In August 2006 I made a solemn vow:
This is the cosmic microwave background presented in the best known way of conveying scientific information: printed on a beach ball. Talk about an inflationary universe!
...A few years ago WMAP secretly distributed them to cosmologists. Needless to say, the early universe printed on a inflatable ball is something that I have decided I must have. For some reason, despite not being for sale, the ball seems to have its own web site...I pledge now to the internet, ultimate keeper of pledges made to no one in particular, that I will acquire this ball. I am not sure how yet, but I swear to do whatever it takes--breaking into someone's office, posing as an elementary school, sending threatening letters to beach ball manufacturers. whatever.
I am now free to disclose that I have triumphed over the forces allied against me-- the beach ball website that mysteriously refuses to sell it, the people who said I would never amount to anything, the journals that keep rejecting my groundbreaking work on the anisotropy of CMB beach ball distribution, everyone. I have, indeed, obtained the ball:
I can't go into the specifics of where it came from, but let's just say that a certain physics department who could never appreciate it as much as I do had a habit of carelessly leaving it in a usually unlocked room full of other neglected items, which I thoughtfully did them the favor of not stealing. And that I have waited until now to announce to the world because the institution that department belongs to, due to some bureaucratic stuff, took until a year after I had finished to send me my master's degree. Having gotten it in the mail a couple of months ago, I am now free, statute-of-limitations-wise, to reveal the success of Operation CMB Ball Freedom. It is hanging from the ceiling of my apartment, daily inspiring me to contemplate the mysteries of the cosmos. Mission accomplished.
Now a beach ball of the Neutrino Background pattern, that would be something...