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Odd Lots


  1. Rob Hickok says:

    I’m mildly surprised that your candy coating bullet is potentially novel information. I’ve been an amateur tobacco-pipe maker for about a dozen years, and one of the first things I learned was that shellac was (perhaps not is) a common “polish” for hard candies.

    1. Back when I was young enough to eat candy with impunity, I didn’t consider its component ingredients important enough to dwell on. Now, at 70, I have my A1C to think of, and don’t eat candy anymore except on holidays where it’s unavoidable. This is true of sweets generally, and becomes truer with each passing year.

      I’m a little unclear on one thing: How did learning to make tobacco pipes cue you in on shellac as a coating on hard candy? I’m not a tobacco guy (smoking killed my father) but are tobacco pipes finished with shellac? In truth I have no clue.

      I know from experience that shellac goes bad over time once you open the can. If it’s been sitting in the can for a year or so, it no longer completely dries. I had a couple of slightly sticky bookcases for that reason.

      1. Rob Hickok says:

        Shellac has been used to finish pipes. Also, carnauba wax (another popular candy shine-coat). A friend had some shellac, and we tested the finish on a rather sad little pipe I’d made. The finish lasted for several years, barely showing any wear, despite the heat of smoking.

        Trivia is fun stuff.

      2. Keith says:

        Is “cue you in” the way you say the expression, or is that just a typo?

        I always thought the expression was “clue you in”, but like misunderstood lyrics, I could have been hearing it wrong my whole life.

        1. I’ve heard it both ways; what I meant was “call your attention to,” and a cue is a calling to attention, to paraphrase the dictionary definition a little. “Clue” might be better English, but when I write too fast I don’t suffer over differences that small.

  2. Jason Kaczor says:

    Heh – I did not know about that for Shellac, but I have always wondered about…

    Artificial raspberry flavouring, which is derived “castoreum”, which comes from Beaver anal glands (and urine?).

    Now – since learning that, I have always wondered – how many Beavers does it take to supply the world with it? Are we really trapping that many Beavers here in Canada? They must have synthesized a fully chemical replacement by now, no?

  3. Rich Rostrom says:

    The Roc reminds me of the “Zwilling” twin-fuselage planes built by WW II Germany. The He-111Z was used to tow the Me-321 “Gigant” glider. There was also an experimental Me-109Z, and the US had the F-82 Twin Mustang, which served in Korea.

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