Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Good News! Gillian Hart, PENguin Webmaster

Gilly has asked me to thank everyone for all the cards and good wishes.
She is now out of danger and shuttling between home and a rehab facility where she is working to get her strength back and looking forward to returning home for good soon.
Although she welcomes your e-mails, she may be slow to respond for a while.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Last Night of Hannukah

It really is a lovely, gentle holiday (at least in modern terms).

It's often described as the Festival of Lights.

As the song describes the candles "one for each night, they shed a sweet light to remind us of times long ago."

Friday, December 26, 2008

Remains of the Day

With Sharon suffering a cold the day was quiet for us, lots of quiet together time, lots of DVDs, a quiet dinner

Here the giant Emperor Penguin attacks brave Umberto Bigfoot, seeking to seize the intrepid adventurer's new Aurora Nobile

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Just a few holiday images to share

Rick and Anna with Hannukah prezzies: Anna poses with an endangered bat sponsored for Anna from the World Wildlife Federation. For Rick it's a penguin, of course.

Anna gets a cool necklace

For Rick Commie mints seem appropriate

Anna's are pirate mints

Sharon with some of her stocking loot

Yup, we even got a little stormlet, including a bit of hail, nothing like what most of you all had to deal with.

Sharon shows off her throw for twenty years of loyal service to that other university.

Sharon and Anna huddle over this afternoon's DVDs

Sharon's brother Larry came over briefly. Before Sharon got so sick, he and his family were to share the day with us, but they did not want the germs.

Finally, my gift to me, the Aurora Nobile. Yeti to scale, but not included

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to All

Still busy finishing up the semester, planning for Spring Semester in England and finishing up the work for Bonhams.
But I want to take time to wish all a most joyous holiday season.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Still No Update

but Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Blagh, blagh, blagh

Another weekend without updating the blog or posting my Columbus finds. Sorry.

Spent the time working on my newest project, evaluating some fabulous pens for Bonhams Auction house, and grading papers. No exercise, little prayer or meditation.

Bad Rick, no Ben and Jerry's.

I am pleased to report that despite a few setbacks, Webmaster Gilly is slowly recovering. Praise for that!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

And Tomorrow

I am off to the Ohio Show. For reasons of space I will not have a camera, but will try to update folks on the comings and goings and doings.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Yes, We Can

I am grateful to my fellow citizens for giving us a new hope and a new day.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Cards and Letters, please

Many of you are familiar with The PENguin’s webmaster (or webmistress, as she prefers it) Gillian Hart. She is an occasional poster on the various pen lists and has a strong presence on The PENguin website through the Webmaster’s Corner.

What some of you may not know, is that despite her charm and wit and her intellectual attainments (a Master’s Degree in English Lit.) Gilly is multiply disabled.

To make a long story short, she is now extremely ill in hospital with a rather guarded prognosis.

I can’t help but feel that both the prayers and best wishes and cards and letters from the pen community could help in her hoped for recovery.

If you can, I know that both she and her family would appreciate cards and letters. I do not have a hospital address yet, so for now, if you feel moved to do so, please send mail to:

Gillian S. Hart
9 Swanson Oaks
Waitakere 0612
New Zealand


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fooling around with the camera

You are unlikely ever to see another Rover Ro-Set, Italian

Not quite a button filler, and not taken today, but I ran across it in old files, a truly great pen from Germany, a Rakete.

Montegrappa Elmo

Minerva, OMAS sub-brand

Picking up on Pentrace's Sunday topic of button fillers
Swiss Askas

Soennecken Präsident 1 and a mystery pen

WTF, a Juska? German

Nettuno Superba

Some Thoughts on Pens

After collecting for nearly twenty five years, much of that time pretty intensely, there are few pens I "need"( whatever that means). But every so often (actually pretty often) something catches my eye. Such it was with this when a pen friend showed it to me a few weeks ago.

He is in the process of culling his collection but was unsure whether this set would stay or not. That only made it more attractive to me, of course, so when he contacted me a few days ago . . .

Well you see the result.

and a better image

It's a Waterman's Deluxe Ink Vue set in the copper ray colour, made in the mid 1930s to compete with Parker's wildly successful Vacumatic.

I think I still favour the Vacumatic, but the Ink Vue, with its deco-ish accents and unconventional plastic has its charms.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Anyone who teaches can tell you that apart from dealing with education administrators, the worst part of academic life is marking undergraduate papers.

We, it's close to the midpoint of my semester and essays and quizzes (yes, quizzes in college) are coming at me fast and furious.

How not to lose my mind now that I no longer drink and grade?

By mixing it up with pens!

Here's a small selection of what I've been grading with over the last few days.

German safeties seem to be a favourite, here's an Astoria with a fine nib that is a dream to write with

This Aurora 80th Anniversary is a sweet little pen that masquerades as a continental overlay safety, and with a 14 K Bock nib it writes like a dream

This Goldfink is another favourite among the German safeties. I'm too lazy to pull out and pose the Osmia 6 and the Salamander I've used, as well.

Just to change things up, I've been using my Azure Parker Senior Maxima with an incredibly flexxy fine nib to mark papers as well.

This is a bit of a cheat. There's no way I could ever mark papers with the music nib on this Rossi 800N.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A PENguin Update

Check out The PENguin! In the past few days we have added more than three dozen new pens, many of them limited editions and some very uncommon vintage pens.

We also have coming some limited markdowns (not yet indicated on the site) in The PENthouse--on the Tortoise M400 sets, the lizard 101, the OMAS Ferrari set and the NOS Rap-pens.

Here are some teasers:

This Aurora is just drop-dead gorgeous (apologies for the tiny image)

This Concerto may be the prettiest Pelikan Limited made

Except maybe the Blue Ocean

We're calling this one of a kind special Complete Transparency from The PENguin

This is a sweet Pelikan 400 set

We also have coming some limited markdowns (not yet indicated on the site) in The PENthouse--on the Tortoise M400 sets, the lizard 101, the OMAS Ferrari set and the NOS Rap-pens.

Visit The PENguin at:

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Busy Fall

It's been over a month since I've updated this blog. Apart from teaching and the PCA's website and digital library projects, there's getting ready for England in the Spring semester. Yadda, yadda.

For a while it actually looked like I'd get in an update to the site, but it ain't gonna happen. I have listed some notable new pens there if any of you are interested.

In the meantime, I thought some of you might like to see how pens get photographed. Our house is small, by the way, no space for dedicated pen rooms or photo studio, but I make do.

Just to tease, here are some of the available goodies:

Dunno when I'll actually get time to do the site update or update this, but be well and keep in touch.

Friday, August 15, 2008

DC Final Edition

It is undoubtedly the sign of a good pen show that only five days later am I rested enough and caught up so that I can complete my post on the Washington DC show. Those of you who read the lists have, by now, a pretty good sense of the show and some great images, so I will keep this short.

It’s a truism that many of us came at first for the pens but return for the people. That certainly is the case. I am blessed with a multitude of pen friends, many of whom I got to see at the show. The list is too long to detail, but I enjoyed time with Richard Binder, a good friend and colleague, and with Danny Marion a friend and mentor. I am also honoured to lead the best PCA board in the history of the organization and got to meet with those colleagues, plus our Pennant Editor Richard Jarvis and our pen show representative Kim Svabik.

For me another highlight was the opportunity to talk about one of the loves of my life, Pelikans. About twenty of us spent more than an hour looking into the history of the frim, their pens, discussing repairs. We had a lively Q and A followed by some show and tell. Great fun for me and I think for them.

While I sold fewer pens this year than in previous years, I was able to buy a small, but select group of mostly Pelikans as well as some other German makes, and for my self I scored a red ripple Waterman’s 56 that nearly crawled into my hands and a rather uncommon Pelikan 100N which appears to be a demonstrator, with a clear(!) binde! What fun.

A final word to those of you who think you can collect pens without going to pen shows and partaking of the community. You can’t! The joy of pens is in the people and the gathering. There are lots of pen shows in America and Europe, a far cry from twenty-five years ago when it was Chicago. C’mon down!