[meteorite-list] Airport Security, Brenham, and Hammerheads (funny?)

From: Dave Mouat <dmouat_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Mon Feb 6 17:06:00 2006
Message-ID: <43E7C8AC.FE6F68C3_at_dri.edu>

Hi Martin and fellow listees;

Your story had a happy ending but others have not been so fortunate. I
think some of us have had meteorites confiscated if I recall some posts
years ago.
This time, I packed my larger acquisitions in a suitcase with dirty
laundry but unfortunately was not able to get TSA to go through and find
them as I checked it. I had two carryons (no relation to Alain nor
Louis), one that was loaded to the gills - the heaviest I've ever carried,
and the other with my small laptop and some slices. Of course I had to
take off my shoes ("but they're beepless", I said; followed by "I srongly
recommend that you remove them" -- which is actually a euphemism for "if
you don't take them off, I'll confiscate Martin's hammer when he comes
through later today"). So they looked at my laptop, sniffed my shoes, but
didn't even grunt at the pernicious Portales nor confrontational Campo.
Once in Ontario (CA) I had half kilo pieces of Gibeon and Gao to bring
back from Fort Irwin (you'll have to imagine why I brought them there).
The TSA folks (or whatever they were called in 1998) at Ontario couldn't
believe they were meteorites. They were treated like Mick Jagger
paraphernalia, almost missed my plane.
So, the moral of the story is "never leave home without a signed Steve



Martin Horejsi wrote:

> Hi All,
> I had a funny thing happen as I was flying out from Tucson Sunday
> evening. Apparently one of the items banned from carry-on luggage is a
> hammer. I usually don't carry one with me when I fly so I was unaware
> of this restriction. However, I do agree with the TSA in their
> decision. You know, Maxwell and all.
> Anyway, it happened that I bought a hammerhead from Steve Arnold of
> Brenham Meteorite fame. The hammerhead was one of the non-meteorite
> artifacts that Steve extracted from the rich Kansas soil in his quest
> for rocks from space.
> Since I was saving my money for the Lang and Blood auctions, I passed
> on Steve's Brenham main mass and instead bought the hammerhead. Plus I
> figured, it would be easier to fly home with given the picky check-in
> clerks who weigh everything.
> So when my hammerhead lit up the airport x-ray machine, the frown on
> the security guy was enough to tell me that maybe these TSA folks in
> Tucson had not seen it all.
> I helped agent locate the hammer amongst other interesting objects
> including some large cactus pedals with extremely small and sharp
> spines courtesy to a visit to Geoff N's home. The agent unwrapped the
> hammer and studied it. Being who I am, I launched into an educational
> presentation about Steve Arnold, about the Brenham meteorite and about
> its amazing discovery. I would have used a PowerPoint on the nice
> white walls of the security hall, but the x-ray machines had used up
> all the electrical outlets.
> As I tried to explain the significance of the hammerhead, the agent,
> let's call him Mr. Deer-in-the-headlights, stared at me likely
> assessing my mental profile. He had never heard of the famous
> meteorite, Steve Arnold, nor it appears, meteorites in general. Lucky,
> the passengers surrounding me had, and were excited about it as they
> pelted me with questions straining see the hammerhead!
> The glaze over Mr. Dith's eyes lifted, and he referred my case to the
> head of security. It was at that moment that I played my trump card.
> When I bought the hammerhead from Steve, he wrote up a Certificate of
> Authenticity which I produced for the head security agent.
> This particular agent sat a desk and studied the hammer and the COA.
> After a minute or two, he pronounced the hammerhead not a hammer since
> there was no handle. Instead, it was a historic artifact and perfectly
> acceptable as a carry-on. I thanked him kindly, and wished I had given
> him one of Steve's postcards as a gift.
> So, should anyone be flying out of Tucson post this reading, and
> departing from one of the lower numbered gates, if you could leave a
> copy of Steve's fabulous postcard on the security desk, I would
> appreciate it.
> Here is a link to the hammer and COA.
> http://www.geocities.com/planetwhy/brenhamhammer.jpg
> Cheers,
> Martin
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Received on Mon 06 Feb 2006 05:07:40 PM PST

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