Antiques Roadshow

I have a new favorite television show--The Antiques Roadshow on PBS. The appeal is due to the combination of education and people watching. The variety of objects brought in to the appraisers is amazing. Right now a woman is presenting the hand-sculpted maquettes for the heads of Edgar Bergen's dummies. Her grandfather carved them by hand. She had never had them appraised and was also curious how to care for and preserve them. The appraiser stated that it would be rather impossible to assign a value since they're one of a kind, but did have some advice on how to display them and was generally just delighted to see the maquettes in person.

Half the fun of watching the show is to see the appraisers light up when they see something interesting to them. The other half of the fun is watching the reactions of the owners when they find out what they own. Today a man brought in a rifle that his aunt and uncle had purchased some time ago for just $13. No attempt to clean the wood or polish the metal has been made, so the original patina remains. It's a beautiful rifle, dating back to around 1810, made of curly maple with delicate carving on the wood of the stock. Even the inset metal pieces, such as the patch box, have decorative elements. Surprisingly, it would have been a "subsistence rifle" and used to put food on the table. The estimated value? $20,000.

My all time favorite was a woman who brought in a very nice Durer woodcut print in one of the early seasons of the show. I can't remember what it was worth, but it was at least $40,000. I thought the poor woman was going to pass out. She got rather pale, grasped the edge of the table tightly with one hand, covered her mouth with the other and gasped "It's just been hanging in the hallway outside the bathroom!" The appraiser smiled at her and said she might consider having it insured. I can only hope they got the poor woman a chair before she fainted. It was a beautiful print, but then I've always been a sucker for Durer prints.

Goal for today
I'm going to set myself some fifteen minute time periods for doing work today. I started out well by actually cooking breakfast (spelt flour pancakes, which were quite tasty) and by finally putting the grains I bought a week ago into the pantry. While I was at it, I re-arranged the pantry a bit so it makes more sense.

Today I will vacuum the house well, start and finish the laundry (including folding and ironing), weed out approximately half my t-shirts so that they all fit into the dresser and make a dent in the stack of magazines I've been meaning to read for several years. The last one will be the easiest to do. I'm going to take all the magazines which are over two years old and put them in the recycling bin without reading them. I will trust that any information contained in them which I must have to have a happy, fulfilling life will present itself in some other format. I've survived pretty well so far without having read the information. Any potential benefit from the information is being greatly outweighed by the stress caused by the ever-growing stack of magazines waiting for me.

I am seriously considering going through my bookshelves and removing all the non-reference books which I haven't opened since before I moved (almost 2 1/2 years ago). These books will go either to the library or a used bookstore. I hate giving up on books, but I have to be realistic. I think I'm being overwhelmed by the choices at home, which may explain why I mostly just read books from the library and avoid/ignore the books at home. I think I also purchase books because I don't want to completely forget that the book exists or somehow miss out on it. Of course, then I either don't read the book at all (meaning, of course, to read it "real soon now" only RSN never quite seems to get here) or I read the first chapter or two, then set it aside for the next "new shiny" book. I guess I worry so much about missing the one crucial piece of information that will solve all of the universe's problems that I skip actually reading the information I have. Not a terribly intelligent or rational approach to learning, is it?


Stefaneener said…
I like your book idea. For a while, I kept a list of books I'd like to read (from reviews, radio shows, etc.) and occasionally I'd check to see if the library had them. Worked when I worked it ; )

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