I made a breakthrough in that fountain pen I bought, which had an empty ink cartridge wedged into the pen cylinder where it couldn't be reached and couldn't be shaken out. As suggested, it needed to be prodded with something long and slender to free it; since I didn't have one, this seemed to be a problem. But I found that I do have several long slender things -- specifically, toy Saturn V rockets. I've got ... three in my apartment, not counting unbuilt models, and another in my office.
The useful Saturn V was one with a rocket about two inches tall, from the (Japanese) Royal Museum of Science, which sells an attractive line of small toy lines unidentified on the outside, which is how I got two Saturn V's but none of the Gemini-Agena, Ranger, or Viking. The Saturn V's posed to be Just After Liftoff, so there's the tower and a plastic cloud of smoke and flame underneath it, which gives it just the right diameter and length to prod an empty ink cartridge, which was where I started. And with the empty cartridge out, the oversized black ink cartridges fit in the pen, and it writes! Quite nicely, in fact, with a rather pleasant flow, so I'm happy to say that the pen problem is for the moment solved just right.
For some reason Disney channel's put a bunch of Halloween-themed episodes of shows on, cultimating this evening in Scary Godmother, a CGI tale of a kid scared by a Halloween prank, with witches and skeletons and such who don't try to be at all frightening past slipping in ``boo'' type puns about people's ``Scary Godmother' and the like. Its endlessly repeated thesis is ``monsters are not mean, just goofy or mincing'' which is fine for skeletons and werewolves and the like, I suppose. The question is why the concentration of Halloween shows today? Are they rehearsing?
Trivia: The 1851 Census Population Tables counted 319 pencil-makers in Great Britain, most around London. Source: The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance, Henry Petroski.
Currently Reading: Pogo's Will-Be That Was, Walt Kelly. I don't know how I'd forgotten Howland Owl's plan to put a rope ladder up to the Moon ... (the strips are from 1956 through 1958, so there's a lot of space, satellite, and geophysical talk). Unfortunately no Complete Pogo run ever makes it past 1954, so I don't know if the thread (so to speak) was picked up again.