November 17, 2012

Show & Tell Participants from November 14, 2012


Billy Ganun's parents live in Breezy Point, one of the New York City neighborhoods that was hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy. While helping with the relief and clean-up efforts, he found these Mardi Gras beads under his parents' house. They're apparently left over from the neighborhood's annual Mardi Gras party, and they're a powerful reminder of Breezy Point's newfound hurricane-related connection to the city of New Orleans. Billy started wearing them while continuing his clean-up work and got some positive feedback. "An old lady said she liked that I was wearing ’em, so I'm gonna keep doing it," he says. "It's a reminder of where we want to get to, as opposed to where we are now." (Photo by Kirsten Hively)



Willow O'Feral was walking on a California beach one day when she found an abstract piece of something or other, which she turned into the pendant for a necklace. She originally thought it might be "some kind of weird mask," but an engineer friend later told her that was part of an electrical insulator. "It's always felt talismanic to me, because it represents trash being transformed and the ocean spitting it back," she says. "I don't wear it every day, but on days when I need strength, like when I'm applying for a job." (Photo by Kirsten Hively)



Adel Souto fell in love with someone over the internet. When they met in person, they sealed their bond and indulged their shared passion for transgressive adventure by trespassing into an abandoned steel mill in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where Adel took this circular sheet from a gauge that measured, well, something. (You can get a closer look at it here.) The two of them eventually lived together for three years. And although it didn't end well, Adel still has fond memories of that day at the steel mill, which he describes as "an amicable break-in." (Photo by Kirsten Hively)



Faith Rowald was spending some time in Bethlehem (the one in Palestine, not in Pennsylvania) in 2008 when two Swedish friends gave her this mug, which features lots of Dalahäst horses — a Swedish icon. "The horses look magical and happy, which is what Sweden basically is," she says. "It's my favorite mug, even though it got chipped when the shelf it was sitting on fell down. I use it for mint tea and hot chocolate." (Photo by Kirsten Hively)



Brad Heck's uncle was an engineer who helped build space shuttles for Honeywell. Among his inventions was this differential for the shuttle's autopilot system. (You can get a better view of it here.) His uncle's engineering career came to an end when he found religion and decided to become a minister, which led to the break-up of his marriage. The differential has several moving parts and is very satisfying to handle. Fiddling with it, Brad says, "is a very good way to get your mind in order. I don't find God in this; I find man in this." (Photo by Kirsten Hively)



Michael George's younger brother, Johnny, is something of an information and culture sponge and likes to share what he knows with Michael — or impose it upon him. For example, Johnny has given Michael six binders (so far) of home-burned CDs containing year-by-year breakdowns of what Johnny considers to be important or notable music, including several CDs' worth of music from 1975. Michael has hinted to Johnny that he has neither the time nor the inclination to listen to all of this, especially since his tastes don't always line up with his brother's. Johnny's response: "Well, how else are you going to learn?" At the end of his Show & Tell presentation, Michael passed the CD around and invited any interested party to keep it. "Johnny's never gonna know." (Photo by Kirsten Hively)



Diane George — no relation to Michael George, above — took a trip to China some years ago and fell in love with a little dog figurine at a local market. (Here's a better view of it.) She was happy to pay the seller's asking price — $5 — but her Chinese friend was embarrassed by her lack of haggling and insisted on dickering the price down to 50¢. Interestingly, the figurine is stamped on the bottom with "Made in Japan," which is very unusual for something sold in China. It also got Diane thinking about how much ground the figurine has covered: "It's brass, and Japan doesn’t have a lot of mineral wealth, so the materials must have come to Japan from somewhere else, and then it went to China, and now it's in New York." (Portrait by Kirsten Hively; dog photos by Diane George)



Six months ago, Andrew Lederer had triple-bypass surgery. The doctors sent him home with medicine that was supposed to help his heart get back to normal, but he found that he wasn't feeling much better. After several weeks, it was discovered that they had prescribed the wrong medicine, and that he was essentially taking roughly one-fifth the dose he should have been taking. Fortunately, the error was corrected and he's now feeling much better. He brought the correct and incorrect medicines with him. (Photo by Kirsten Hively)



Haisi Hu loves the story of Akira Yoshizawa, the man who helped popularize origami in Japan. He lived much of his life in poverty and made, by his own estimation, over 50,000 origami pieces, none of which he ever sold. Inspired by his example, Haisi has learned how to make origami pieces, including this black stallion, which took her about four hours. (Photo by Kirsten Hively)



We conclude, as usual, with Show & Tell host Paul Lukas — me. About two weeks prior to this installment of Show & Tell, I fractured my wrist and forearm in a bicycle accident. I'm on the mend, but along the way I'm learning to deal with all sorts of new limitations. One thing I immediately realized was that I could no longer use dental floss. I vaguely remembered hearing about some little gizmo that has a piece of floss stretched between two prongs, so I went to the drug store and sure enough, there was a whole section devoted to this product category. I was amazed by all the varieties — different shapes, different colors. I eventually chose a 90-pack of Rite Aid Flossups, in part because the curvy handle reminds me of a sperm cell. (When your arm is broken in two places, you have to take amusement where you find it.) Frankly, I have no idea why anyone with two fully functional arms would use this type of product — it's much less satisfying than getting in there and going to work with a real piece of floss — but I sure am glad it exists. (Photo by Kirsten Hively)


Big thanks to all participants, and extra-special thanks to Kirsten Hively for stepping in on short notice as this month's Show & Tell shutterbug.

Show & Tell will go on hiatus for December, but we'll be back with a new installment on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, in the back room at Freddy's. Hope to see you then.