 'the Finger' Magdalene." [**]
[*] Could be ... he was a penny pincher when it came to things at home.
[**] THOCBDC has a photo of "the Finger" on file ... somewhere ... we may have to dig a bit to find it.
PPS: I know this may sound a little bit sacrilegious ... but did he come back to us as Osama?
PPPS: A Fort Lauderdale girl wins the Silver:
Runners-Up keep each other perky.
Allah is pleased:
Next: Part III