You know, it’s an interesting world.

One of your fellow readers is building a blimp. An acquaintance keeps penguins. A third sent me an e-mail about trepanation.

And don’t even get me started on chess boxing.


Dan Nachbar: ‘Well, I’m still at it. (For details, see My work to date has focused on recreational use rather than marketing/advertising use. The main reason was speed. When I started, I only knew how to make a cheap, slow blimp. Advertising blimps need to be pretty fast in order to be at the appointed place at the appointed time, regardless of the winds. However, my work has evolved to the point where I now believe I can build a cheap, fast blimp – suitable for advertising. So, my question: I am trying to ‘size the market’ for a blimp that is less expensive to operate ($1,000,000 per year rather than the current $2,000,000 per year). But I have no idea how the decision to purchase blimp services are made or who makes them. Will a cheaper blimp be of interest? Or do only crackpots buy/lease blimps? Do you know anybody who knows about high-end advertising/marketing that might be willing to give me some idea if a cheaper blimp has potential?’

☞ No, but a friend of mine is dating a guy who seemed to have really bad mosquito bites on his legs that he’d been scratching too hard when I met him this summer. ‘No, those are penguin bites,’ he said. And now here he is in the New York Times!


Dress Is Formal, but the Food? Cold and Slimy

THERE is a touch of swank to the place. But then the man in green appears with the afternoon’s repast in two buckets, and what had seemed like a cordial gathering turns into last call at a bad Waldorf soiree. For penguins, apparently, nothing beats the feel of a nice cold smelt sliding down your gullet.

The man in green, Rob Gramzay, knows this better than most humans. Officially, he is the Central Park Zoo’s “senior wild animal keeper for polar birds and polar mammals.” Unofficially, he is Manhattan’s penguin guy, responsible for the well-being of this island’s 42 Chinstraps and 23 Gentoos.

He has other charges, of course, including but not limited to 13 puffins, three polar bears, two screech owls and old Breezy, the blind sea lion whose repertory of tricks once wowed them at Coney Island. But the penguins are especially dear to his heart, in part because they seem always to be gently mocking those on the other side of the zoo exhibit’s glass partition: waddling about in comic self-importance, beaks raised as if detecting an aroma nowhere near as pleasant as a bucket of smelt. . . .


And those two were just a warm up. You want to talk odd? How about paying someone $3,600 to drill a fair-sized hole in your head? Needless to say, I am one who thinks that anyone who would do this already has one.


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