Monday, May 30, 2016

Barking Up The Dollar Tree, also a Savvy Find

The other day I made a trip to the local Dollar Tree, I was reminded thanks to Facebook that its been one year since they have been open.  It seems the card selection has improved since first opening so that's good.  I did buy 3 repacks which I'll show another day.  Once I scan them.  As for today I will show other items I got there.

Recently this Dollar Tree has started getting movies that you might have actually heard of.  In the past they were really crappy ones if they had any at all.  I'm quite okay with that since I don't expect DVD's of high quality to be sold for a buck.  This time though I found three I didn't want to pass up.  Two I knew would be good because I've seen them before, and the other was a total shot in the dark.

A total shot in the dark here but I figured it was a Christian movie and for a buck I'll give it a try.  I might watch it soon, but I'm not in a rush.  It could be good, if it is I might review it one day.

The next one was an easy pick up.  As a matter of fact, I watched it as soon as I got home.

I don't watch SNL much these days, nothing really against it, but I can't get into the newer cast.  That's not to say they aren't good, I love Cecily Strong, I mean L-O-V-E! I actually stopped watching regularly once they opted not to keep her at the Weekend Update desk.  These days it competes with Ring Of Honor Wrestling locally so if I watch anything its usually that.

The 2009-2010 season didn't ring a bell at first, but I have a pretty good collection of Saturday Night Live DVD's that consist of the best of ones they do.  If they put out full seasons of the 90's to today I would probably get them, but I still need to get the first 5 out on DVD.

When I grabbed it and read the synopsis, at first nothing really rang a bell, but did see it had clips of when Betty White hosted. "I don't have Facebook, but it seems like a big waste of time."  She was a pretty good host.  Then I saw it included some MacGruber sketches, which were usually good.  I can't say the same for the movie, which is usually the case for sketches turned into movies, but I do like Will Forte.  Having said that, I don't like a lot of his characters or his show Last Man on Earth, but oh well.  Then I saw it had Kenan Thompson hosting "What Up With That", which was usually good.  I think it was the first one he did.  It had the ESPN announcers sketch on there too, where they would announce some insane sports event on ESPN Classic (this one was Women's Bowling).  Jason Sudeikis and Will Forte both slay me on those.  The clincher was it had a couple Digital Shorts, one being Shy Ronnie.  The Digital Shorts were always either really great or really bad, and this was one of my favorites.  I think only D*** In A Box and I'm On A Boat were better (maybe Lazy Sunday too).

As I watched it I saw a lot of cast mates I miss today like Abby Elliott and Bill Hader.  They included a good amount of time for Weekend Update and yes, Stefan was on there.  I think another reason I skip SNL these days is Colin Jost and the other guy (apologies I forget who he is, only seen him a couple times) just don't connect to me like Seth Meyers did.  This DVD also had cameos of former cast mates like Amy Poehler, Tiny Fey, Ana Gasteyer, and Molly Shannon (the NPR show this time with Betty White talking about her "muffins").  The only bad thing is like
most of the SNL DVDs the extras could have been a lot more.  They make the DVD length TV length, but since its on DVD I think they could have added more.  Instead they only had Weekend Update dress rehearsal, an extra sketch I think, and a full episode of the Thursday Weekend Update show they did for a couple years.  I would have added about another 4-5 sketches maybe even one that didn't make the show, and a couple more Digital Shorts or their parody commercials.  Oh well, for a buck I won't complain.  Plus it didn't have much Kristen Wiig which is a plus in my book.

So this last DVD I got wasn't a DVD...


Well, here it is.

It's not everyday you find a Blu-Ray movie for a buck, especially still sealed.  Even if you do its not a movie you ever heard of or want to know of.  That isn't the case here.  My mom really likes Darkman, and while its been a long time since I've seen it, it was without a doubt worth a buck.  I can't remember what is included but it does have an extra or two as well.  I'm going to keep it sealed for now for a couple reasons.  First is because I don have it on DVD already, but it didn't have extras and I figured it would look a lot better on Blu-Ray.  The other reason I have it sealed?  Well, I don't own a Blu-Ray player.  I know I will one day, maybe even soon, but for now its not something I need.  Sure I should have passed on this, but who knows I might get a player next week and then kick myself for not getting this.  This isn't the only movie I have on Blu-Ray though.  As you may remember last year I bought Last Action Hero (which I DON'T have on DVD), and I have quite a few Disney movies on Blu-Ray.  Just a few bucks more you get the DVD AND Blu-Ray, so why not?  That reminds me I need to look for Lion King and Finding Nemo on Blu-Ray at some point.

So I think I came out well with these three movies.  There might have been a fourth movie too but I can't remember what it was and I passed it up.  Truth be told I had a really bad headache at the time and was waiting for my mom to finish shopping so I could go home.  I only stumbled on these because I was bored.  They hide them in a random aisle where you can't see them.  Sure I guess they should go next to headphones, but I think it would be smarter next to the books or even by the checkout, not the middle of a long aisle opposite dish soap.

After we left, we did make one more stop.  We went to Savvy Seconds.  I didn't expect to get anything as we just went recently and I didn't see anything.  This time didn't offer much, as I spent most my time trying to decide if I needed a Liz Phair CD I've passed up the last 4 times I went.  In the end, I passed it up again, along with a Collective Soul CD (which I might have), and a Dave Matthews Band cassette (YES, I SAID A CASSETTE).  It made me think about when Walmart finally decided to stop carrying cassettes.  I can't think of an actual time, but I'm sure it had to be very early 2000's if not late 90's.  Truth be told I was still buying them until the end too.  Though DMB wasn't one I bought, mainly because I bought it at a garage sale a few years earlier.  One of my first CD's, though I'm not his biggest fan.

At any rate, I was ready to go, I saw some football shoulder pads that finally had a price on it, but passed it up, and was ready to walk out empty handed until my mom held something up.  "Did you see this?" she asked.  I hadn't and it was something I'm glad she found.  It wasn't something I needed, but still cool nonetheless.

Sorry for the blurry picture, but its a Jose Reyes bobblehead.  It had a buck on it, so I figured why not.  As I stood in line I noticed something though.  First he doesn't have a bat.  So I assumed he did at one point, but it was missing. Then I looked down and noticed a piece broke off.  Even thought it wasn't all there, I still figured it was worth a buck and got it anyways.  What I imagine happened is that the previous owner dropped it.  It also seems the head doesn't seem quite right, but it still bobbles.  Here is better photos.

The missing piece was a logo for the video game MLB 2K8.  I found out a short time ago that this was a pre-order bonus if you bought the game.  I never played that one, so I missed out I guess.  I was still mad at the fact they stopped making the MVP series which I thought was a lot better (MVP 2005 is one of my top 5 games ever).  It wouldn't be until the 2K13 game came out that I would get a newer version.  Even then it was only because it was really cheap and I had some credits to burn.

It seems to be a pretty nice bobblehead but I'm not going to lie and say I'm a big Jose Reyes fan.  I can't even think of a reason that warranted him to be the cover player for the game.  Oh well, I like it so I'd goes next to the Kirk Herbstreit one I have.

I don't think bobbleheads really look like the person they usually depict, but I'm sure its tough as heck to make someone's likeness exactly the same.  One more photo, this one of the sell sheet (I assume you'd call it that) of the bobblehead.

The funny thing is I looked on eBay then on Google images to find out more information on this, and the first couple photos I saw also had him missing a bat.  I guess they got lost easily or broken.

So I guess that wraps it up for today, but before I go I wanted to post a picture that Lanny Poffo posted a couple days ago.  Lanny was a wrestler and was known as The Genius.  More importantly, Lanny is the brother of Macho Man Randy Savage.  Around the anniversary of Savage's death, Lanny posted this picture.

It seems a short time before Macho Man died, he found this kitten abandoned so he adopted it.  It is missing a front arm, but he took care of it.  Once Randy passed away, his wife took care of the kitten.  Lanny said Randy named it after one of him longtime friends in wrestling, Sylvester Ritter.  Ritter was better known by the name the Junk Yard Dog. Savage named this kitten JYC- or Junk Yard Cat.  It was just cool to read this about Savage since after he had left wrestling he was a pretty quiet guy that didn't let much of his private life out.  As of the date Lanny posted the photo, the cat is still living.

Okay I will stop there for tonight, I hope everyone had a good extended weekend (for those that did), and hope for a great week ahead.  I finally finished a couple tasks up so now I get the fun task of sorting my roughly 20,000 plus cards so I can start shipping some out soon.  Maybe I will wait a while, I have a few other things to do too, so at any rate I'll be busy for a bit.  Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this post.

EDITOR'S NOTE:  I just realized the title for today was Barking Up The Dollar Tree, then made no real reference to dogs but did talk about a cat. Them's the breaks I guess.

Friday, May 27, 2016

One more box of 2016 Topps

I've somewhat teased this for a while so might as well show off the third box of 2016 Topps cards I got.  So lets dive in.

Adam LaRoche card on Mother's Day?  It sure looks like it with all the pink.  That's a nice touch.  I also like the Curtis Granderson card too.  Otherwise, I'm not sure on the rest, some young guys I don't know and some I'm indifferent on.  I see Matt Carpenter play sometimes, but I don't know if he'll be a major star.

More Cardinals, and more guys I don't know much about or indifferent about on the right side.  The left side has some interest to me.  I get a Max Scherzer card (who shortly before I wrote this gave up a Grand Slam to Stephen Piscotty) that I think is a double and can go into my Mizzou collection.  Also if they are doubles, I can add Odorizzi and Francoeur cards to Once Royals collection.

Looks like a Cardinals Hot Box.  At least Alcides Escobar tries to balance it out.  Also nice to get Dee Gordon, Anibal Sanchez, and Jacoby Ellsbury.  None of guys I collect, but should make it easier to work on the set and no have to worry about them.  I do like the Kyle Schwarber card and the Kendall Graveman is nice too.  I'm officially building a Graveman collection, so I hope he becomes a breakout star.  I also like his face in the photo.

Nice team cards, especially the Pirates, and another Alcides Escobar card, this being a World Series card.  I don't know Bracho but its always good to get rookie cards just to see if they pan out.  Same goes with not knowing Carson Smith, but hope he has upside and becomes a star.

Okay, lets look at the inserts.  The MLB Debut cards are filling out quite nicely, and glad I got the Pujols and Aaron.  I may aggressively try to finish this insert set.

Berger's Best.... yeah you know my thoughts, but I did get a Frank Thomas card so that's nice.  The Livian card is nice too because I liked that set, and I liked their old uniforms and logo.  I wish they were still called Florida, but oh well.

Oh by the way, there's a free bunt code.  I have no need for it, and so there it is.  Not sure if its unique or not, so if it is and you use it leave a comment, or if its been used if someone could leave a comment saying so, that would be great.

A couple more First Pitch cards, I'm glad I got the Aoki.  The Jones one could be a double, so if it is, I'll set it aside for a friend so I can help him with the set.  I have been working on both the 2015 and 2016 sets lately finding some cheap ones on COMC, so I hope to finish them both soon.

A couple more Pressed into Service cards, which still look nice, but not ones I care to finish unless I find it cheap.  Next is a couple variation cards, I think the Hammel is a rainbow and the Giants player (I think its Vogelsong, tough to read) is a gold one.  I have not desire for either, so they will go into the team piles to give out.

The Streaks cards are a couple heavy hitters, or pitchers in Seaver's case, and both are ones I needed, so that's a plus.  I think I'll work on finishing the set.

I still hate the Perspectives cards, but that Nolan Ryan card is bad ass!  I must give props on that one.  The other two are, eh... But the Howard card will go into my collection pertaining to Missouri.

Back to Back, Wrigley, and Abreu cards do nothing for me, but it is nice to get a Williams and Abreu insert cards.

Finally I got another sticker, and its the one I've been looking for.  I was kinda happy I pulled it in a box as I figured I'd have to buy it on COMC.  I was close to securing one on Listia, but lost it at the last minute.  I already had this one so I was okay with it though.

So overall it was a pretty decent box just for the Royals sticker and other inserts.  Sure maybe not worth the 17 and change, but I'm happy with it.  10 packs so at least it averaged out nice.

Oh I almost forgot the special card inserted in each box.

HOLY CRAP!!! A SATCHEL PAIGE CARD!  Alright, that is worth the box alone.  I can't believe I pulled a good one like this.  Sure I knew I had a chance to pull one of these, but this was an amazing pull.

So with that being said, I think I'll say thanks for reading and have a great weekend.  I hope everyone enjoys the holiday weekend (U.S. that is, I'm not sure about other countries, yes I see you readers in Poland, Russia, and elsewhere).  As for me, I'll watch tons of racing (I love the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day), and going to enjoy the weekend if it doesn't keep raining.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Set List- Simpsons, eh?

I know a horrible title, I apologize.  When coming up with recurring topics I like to have a title for it.  My brain is mush right now and I can't think of a good title using the word "set".  I think I had one a long time ago, but I forgot it.  I'll check my archive later.  For now though, lets get on with it.

When I was growing up one of my favorite cards I had was The Simpsons.  I don't know if it was because it was a cartoon, or because it was a show I didn't get so it was the only way to keep up with it, but loved Simpsons trading cards.  When I got back into collecting I found some here and there, but one day I wanted to get a complete set.  Earlier this year I made a list of goals for the year, and this set was included.  My goal was simply to add more cards and get close to completion.

A couple months ago I was on Listia and a seller was listing a lot of complete sets of various non-trading cards.  Anything from Ninja Turtles to Rocketeer, to whatever else.  He also had some sets of Simpsons cards.  Some were some newer ones like from 2005.  I initially bid on a couple of those sets to get for a friends birthday, but kept getting outbid.  For 3 days this happened.  On the fourth day though he also had a set of Simpsons cards from the early 90's.  I was hoping I could get them cheap while everyone was outbidding each other on the newer ones.

IT WORKED!  I won the set, and now I don't have to worry about it anymore.  Now if I choose to, I can search for the stickers that were included in the packs.  While I hope to get those one day, I have no rush right now.  I had a couple as a kid, but it was the cards I liked more.

So, here it is, the complete set of Simpsons trading cards.  As a bonus, I am also showing off another Simpsons set I have, but its not complete.  It is a sticker set I got on clearance a few years back via random packs.  Out of all the Simpsons cards, I can never find much on these.  I don't even think they are listed on the Trading Card Database.  You'll see them at the end of the set.

I just realized these are scanned out of order.  Sorry about that.  Oh well, here we go with the rest.  Some pages could be in order though, I'm not sure.  If the future I will work on that.

So there you go.  They were all in great shape too, no rounded edges, so I was happy.

As you can see, at the end is the stickers I mentioned.  Here are the rest of them.  I think they came out in like 2005-2007 or so and from Artbox.  If you search Artbox Simpsons or something similar you will find other cards (such as the ones I initially bid on).

One of my favorites is the Homer one about to devour the Krusty Burger.

Even a cameo from one of those trolls again.

So that's a complete set of Simpsons cards.  I'm glad I have it now.  I might do an update on my goals this week to see what I need to work on.  I know its not halfway to the end of the year, but this could motivate me to work on the others.

That wraps it up for tonight, thanks for reading and have a great night.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Clean, Rinse, Repeat

Before I begin, let me say thank you if you read my posts this weekend.  I've gotten good feedback on the posts, and it was some of the best writing I've done in a while.  I'm not sure if I will do articles such as that a lot, but it gave me a bit of adrenaline actually looking up meaningful things online and gather the information to write an article.  I made sure I cut down on mistakes and re-read it a number of times before I posted it.  It may not have translated but the time I posted the article last night was at 5:40 PM.  The exact time the tornado struck down in Joplin.  I didn't actually think about doing that until early in the morning when it just hit me.  At any rate, it woke me up a bit, and I think it might have given me hope of writing more on the Missouri Sports History blog now that I know I can do it.

One person reached out to me on Facebook and liked what they read but wasn't sure how to leave a comment on my blog.  Ever since I started my blog, I have been trying to figure out the best way for people to leave a comment.  I know it sounds easy, just sign in and leave a comment, but there are tons of different ways to sign in, and it does seem a bit confusing. AIM is an option?  I know not everybody has a blogger account or a Google + (I haven't used mine in a year), and that's not to mention the tons of other blogs that have other ways to sign in.  If card blogs had anything close to an east coast vs. west coast feud, it would be Blogger vs. Word Press.  I will read it no matter what, but Word Press (I forgot if its one word or not) just seems weird to me when it comes to comments, so I hardly ever do.  Having said all this, I think at some point soon, I will be switching to Disqus comment section.  It is pretty widespread and you can sign in with existing accounts or through Twitter or Facebook.  It's easy and free to create an account, so I think it will work out good.  I haven't seen many bloggers use it but it is free for me to include and I use it on many other sites I go to so it seemed like a smart choice.

I don't plan on doing that for a couple months though, so if there is an outcry for me to keep it the same, then I might reconsider.  In August I'll be blogging for two years and I like to redecorate, so it seems like a good time to do that.  I'm not sure how drastic it will be, but I am looking at options right now.  One factor I never really took into account is how many readers check out my blog via mobile.  I don't have a mobile phone (I feel old for calling it a mobile phone, I guess a cell phone is better), so I just never take into account all the people who read it that way.  If you do view my blog that way, let me know once I change things if its better or worse.

Anyways, lets get into today's blog.  I've stated before I'm not good with work space tidiness.  It took me a year to sort 3000 cards, I mean I just don't do things the most efficient way.  I've mentioned I needed a new external hard drive because mine was acting up (this was over two years ago) and could use the space.  My desktop and laptop have a combined total of about 1.5 TBs of space, but when one or the other acts up, I need to transfer files to the other quick.  As a result I have a lot of duplicate files, and I need to clean it up.  I have a 500GB hard drive I use, but sometimes it is wonky it even crashed before so I'm wary using it.

The other day I made a trip to Walmart.  I wasn't expecting anything, but I always look at electronics.  Even though technology has passed me by, I still like looking at stuff.  They had a table of clearance items, and most were things I didn't need or want (though a wireless keyboard and mouse does sound like a good idea for my desktop).  Anyways, I found a hard drive.  It was a 3TB external one that was priced at a very nice 50 bucks.  The problem I had though is that it was a Toshiba.  Nothing against them, but I don't know how their hard drives are.  I've owned a few of their computers, but to be honest, while I liked them a lot, they weren't the most reliable.  So 50 bucks made me consider it, but I decide to put it back.  I really wanted one and have been eyeing a 40 dollar 1TB one for a while, but always passed on it.  I did hide it in case the impulse came back and I wanted it.  Anyways, further down the table I saw another one.  This one was a 1 TB and this one was only 30 bucks.  This seemed too good to pass up.

It is about the right size (1 TB) that I need, and 30 bucks wasn't a big risk.  I brought it home and checked out online reviews (I guess one disadvantage about not having a "mobile" phone is being able to review things on the spot) and it seems like a great deal.  I considered going back and getting the 3 TB one, but decided not to.  As of this writing, everything from both computers fit onto this hard drive and now I can sort things and erase the duplicates.  Its a small step, but will be greatly beneficial once its done.  I have another desktop tower I need to see whats on it, and might do that soon, and can probably fit that on here too.  It seems 1TB was all I really needed.

One thing that is good about this but also worries me is the physical size of it.  Its a portable one which I've never had one like it before, and it worries me I might be more prone to drop it, like I have with others before.  The USB cord is really small so I need to find an extender, but again worries me I might drop it.  It is powered by the USB cord, so luckily I don't need to plug it into a wall outlet like my other, but its not a USB to USB connection, so I have to use this cord in addition to another cord if I need a longer cord.

The size of it though is nice.  It is roughly the size of a trading card. It's slightly bigger, but the good part (aside from needing an extension USB cord) is that it fits inside my desktop spaces where I store cards I need to sort, so it takes up hardly any room.  So on that end it is a big plus.

I hope to start sorting stuff on the hard drive soon.  Maybe one day I can make a folder of all my custom cards instead of the 30 or so I have now.  Plus I need to weed down my music collection a lot.  I think I can live without having William Hung on my hard drive.  Sure I have the space for it, but who knows, I might not in a few months.  I've already talked to a friend about swapping music and movies, so that will fill up the roughly 300GBs pretty quick.

Another avenue of cleaning I need to take on is with my cards.  I have put them in my closet but I have a ton of boxes, and they vary in size.  Small 100 count boxes, 3200 count boxes and anything in between.  I even have old cheese boxes (the old government cheese boxes works a lot better then the current Velveeta ones), and even used whatever boxes I could find.  I have a corn dog box with cards in it, and a couple others that aren't really the best way to store them.  I've known for a while that I need to sort them so I can start repaying all the bloggers who have sent me things.  I also know once I do that I can start clearing space and maybe work of future trades.

Last week I checked eBay as I do about once a month.  I haven't bought anything on there in over a year, and try to watch what I spend, but sometimes am just bored and look things up.  I usually only sign in to clean my watch list off and see any messages I can erase.  That's what I did last Monday.  I'm really glad I did.  I had a new message from Ebay.  It said they missed me buying stuff (I'm sure every business is like that), and thought they would entice me with a coupon.  I know that game Ebay, give me $5 off a $50 purchase isn't enticing.  In fact I think I've only made one purchase of over $50 in my 15 years of being on Ebay.  That won't cut it.

They apparently thought the same thing.  So they made it $10 off.  Hmm.... let's read the fine print.  WOW.  $10 off a purchase of $25 or more.  Now that is something I could dig.  So at that point, I thought, what could I get that I need or want that exceeds $25?  Well, I have been watching for an old radio antenna, but that is like 5 bucks.  So I thought more.  Hmm.... wait a minute.  I got it!


Wait, that wasn't it.  Oh and yes I have a book based on the movie Bring It On in the Picture, long story, no need to explain.

Anyways, I bought this item, and today it came.  What is it you ask?

Card boxes!  This is what they would look like once I folded them.

I folded two boxes and realized, I don't really have the room at the moment for 25 empty boxes, so 2 is fine for now.  These are 800 count boxes and from BCW, which is pretty nice ones.  They are sturdy and they seem to work good.  The asking price was $27 bucks and with my coupon it came under $18 bucks and included free shipping (it was 17.25 or something total).  I thought the $27 price was fair for 25 boxes, but getting them under a buck a box was a lot nicer.  There was another auction that had two piece 800 count boxes for about the same price.  I actually liked them more as they resembled the 3200 count boxes with the lids that come off.  I chose these for two reasons though.  First they were closer and I would get them sooner and the second is the better reason.  I figure once I sort the cards, I can just ship them in these boxes to wherever and it will be easier to keep these sealed up when shipping.  I've gotten some like this in the mail before, but its been a while.  Any bloggers know the current rate for shipping and the best way to actually ship it (do I cover every square inch with tape so tampering is easier to spot)?

That fun will begin soon, likely this week.  I have no timetable for completion, but I'll be happy to have them all finally all sorted.

So with Spring in full effect and summer approaching, its time to clean up some, and with a new hard drive and boxes to store cards, that is a huge step in the right direction.

I could end the blog here, but this post is long and lacks a lot of pictures, so let's look at a pack of 2016 Topps I bought a while back with a buck off coupon.

A couple Royals, a nice pack.  Pulling the Ryan Howard was good too same with the Schwarber.  I like this pack.

Nice action shots, so I can't complain.

How about inserts?

I think the Evan Longoria Perspectives has been in every product I've bought so far.  It is nuts, and I have no need for it.  A gold Simmons card was nice to pull, but the best card was without a doubt the Sandy Koufax.  It is the first Silver version of the MLB Debut cards I've pulled, and I didn't have the bronze either, so it will fit right in. I don't have many Koufax cards in general, so this card would stay in my collection no matter if I tried to finish the insert set or not.

So that wraps it up for tonight.  Sorry for a mostly long and rambling post, but it feels good to be back blogging more regularly lately.  It really calms me and that is good.  Thanks for reading and have a great night.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Special Report: Joplin- 5 Years Later

Over 150 dead.
Over $2.5 Billion dollars in damage.
A town is decimated, and in the process, thousands of lives are never the same again.

Five years ago, on May 22, 2011, an EF5 tornado devastated Joplin, Missouri.  On a day hundreds of students graduated high school, many were lucky their graduation wasn't held at the high school where they adorned the halls for the last four years.  By the end of the night, there would be no halls.  There would be no school.

For the 1,000 plus injured, they faced problems of their own.  With debris strewn across the roads, they had to find a route to the hospital, if they had the advantage of having transportation that wasn't destroyed.  If they did, they faced a bigger problem- the hospital was directly hit.  The emergency room was now staged in an empty field.

The aftermath damaged or outright totaled over 500 business, from local businesses to companies as large as a Walmart Supercenter.  So once the nearly 5000 people cleaned up their homes, if it was left, they still wouldn't have a job.  A total of over 4 million cubic yards of debris was the result of the single most deadly tornado since 1947.

While an American Society of Civil Engineers study found the most of the damage was likely caused by winds classified as an EF-2 tornado, and only 4 percent in the EF-4 range, they concluded the buildings and homes were never built to withstand such damage, so it can never be concluded how powerful the winds actually reached, thus they decided not to change the EF-5 designation.  The ASCE sampled only a 6 mile stretch of the 22 mile tornado path, but they knew almost immediately that there was damage akin to an EF-4.

Five years later many houses and businesses have been rebuilt, but there are still many more vacant lots that remain as a reminder of what is still to be done.  In one case however, a vital resource of the city has been rebuilt, and made much stronger.

After St. John's Regional Medical Center had to be demolished, four years later a new hospital was built in its place.  Mercy Joplin hospital was opened in the spring of 2015 and has many more safety improvements its predecessor didn't.  For starters, the building was built to withstand at least an EF-3 tornado.  Glass throughout the facility is laminated and outside glass able to handle winds exceeding 140 miles per hour.  In places where its tougher to relocate patients quickly, the glass can withstand 250 mph winds, rating it able to withstand an EF-5 tornado.

The vital electrical, plumbing and mechanical portions of the hospital has been placed partially underground, making it less likely to be be exposed to potential severe weather.  If for some reason power is lost, new generators placed 25 feet underground will be able to handle power for up to four days.

As for the high school, it was one of ten of the Joplin School District's building having suffered damage on the fateful day, but none were worse that that of the high school.  It was deemed irreparable and had to be rebuilt from scratch.  In the meantime, the upper class men would attend school in what would be a dream come true for many high school students- a mall.  A former Shopko building was renovated inside Northpark Mall and opened in time for the fall classes later that year.

Finally in 2014, three years after the tornado ripped through the school, a new Joplin High School opened, this time with many upgrades.  The cost would exceed $100 million dollars, funded by insurance, government grants, donations, and a school bond approved by voters the following year.

The new school was also houses the Franklin Technology Center, making for more opportunities for students.  It includes a TV station run by students, as well as a student-run greenhouse, a student-run coffee shop in addition to a student-run restaurant.  Artwork created by students is now featured inside an art gallery.

The school also provides space for those athletically, musically, or theatrically minded.  A Gymnasium with a capacity of 2500 as well as two auxiliary gyms is only the beginning.  The athletic complex also features an indoor running track, tennis courts, and fields for soccer, baseball, soccer, band, and football.  Synthetic turf reduces the cost of maintenance and the fields also have lighting to accommodate for evening games or practices.  A 1,250 seat auditorium, black box theater with seating for indoor/outdoor events, and rehearsal halls with sound-isolating practice rooms were built for choir, band, and the orchestra.

During the rebuild, the school also thought green.  Materials were used to keep maintenance costs for the future down.  LED lighting, and hydronic HVAC system, windows placed to maximize natural light, and even rain water harvesting for irrigation was used.

A total of four safe rooms were built on the campus in case a future tornado would strike, one of which is a designated community shelter.  The safe rooms can withstand winds of over 250 mph.

The campus sits on 66 acres and has a student capacity of over 2,500. 

The spirit of Joplin is stronger than ever five years after the devastation struck the city of 50,000.  Much of what was destroyed has been rebuilt, most of the people affected have started new memories of hope, and spirit.  However, the memories of the past will never be forgotten, neither will the lives lost, the homes and businesses destroyed, or the utter destruction that affected not only the people in and around the Joplin area, but the entire World.

Joplin Globe
The Weather Channel
The Weather Channel
Modern Healthcare
Joplin Schools
Joplin Schools

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Special Report: How I remember the Joplin Tornado

I have to admit, I have a bit of a sadistic side.  I don't enjoy seeing pain or seeing people in pain, but I have wanted to see destruction from time to time.  I live in tornado alley, and despite this, I have never seen a tornado.  I have been under tornado warnings a few times, and watches too many times to count.  I was at a hotel once in Springfield, MO where we were in lock down in a hallway until the tornado passed.  When I worked at Wendy's we had to send employees and customers to the freezer to protect them a couple times.  The first time I stayed in the freezer with them because I was forced to.  The second time I talked my way into being a lookout.

I wanted to see a tornado, I wanted to say I have seen a tornado.

I wanted to be a storm chaser, thanks in large part to Twister, but have always been fascinated with weather.  I should have been a meteorologist, but you need to know lots of math and science, and to be honest, neither are my strong suit, and that dream was dashed.

May 22, 2011 was like nothing I have never seen.  I've seen stories on the news about earthquakes, floods, wildfires, hurricanes, and almost any other type of weather related disaster.  I live somewhat close to the Missouri River and have memories of the Flood of 1993, and the Flood of 1996. I remember the week leading up to Hurricane Katrina, and the aftermath that devastated New Orleans.  I have vague memories of earthquakes that hit California in the late 80s and early 90s.  I've even remember countless storms and tornadoes that have affected Central Missouri throughout my life.

None of it was like the Joplin tornado.  A few weeks earlier tornadoes leveled parts of Alabama and the response was amazing.  2011 wasn't a great year for me, a lot of personal things in my life affected me early in 2011, and as a result I had more time to spend online looking things up.  From that standpoint, I absorbed a lot of the events of Joplin as it happened, and being a few hours away from it, the local news crews were able to ascend to the southwest corner of the state and give me wall to wall coverage.  The local radio stations had sister stations in Joplin which allowed for even more coverage.  I was able to utilize Facebook and Twitter for up to the seconds stories, photos, and tales of desperation, search, and hope.  I had many area newspapers bookmarked, and some managed to utilize live blogging to give more news.  I was saturated with coverage, and I was enjoying it as much as one could from the devastation it presented.

I remember finding a website online that had live scanner channels from the first responders in Joplin.  Later I learned it wasn't really a good idea to do that (I heard it was actually illegal and you could be prosecuted or something, so I've stopped doing it, not sure if it was true).  I would listen for 3-4 days anytime I was awake.  You would hear dispatchers sending calls out for missing people, injuries, crowd control, and even a few cases of looting.  Fires broke out, and a threat of gas leaks really kept fire departments on alert.

The night it happened I can't remember what exactly I was doing, but if I had to guess it was most likely watching the Royals on television.  Without seeing recent stories about it in the last week, I wouldn't be able to tell you who they were playing, but I found out it was actually the St. Louis Cardinals.  The storms themselves were headed towards us, and it had already started to rain.  Usually when this occurred I would be getting as much information I could get on the storms, anything from current tracking to damage reports.  As I think about it, I think we might have been under a thunderstorm watch or warning at around 5 PM, so I had it on local news on TV.  Since this was a threat to our area, no mention to the severity of the storms heading toward Joplin at that time, but I do remember the forecasters at the time noting that after the current storms passed, we weren't out of the woods yet.  They mentioned more storms coming, and a threat of tornadoes were possible.

At around 5:40 PM, the tornado struck down in Joplin.  By 6 PM, preliminary reports were already that not only had a tornado touched down in Joplin, but it was a possibly pretty bad.  By 6:30, I was already getting news online about how bad it possibly was.  By the time the 10 PM local news came on, the reports were already widespread and one local television station already had people heading to Joplin for reports.

Since I was (and still am) an insomniac, I stayed up all night reading, listening, watching and taking in as much information as I could.  An 18 wheeler flipped over at a Pilot Travel Center, and people all over Joplin were also smelling gas throughout the town.  No power in most of the city either.

The Pilot station they mentioned I remembered stood out for a couple reasons.  First because on one of only a couple times I've been to Joplin, I actually was at that store.  The second is because I may or may not have mentioned, some of the workers of the Wendy's at that location trained me.  I never kept in contact with the workers, so I don't know if any still worked there, but it did add a bit of personal involvement into it.

I remember I know of a pastor who lives and preaches at a church in Joplin, and throughout the night I kept looking for an update from him.  I can't remember if it was a couple hours after the tornado, or if it was early the next day, but I finally heard he and his church was safe.

As the hours turned to days, and days to weeks, the rebuilding began and more stories and pictures emerged.  Debris was so severe that you couldn't even tell where roads were.  It seemed like a scene from a movie.  Buildings destroyed, people just walking around aimlessly.  Though to be fair, what was they able to walk to?  Their houses were destroyed, so were their cars.  The first night if they were lucky enough to have there personal items spared, they were cleaning up or searching for lost ones.  Ones that lost there house and/or car were making sure they didn't also lose loved ones.  It wasn't just because they were worried, they literally had nothing else they could do.  The tornado hit at around 5:40 local time, and the rain didn't let up for a few more days, but even then the sun would have set a couple hours later, so they couldn't start rebuilding that night.

The stories were unfolding, and two really stick out in my mind.  The first was of the Joplin High School.  I heard it was destroyed.  As time went on security video emerged showing how it bad it was.  The part that sticks out though is the fact that less than an hour earlier, the Senior class walked across the stage and graduated.  Luckily for them, the graduation wasn't held at the High School, but a few miles down the road at Missouri Southern State University.  It wasn't all happy though as a not all the graduates would make it through the night.  Some were still driving home from graduation when the tornado hit.

Just this week a story came out that former Kansas City Chiefs players (and current analyst for the Chiefs) Kendall Gammon is starting a foundation in the name of a student who lost his life that night.  It was a personal story for Gammon who had a connection with the student who perished that night.  You can read the story here- KSHB

The second story I remember that night is the hospital.  By the time the morning news came around and the media descended onto the town, you already saw video of the devastation.  I remember some reporters were standing across the road from the hospital and in the background you saw this building that wasn't only unrecognizable, but unusable.  In fact, the hospital had to stage an emergency ward across the street from the hospital in an empty field.  It would eventually take four years for a new hospital to open in its place, this time with much more resistance to powerful storms.

In the years since I still keep up on severe weather, but not to the level I did on the Joplin tornado.  Maybe it is because the events aren't local.  Maybe its because I can't handle the devastation.  Maybe its because I've just lost interest.  One thing is for sure though, I'm okay with the fact I've never seen a tornado.  In fact I am a lot more blessed I haven't.

Tomorrow I am going to do another blog about the Joplin tornado, but it will be something I've wanted to do on this blog since day one but never have.  It will be written in the form of a newspaper article.  Meaning it will not have personal accounts from myself in it, and the story will focus on the event itself from information I have found, not just from what I remember.  I don't plan on doing them a lot, but I would like to do a couple a year.  I know I've said growing up I wanted to be a lot of things (including at the top of this blog), but one that I was close to being if I did go to college was to be a newspaper journalist.  I was actually going to college to be a radio DJ, but my major was going to be in Communication and focus on Journalism.  I was hoping to transfer to the University of Missouri for my later years, and while I regret not going to college, it doesn't mean I can't still try to write articles from time to time.

Part of the reason I started the Missouri Sports History blog is so I could write more articles with less emphasis on my personal accounts but more on history and actual accounts.  I have neglected the site, but I still have plans on working on it, and hope to have an article on there soon.  At any rate, if I find these articles a success, I might feature them more, and may even venture out to conduct interviews in the future.  My main focus for blogging is to have fun doing it.  Showing off stuff I have is somewhat fun, but it doesn't show growth, and I would like to grow as I do my blog.  If that means starting a new blog just for stories such as these, than so be it, but for now I will just feature them on here.

At any rate, its time to wrap up today's post, thank you for reading, and if you read my blog tomorrow and like what you see, please leave a comment.  I'm not outright begging for comments, I'm okay if I get none, but when I do something outside the realm of normal blogs I do like feedback so I know if it was a success or failure.  Also if you think I should do more and have ideas, feel free to post them.  They can be on anything as long as I have some sort of interest in it and have enough information on it.  Thanks for reading and have a great night.

Friday, May 20, 2016

5 Years Later... I Still Miss The Macho Man!

On this date five years ago, the world lost a great wrestler.  He was a Man, a King, a Slim Jim pitchman, and actor, and the guy who wore the most colorful outfits.  Of course I'm talking about the Macho Man (once known as Macho King) Randy Savage.  The guy did it all, from all that I mentioned above to reading kids books and working to charities, to even releasing a rap album (I'm not advising running out and getting it, but hey, it was better than Hogan's).

Some people didn't know though that if things turned out differently, he could have been an MVP in another sport... a legit sport!  Randy was a hell of a baseball player.  Some people made custom cards of Mach, and I figured I would do the same.  So it gave me a reason to do something and its been a while since I made custom cards, so let's dig in..... OOOOOHHHHHH YEAH!

The only "card" I didn't add my logo too, this one didn't take much effort.  Someone posted a news article and this picture was included.  All I did was add space at the bottom, and redid his name and added his school and position.  This would actually look nice on a tobacco card I think.  Maybe I should seek out a blogger that makes legit cards and work out a deal.  I think it would be nice.

Here is the article just in case you want to look at it.

I like how they mentioned his dad in the article.

He did play in the minors for a while for a few teams, and many people have made some good cards.  I decided to try my had at it.  I think I could have done better, but I still like it.

This is another card I'd like to actually have.  I'm not good at adding color to cards, so maybe adding color would be nice, or I could grayscale what I added.  That might work better.  I should have made my logo a tad smaller, but I did kind of rush these.

Not really a card, but how could I pass up a Slim Jim chance?  I COULDN'T, I NEEDED A LITTLE EXCITEMENT!

Okay, let's see the wrestling ones.

I don't have any designs in mind when I make these, I just start working on something from scratch, but this does look like a Heritage type design.  It wasn't my intention, but its still good.

Another one that really isn't much of a card, but in ways it reminds me of the 1995 WCW Main Event cards.  They just seemed like pictures made into card shapes.  I was already a Savage fan by the time he jumped ship to WCW, but I was super happy because a year earlier or so I moved, and didn't get WWF anymore, and only got WCW, so I got to see him more.  However, I didn't get TNT, so I only got to see him on WCW Saturday Night and Clash of the Champions shows.  It held me over.

Once of the first cards I worked on, and didn't put much effort in it.  Sure it could be better, but I didn't want a border and had no ideas for it, so I went easy on it.

As you can tell, I didn't put a lot of thought in these.  I just picked pictures and made a few changes.  I should have made the black space a bit bigger at the top, but otherwise I really like how this turned out.  Logo could be a bit bigger, but not much.

I had no idea how to make this a card, but liked the picture.  So I made it more of a pinup design, but it still works.  I don't remember this when it happened, but I would have liked it just the same.

One final card to show this is a lot more recent.  I think its from 2008.

Maybe my best one, and I made it simple.  It was a photo from his wedding day and felt it kind of summed up what he became- a laid back guy who aged gracefully and didn't need to stay in the spotlight (ahem, HULKSTER!).  He was happy and that was all that mattered.

Oops, I got one more, but its not of Savage....

BONESAW'S READY!  I don't know why I own the Spiderman movies on DVD, but Macho Man is in the first one, so thats a good enough reason.

So before I close, I mentioned these before, but thought I'd show them again.  These are two action figures I have of him.  If I find more cheap, I'll likely get them.

My sister got this for me one Christmas, and was really happy she did.  BTW, not my scan, but still I own this one.

Again, I didn't scan this one, but its the same.  I bought this at a flea market last year I think, and was happy I found it.  Compared to his WWF run, I can't say I loved his WCW stuff, but still was happy to see him on TV each week.

So 5 years later, and it hurts as much as when I first heard he passed.  The difference now I guess is he is now enshrined into the WWE Hall of Fame, if that really means anything anymore.  More respectable wrestling HOF's inducted him years ago.

Thanks for reading, I might do another wrestling one this weekend or Monday, and if I get in gear might do a special blog post, but it might not be ready in time, so I might hold off on it.  HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND, OOOHHH YEAH!  DIG IT!