It all started with a conversation with my sister, who used to sell telephone systems to big corporations and now sells antiques, in an antique mall and on eBay. She specializes in American glass — depression, carnival, that sort of thing. Mostly utilitarian items prized by collectors. Pretty things. Hostessy stuff.
One day I was watching her pack stuff for eBay shipping, and she said, “If you ever see a square cake stand at a garage sale or something, buy it. You can name your price.” The lesson sunk in, and a couple years later, I saw a square cake stand. This one, in fact:
This was at a Grosse Pointe estate sale, notorious for overcharging. It seemed someone had already named their price, and it was ridiculous: $90. But the thing was in mint condition, so I called my sister and described it. “That sounds like Fostoria American, and if it’s perfect, it’s worth a lot more than $90.” So I bought it. Checked eBay, and she was right: Fostoria American square cake stands with the rum well and in mint condition were selling for about $300 at the time. (Less now — recession — but still well over $200.) I considered giving it to her to sell, but thought eh, it’s pretty, and added it to my china cabinet, to stand as a memorial to the day a simple peasant woman got a bargain at a Grosse Pointe estate sale.
So this Christmas, we went to my sister’s, and guess what one of my presents was? Ten cake plates, in the Fostoria American pattern:
But wait, there’s more! Also, a Fostoria American cake knife:
I mention all this to underline something we all learn about ourselves sooner or later: One minute we’re the sort of girl whose most prized possessions are a hand-written letter from Warren Zevon, a signed copy of “Freaky Deaky” and a “Kind of Blue” CD, and the next you own a Fostoria American cake stand, matching plates and a knife. As David Byrne says, “And you may ask yourself, ‘how did I get here?’”
The thing most people don’t realize about certain cake stands is that you can invert them — the base is almost always hollow — and use them as a snack plate. The dip goes in the hollow base:
OK, then. Some bloggage:
Sit through internet ads that appear on real, need-the-money websites (which is to say, newspapers). No more “click here to skip.” Endure the stupid thing. On favorite blogs, click one or two of the ads every day. (Boy, are they stupid, too.)
So you may have to sit through an ad for the Economist to read this NYT story about a new wrinkle in foreclosure culture: Roving bands of skaters chasing the ultimate skater perk — a nice dry pool:
Across the nation, the ultimate symbol of suburban success has become one more reminder of the economic meltdown, with builders going under, pools going to seed and skaters finding a surplus of deserted pools in which to perfect their acrobatic aerials.
In these boom times for skaters, Mr. Peacock travels with a gas-powered pump, five-gallon buckets, shovels and a push broom, risking trespassing charges in the pursuit of emptying forlorn pools and turning them into de facto skate parks.
Hey, I saw “Dogtown and Z-Boys,” so I know this could well have some legs. But this smells like one of those bogus-trend stories to me. In fact, a large chunk of the story is about pool builders and real-estate developers who are looking at a fraction of the orders they had a year ago. The fact teased in the photo caption — that skaters are coming from as far away as Europe and Australia to skate American pools — is entirely hearsay, too. Still, not a bad read.
Also, not for the faint of heart: Another excellent dissection of the collapse of yet another criminally managed bank — WaMu. Sooner or later we’re going to get wise and put someone like Kerry Killinger before a firing squad. Until then, he has his millions. Un-fucking-believable.
So have a good week. Today’s Holiday Photo is from Bill, who comments here as Bill, taken last summer in Alaska when he was
stalking Sarah Palin on vacation:
I think I’ll go make a cake. Later.