Friday, June 8, 2018

WHAT’S GOING AROUND HERE? / Curious Things That Spin

What does a tequila bottle have to do with spinning?
More than you might imagine; read on...

Ok, a little free-association game: What first comes to mind when you hear the word “spin? For me, it’s spin the bottle, that mortifying little kissing game we played as kids.

Now if you were to approach this a little differently, the question might be, what’s the first thing a kid would think of to play with a glass bottle? Knock it over? Fill it with water or sand? Mold mud around it? But spin it?

Turns out there are all kinds of things that spin, including many you’d never think of unless—like the incurable kid that endures deep inside all of us—you just try them.

Among my most spectacular spinning discoveries:

THE LID OF MY FAVORITE SAUCEPAN – We have this one stainless steel pan—I’ve had it for forty-plus years—whose lid nestles nicely into a channel around the rim. When something’s simmering in that pan the escaping steam turns the lid into a sort of hovercraft; when I rotate the knob, the whole thing turns nearly frictionlessly, riding on the steam and lubricated by a coating of water in the channel. My record so far: 18 seconds.

– A friend recently gave me a bottle of Trader Joe’s tequila. Now I’ve emptied my share of exquisitely-designed tequila bottles, but my focus is normally on what’s inside.

That can change, however, when one has consumed a few caballitos of the stuff. With the Trader Joe’s nectar, what ultimately grabbed my inner child’s attention was the simple, pleasant-to-handle cork-and-wooden-ball stopper.

While chatting one night, I was idly fiddling with that stopper, and just happened to put it, knob down, on the counter and torque the cork as if I were spinning a top.

Not surprisingly, it did spin, but what I wasn’t ready for was just how well, how long and, well, how comically. (Be sure to watch till the thing stops moving.)


– I eat ridiculous quantities of yogurt. One day I took off the translucent plastic lid of a Dannon 32-ounce tub and set it down on the counter. I guess I must have glanced the edge of it while reaching for a bowl. It rotated quite easily. I tried it again, this time with more intention, and it kept going for well over 30 seconds.

My guess is that these lids are injection molded. One result of that process is a little nipple of plastic jutting up in the exact center of the circle. The thing is so precisely made, so perfectly balanced, that when the lid spins on that axis, its outer rim barely touches the counter. With so little friction, it just keeps going and going…and going.

So what spinning oddities have you discovered? Keep you eyes open and your 10-year-old’s appetite for play well whet and chances are you’ll come across a few possibilities.

Then, go ahead, just give it a whirl!


jean said...

I like your examples of spinning better than the intense and non-stop verigo I had for 4 months this winter and spring! I was diagnosed with Meniere's syndrome a few weeks ago, so now I am working on healing this "incurable" disease. Wish me luck! :)

Jeffrey Willius said...

I'm so sorry to hear that, Jean. I understand Meniere's is quite rare. I hope you find some relief and, yes, find your own ways of healing that conventional medicine only wishes they could bottle and sell.

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