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29-Ton Bowling Ball, Er, Giant Kugel, Finds New Home

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In October, the kugel's manufacturer, Kusser Granitwerke, replaced the ball at no charge with a more durable light-gray Tarn granite version.

As for the old kugel, it sits on a strip of grass in the old train yard out back. It's propped up in a rough metal frame, North Pole to the sky. It seemed especially solitary last Wednesday afternoon as a pianist played a frenzied rendition of "Jingle Bells" in the nearby Santa Land tent at the Children's Museum, while a crowd of children clapped along. The kugel's only visitors: a sparrow that alighted on its frame and a man in a black jacket who patted it briefly before walking on.

But the kugel won't be lonely for long. Witschey says the sphere will become a static sculpture in the train-yard park. "It's too elegant not to," he says.

Within a month, says Terri Viers, the museum's director of guest relations and membership, the kugel will be sunk slightly into the ground where it now sits and signs will be placed nearby explaining its history.

Witschey does not expect the crack to grow further, nor should the sphere fall apart. "Imagine an orange that you slice in half," he says. "The slice is parallel to the ground. And as long as we don't let it roll, it will sit stably indefinitely."

Some might be tempted to try kugel-bowling, to see how many of the nearby wooden picnic tables the sphere would splinter. It has crossed Viers' mind: "What if an overly ambitious group of kids decides they're going to move it?" But rest assured the earth is safe from mischief. Rolling it is impossible, Viers says. — Melissa Scott Sinclair

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