Thursday, June 20, 2024

Life In The Slow Lane

 I really have to be motivated to do stuff anymore.  Not just this blog, but a couple months ago when I last posted I was started to move stuff around the apartment and figure out the best way to display stuff.  Since then I have moved the furniture, but I haven't been motivated to display the stuff I had to move.  I worry at times I'm too much of a homebody, but at the same time, I don't have much interest in doing stuff.  I easily blame it on the weather or something else, but the truth is long before Covid, I just didn't want to be around people.  Now I don't have much interest in things that I would do at home even.  Besides moving them a few times, I'm not sure the last time I handled my cards.  Well, not entirely true I did get a few packs off Listia a few months ago, which I probably should do a blog on.  My main card focus these days when I even think about them is non-sports cards.  The cards I got were the Hollywood ones from the 90s and county music.  If I do a blog on it I'll explain the reasons.  I probably have a hundred or so cards to show since the last fully dedicated blog on them.  I rarely go to the TCDB anymore either.  Even when I wasn't messing with cards much the last few years I still visited the site multiple times a day.  I don't know why I don't visit much, but I also don't fret over it.

All that being said, I do still have some interests and I have a few things to show today, which are things I have been doing.  So since today is the first day of summer.... eh, okay that's not the reason, I just was bored.... let's take a look.

I don't know if I showed an updated photo of my sock collection, but but this was a few weeks ago.  The Ramen and Cup of Noodles were a big hit last time, and I think I added my first double (which really in baseball terms would be considered a variation), of the Oscar Mayer hot dogs.  I like the yellow on slightly more.  Not related to the socks, but underneath the hot dog socks is a wrapper for Cherry Mash.  My mom and I have been looking for some for a few months and finally found some and I saved a wrapper.  I still like the idea of this being a food wall, so maybe more will be added later.  I made a comment to my mom and sister that about 4 more pair of socks and I'll have to add a third row.

A few days later my mom and sister went shopping and found a couple more for me.  I just realized I didn't take pictures of them.  That ruins the setup for the next pictures but oh well.  I had them setting ready to bag and display for a few days.  Then I went to Dollar Tree and told my mom if I bought more than two I'd have to make another row...

Even though I don't use it, Frank's Red Hot has been on a wishlist for a while.  I have looked up what I don't have (not really a list, but seeing what others have posted) and have wanted it for a while.  The Bagel Bites and Teddy Grahams were ones I forgot about, but glad I got them.  All was well, but now I have to start a third row.  So as my mom and I looked around Dollar Tree, I went around the front and noticed a display... UH OH!

What have I done?  I thought this would be a fun little collection, never did I imagine I'd have a wall dedicated to them.  To think the first two times I spotted them, I only got one or two pair and passed over many others.  I believe the Eggo was one I passed over.  This batch includes two more variations, the Cup Noodles and Kool-Aid, which I probably didn't need either, but still I'm glad I got them.  Though I did consider not getting all of them, I mean why do I need this many socks.  Now fearing making a third row, I pretty much filled up that row and very close to a fourth row which I don't know what I'll do if I need another.

Not easing my remorsefulness was when the checkout lady who is so nice and I've known for many years said "I've never seen somebody buy this many socks".  All in good fun I responded "I had to find something to collect since there hasn't been movies in a while".  We both loved seeing the new batch of movies come in, but it was the truth.  So now instead of going to Dollar Tree for movies, I go for socks and Hot Wheels.  Which if I'm honest, Hot Wheels are cheaper at Walmart.

As I stated above, I'm not motivated, so I haven't hung them up yet, but maybe I will this weekend.  I still need to bag them first to prevent dust on them.

Then after Dollar Tree we made a trek to our local second hand store.  We don't get too excited anymore, but sometimes a deal is to be had.  Was today one of those days?

A couple cheap puzzles is a nice way to start.  The Hometown Collection had a confusing price, but we decided to get it for 1.25, which is still cheaper than the $3 most of the puzzles are.  The most exciting one though was also the cheapest.  Long time readers may remember the Pretzel puzzle we have which is in a bag very similar to this Popcorn one.  I believe there is three kinds, pretzels, popcorn, and potato chips.  I've been looking for the popcorn and potato chips one for a long time, and so glad I finally found the popcorn one.  I'm not sure when we'll start on it since we are pretty far behind on puzzles right now (partly motivation and partly because the table was full with other stuff preventing puzzles to be worked on).  Right now we're working on a flag one (pic of the box in the next photo), and then we'll figure out what to do.

This calendar is another cool item I found for a quarter.  I've always liked the idea of these, but never found one for a price I like.  Sure the blocks are chipped, but a quarter is a good price.  Perfect time for it for Flag Day and Independence Day coming up.  Maybe I can find the right color to match and cover up the chips on the blocks.  The Flag puzzle is the one we are currently working on.  We've had it for a bit but figured now was the time to do it.  It is a bunch of different stamps.  It should be nice when finished.

I was pleasantly surprised to find books were 4 for a buck.  A lot better than 50 cents each.  I don't know why but I've been really into cookbooks lately, so I added a few more to the collection.  That reminds me I need to update my collection on the librarythings site (I forgot if that's the actual name its been so long).  The Southern Living one reminds me of the Ideals books/magazines and I like getting more Christmas themed ones to display during the holidays.  The only "real" books I got was the Fast NASCAR History, which is a quick read and I'm half way done reading, and Bear's Boys which I haven't got to yet (I can't read more than one book at a time).  I don't know when I'll get to it, my reading has dipped this year plus I have others I want to read first.  My mom found a couple books too, so overall we were happy.

Now normally I don't do this next part, but I was curious.  In the front of the store they had a bunch of stuff.  Some on the left side was marked I think free.  On the right side looked like junk but no prices.  When I put our shopping cart back I asked home much some of the stuff on the right side was.  The clerk when outside to look.  She looked for a price on the boxes, then said "you know what?  Just take them, one less thing I'll have to drag back in at 4 (closing time)".  That works for me, I just wanted a couple things but I'll take them all.

So I added to another collection for free, so it made up for the overbuying of socks.  What did I get?

Now make no mistake, all the cases were WELL WORN, however after going through them at home, none of the tapes themselves looked bad or had mold on them.  In fact one or two may have never been watched.  Some of them came from video stores, others looked like store bought.  Out of all the videos, only two (Field of Dreams and The 6th Day) were ones I already had.  I only slightly noticed the Terminator box set when I asked.  I was only going to get that and after looking maybe Commando and Young Guns 2 but so glad I got them all.  Again, most of these aren't ones I would watch, but it is nice to build the collection.  That doesn't mean I would never watch these, and even if I didn't get them some I actually do like.  Demolition Man I've watched 2-3 times on streaming this year alone, and I loved the first Ace Ventura even if some of the material doesn't hold up these days.  Sudden Death and Hollow Man are a couple I've wanted to rewatch for a while as well.  I think I once had Big Daddy on VHS so that can be added to my... once had on VHS mini collection.  The two that stand out are Hoosiers and Spawn.  Spawn included a special insert card thing that looked really cool.  I will likely display it (maybe only around Halloween, but still).  Hoosiers was the oddest one though.  It wasn't the original version it was from one of those Family companies that edit the movie so the whole family can watch.  I admit I have a DVD or two from similar companies, but I also believe movies (or music) should be edited, and while I admit I've never watched Hoosiers in one sitting, I don't know what would specifically need to be edited.  I just found it very odd that it was included in a box of movies which included many movies with much worse violence, cursing, and whatever else.  That said, I may have to watch it just to see what the modified.  I haven't used my VCR in a while, so until I dig it back out, it may be a while.  That isn't exactly a motivation thing, I'm trying to find a VCR that I can use to put tapes onto DVD (mainly grabbing commercials from the 80s and 90s).  Until then I'll probably keep the VCR in the closet.  I have enough stuff I need to hook up to the TV anyways.

Overall I think I made out pretty well on the trip, and was glad I was motivated enough to get out.  Also glad I was motivated to write this blog.  Maybe it will inspire me to finish organizing or at least figure out how to organize.  With the heat picking up (warm enough to turn on the AC) I will have to find something to do indoors.

Thanks everyone for reading and hope the weather is nice where you are, or at least can stay safe from storms or heat.  For the first time in 3 years we've moved out of drought conditions with recent storms, but some have been more severe than I've wanted.  Now hitting the mid to upper 90s in June isn't giving me high hopes for a cool summer.  At least I have stuff to do inside... if I can get motivated.  Have a great weekend.

Saturday, April 20, 2024


 I don't know where to start.  The last few months have somewhat blended together, but I didn't think it was that long since my last post.  The worst part is I don't have much to show or really talk about.  I have a couple pictures, but that's about it.  I figured I would do a Ranting and Raving post, but I'm not even in the mood to do it.  I guess since I don't look at my cards or even check out current cards I just don't have much to say about the hobby.  You have figured that out with my last two years of posts, but even now aside from one or two interests, I'm not collecting anything else either.  I have tried to find a few Hot Wheels at Dollar Tree but that started out of boredom.  It seems when I get tired of a hobby I start collecting something else.  Trading cards and movies were my long loved hobbies, but now neither interest me as much and since Dollar Tree doesn't have hardly any anymore, movies aren't really on my mind.  So I started finding a couple cool Hot Wheels (which by the way, they are cheaper at Walmart), even though it is easier to dig through them at Dollar Tree.  However I guess my main collecting hobby right now is socks.

Yeah, socks.

I guess it was around Christmas I bought like 2-3 just for fun, but since then whenever I come across new ones to me, I buy them.  I only get food related ones because I like advertising, so I have passed on Ninja Turtles, Garfield, and Spongebob.  Though I would consider Peppa Pig ones if I saw them.  Since I took this picture, I have added 4 more pair thanks to my mom and sister.  I have added Ramen, Kraft Mac & Cheese, and a couple others.  I have tried to figure out how to display them, and for now I like this setup.  If I move a couple things around on the sides, I can probably fit 6 more pair before I need another row.  Since it gets dusty real quick in the apartment, I decided to use sandwich bags to protect them, though a friend has a vacuum sealer which I may use one day.  The only issue if I like the hangers to hang them with, and I don't know how I would hang them without them.  I have a few ideas for the wall, which was once my wall dedicated to my town and school then for a brief time my Kansas City Chiefs wall.  The wall is opposite the pantry, so I like the idea of a food wall.  I have a few other ideas but for now I like this.

I have also rearranged my display of everything else and in the process of doing it again.  While I admit I am always going to rearrange stuff, this time it wasn't because I was unhappy with the layout.  I moved my bed a few months ago and honestly I don't like how its situated so I have to move it and by doing that I have to move a lot of other stuff.  So might as well do it all at once.

Otherwise not a lot has happened recently.  I have been engaged in a game that I spend a lot of time on but nothing to really discuss.  

I have still been on the search for puzzles, but do to rearranging stuff I haven't worked on many as of late.  One project I did work on was getting all my puzzles in one locations and sorting them.  We have over 200 puzzles completed and around 25 or more still to do.  So something to look forward to, and also the plan is to get rid of at least 50 or so to create some space and also just parse ones we don't plan on doing again.  I'd like to get rid of more, but I think my mom wants to hold on to them.

I found a couple used DVD's on a recent trip to Savvy Seconds.  The Late Shift is one I've wanted for a long time (and one I watch from time to time on Youtube), so it was an easy grab.  I already own Caddyshack on DVD, but I've had it for a long time, so a backup might be good.  However I've never owned Caddyshack II aside from recording it off TV onto a VHS tape long gone.  It's not a great movie, but I still enjoyed it a lot.  Jackie Mason is no Rodney Dangerfield and Robert Stack is no Ted Knight, but both do a good job with the script given to them.  Randy Quaid is good for comedic relief (teaching us how to play with a wedgie).  I was glad to find it.

My VHS collection has started to stall and that's fine, I have been in the mood to get rid of some stuff and so that means coming to terms with not adding a bunch of stuff either, so while VHS tapes take up a lot of space, sock really don't so it was a nice swap.

I'm still learning to use the Chromebook and using pictures, so that also has hindered me from posting more.  Though in February I did utilize it good enough to get a lot of stuff from the Newspapers free weekend (the next one should be Mother's Day weekend).  I haven't used my desktop in a couple months, but will dig that out soon to try to work on a couple projects.  At least I hope.

I'm not sure what else to talk about, so I think I'll wrap it up here, thanks to all those who still enjoy reading this, and I never planned to wait so long.  Maybe I might do a ranting post later, but we'll see.  I've had an issue with one of my fingers later, and haven't liked using it much, so I try to limit my typing.  Anyways, I hope everyone has a great weekend, as for me, I think I have some racing to watch (F1, NASCAR, Indy, and Xfinity I think I can watch them all). If Katherine Legge was still racing IMSA I would maybe even watch that too.  Oh well, I hope she makes it to the Indy 500 again.  Anyways thanks again for reading and have a great day, week, month.... months, until I post again.

Friday, January 19, 2024

As You Can See

 If you read my last post you remember me mentioning about doing a refresh on the blog.  If you look at it currently, you'll see that it hasn't happened yet.  There has been a reason for that and it actually wasn't laziness.  A day or so after Christmas my desktop slowed down.  I will take blame for it, but as a result, it became unbearingly slow.  It was around that time that I was already planning on using the Chromebook more, because I planned to use my new Chromecast but the idea was to do a lot of other stuff on the desktop still.  I'm stuck in my own ways and don't care for change, and to be honest I like the way I prepare my blog posts on my desktop.  I have all my photos cropped and ready to upload and to me its much smoother.  Anyways, I let the desktop off for a couple days, and when I turned it back on- still slow.  A friend suggested restoring it to a previous point, which was a good idea.  It worked!!!!... for a couple hours, then it became slow again.  I must point out, the desktop is I think 14 years old, so I've been lucky its worked this long.  Its not DOA, but needless to say, I haven't used it much.  It didn't help that the power went out while using it the last time I had it on a little over a week ago, and I haven't tried it since.  I will at some point soon, and also will need to get as much stuff off of it as I can, but for now I haven't.  What that means is until I figure out the learning curve of the Chromebook, I might not be posting much.  My biggest hangup right now is preparing the pictures.  I have to admit, I like how I can pretty much instantly get my pictures off my phone, but I also like cropping the photos, and I'm still learning that stuff on here.  I don't know when I'll get it worked out, and I plan to dedicate time to it, but until then, I might do some ranting on here a bit or maybe some storytelling posts but probably not ones with lots of pictures.  That said, I did take a ton of photos recently for a possible new post at some point, but I don't know when.  In the meantime I'll continue learning the nuances of the Chromebook, so I can post more.

One positive I am happy about though is I've already finished two books this year.  One I mostly read late last year, but it was after the start of the year so it counts for 2024.  With a recent cold spell I've also watched TV more lately (and thanks to the NFL limiting a playoff game to streaming only, I also have Peacock again).  I can't be totally mad, I get a lot of value with Peacock, but when my subscription ran out in October I didn't expect to sign back up so soon.  Anyways, another year of Wrestlemania for me, as well as catching up on other shows when they come back.  Hoping to see season two of Poker Face and Twisted Metal before my subscription ends in early 2025.  I mentioned I got a Chromecast, and I haven't used it a lot, but what little I have, its worked great.  While setting it up though I had to move most of my stuff on display, and haven't put them back up yet.  So once I put them back up, I will probably show a picture.

Anyways, I wanted to give an update, and while I figure out the Chromebook (and what font Windows used so I can match it on here), posts may be few and far between.  I guess I'll show a picture before I go, I just don't know what.

Hmm, seems easy to upload from Photos instead of the computer option, but I still want to crop them better.  At least I have messed with it a bit.  Anyways, these were the last two puzzles completed in 2023, and I'm planning on counting how many are completed this year.  So far two have been done.  These two were fun, especially the cookie one.  Both were done for the first time, and I can see both being added to the annual redos.  A plan for sometime this spring is to get ALL the puzzles we have from storage, and go through them and sort them.  Sort by season/holiday so they are easier to find.  Also might even purge some since we have so many.  That is the goal at least.

Anyways, that will wrap things up for now, and maybe at some point I will work on the refresh for the site, and I'll give an update on my desktop.  Thanks everyone for the continued reading and I hope everyone has a great 2024!

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Reading is FUNdamental!

 I have to call out a fellow blogger.  It pains me to put them on the spot, but sometimes you must.  It's not often someone chides you in a comment on one of your posts.  However it occurred a little over a year ago.  However since its the season of giving, I'll give a couple pictures before I call them out.

All my stocking are hung with care! In the last couple months I've found all these pairs of socks at Dollar Tree.  I'm not planning on wearing them, but they look really nice on display, and a nice conversation piece. 

The tree may not be a big deal to most, but if you are a long time reader of this blog you may remember that usually I buy my trees from Dollar Tree.  My Dollar Tree...trees, are nice but are very small.  Well around Black Friday, Dollar General had this 6 foot tree for 10 bucks.  It was usually 20 or 25 and had no decorations.  We still had some decorations, the ornaments were buy one get one half off, so for I think 4.50 we got around 50.  So not bad for 15 bucks.  Now the fun will be taking it apart.  Though I think we have a wrapping paper plastic box... thing, that we can put this in (the tree comes apart in 3 pieces).


So with that out of the way, time to call out a blogger.

 Mr. Penny Sleeves himself, Jon, had the audacity to yell at me about how I should read more!  WELL, I NEVER!  LOL!  In all honesty I even replied that I planned to read more in the next year.  I have a bookcase full of books, so I better start reading.  Let me say, Thank you Jon for putting a fire under my rumpus to finally start doing it.

I don't normally make New Years resolutions, and I didn't count this as one either.  In fact, I forgot all about this reply until a couple days ago when looking at old posts to see what I've actually posted.  The timing was too good to pass up, so I think he'd get some enjoyment out of it.

The post today will be all the books I've read in since the start of 2023.  With the year about to wrap up, I might have time to finish one more book, but if I do, I'll post about it in 2024.  I like this format of having a folder of all the books I've read so it might be a yearly feature.  I decided to jump the gun a bit early just in case I wasn't in the mood to right in the next week or two.  If I do, I might show off all my decorations I have up for the holidays, as well as more photos of the tree.  Maybe go around town and take pictures of lights.

Anyways, the format is this- all the photos were time stamped from when I took the picture which was usually shortly after I read them.  Sometimes I was lazy and took 3-4 pictures at a time, but otherwise the order should be correct.  I think I might have read 1-2 more, but I either didn't take a picture or I didn't finish them because I didn't like them which I just gave to my sister to donate to a little free library.  I might not recap every book, but I will try to mention what I thought of them.  So let's begin.

So it looks like I didn't take photos until around the end of June.  However, I had a separate shelf for all the books I finished, so I should have included them all. I remember reading these three early in the year.  I'm positive the first one was the Lyle Alzado book.  I liked it because he was really honest and it gave me more info about his life that I didn't know.  I would recommend the book.

The Alex Karras one wasn't too bad but it was made for school age kids, and published in the 70s/early 80s, so it didn't have much of his acting career.  Looking back, it may not have even mentioned Webster.  A full autobiography would be something I wouldn't mind reading.  It's not that I don't recommend it, but I wouldn't expect too much from it.  That said maybe if you have a kid who likes football, it may not be bad, though they probably have no idea who Karras is.

The Bo Jackson book took a bit longer to read, and I have to be honest, I was a bit disappointed. I was expecting something better especially with Dick Schaap as a co-writer, but I had a feeling this was more like a money grab than a true autobiography.  Don't get me wrong, he is honest in the book, and I think a lot of people will like it, but I came away from it losing a bit of interest in Bo. That said, I'm glad I read it but its not one I will likely revisit.

The Jeff Foxworthy book I read because I've read two of his other books- Redneck Dictionary Volumes 1 and 2.  I didn't expect much from it, and figured it would be like a Lewis Grizzard book which I've read a few.  This came out more of an autobiography with a lot of humor.  It was much better than I expected and very glad I read it. If you enjoy his type of humor, then I recommend this book.

Trip Lee is a Christian rapper, and to be honest I wasn't sure if I was going to read this or give it to a friend.  I'm not totally familiar with Trip Lee's music, but have heard his name.  I was listening to less Christian rap by the time Trip Lee was getting popular, but I decided to read it anyways.  This was like a Christian self-help book, and while I don't mind them, by the time I finished this, it seemed to repeat a bit a few times, trying to deliver points.  I didn't realize he also had a CD with the same name released around the same time, but I've never listened to it.  Overall it wasn't bad, but I was wanting to finish it by the end just to finish it, not so much because of the message.  That said, it did deliver a good message.

I tended to rotate between books for school age kids and books for adults for a couple reasons.  First, since I have never really read consistently, I didn't want to be overwhelmed with a 2-400 page book, so I would do shorter ones, followed by a longer one.  It was also just the mood I was in when I grabbed a book.  The second reason was because some of these books I've had for a long time, and I wanted to read them to clear the shelf.

Against the Odds was for kids, but I remember getting it at Savvy Seconds a few years ago.  It was a collection of short stories of various athletes, and I always liked Reggie Miller.  They were like mini-biographies, and it was pretty good.  I would recommend it mainly because I didn't know some of the athletes and after reading this I might actually look them up more.

Ernie Irvan's book was one of my early favorites of book of the year.  It was one of the first ones that I didn't want to put down.  Unfortunately by the end of it, I was getting tired of reading it (again, its why I would rotate between short and long books).  I am a big NASCAR fan, but never been a big fan of Irvan's.  However he was very detailed on his career and his horrific crash that almost ended his career and his life.  I learned quite a few things about him, including how he didn't always get along with Davey Allison, and how hard he had to fight to get back to racing.  This is a great book for NASCAR fans, and I do recommend it.  I don't know if I come away from it liking him any more than I did before, but I was glad I read it.

Black Diamond held the title for book I owned the longest without never reading.  The book was new when I bought it from Scholastic book order in elementary school.  As a lifelong baseball fan, I have always wanted to read it, but I just never did.  I now regret not reading it sooner, but I'm also happy I waited because it motivated me to read another book which my sister gave me much more recently (you'll see in a bit). This book is good and I recommend it.  As I read it though it made me wonder if the authors could update it with more information that wasn't available to research when this came out.  So much more data has become available to research since the 90s after all.

Like Father, Like Son was a book my sister found for me a while back (I forgot when exactly, could have been 5 years ago, or much more recently).  It is another collection of short biographies, so it was easy to read, especially since it was for kids.  I liked seeing the McRae's on the front.  However I felt a lot of the biographies were uneven.  Some focused too much on the father, others too much on the son, and sometimes with multiple generations or sons, some of them seemed forgotten.  I think it could have been better executed, but having said that, I think it is good for young baseball fans to be introduced to some of the families.

Not all the books were winners.  Finish Strong was tough to get through even with a short amount of pages and not a lot of words.  It was a motivational book my mom found at Savvy one day, and she though the author signed it.  I'm pretty sure it was signed by the parents as a present to their son.  Either way, after I finished it, I gave it to my sister to donate.  My only motivation was to finish the book.

The Darwin Awards book was one that I did enjoy much more.  I use to keep up with the awards back in the early 2000's but actually forgot about them until finding this book at Savvy one day.  The book wasn't bad, but I'll be honest- its better off just being short blurbs on an internet web page, or maybe made into one of those page a day calendars.  Some stories were maybe half a page, others like 2 pages, but I kept thinking how much wasted pages they used for a book that could have just been a bookmark on many computers.  That said, if you enjoyed reading about the Darwin Awards, then it might be worth checking out.  For those unaware, the Darwin Awards was created by a person collecting stories of people doing idiotic things and some lived and others didn't.  I can't remember any stories specifically, but maybe one might be a guy using a propane tank to build a rocket bicycle or something.  Another might be a woman jumping off a cliff to save her dog who jumped.  The stories are 95% of the time true (ones that aren't are labeled as stories), and are of people who are idiots doing idiotic things, or sane people having a brief lapse in judgement.  The more I read these, the more I felt bad about laughing at some of them.  Then I'd read one that made me thing people can't be that stupid, can they?

The first time I heard about Woodlawn, was hearing about a movie with the name.  I didn't have a lot of interest in it.  A few years later I found this at Savvy and figured I'd get it.  As I started to read it, I was intrigued.  It was a good story, but I don't see how it could be relayed into a movie.  That said it was a decent book, and one I'd recommend if you like football.  Todd Gerelds grew up at Woodlawn and his father was a coach there.  Its basically a book on how the school managed to handle desegregation in the 50s and 60s with football being the catalyst.  I was glad I finally got around to reading it, but at the same time it may not be one I'll remember reading in a few years time.

Not all books I read were sports related, and this next one might be my favorite of the year.

I typed that intro then realized I have this out of order.  Oh well.  It's still my favorite book of the year I've read.  Bill Geist is a journalist, and the father of Willie Geist from the Today Show.  In the 50's, he spent his summers at his aunt and uncle's hotel in the Lake of the Ozarks.  This book is a collection of stories from those times and allows Bill to take one last trip to the Lake to realize nothing is how it was the last time he was there.

I found this book at Dollar Tree for 1.25 earlier this year, so this is one of the quickest books I've read from acquisition date. All I knew was what I read on the back of the book.  I didn't know Willie Geist's dad was a journalist much less that he summered at the Lake.  I have been to the Lake of the Ozarks many times, even to the Bagnall Dam which is featured on the cover.  I know what it looked like in the 90's and more recently thanks to Google Maps, but I was intrigued by hearing stories of the legendary Arrowhead Lodge in the 50s.  This book didn't disappoint.  Not only was the stories good, but other little things kept me entertained.  I like how he name dropped certain towns around the lake, ones that nobody outside of this area would know unless they've been there.  It reminded me a bit of the show Ozark, which they did a lot of scouting there and on the show name dropped places that only locals would know.  The difference is that Bill's stories and name droppings aren't just to make the story real, they are real.  The TV show didn't even film in Missouri outside an overhead shot or two, and maybe a few scenes in season one.  Most of the Ozark show was filmed in Georgia (which reminds me I still need to watch the final season).  Anyways, this book was done really well, and after I finished it I wanted look up more information about life at the Lake from the decades before I was born.  This book is well worth reading, and one I might even revisit down the line.  The story of the Lake of the Ozarks itself is interesting.  How the electric company flooded many small towns to build the lake and how it later because a very popular party hangout.  If there were more books about the Lake I'd likely read them.

So another book that might be my favorite of the year is one that I got excited about reading after reading the book on the Negro League players.

The Summer of Beer And Whiskey describes the early years of baseball in the United States.  Well, the 1880's.  It specifically focuses on one summer and how the St. Louis baseball team fought to not only stay afloat but become contenders for the baseball title.  It is probably the book I would recommend the most to anyone reading this (since most readers here are sports fans), and it made me want to look up more about the game and how it was played pre 1900. I do have a couple nit picks, but not enough to make the book not worth reading.  I liked how the author compiled and tells the story, but at the same time, I think he goes a bit overboard at times and goes off on tangents.  That said, it doesn't distract you from the main story enough that you will put the book down and forget about it.

My sister found this book for me, and I'm glad she did.  While I'm not a history buff, and most of my historical reading is more recent, this was pretty good.  It helped that St. Louis was the focus of the book, but it makes me wonder if it was written from the vantage point of say Louisville or Akron, how it would be written.

I will say since about 2006 or so I've been less interested in politics.  So much so, that I don't like even bringing it up because most of it just agitates me.  However, when I saw this book I was intrigued.  I had somewhat of a respect for Herman Cain and it seemed like he achieved success on his own terms.  I don't think I endorsed him when he ran for President in 2012, but I wouldn't have opposed him.  However the reason I wanted to read this had nothing to do with politics.  I like advertising and business, and Cain was known as the man that made Godfather's Pizza a success.  I wanted to read all about his business strategies, and stories on how he ran his businesses.  I figured this would explain a lot of it.

I was disappointed.  Don't get me wrong, he discusses his business successes, but the first half of the book reads as an autobiography, yet the second half reads as his plans if(or in his head WHEN) he is elected President in 2012.  He seemed very sure of himself.  The first half of the book I enjoyed very much, he talks about his upbringing, and where he worked in his early years of young adulthood.  I only wish he would have talked about it more, but I understood, he has a lot to discuss.  I really like Herman Cain.  Then as I read the second half, it dives into his political aspirations and even some health issues.  Nothing against his health issues, I'm glad he recovered.  However he then gets to his agenda- how the country has fallen off the rails, and someone like him can save it.  I understand every Presidential candidate says the same stuff, but I wasn't buying it.  Then he started giving his plans to fix America.  Each page I read I started liking him a little less.  Look, I don't care what party your affiliated with as long as your a humanitarian. I wasn't really getting that from him.  By the time I finished the book, I was really conflicted.  What started out as a great book, turned into political propaganda which was made worse by a man so sure of himself that he fully expected to become President.  No IF I BECOME, it was always WHEN I BECOME.  ON DAY ONE I WILL.... I guess I should have expected as much.  Maybe I should have searched for older books he wrote to get more info on his business acumen, but now I just don't care.

I will say I don't recommend this book, however if you are a Republican, you might enjoy it more than a Democrat would.  That's as political as I'll get on here, because nobody wants to hear my rants on how it would be beneficial to have a 3 or 4 party system.

After the Cain book, I was too interested to read much so I grabbed this book and figured I would at worst thumb through it.  I ended up reading it all, but sadly I don't really remember much from it even though it was one of the most recent reads.  I don't know if its because I didn't know much about the players beforehand, or if I just wasn't interested.  A lot of the mini-biographies seemed to have the same format, and while made for kids, nothing in it made me want to read more about the players.  This book is fairly old, so many of these Quarterbacks were still popular when the book was published, but some I knew very little aside from their name.  I can't say one way or another if I recommend it because I really don't remember anything from it.  Sorry.

The most recent book I read left me wanting a bit more from it.  I've had the book for a while, so when I finally decided to read it I was disappointed to see that the book is much older than the cover implies.  The book was first published in 2002 or so.  That isn't terrible, however the cover is clearly showing Truman in an SEC era Mizzou jersey.  The difference may not seem like much, but if I'm being honest, I didn't follow Mizzou football until around 2006, so I was hoping to hear stories from the years 2005-2014 or so.  Instead it was older stories and quite honestly ones most Mizzou fans have heard before.  I mean the greatest stories ever told might give that away, but still I'd like to hear lesser known ones too, which some were included.  This felt more like an introduction to the Missouri Tigers, which is okay, but it left me wanted to find more stories instead of being satisfied with these.  I guess another edition could be wrote with stories from the last 20 years.  Those 2004 era basketball stories might be wild.  I still recommend it for Mizzou fans though.

So I read close to 20 books this year, and I was very impressed with myself.  Maybe Jon just needed to needle me a little more and I could have read 25.  Thanks Jon for motivating me.  Anways, I've typed long enough for one day, so I'll wrap it up.  Thanks everyone for reading and I hope everyone has a Happy Holiday season, and a joyous New Year.  I have no goals for the blog, but as far as reading, if I can read at least 15 books next year, I'll be happy.  Plus any less would make for a boring blog post.  Have a great day!

P.S.  Jon still never told me what those other good Arnold movies were.

P.S. Part Two- In the next few days I might change my blog around a bit.  I'm tired of the background, so it might look different.  I have to remember how to do all that so hopefully I'll figure it out.  Also it seems some posts have been marked as spam lately.  I'll try to unblock them as I find them.  Sorry about that.

Saturday, December 9, 2023

150 Years Is A Long Time- Finale

 Another long hiatus, this one wasn't planned.  I was a little busy with a few things and just now got around to finishing up this 3 parts series.  Not much to say, as parts one and two talked about the town history a bit.  Today I will show off the parade and the museum, and the items inside.

We'll begin with the parade.  Our town has 2 yearly parades, one at Christmas like most towns do, and one the third weekend in July, which is when the 2 night rodeo is held.  This year we added a third one for one time only.  It was a longer one than the other two (this years Christmas one clocked in at around 3 and a half minutes).

Like most parades, you will always see fire trucks, and ours is no different.  Ours also has tractors.  Sometimes they will be decorated and other times just want to be in the parade.  When my dad was around he would sometimes drive his lawn mower (his garden tractor used for tractor pulls) if he didn't have a float which my sister and I would usually be involved with.  Our parades sometimes have floats, and while most are short, you never know what you will see.  The ones that participate in the parade at times can be creative, like this last picture indicates.

What was nice about this parade was some of the car and tractor show participants decided to enter as well, which made it a much longer parade than normal, and it was fun to see.  The last picture was interesting not so much because of the family float (which was really nice), but because of after the parade.  After the parade was over and I was walking back to my apartment, I noticed across the street was a carport in the neighbors yard.  I thought it was odd because I never noticed it before.  The neighbors moved in a couple months prior so adding a carport wasn't odd, just that I knew it wasn't there 2 hours prior.  It wasn't until going through the pictures a few hours later did I realize it was the same one they used in this float.  Its been 6 months since the parade, and I'll be honest, I've never seen them used the carport which I assumed they would use as a canopy like they did in this float.

As you can see, its not much, but it does excite me when we have a parade. However there was one highlight of the parade that was what excited me most.  A celebrity!  One I've actually met on a few occasions, though on this day I didn't get to meet him.

It had been a few years since I've last seen him, so it was cool to see him again.  Now when I say I've met him, I mean not only KC Wolf, but also Dan Meers, the man behind the mascot.  I think the first time I met him was in middle school or maybe high school and have met him a couple times since.  I have his autograph, and actually read his book, which I believe is also signed.  He is a man of deep faith, and a very nice guy.  When my nephews were in school, my youngest nephew even got to try on the outfit, and there is some pictures of it.  One day I might post those.  This really was a cool moment.

I took photos of every entrant in the parade and they are still posted on my Facebook page under the albums.  If you want to see them and can't find them I have the links in the first of these three posts.

As I've stated a few times, the museum was the thing I was most interested in besides the tour of above the funeral home.  As it turns out, I visited the museum three different days despite nothing being added each day.  The first two were really crowded so I got to see most everything, however I didn't get to spend a lot of time there.  On the last day, many of the events were rained out, but they decided to open the museum one last time, and I talked my mom into going.  She really didn't want to, but I figured with less of a crowd she might change her mind.  As it turned out, while we was there, nobody else was there, so we got to spend as long as we wanted looking at what was on display.  My mom takes her time so after I looked at everything I wanted, she was still looking at the first items.  I decided I would take pictures of as much of the stuff as I could, which in the end was EVERYTHING!  It was right at the end of taking pictures when others started to come in, but by then we had seen it all.  So for those not from the area, this may not excite you, but I loved it all, especially seeing signage long forgotten and advertising of long gone businesses.I wish there was a way to scan all the photographs that were there but oh well, I took pictures.

So let's begin.

Three tables may not seem like much, but there was plenty there for everyone.  Items dating from the 1800s to a lot more modern.  The bingo card from the American Legion was nice to see because I don't know the last time I've heard about the Legion.  Its sad to see it die out and I'm afraid the Lion's Club is seeing much of the same fate.  MFA has deep roots in our town, and is headquartered in Missouri.  MISSOURI FARMERS ASSOCIATION dates back to 1929, and in 1985 saw the debut of Break Time convenience stores.  Our town had a gas station supplied by MFA for many years until the gas tanks were removed (the station still operates as a mechanic shop and has tires still supplied by MFA).  When the tanks were removed, they built a station just outside city limits with no attendants and is one of only two places to get gas in town (the second being the Casey's). The older gas station was ran by a man named C.R. who did many things for the town including being a vital part of organizing the parades and the rodeo.  His son now runs the station.

One thing I liked about this look back at history was learning and seeing some of the really old stuff, like this pottery from 1885.  I wasn't aware of Hoffman Pottery before though I heard the name Hoffman all around the area, so it wasn't totally surprising.  If I do decide to deep dive into the town history one day the pottery might be something I'll look into more.

I mentioned the grocery store and my friend's grandpa running it.  Here is a jacket that many of the workers used on cooler days in the fall and winter.  The grocery store was in a time when they had people carry out your groceries for you, and while it isn't really needed these days, it is a small thing I miss about grocery stores especially in smaller towns. The grocery store also supported many local events including little league and other youth baseball teams.  If I remember right they also sponsored adult baseball league teams in the summer.  I miss those summer league teams, though to be honest I doubt I would go to many games.  I don't make it to many high school games as it is (as I type this I think our town hosted a high school basketball tournament this week with the finals being today).

In the parade pictures you may have seen a truck with GoNetSpeed on the side. They bought out I-land internet services and Otelco, which had bought Mid-Missouri Telephone Company. Mid-Mo Phone Company has very early roots in the phone industry, and it was odd to see them in such a small town during the early days of phones.  The top photo is a logo which was used for many years.  The picture on the bottom is the fleet of vehicles they employed in the 80s and 90s.  They didn't just serve Pilot Grove, but many other small towns in the area as well.  The building is still there and they actually have a second building for their bigger vehicles, but today GoNetSpeed doesn't employ as many workers as in the past (in fact I don't think they have a live receptionist as a voice recording with prompts greets you today).  The building I think is even locked.  Its sad to see when they were another vital part of the towns history. They at one time not only handled landline phones, but also cell phone service and the towns cable system.  They did away with that around 15 years ago.

C.R.'s was the gas station I mentioned a bit ago and the first picture is a drawing of the tow truck you would see whenever it was needed.  On the side it said service was available "23 1/2 hours a day".  The second is a mix of items lent by the family to display including photos and hats as well as a framed photo of an overhead shot of the station.  Located on the main highway as you entered town and across from the school, the place was like a second home to my dad.  He spent many days just shooting the breeze with C.R. and Randy. The third photo is what was referred to as "The White Knight" and in the 80s and 90s was seen everywhere when an event happened or otherwise at the station.  I rode in it a few times as my dad drove, and I might have even rode once on a long ride when my dad helped hauling walnuts.  Before the local CO-OP took over, C.R.'s also each year pay you for picking walnuts.  Walnuts are abundant in the area and he would pay you for them.  After he would get a gooseneck trailer full of walnuts, someone (a few times my dad) would drive down to Stockton, Missouri to I guess sell them to this other place (I don't know all the details as I was quite young when this was going on).  One time I remember going with my dad down to Stockton to unload them.  I didn't have to do anything, they had forklifts doing all the work.  It was fun to do though and we went pretty late at night.  My dad took photos one time, and that sounds like another blog post to show.

The last item is a very early program from the Rodeo (and horse show).  Before having a dedicated Rodeo arena 4 miles NW of town, the rodeo was held at the school.  The Pilot Grove Range Riders put it on, and it is the biggest event of the year for the town.  I thought this was funny to see because for the last at least 2 decades they've always stated "ALWAYS THE THIRD WEEKEND IN JULY". As you can see that wasn't always the case.  I don't know when the switch occurred but at one time, July was a very busy month for the town because the first weekend was usually a Truck and Tractor Pull, and it was probably the second biggest event of the year.  However, as the event grew, they needed more space so the event was moved to the neighboring town.  I would love for it to return again here, but I don't see that happening.

A lot of items were donated by the Quinlan family and I was glad they were.  The top item is about the death of a Quinlan in the 1930's, from one of a few newspapers the town supported in the early years.  Today, the school puts out a monthly newsletter, and that's about it.  Even local newspapers around us don't have much coverage of our town, one does at times and the other (which I once delivered around town) totally cut out coverage.  I mean there isn't a lot of news, but it would be nice to have some local coverage.  One day I would love to start a newspaper for the town again, either in a monthly digital form or some other way.  I imagine 95% of the coverage would be based on the school and the sports, but also would include obituaries, town meeting news, and business news.

One of the greatest things to see was all that was donated about Wilbur Quinlan.  He was the town barber (one of the last men's barbers, even though our town had many throughout the years).  I believe he was close to 90 when he retired, and I have some stories about him.  Maybe another post.  Anyways, he was pretty much the only barber I ever went to, until I one day bought a hair cutting kit.  It wasn't because his prices were rising (a haircut for 5 bucks even in the 2000s was unheard of), but because I briefly moved out of town and also knew he would be retiring sooner or later.  It was nice seeing the pictures of the old barber shop, and even some when he moved (which as I found out some items are still inside the building where he last cut hair).

As a bonus it was nice to see a car tag from 1949 as well.

In the top photo, the building with the white facade is where Quinlan's Barber Shop.  The building would be demolished to build a new bank which I think I mentioned in the first post.

In 1988 that bank celebrated 75 years, and had a lot of items as giveaways.  These items brought back memories because I remembered that cup, and wish I still had one.  As a advertising collector, those would be awesome to display.

Speaking of displaying, could you imagine winning a contest for a new bicycle in 1954 and near 70s years later still having the bicycle and the photos to prove it?  Talk about the wow factor, that was one of the coolest things I saw.  On its own, showing off a bicycle doesn't have the appeal, but then factor in it is near 70 years old, and one in a contest held by a local business.  AWESOME!

More advertising, the pens are from Wessing Motor which you saw a truck from in the first post.  Next is an FFA jacket and if you live in a rural area you know all about the Future Farmers of America.  FFA was a huge part of the school for many decades, and this was from the 70s I believe. The bottom are from 50 years ago, when the 100th anniversary was held.  Like I stated, I know having a multi day yearly event is a bit much, but a one day festival would be nice to have, and also bring people into the town.

The top photos are from when they tore down many buildings in the downtown district in the 90s.  Some was because they were building the new bank, the other was after a fire destroyed the old Flower Shop.  Many of the building were unused at the time, but still sad to see them go.

The next set are photos of parades of yesteryear, which in the one with the fire truck in the background is an old Standard Oil sign.  That brought back memories.  As I said all advertising I like so it was nice to see in the background.  I really wanted to scan these photos.  The firetruck in that photo was used for many more years after this photo was taken.  It was crazy to think how old our fire trucks were when they were replaced.

The bottom photos is from over 100 years ago from building no longer in existence.  My mom has mentioned many times how upset she was when they tore down the depot, and how dumb it was to do it.  As my friend and I went on a tour another townperson said pretty much the same thing that I thought it was my mom in disguise saying it.

A drawing of the depot, we have some very good artists in the area.  Next is some items of local businesses old and new.  The apron from the lumber company was nice to see.  The Pamphlet from Katy Manor was also nice.  Katy Manor is a nursing home that opened in 1988 and my mom worked there for 26 years.  It was a very big deal when it opened and there were quite a few pictures from not only the groundbreaking but of the opening as well. 

I will wrap it up with pictures of the current school though many years ago when it looked a lot different.  It used to have more than one story, and I think it would have been fun to roam the halls.  It was torn down around the time I started elementary school, and after that the school saw many renovations and upgrades.  It has changed a lot in just the last twenty years since I graduated. 

The final item to show is one of the many trophies the sports teams have won over the years.  I didn't play sports outside of 5th grade basketball, but in high school I took stats for the teams and filmed a lot of the games.  Being a VHS collector now, it would have been fun to made a copy of some of those games.  Maybe they still have them hidden under the bleachers.

Well, I know I rushed a bit at the end, but that wraps up this series, and again if you want to see more or all of the photos I took, at the end of the first post is links to my facebook page which has public albums to view.  It was a fun week taking in the town history, and it was fun writing these posts.  I hope you all enjoyed them, and hope everyone has a great holiday season.  I hope to have 1-2 more posts before the end of the year, but you never know.  Thanks for reading.