We caught this program coming from your Public Broadcasting System the other nightwhat a hoot! Or was it? A few units up here insist that the program was serious, and that there actually are people on your planet willing to pay $500 for a pair of dirty socks wornsupposedlyin your Civil War. Please tell us that it’s not true. (We do note that no money ever changes hands on this show.) And what do they mean when they say that something will bring $5,000 “at auction” but is worth $10,000 “for insurance purposes”?

“At auction,” Zork, means that if we could get a bunch of Civil War buffs together who have more money than they need, one of them might lose his or her mind and bid a ridiculous amount for the dirty socks. “Insurance purposes” means that if you’re lucky enough to have someone steal the socks, or your house burns down with them in it (and you not in it, hopefully), you can say they were worth twice what the sucker would’ve paid. And you wonder why insurance rates are so high? (Or why the antiques industry loves Roadshow so much.)