FLOAT ABOUT #39...
© Copyright Thurs/April 10, 2003
a bi-monthly newsletter dedicated to Eskesen floaty pen collectors
No more famous Blue Light Specials... for Mansfield, Ohio. Our local K-Mart is preparing to close it's doors any day now. Bill and I were browsing the store for fixtures last week. Teenage girls were buying paisley blouses, bell bottom blue jeans and lava lamps while the radio blasted rock classics from the sixties. Janis Joplin's Piece of my Heart was interrupted by a news bulletin. In a very somber tone the announcer provided the latest news from the war front. He went on to say “thousands of anti-war protesters gathered today worldwide”. With nothing to brace me for the unexpected wave of deja vu, I paused to get my bearings. Is it 1968 or am I in the middle of a crystal clear flashback? No such luck.
Whether you are for or against the war, it is so out of our hands. I know a lot of people are staying glued to their televisions and radios morning, noon and night. That can't be healthy. You can tune-in any time and get updates from every angle. For the sake of mental health, be sure to take a break once in awhile. Bill and I have decided to go ahead with our Mexico vacation later this month. I hope you too are making time to enjoy family, friends and spring.
The pen pictured left is one of many new designs from Floaty. Uncle Sam pops up and down behind the American flag. Uncle Sam and several new Jack Keely designs are included on the New Arrivals list. And with that said I am going to slip Bruce Springsteen's Born to Run into the CD player and kick this issue into high gear.
Float About has entered a ... new era. In issue #38 I announced that news would be posted on my website as it is received, or at least in a more timely manner. This in an effort to keep collectors current. Float Along bulletin has been established and will keep the ball rolling in between issues of the newsletter. The first bulletin posted just a few days after Issue #38 was released. In fact, this issue is an accumulation of all the news that appeared in the first Float Along. The information has since been updated and enhanced to create this newsletter. Now that Issue #39 has posted, I will begin a brand new bulletin. As usual, you will be notified via email when a new issue of the newsletter is posted, 5-6 times per year. In the meantime, check Float Along for continual updates. So far this idea has been met with a positive response from the floaty community. Your feedback is welcomed. Let's see how it goes.
Eskesen is just fine... Several collectors have sent emails expressing concern about Eskesen. I assure you E and staff are alive and well, they have been experiencing Internet difficulties. If you attempted to address their http://www.Eskesen.com website and get some weird ad, don't worry... try again. I don't know if this is a permanent situation, but for now you can not navigate their site with Netscape or a Mac browser, try Internet Explorer. Eskesen has introduced magnets to their product line. They are now making custom magnets for clients worldwide. I would bet we have more than one mag-nut among us. Keep your eyes open.
Pens Out and About...
Alicia Delahunty was shopping... at Whirligigs and Whimsies, a “not-a-chain” toy store in the Bethesda, MD, when she spotted a Junie B. Jones floaty. Junie's latest book, Top Secret, Personal Beeswax: A Journal by Junie B. (and me!) will be available February 25th wherever books are sold. With the purchase of each journal, the store is giving away a free float pen. Alicia says the pen “looked like the paper clip-wire type... clear with a center dot”. Translation ... a twist n click. Sadly, it is of Chinese origin.
I visited Amazon.com and BN.com. They are both showing the list price of the journal at $11.95, but offering the book for $9.56. However, neither of them mentioned a float pen. Maybe the pen is only going to be given away at stores?
Bill and I made a trip to our local Barnes and Noble. I found the journal easy enough, and it's on sale for 20% off, but the display didn't say anything about a pen. A clerk informed me the pens are at the cash register and are only available “while supplies last”. When you go into the store, ask about the availability of the pen BEFORE you buy the journal.
NOTE... this pen is NOT an Eskesen. The extra band in the middle and the colored clip are clues. The cellophane wrapper marked ‘Made in China’ removes all doubt.
The Marshmallow Peeps pen... is available on-line. I know because Tracy Uzzel told me so! The price for the Eskesen twist n click is just $3, but be aware of the shipping charges. Peeps is celebrating their 50th Anniversary and you will find several items for sale on their website. Each item is subject to a $1.15 shipping charge, plus a $2.95 handling charge per order. Have fun! Their site includes a factory tour, recipes, contests, Peeps News and Fan Club. Sign up today. http://www.marshmallowpeeps.com
A trio of Star Trek floaty pens... are available from Staten Island Collectibles. I bought two designs from on eBay last week. I am pleased to say, the pens are definitely Eskesen. The Star Trek Communicator pen is in the classic style. The Deep Space Nine pen is a twist n click. There are three designs in the set they sell on their website: Star Trek Voyager, DS9 and Communicator for just $5.95 a set! Go directly to (NOTE: Link Defunct; Removed May 2015) and buy them there. This link will take you directly to their order sheet. The postage is refreshingly affordable. I promised to send collectors their way, so please tell them Float About sent you!
Time to introduce three outstanding art pens... from Floaty. When these designs move out of the new arrivals category they will find a home in the new Art category. The information below was provided by www.encyclopedia.com, one of my favorite resource sites. Enjoy this brief background in art history.
Frida Kahlo, 1907-1954... a Mexican painter abandoned a medical career to devote her life to painting. Her preoccupation with female themes and the figurative candor with which she expressed them made her something of a feminist cult figure in the last decades of the 20th Century. Fifty five of her 143 painting are self-portraits. Her work is exhibited at the Frida Kahlo Museum at her home in Mexico City. The portrait just below center, framed inside a square, is stationary. Two portraits exchange visibility above and below the stationary image.
Hilaire Germain Edgar Degas, 1834-1917... a French painter and sculptor. His favorite subjects were ballet dancers, women, cafe life and race track scenes. A number of his paintings and sculptures may be seen in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Louvre. Among the greatest of French artists, Degas profoundly influenced later artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec and Picasso. In the Degas pen, a ballerina floats gracefully across the stage. Other dancers and the word 'BALLET' provide the backdrop. The entire caption panel is devoted to a beautiful ballerina.
Georges Seurat, 1859 - 1891 ... a French neoimpressionist painter, devised the pointillist technique of painting in tiny dots of pure color. Seurat is recognized as one of the most intellectual artists of his time. Examples of his work are in the Barnes Foundation in Merion, PA and also in the Louvre. Sunday in the Park was the inspiration for this pen.
A new Van Gogh pen... is due to arrive early in May. Miranda Wittebol is responsible for it's creation and she will have the pen for sale or trade. The pen will also be available on my pen list. We are both sure you are going to like it! Reserve your pen now, or check Float Along every week or so for status reports.
Ginger Barrett confesses it is her sister Nancy ... that is the avid floaty collector in their family. Ginger wanted to share the inside scoop on Nancy's latest project. “My sister is involved in the writing and making of an education video for Nevada's Clark County Health District. (Las Vegas is in the same county.)” The video will address the dangers of second-hand smoke. In the video, a magician puts a typical Las Vegas float pen into his hat and pulls out a giant (10 inches long) 20th Century pen! “It's not Hollywood, but it is float pen exposure. I told Nancy that I wanted to be listed in the credits since I bought her the pen. That pen is quickly becoming one of her favorites!”
Dutch and German collectors... anxiously await delivery of their pen designs. Collectors from Holland and Germany have united to create their own custom float pens.
Miranda Wittebol organized the Dutch project. Their design features Eskie pulling a sled loaded with float pens through a gorgeous winter snow scene. I will provide a better pic when I have the actual pen to scan. This design will be available on my list. If you prefer to trade, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Both pens expected by Easter.
Ralf Brosig, of Germany, emailed a pic of the German collectors pen. The background and caption panel are pictured. The floater is going to be a float pen. Contact Ralf for more info and to make trade arrangements, email@example.com
This vintage Yogi Bear... looks like an Eskesen to me! The word 'Denmark' doesn't appear anywhere on this item, but note the bullet shaped tip on top and the metal belly band. Both features are signatures of early Eskesen pens and pencils. Keith Bartlett snagged this comical mechanical pencil at a flea market. It is sadly bowed, but Yogi continues to look better than the average bear. Great catch Keith!
Bass Trombonist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra... Doug Yeo has pen news. Many of us own Doug's first floaty pen. Doug now has a second pen in-the-works. The design, by Nancy Nerenberg, has been submitted to Eskesen. It won't become a reality over night, but surely by summer Doug's new pen will be available. This time he chose the classic style. I can't wait to see the finished product.
Shirley Glaettli still has a mini-collection... of float pens for sale. She wants to give her fellow float pen collectors another chance before she posts them on eBay. If you are interested contact Shirley firstname.lastname@example.org to get a copy of her list.
Congratulations Kristen and Eugene Marino... are expecting. No, not a float pen... their first baby. ETA is October 7th. That was the best news I have heard in a week. Couldn't wait to share it with her fellow collectors.
Floaty Displays and Storage ...
Kidney shaped pen displays... are back in stock. Spring has finally sprung in Ohio. It has been warm enough for me to return to the workshop. Twenty displays are now available. The price of the display is $23, priority shipping included.
Leslie McFarlane-Trausch submitted these photos. Leslie's father, Jim McFarlane (pictured)
fashioned these two wooden pen displays for her children, Libby and Drew.
The children quickly outgrew the first display, which holds 102 pens. So, Grandpa created the revolving 3-tiered model, which will accommodate about 400 pens! What a lovely design. A work-of-art and a working piece of furniture. Drew and Libby are lucky to have such a talented and generous Grandfather.
Leslie confesses her father created the display "from junk in the garage.
I think there is part of one of those folding snack tray tables in there.
The revolving circles are just ply wood. There is PVC pipe running down the
center." The display is 30" tall with 11" circles. Thank you for sharing
Leslie. The photos shed a new light on "junk in the garage"!
Psychology of the Floaty Collector...
In issue #38 I asked... "Are your pens safely tucked away under lock and key or displayed in a pencil cup on your desk at work?" Followed by "it would be interesting to hear what Freud might deduce from your response". Carol Santos tells me she currently has about 1,200 pens. Carol organizes her pens by theme and sorted in zip-lock baggies. The bags are stored in two plastic storage boxes. "I have a few free floating (no pun intended) pens in a container in my hutch. I would like a pretty display unit to put on my mantle." I think Freud would find Carol to be a well-adjusted collector. How about you?
A few days later... Carol emailed to relate a fantasy floaty dream. "Ok, now I know I am going off the deep end. Last night I had a dream that I was at a Weekenders party (they sell travel clothing that doesn't wrinkle) and as I was looking around I saw some float pens for sale... really cool ones too. They had little jet streams in them, so that the plane or train didn't just float, it jetted. And it wasn't just in the clear barrel, it extended into the color barrel and looped around. In my dream I thought, "I have to send these to Diana", but thought you probably wouldn't like them because they weren't Eskesen. They were really cool pens. I was bummed when I woke up and discovered they weren't real."
Get out the dream interpretation books. I bet you won't find an explanation for 'jet floaty pen' dreams anywhere. Carol, what on earth did you have to eat before bedtime? Eskesen or not, we would all like to catch a glimpse of your jet pens. Sweet dreams.
Pens Past, Present and Future... Last month there were only a few new pens added to the list. As promised, this issue has a lot more to offer. The majority of new designs are from Floaty. Jack Keely's Drive In pen is so very JACK, colorful and clever. T-Rex chases a damsel across the silver screen at a Drive-In movie. The conceal/reveal mechanism is delightful applied to the Suicide Blonde pen. Hair dye pours from the bottle into her hair, instantly changing her dark hair to bold and blonde.
You won't find a text message on the sperm and egg pen caption panel, just more sperm and an egg. Maybe because this picture is worth 1,000 words. If a couple is trying to conceive, it's could serve as a sweet and funny reminder... maybe even a lucky charm. The artwork could also relay a cautionary message... be careful, one determined sperm + egg=baby.
Either way, the pen is cute as a button. (I cheated. I combined the sperm and baby into the same image. In reality they take turns hiding behind the egg).
For fans of promo pens, the Volker Stein is a must. How many pens do you have with a Kirow crane as a floater?! The pen is from Holland. Miranda's boyfriend Dik is an employee of Volker Stein. Very cool! Don't overlook the two new Float Art designs. I do not have them in hand, but Nancy is back from Germany now and she is going to send them immediately. There is something on the new arrivals list for absolutely everyone. I love the lava lamp by Sharyn Keller.
We will leave our casa ... in the capable hands of our house sitters on April 22 and return from Mexico on May 2nd. Friends Steve and Roswitha are definitely going to accompany us. We have planned and exciting and wonderful vacation. Please do not think I am trying to rush you, but if possible, I would like to ship your order before I leave. There should be plenty of time. It's impossible for me to relax when there are a lot of unshipped orders left behind. If you are not in a hurry for your pens... that is ok too.
Issue #40 of Float About could post as early as June 9th or as late as June 29th! Craft show season is about to begin. As usual, we have a full summer schedule. I will do the best I can to keep you up-to-date in Float Along. Be sure to bookmark the page and visit frequently. I will let you know if I find any float pen in my travels.
Your humble servant... Diana