The Virtual Corkscrew Museum's Weekly Newspaper

Sunday April 1, 2007

News Index

James Starts a Business

Readers may recall the 2004 hunt for James Quality Jewelers in Bangkok. JQJ is the company responsible for the cheesy bar set. Review the January 12, 13, 15, and 16 issues. Thanks to one of our readers, we now know how James got started.

Rusty Ehmann writes "attached is a picture taken in Pattaya, Thailand in 1976. It's my husband Leo and I with James and Suwannee. Just to clarify, James' business was started when he won a lottery which would entitle him to a 50% interest loan from the Thai government. He thought seriously about selling that right, but was convinced by my husband to go into business for himself. He planned to name the business 'Jimmy's Gems' -- noting that wasn't sophisticated enough, my husband said NO -- James Jewelers and then James QUALITY Jewelers. He guaranteed he'd send customers as he was the MATS [Military Air Transport Service] Liaison Officer at the time. Thus, the beginning of JQJ. James died in San Diego, California in the early 1990s."

A Good Year

About two minutes into the 2006 movie A Good Year, Albert Finney (playing Uncle Henry) yanks a cork from a bottle of wine with a direct pull corkscrew. Henry owns a winery in Provence and when he dies his nephew Max Skinner (Russell Crowe) inherits the winery. Crowe flies from London, rents a car, and about fourteen and one half minutes into the movie, he stops at a T in the road. In front of him is a sign pointed right with "Musée du Tire-Bouchon" on it.

A Good Year - a good movie.

Antique Chinese Corkscrew

Here's a new corkscrew from Sz-wholesale in China. It is under their product listing "antique". The description is "Product Name antique corkscrew Brand hofor Country of Origin china Model mb Product Description with unique and anique outlook also easiy to open" (spelling per firm).

We don't wonder if it will turn up at online auction as an antique for sale; we only wonder when.

Byrd Knife

In the July 6, 2006 issue we presented some photos of the reborn Strauss patent. It now turns up at online auction and is properly advertised as new. The description is "It's called a Harp Tool because it's silhouette is evocative of the musical instrument. The Byrd Harp has eight functional tools which rotate out individually from an outer ring and snap open, ready for use. Included: a slotted-head and Phillips-head screwdriver, punch/awl, gimlet, saw, corkscrew, file and small/large-head hammer that doubles as a bottle opener. When folded flat the Harp slips into a leather carrying case. It's like having a micro toolbox for your car, boat, backpack or bike. "

One closed on May 4 at AU $27.50 (US $21.47). It appears to be a quality tool and is easily distinguished from the original Strauss by noting that the corkscrew is now the second tool instead of the first tool and the hammer is a bottle opener.

Sharpen Your Worms

Got broken / tipped worms?

Corkscrews in Libya

On March 8, 2006 a report entitled "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices" was submitted to the United States Congress by the Department of State Included in the report was this paragraph on practices in Libya:

The reported methods of torture and abuse included chaining prisoners to a wall for hours, clubbing, applying electric shock, applying corkscrews to the back, pouring lemon juice in open wounds, breaking fingers and allowing the joints to heal without medical care, suffocating with plastic bags, prolonged deprivation of sleep, food, and water, hanging by the wrists, suspension from a pole inserted between the knees and elbows, cigarette burns, threats of dog attacks, and beatings on the soles of the feet.

Using corkscrews for torture is nothing new. In Chapter V ("The Moral Reformers") of Stalky & Co. (1899), Rudyard Kipling wrote "They were corkscrewed, and the torture of the Corkscrew—this has nothing to do with corkscrews—is keener than the torture of the Key."

Later, in 1989, Valerie Sayers wrote in How I Got Him Back, Or, Under the Cold Moon's Shine "If I'd had Ethan's Swiss Army knife, I would have opened up the corkscrew, the torture tool, and stuck it straight into his chest."

More corkscrew torture is found in The Annual Register of World Events: A Record of World Events 1989. Alan Day and Verena Hoffman wrote "The passengers on board a packet bound to St. Marc were seized by the brigands, who, among the means of torture they employed had recourse to corkscrews, for the purpose of depriving them of their eyes." (1990)

And still more Argentina's Lost Patrol: Armed Struggle, 1969-1979. María José Moyano wrote "Other torture methods were the airplane, the burial and the corkscrew." (1995)

News Index

©2006 Don Bull, Editor


The Virtual Corkscrew Museum