April 11, 2013

Show & Tell Participants from April 10, 2013


When Ron U. was 12 or 13 years old in suburban Buffalo, he and a friend began tramping through the woods and through garbage dumps in search of beer cans. This was a start of his beer can collection, which at one point numbered about 700 cans. He later sold most of them but has kept about 75 cans, including this Krueger can from the mid-1930s (here's a closer look). "Krueger was the first brewery to sell beer in cans," he explains. "So if you collect beer cans, right away you learn about Krueger. That's why I've kept this one -- it's sort of touchstone." (Photo by Saskia Kahn)



Roman Prystajko has an unusual job: He travels around the country installing bus-washing machinery ("Just like a car wash, but really big," he says). He's currently in New York, working on a project at LaGuardia Airport. While stuck in a traffic jam near the airport, he glanced out the window and saw Mt. Calvary Cemetery. He was intrigued by the juxtaposition of the gravestones in the foreground and the Manhattan skyline in the background, so he pointed his phone out the passenger window and took a photo (here's a closer look). "They say New York is the city that never sleeps, but I call this photo 'The City That Sleeps Forever,'" he says. "I think it's maybe the best photo I've ever taken." (Photo by Saskia Kahn)



Kirsten Hively visited Istanbul in 2007. She wanted to explore the city via its wide variety of public transit methods -- ferries, trams, buses, funiculars -- so she purchased this little yellow gizmo with a small metal disc thingie on the end, which is the Istanbul equivalent of a MetroCard: The gizmo comes pre-loaded with a set amount of value, and then you press the metal surface onto an electronic receptor when boarding a public conveyance, which deducts the appropriate fare. Kirsten had meant to purchase about $15 worth of fares, but she end up with $50 due to a language misinterpretation, so there's probably some value left on the device. That's one reason she's kept it for so many years -- after all, she might go back to Istanbul one day. But there's another reason: "Whenever there's something I'm keeping track of and making sure not to lose -- a wallet, a cell phone -- I have a hard time letting go of it, even when I don't need it anymore." (Photo by Saskia Kahn)



Andi Bee does a lot of animal rescue work. She recently rescued a kitten and gave it to one of her neighbors, but the kitten somehow disappeared. She helped the neighbor look all over his apartment for the kitten, to no avail. Before giving up, she took her dog, Melly, down into the neighbor's basement, thinking the kitten might be hiding down there. Sure enough, Melly soon sniffed out the kitten and all was well. Andi was so proud of Melly that she brought her to Show & Tell -- an unusual object to talk about, but Melly didn't seem to mind. (Photo by Saskia Kahn)



We conclude, as usual, with Show & Tell host Paul Lukas -- me. The recent Jewish holiday of Passover prompted me to tell this story: When I was growing up, our family wasn't religious, but we always had matzos in the house during Passover. I loved to take a big sheet of matzo, slather it with butter, sprinkle on some salt, and devour it. That's precisely what I was doing one afternoon when I was about nine years old, when I heard a car door closing shut in our driveway. It was my Mom — home from work more than an hour earlier than usual. And there I was, about to be caught with contraband matzo (I wasn't supposed to be eating between-meal snacks, "It'll ruin your appetite," blah-blah-blah). There was no time to run to the garbage can or the toilet, so I reached over on a nearby shelf, lifted the cover off of our family game of Scrabble, slipped the matzo inside, and then went and greeted my Mom. The next morning, before I left for school, I retrieved the incriminating mazto and disposed of it. But the inner box cover and board had been sullied with a few butter stains. Decades later, those stains are still there -- timeless documents of my transgression. And here's a little epilogue: In 2007, I wrote an article about the Streitz matzo factory in Manhattan. While interviewing the company’s vice president, I told him the Scrabble story. He listened, thought for a moment, and then said, “That’s a shame to waste a good matzo like that.” (Photo by Saskia Kahn)


That's it for this round of Show & Tell. Big thanks to all who attended, even bigger thanks to the participants, and bonus thanks to Heather McCabe for running the audio and to Saskia Kahn for once again serving as the Show & Tell shutterbug (check out more of her photography on her web site, and then hire her!). The next installment of Show & Tell will be Wednesday, May 8, 8pm, in the back room at Freddy's. Hope to see you then.