15 August 2006


"You keep using that word...I do not think it means what you think it means."
-- Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride

I just came across this picture I took while we were on our vacation/road-trip back in July:

Talk about variety in your diet.


Were you ever to take the time to really consider the existence of Vienna (am I supposed to capitalize that?) sausages, would you even have imagined that there were this many kinds?

Now that we have all wasted sufficient brain cells contemplating this "meat product," let's move on to more worthy cases of inconceivability, such as the fact that I read today that The Hermitage is in possession of more than three million items.

No wonder I have yet to make it through the "Collection Highlights" on their website.

(I've heard that the largest number most people can visualize is between 60,000 and 100,0000. We have some experience with those numbers since that's about how many people a college football stadium can hold. Personally, I'm not sure I'm holding onto the concept of 3,000 of anything all that well.)

My mind immediately races to the fact that there is surely a catalogue of The Hermitage's three million items. And that catalogue probably includes measurements, condition, provenance, exhibition history...and a dozen other details. Just imagine standing in the copyroom waiting for THAT document to print! ("No, I'm good. I brought granola bars and a sleeping bag.")

I hope some computer genius started capitalizing on that massive programming need...right after he finished beating all the machines at chess.

P.S. Don't worry, The Met has two million. And I would think it possible to catch up much more subtly in the art world than with the space program.

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