It's not easy being Kermitty green
During a storm in January 1992, a container with 28,000 children's bath toys was swept overboard from a ship in the North Pacific. Seeing an opportunity to study surface currents, oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer tracked the container, accumulating reports from beachcombers and coastal workers as they began to wash up on beaches.
Using computer models, they were able to predict correctly that toys would make landfall in Washington state, Japan and Alaska, and even become trapped in pack ice and spend years creeping across the top of the world before making an eventual reappearance in the North Atlantic.
"Ultimately," Ebbesmeyer wrote, "the toys will turn to dust, joining the scum of plastic powder which rides the global ocean." For some reason, media accounts of the story always carried the image of a solitary rubber duck, though the toys had also included beavers, turtles and frogs. "Maybe it's a kind of racism," Ebbesmeyer speculated. "Speciesism."
Tales of rejection ...
1. "When I was 11 years old the girls I normally ate lunch with cornered me one morning and presented me with a petition they'd all signed, demanding that I no longer sit with them. They read it. Out loud. In front of everyone."
2. "I once went speed dating and I was the only guy who showed up, there were 14 women. All 14 chose to stay single rather than go out on a date with me."
3. "My fiance bought a house without telling me. So I took that as a subtle hint."
4. "I told my friend I had a crush on him and he said 'happens to the best of us'."
5. When I was a kid my boyfriend of two weeks sent his friend to break up with me because I, quote, "talked about Star Wars too much".
Opinions that have not aged well....
Whither juicy sultanas of yesteryear?
Dredging through the pantry recently I found the container marked "sultanas". Expecting to get a handful of those golden coloured treats, I was disappointed to find these dark brown, almost hard dried fruits. Thinking they were simply old stock, I asked our bubble shopper to get some fresh ones. It turns out that they were fresh, and that is the standard quality of the humble sultana today. As the child of a grocer, I spent many weekend days at my father's shop, weighing out bulk foods and packing them into paper bags of various weights. Sultanas were a moist, plump, golden yellow colour. What has happened over the past 50 years?