FLOAT ABOUT... © Copyright Sun/October 15, 2000 Issue #27
Trick or Treat my Floaty Fans... Have you been touched by the Halloween spirit? If so, you will enjoy this ever so sweet-as-candy Scooby Doo pen. Scooby pulls Shaggy through a haunted cemetery. Another timely addition for your collection is Floatilla's Hair-Do, which reveals a scaredy cat surprise. Find them both under New Arrivals category. In your search for spooky pens do not overlook this seasonal favorite, Mr Bones, find him under the Main List/Humor-Messages category.
MEDIA SIGHTINGS... The November 2000 issue of Islands magazine is now available at bookstores from coast-coast. Leslie Elman, author of the article, What's Out There, explores the incredible floating action pen. Nancy Nerenberg was quoted and Leslie included the address for my website. I especially enjoyed her photo-spread. Pics include: OJ's Slow Speed Chase/Bronco, Coqui/Frog, Reef Shark, Nixon meets Elvis, Alcatraz/Ferry and our beloved Heinz Ketchup pen. Find her coverage on page 22 of Islands magazine in the travel section of your newsstand.
La Nea Conner... presented me with the July issue of a Danish Magazine called Ud & Se. On pages 6-7 an article by Peter Rundle concerning pin-up pens is featured. Two views of a tip 'n' strip pen are pictured to demonstrate the magic of the conceal/reveal mechanism. The model is displayed dressed and undressed. While I can not comprehend many of the words, the article seems to be primarily about Eskesen. I was tickled to recognize the words "Float About".
In issue #12 of FA... (released way back in November of 1997), John Freimarck, a ceramist, friend and collector, reported a reference to float pens in a book entitled The God of Small Things, by Indian screen writer, Arundhati Roy. At that time I asked if anyone could share the passage with us. Thank you Shirley for forwarding this text...
"Sophie Mol eventually found what she was looking for. Presents for her cousins. Triangular towers of Toblerone chocolate (soft and slanting in the heat). Socks with separate multicolored toes. And two ballpoint pens - the top halves filled with water in which a cut-out collage of a London streetscape was suspended. Buckingham Palace and Big Ben. Shops and people. A red double-decker bus propelled by an air bubble floated up and down the silent street. There was something sinister about the absence of noise on the busy ballpoint street." (Amazing. Even in literature float pens are plagued by bubbles!)
By the way... the Mary Engelbreit Home Companion-Collections is not a magazine, it is a book. This is the publication that has a chapter entitled Globe Trotter's Souvenirs, which naturally includes float pens. I have yet to see the publication on the shelf anywhere, but you will find an order form inside any one of Mary's magazines... or call 800/462-7962 to get your copy. It sells for $12.95 + Shipping/Handling.
Sandra Watkins ... informs me that the release of Sunset's book Interior Decorating with Color has been delayed until next year. Sandra's apartment will be featured. A nice shot of her float pens displayed on her dining room table will be included. Be patient and do not worry. I will keep you posted.
Did you know it was collector Sue Wright ... that designed the Anima Sola and the Real Estate pens introduced in issue #26? Great job Sue! We look forward to future designs.
ICELAND PENS COMMETH...
Direct from the Arctic Region and ... perhaps the most exciting and exotic additions to the pen list for issue #27 are the new Icelandic designs. Inspired by Karen Swanson, Miranda conducted an extensive search to locate sources for several Iceland pens. The Kisses pen is one of my favorites. Many collectors are partial to the conceal/reveal pens, especially in the clicker style. Note... I cheated a little in the photo. When the words "Kisses From..." disappear, the Puffins appear. In reality the two images are never visible at the same time.
The Capitol, Reykjavik (translation "Smoky Bay") is represented in two pens. In the first pen, a Crest floats above an overview of the Capitol city. The second pen features a woman floating between a Church and the village.
The Great Geysir, pictured left, is another outstanding example of the nature of Iceland. Hot springs, volcanoes and earthquakes are found in this volatile land of fire and ice. Despite all of this, it is considered paradise to the Puffins that flourish on the shores. If you are up for a little whale watching... this would be the place!
Iceland is just slightly smaller than the state of Kentucky, but even so, more of their land is covered by glaciers than in all of continental Europe. Brrrr. As far as I can tell, they also have more Eskesen float pens than all of Greece, Turkey and Ireland combined. Why? I haven't a clue. As travel destinations go... Iceland looks like a real adventure. It was surprising to learn they are a popular tourist location. Take a flight out of New York and six hours later you land at the Leifur Eiriksson Terminal. However, if you simply can't make the trip, I have 12 Icelandic designs to share with you. Find them all under New Arrivals.
The Collectors United... pens are in production. They should arrive in the USA by mid-late November. Pens will be shipped to the 45 participants mmediately upon receipt. They will also be offered for sale on my website. Two pens were created. Both share the same artwork, but have different caption panels. As soon as they arrive I will post a special bulletin.
Be sure to update... your pen collector's profile on Nancy Nerenberg's website. We are all curious about how many pens you now have in your collection. www.floatart.com I fully expect Miranda to have 6,000+ float pens in her collection by January 1, 2001. She needs just a little over 100 pens to put her over the mark. I know you will do what you can to help.
Euro Zodiac pens... available for trade or sale through Miranda Wittebol. She is selling individual pens for $3 and the set of 12 pens for $35. Buyers will also be responsible for covering shipping charges. The only difference between the Euro set and the USA set is the date format. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org It is uncertain whether or not I will be able to get the USA version.
Marla Hoffman visited DisneyWorld... in July. She found three Disney twist n clicks that may/may not be new. 1) Tinkerbell afloat over castle 2) Mickey as Sorcerers apprentice and 3) Winnie the Pooh in the rabbit hole. I am unsure if these are new designs or just old designs in the newer twist n click style.
Andy B does Los Angeles... in floaty style. Andy Balbus is without a doubt one of the most intense float pen collectors I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Andy has a sarcastic and cynical wit that is hard to miss... or resist. I met with him, very briefly, when Bill and I were in NYC for the filming of the float pen segment on Personal FX the Collectibles show. I look forward to our next encounter.
Just a few weeks ago Andy was lecturing in California. He made it a point to meet with two fellow collectors. While in San Francisco he visited with Sandra Watkins at her loft. According to Andy, "we chatted about pens and collecting and the meaning of life (collect more pens)." Next stop Irvine.
Andy had a few unfavorable words regarding traffic in the LA area. He experienced the frustration that drives many Californians to road rage. Beverly Broadstone traveled a full hour to reach Andy's hotel. After a couple hours of pen exchanges and chatter it was nearly midnight and time for Beverly to say "good night". From both of their accounts I would say they shared some quality float pen time. Beverly provided this picture. Andy is holding a floating action toothbrush... and look how happy he is!
It's been awhile since we have addressed... the psychology of "why we collect float pens?" Christine Hendry thinks her fascination for "semi-hidden things: objects within objects" began as a child. Her family frequented a restaurant called Mo's Clam Chowder. They enjoyed their meals on old, battered picnic tables. Small sea-items such as sand, starfish, and tiny crabs were deposited into the many cracks, crevices and depressions that scarred the table-tops. The items were sealed and protected by a thick coat of epoxy, which provided a clear view, but prevented disruption.
Christine always enjoyed exploring the miniature sea-world suspended forever in their furniture. Christine relates, "To pick up a seemingly ordinary object - a pen - and discover a miniature world within it is magic, pure and simple." Just one of many elements that entice us into collecting our enchanting float pens.
The third weekend of Yankee Peddler... collector Anne Burke stopped in to introduce herself and say "hello". It was the last day of the event, soggy Sunday. The grounds were muddy and it drizzled throughout. We are normally so busy at this event it is hard to visit with anyone. Anne chose the perfect day to attend. It was a delightful end to an otherwise dreary day.
Our next event is the Ann Arbor Winter Art Fair in Michigan. It will be held October 21-22 at the Washtenaw fairgrounds. If you would like to come, visit the link or contact me for details. Be aware I will not have pens with me. Protecting them from constant temperature changes on-the-road is a problem.
Sandra Watkins announces ... her new website. See photos of Sandra's recent pilgrimage to the Eskesen factory. Her trade list and personal collection are both posted for all to see. Sandra's City Tips page will direct you where to find float pens in your travels from Alaska to Zurich and all points in between (NOTE: link defunct).
Last year David McGahey ... purchased five pens from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, only to leave them on a train. He attempted to get a replacement from Sandra Watkins, but the out-going package was stolen from her mailbox by an unscrupulous bike messenger. Do you have an extra for David?
I received an invitation from German collector ... Ralf Brosig to visit his website. Go! I think you will enjoy the trip. Ralf has a marvelous sense of humor and a fun-site. (NOTE: Link Defunct)
POSTAL LEGENDS continued... First of all let me say that I am not anti-USPS. For a couple of summers I worked a few afternoons/evenings a week in a coffee shop that was a hang-out for many off-duty mail carriers. They were a wonderful bunch of hard-working individuals. On a personal level of service I don't think I have ever had a full-time carrier that wasn't courteous and conscientious. It's when subs and temps enter the picture things tend to go awry.
Tracy Uzzel, of Vandalia, Ohio... went to get her morning paper. She was surprised to find two packages that had inexplicably appeared overnight. One package was tagged with a delivery confirmation slip that verified the parcel was a month late. Both boxes had been opened and resealed with brown tape.
Even though the Unibomber is behind bars, since the packages had obviously been tampered with and delivered outside of USPS hours, Tracy felt uneasy about opening them. Postal inspectors were dispatched from Cincinnati to do the honors. The Post Office told her that a dishonest temporary carrier had taken packages from dozens of people on her route. Lucky for Tracy the carrier didn't find her snowdome or Christmas ornament of interest. Both packages were complete.
As mentioned ... in the August Bulletin, at the bottom of issue #26, the Disney pens that were transformed into a prayer shawl will likely remain an unsolved puzzle. Laurie W was very kind and understanding about the situation. I sincerely appreciated her help. She shipped the prayer shawl and the original box to me. It was indeed the same box that I had used to ship the pens. I presented it to an inspector at my local Post Office. A clerk suggested that perhaps their machinery had torn the package open, but after examining the box the inspector couldn't find any validity to that theory. For whatever reason, a postal employee opened the box and switched the contents then carefully resealed the box. The woeful conclusion ... insurance is no longer a luxury, but a necessity.
Places to go, things to do... I neglected to provide you with info about the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library & Museum in West Branch, Iowa. I introduced their pen in the last issue. They are currently in the middle of a very special American Women! exhibit. It is a "celebration of more than 100 women who shaped the American experience". The exhibit is just one of many that you can enjoy daily from 9am - 5pm. However, don't delay. The American Women! exhibit will end October 29th. For details call (319) 643-5301 or visit their website www.hoover.nara.gov
The NASA Glenn Research Center... "is world renowned for its contributions in aircraft propulsion, spacecraft propulsion, space power, and satellite communications." Admission to the Center is free. Public tours for selected research facilities can also be arranged. Call (216) 433-2000 or visit www.grc.nasa.gov. Their pen NASA Glenn was included in the last issue of the newsletter. Only a handful of the pens remain in inventory so I have added them to the Float Aways list. The Visitor Center will continue to offer them for sale in their gift shop.
Time saving tip... for cleaning float pens. This has happened to all of us at one time or another. You find pens for sale but they are plastered with labels that leave a sticky residue behind. Goo Be Gone will readily cut the crud, but I find the odor very offensive. I prefer to apply a light coat of paint thinner. Follow it with a swish in lukewarm soapy water and a clear rinse under the faucet. Gunk and goo are gone!
DISPLAYS... Norm Kautt and Chris Markgraf purchased round clear-plastic displays to store their float pens. The boxes were originally designed to house Beanie Babies. With the decline of the BB craze, their displays are now very affordable. I picked up a few at our local JoAnn Fabrics for about $1.50/box. Shop around for the best deal.
George Broadstone... Beverly's husband, was watching the Dennis Miller Show on HBO. A picture of President Ronald Reagan signing a document with a pen was hanging in the background. Dennis made a crack about the President not being able to concentrate because he was constantly distracted by his pen... tilting it back and forth so the woman's blouse would fall off. Bev admits this is a rough recall of the events, but it was definitely a reference to a float pen. Keep your eyes and ears open.
My website is still in the process... of moving to Halfpricehosting. The first day I entered their webpage I found an astounding tip for computer users. You probably already knew this, but I didn't. You can search for keywords on ANY web page (even my pen list). While holding down the control key, hit the "F" key. A dialog box will appear to facilitate your search. Some of you are saying "Duh Diana", but I am certain a few of you are saying "Cool!". BTW... thanks for your suggestions regarding a new web host.
Pens Past, Present and Future... The Float Aways category works. So, as promised, a new list of pens that are soon to disappear has been prepared. Regarding quantities... there are 10 or fewer of each design included in this category. Some have been marked down. Pens that do not sell by the release of issue #28 will eventually be offered on eBay or held for trades.
Continued Special Offers... a total of 100 lighters remain in inventory. The sale price of $3.25 will hold until they are gone. Glitter pens are vanishing at $2 each. Neither of these items will be restocked.
NEW ARRIVALS... category includes every new design that has been added to my list since issue #26 of the newsletter was released on July 23rd.
And so we begin with Advertising... Several collectors had inquired about a "vibrator" pen. As float pen collectors we are always seeking interesting and unique themes. Well, this pen qualifies on both grounds. According to their catalog Good Vibrations is a worker-owned cooperative. Their mission is to "provide you with accurate sex information and quality sex toys, books and videos". They operate two retail stores (one in Berkeley, CA) and sell via mail order. I realize I have a very mixed audience, so I am NOT suggesting their website is for everyone. If you are over 21 and interested in exploring adult sexuality you will find Good Vibrations at www.goodvibes.com
For those of you that may be uncomfortable with the material, or simply shy... I have purchased a quantity of pens to share with you. It features the image of a vibrator afloat over the company's logo babe lounging in the background. I promise it is very tastefully done and you won't have another pen like it in your collection. Find it under my New Arrivals/Advertise category.
More advertising pens... A crock full of Boston Baked Beans afloat over Boston cityscape. The client wanted to include a recipe for Boston baked beans within the caption panel, but it simply would not fit. Even so, looking at those pink crocks piled high with tasty baked beans... yum. Who needs a recipe? Let's Eat!
New Arrivals/Advertise continued... Exuberant children jump for joy in the Exploratorium pen. The legal team of Feldman, Franden, Woodard & Farris have been chasing ambulance chasers since 1947. The Purrsnickety Cat is not new to the list. It was introduced well over a year ago, but the pen sold out. It is only by chance I was able to get my hands on 25 of them for this issue.
Animals new to the list...
Kangaroo hopping about.
Koala Bear crawls to another clinging to a
tree. Arctic Penguins are pictured left.
Comic Cartoon additions... CatDog & Scooby Do
Humor-Message pen ... Keep in Touch, inspired by Michaelangelo. Van Gogh's ear floats up/down over a "Starry Night" backdrop. Maybe I should add an 'Art' category.
A timely Political entry...
Republican Convention 2000
Most recent Events... Floatilla's Halloween Hair-do complete with rising scaredy cat surprise. The Lindenfeld Family Reunion commemorated in a float pen. Santa delivers the goods and October 21, 2000 Tim & Jill get married.
Foreign Locations... includes 14 Icelandic designs.
A nice collection of brand new USA Location pens... DC/Capitol/Eagle flies over the Capitol. Colorful FL/Sailboats afloat in tropical setting. Texas Rodeo Rider performing for crowd. Texas State Seal afloat over their Capitol and lawn. Washington Ferry passes cityscape. Washington Orcas Island features Killer Whales.
Coming soon... pens straight from Ireland. Many collectors have searched high and low while on holiday in Ireland only to return home empty-handed. Super scout that she is... Miranda has found two designs. With a little luck-of-the Irish, the pens should be here by mid-November.
You may have heard... why our vacation was canceled. This summer I put food out every night for a stray cat, which we came to know as "Nash". September 5 we took Nash to the vet to be tested and vaccinated. He tested positive for FIV... nicknamed Feline Aids, because the symptoms and results are so similar to the human strain. It can only be transferred from one feline to another, but at this point there is no vaccine, no treatment, no cure. It is terminal. Nash was already symptomatic and his condition was certain to worsen. Having him put to sleep was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. In the meantime, I unwittingly exposed both of my cats to the disease. I was devastated. Incubation period is unknown, but our vet feels if they test negative again in March, they should be ok. I know in some households cats are considered nothing more or less than furniture, but at our house they are members of the family. Meet "the girls". Keogh, is our 11 year-old gray, and Minki just turned 13. I am grateful for every day we share together.
We have several Turn of the Century clients in the Berea, Kentucky area. It's been years since we have made the trip south. Since the October vacation was abandoned, we are going to take a short trip for business and pleasure through Berea and on to the Smoky Mountains. If all goes well, I will not be available Fri/Nov 3-Monday/Nov 6th. Back just in time to vote!
Late breaking news... from Nancy Knechtel. The pen that she designed for Niagara County Community College is finally ready! We have been waiting for this one for a long time. (NOTE: Sorry, link defunct; Removed May 2015). I might be able to persuade Nancy to send a few my way to share with you. Keep your fingers crossed.
Issue #28 ... is due for release December 15. Perhaps a little too close to the holidays. Not sure if it will post early or late, but I will aim for something closer to Dec 5th... before things get too crazy. There will probably
be snow on the ground the next time we meet. Enjoy the color of the season. Do your part to keep the world afloat... exercise your right to VOTE!
Happy Haunting... Diana