Dead Sea Seashells, Part 3 of 6, Segment B

A seashell with holes in it

This shell highlights one of the most unusual traits exhibited by about half of the shells known as the Dead Sea Seashells. While the shell itself seems to be that of a typical bi-valve (such as a clam, or a mussel), it has a series of holes, evenly spaced along its long edge. The holes appear to have been made with a drill, though the true origin of the holes has not been determined.

Dead Sea Seashells, Part 2 of 6, Segment A

Segment A, Dead Sea seashells

Segment A of the Dead Sea Seashells Collection is a assorted group of gastropod shells. Like the entire collection, these were from the cache of shells discovered in a plastic bucket on the shore of the Dead Sea.

One of the most common kind of shells found on the shores of beaches all over the world, these are produced by aquatic snails. There are an estimated 30,000 species of aquatic gastropods, and they produce an astonishing variety of shells.

When Your House is More Famous Than You

My hail damaged house

If you live in Denver, you know that on Monday, May 8, we got an epic hailstorm with stones up to baseball size. It came late in the afternoon. I was at work, which got little more than heavy rain. As I had also not gotten a text message from the dog, I figured things were probably fine at home.

When I got halfway home I started to see signs that perhaps I should possibly revise my optimistic estimation. It might’ve been the piles of hailstones heaped like snowbanks along the side of the road, or the leaf covered vehicles that resembled mobile hedges.

As I got to my neighborhood, I caught a glimpse of my house through the rear view mirror, and saw lots of dark spots on the front of the house. The fog of optimism convinced me they were clumps of damp leaves from the plum tree. I continued toward the library to discover a lake where the road used to be. I avoided the lake, and started seeing additional evidence of an extended neighborhood-wide machine gun battle, and I again adjusted my aggressively crumbling wall of denial into a nice river of panic.

I skipped the library and went home.

The “black spots” on my house turned out to be my insulation peeking out from the nice new holes punched into my house’s crunchy exterior. The shutters were shattered and lying in bits. The flower box had fallen into a bush. The screens looked like ragged curtains. One window was broken. It looked like a bomb had gone off. My neighbor and her family were out in the yard staring at the carnage.

Our house was the one that drew everyone’s gaze. While the neighbors ostensibly assessed their own damage, they cast surreptitious glances at our house of horror, and pretended they weren’t staring.

In fact, one of these schadenfreude suggested we were already set for Halloween. I wondered if she read my column.

Every car that passes comes to a dead stop as they encounter our house on the corner. Faces mouth OMG (except they don’t use the initials) and some unabashedly whip out their cell phones to capture the dramatic storm aftermath. Within hours, pictures of my house were on the news, via Twitter and as part of the lead storm story.

As far as the lookie-loos were concerned as they snapped pictures of the house which caused their eyes to bug out and their jaws to drop, there was only this blasted house – they did not register the people standing outside it getting the mail or stapling plastic over the shattered windows.

Friends from all over sent email and Facebook messages telling me that my house was on the news. It was the picture with the headline on the front page of the 9news website for all of Tuesday.

And the worst part is that the house KNOWS it is the poster child of the disaster, and this information is going straight to its attic.

It’s started to realize that it is much more famous than me, its image having been retweeted many more times than any tweet I’ve ever made.  It’s even taking credit for KTCL’s storm meme with a house that *looks* like it.

A few days ago, we got a flyer from a siding and roofing company (not hired by us in any capacity), that had a picture of my house as half the advertisement. The flyer was not mailed to me, but was put in my mailbox. The house decided that meant it was now too popular to put up with me as a resident. It demanded that I improve my social media standing, or get out immediately. In exiting, it wants me to somehow guarantee that the next inhabitant be someone who has more than 75 twitter followers, and who is worthy of the house’s fame.

I really don’t need another source of anxiety, so I’m blocking that ungrateful structure from my social media feeds. Watch me pick new siding that makes it look fat.

The Dead Sea Seashells, Pt 1 of 6

Seashells, arranged in 5 groups
One of the rarest collections in the SHUSH Museum, these seashells were discovered on the shore of the Dead Sea in a plastic bucket.

The wide array of shell types found were unprecedented, and studying the collection revealed some unique characteristics of this rare sub-type of seashells.

As a whole, these unique shell specimens remind us that the world is filled with undiscovered mysteries.

Ancient Roman Drawer Pull

A bit of bronze, turning green. It looks like a knob.

This is a bronze drawer pull was made for a wealthy Roman household. Once-elegant, this knob once adorned a cabinet or dresser in a home of of one of the Roman elite. Dated from 100 – 200 AD, this artifact was found in the ruins of the ancient city of Antium, a port known for being the home of many wealthy Romans, and as the birthplace of the Emperor Nero.

Antium is known today as Anzio, and even today, the remains of Roman villas can be seen. It is located about 30 miles south of Rome.

The Glass of Water Elvis Drank

A glass half-filled with water

This partially filled glass of water, was left on the nightstand half-full of water in the Hilton Hawaiian Village where “The King” stayed while he was filming Blue Hawaii. This glass has miraculously stayed filled at the same level since that stay in the hotel in 1961.

Buy this postcard

Emily Gilmore’s Smithsonian Spoon

A souvenir spoon from the Smithsonian Institute

One of the most famous collectors of souvenir spoons is Emily Gilmore. A resident of Connecticut, Mrs. Gilmore has collected spoons for nearly 45 years.

This specimen was donated to the SHUSH Museum when she inherited a collection from her husband’s aunt Cecile, and found that there were a number of duplicate spoons in the combined collection.

Ben Franklin’s Macaroni Art

A picture of a boat with a man in a tri-corn hat made of pasta glued with candle wax
Ben Franklin was taken by the sea and by boats at a young age and envisioned a life on the sea. In anticipation of this, he became a deft swimmer and thought about boats.

This love of aquatics is seen in this curious exhibit, a strange collage of pasta shaped into a simple sailing vessel on the sea. The pasta is affixed to the craft paper with melted candles and it is this that earns familial ire, and is noted in an admonitory report from his public grammar school teacher.

While the report has long ago been lost, a description of its content was found in the journal of Ben’s father, Josiah, who was a tallow chandler. According to this source, the note chastised the lad for his use of the expensive candles to adhere the material. His teacher was certain that the use of the more expensive items was a sign that young Benjamin lacked appropriate judgement and was given to frivolous waste of expensive materials. She suspected that the materials were taken without permission, and indicated the lad was destined for a life of sloth and criminal behavior.

There are some who note that the feather in the tri-corn hat is also made of macaroni.

Johnny Appleseed’s Appleseeds

A cloth bag spilling over with apple seeds

John Chapman, (September 26, 1774 – March 18, 1845) commonly known as Johnny Appleseed, traveled through the country planting trees.  He was known for his generosity and peculiar way of dressing.

Chapman never married, and when he died he left over 1000 acres of trees. The seeds of his preferred apple, a varietal which came to be known as “The Johnny Appleseed,” produces an apple that is especially good for baking and for applesauce.

Davy Crockett’s Pet Rock

The “King of the Wild Frontier”  grew up in Tennessee, where he became known as a hunter and a teller of stories. As a  member of the militia, he gained a reputation as a frontiersman and fighter.

He served in the Tennessee state government, and eventually represented the state in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was known for  opposing President Jackson’s policies, particularly in regard to the Native Americans, and this led to his defeat in the 1831 elections. When he failed to be re-elected in 1835, he made the decision to go to Texas, which was at that time still part of Mexico. When he left his home where, as the song says, “he knew every tree,” he picked up a rock, and took it with him to remind him of his family and the land he knew so well.

Not long after he arrived,in Texas, he became involved in the revolution, and he died in march, 1836, defending the Alamo. His son bequeathed this token from his final effects to the SHUSH Museum.