Friday, April 27, 2007

Great Balloon Glow

Another one of the great family events during Derby is the Balloon Glow. We have done this every year we have lived in Louisville. Our kids look forward to this event more than any of the others. Ok, maybe our sons do. Our oldest daughter looks forward to another one of the events, which I will write about later in the week. Anyway, our Sunday School class meets in the parking lot of the Louisville Expo & Fairgrounds for this event. Tonight, we met around 7pm and grilled out. I ate three hamburgers, a hotdog, chips, and several other side dishes. I was stuffed.

One of the popular things surrounding Derby are the Pegasus pins. These are colorful plastic pins in various colors. A lot of people collect these items. They are pretty cute. You can buy them at various stores, gas stations, etc. throughout the city for $3. These get you into all the Derby events. But, what you are really looking for is the prized Gold Pegasus pin. If you get this pin, you get to enter it into a raffle. In our 6 years here, I think we've only had one. And, of course, we kept it instead of turning it in to enter the raffle.

Around 8:30pm, we all made our way to the field where all the balloons are located. Again, like all the Derby events, it is packed. This year, there were 51 balloons. From the Energizer Bunny, which is a crowd favorite, to various regional sponsors like Meijer.

Several of the balloonists pass out trading cards for the kids to collect. These are pretty cool and give the kids something to search for. But, at 9pm is the actual glow. All 51 balloons go dark, then on a countdown they all light up at the same time. It really is awesome. This goes on for an hour or so. Traffic is just packed. You can see cars driving by on I-65 and then slowing down almost to a stop to catch a glimpse of this event. Then, on Saturday morning, early, they actually have a balloon race. But, we have yet to wake up early enough to go to that. But, just like with Thunder, if you get a chance, you must check out the Great Balloon Glow.

Once again, I was a goofball and did not take my digital camera and I don't have any pictures from previous years either. WHAT WAS I THINKING?!!! Anyway, you can check out the Kentucky Derby Festival web site for information and pictures on this event.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Thunder Over Louisville

Last night was Thunder Over Louisville. This is one of the 70 events that make up part of the Derby Festival. These are the two weeks leading up to the Kentucky Derby. These are two of the funnest weeks for families in this city. One of the funnest and most spectacular is Thunder. It is an all day affair with the daytime consisting of tons of aerial shows featuring F-14s to Stealth Bomber to stunt planes. It is quite a site.

At night is the best part though. I used to work at Disney World and I thought they had the best fireworks show anywhere. On New Year's and the Fourth of July, I thought they were untouchable. That was, until I met my wife and she took me to Thunder. The fireworks show is without a doubt the absolute best fireworks show in America. If you ever have the chance, you MUST see it.

Unfortunately, wouldn't you know, this is the first year we didn't go. We have four kids and one isn't a year old, so, we decided not to battle the heat and crowds this year. And, wouldn't you know, I don't have any pictures from last year. Anyway, you can get a peak of it at

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Garage Sale Saturday #5

Found several items from my childhood today. I bought five games. A Dungeons & Dragons game, Kreskin's ESP, Perquacky, Careers, and a TV Show edition of Trivial Pursuit. Now, the only ones I'll probably keep in my collection are Perquacky and the Trivial Pursuit. We use to play Perquacky with my parents all the time along with Boggle.

As for the Trivial Pursuit game, well, I have quite a few of the various Trivial Pursuit Editions. They aren't that old, but, I just love Trivial Pursuit. The others, well, I'll probably just sell them on eBay or something. If I don't get anything on there, I'll just throw them in a garage sale with a slight markup. Gotta make enough to sustain my collecting.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Disney Fantasy Puzzle

Last night, my kids and I decided to put together this Disney Fantasy Puzzle I bought at a garage sale a few years ago. I had this exact one as a kid and loved to do it. I have always loved these group-type photos of characters, especially when they are Disney, Hanna-Barbera, Marvel, or DC super heroes. The box wasn't in the best shape, but for 50 cents, who cares. The seller said it was all there, so, I bought it. Well, we got it done in about an hour. Kind of cool, but...

THERE WERE SIX PIECES MISSING!!! Just goes to show that if you buy a puzzle from a garage sale, don't trust the seller if the puzzle has been opened. Take the minute or two and count up the pieces. Oh well, I do have another one in my collection that is complete. Guess we should have done that one.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Jackie Robinson and ROOTS

Today marks the 60th anniversary of a true American icon breaking the color barrier. That man, that American, was Jackie Robinson. The MLB celebrated this historic moment today across the nation in ball parks. I can't believe I was in 9th grade, sitting in my Social Studies class back in Nebraska when I first heard of Jackie Robinson. How in the world had I, a HUGE sports buff and history buff gone so long without ever hearing of this individual. In my opinion, he not only changed the fabric of sports, but of the American culture. All week long, ESPN has had specials on Jackie. I'm sure you can catch one of the specials for the next few weeks on any of the ESPN stations, and I highly recommend it. Also, check out more information on Jackie Robinson at Not only was Jackie part of African-American history, and not only sports history, but part of American History and a great pioneer for civil rights.

Another anniversary is being celebrated this week as well, the 30th anniversay of Alex Haley's ROOTS. Back in 1977, over 85% of American households tuned in to watch this epic and powerful mini-series on ABC. I was in elementary school at the time and I remember watching this show well. What immediately pulled me into it was hearing that O.J. Simpson, one of my childhood heroes, had a part in it. So many stars at that time, both black and white, were in this star-studded tv movie. I remember how I felt when Kunta Kinte was captured and then treated by his captors. Ripped away from his family. His struggle to stay true to his people and refusing the slave name of Toby. The image that most sticks in my mind was John Amos' character as an adult 'Toby' getting half of his foot chopped off. I could not believe what I was seeing. Then Kizzy came. She was a strong and enduring woman. I remember crying when she was ripped away from her parents. Then to Chicken George and how he fought to earn his freedom. I remember seeing Chuck Connors as the slave owner Tom Moore and how much I hated him. A few years later, he was on a TV commercial for some trucks and I hated him then. It was only later that I realized he was just an actor and was a good guy in The Rifleman. But, it goes to show the impact this show had on me. I could not believe a group of people, a group of people in America, could be so cruel to another group of people in America. I think for my generation, this movie had more impact on us and race relations than any other single event. It truly was a defining moment in TV history.

This week, TV ONE has been broadcasting the entire mini-series. It has been hosted by several of the stars including Louis Gossett, Jr., Leslie Uggams, Ben Vereen, and LeVar Burton. This weekend, I watched roughly 8 hours of the mini-series. I have not seen it since its original airing 30 years ago. I was gripped to the set, remembering how I felt seeing this as a youth. I cried again at Kizzy being ripped from her parents. I cried when Chicken George was reunited with Tom, his son. Just as when I was a kid, I felt hatred toward Tom Moore and Lloyd Bridges and the other racists. And at the same time, I was so moved by the closeness of these characters with their families despite all that they endured. It is such a powerful and moving mini-series that I wish every person has the opportunity to see once in their life. I know when my children are older, I will watch this with them. If you have not seen this lately, I encourage you to watch it again this week. You will be moved.

I know there has been some controversy surrounding Alex Haley and ROOTS, but, this should in no way deter the impact this movie has had on our culture. If you want to find out more about Alex Haley and ROOTS, check out the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Foundation Inc.. As an aside, I have also read that because of ROOTS there was a huge upsurge in the interest of genealogy, another one of my interests.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Garage Sale Saturday #4

Last week, we were just too tired to go garage saling. Today, we got up and it was raining and cold, but, we decided to go anyway. Well, I sure am glad we did. The first two sales we went to, I found a lot of stuff. Here are the pictures of what I got. I got ALL of this for a grand total of $6!!!

At the first sale, I got a collector's tin Dominoe set and a puzzle ball. I wasn't sure what it is called, but I've seen them before, and thought it would be a neat piece to add to my puzzle collection. And, for 25 cents, I couldn't really beat that. I looked it up on the Internet when I got home and it is called The Orb. There was also a box of My Little Pony figures for $1.50 that I was going to buy for my daughter, but, someone else had already set them aside. Bummer.

The second place we went was an estate sale. This is where I bought a lot of stuff for $5. I bought some bicentennial crazy straws from, guess when? 1976 obviously. Remember in 1976 when it seemed like EVERYTHING had some sort of patriotic or bicentennial twist to it? What is kind of cool with these too are the prices tags are still on them. They originally retailed for 49 cents, but they were marked down to 39 cents. But, hey, I only paid 25 cents. Neat little addition to my collection.

This next item is of a crossword puzzle toilet paper. Remember back in the 1970s when there were all those novelty toilet paper rolls? I specifically remember my parents having a Murphy's Law roll and another one with football stories or something on it. I got this roll for 25 cents, and it is unopened.

Next is a gyroscope. I just may play with this thing this afternoon. My kids will get a kick outta it. The item itself appears brand new. The box is a little rough though. But, the graphics are cool and for 50 cents, I couldn't pass it up.

Probably the worst purchase I got today was this next item. It was a mail away for some Goof Troop PVC figures. I paid $1 for them. I'm guessing they are a mail away offer from a cereal box from the mid to late 90s. I wasn't going to get them, then my wife said, "ok, I don't want us to get home and you regret not getting them. You always do that and these are only $1". So, she talked me into it.

Now, this last item is the coolest. It is a brown View-Master. When I first saw it, I picked it up and it was $3. I put it down immediately. Well, my wife walked by and picked up this plastic bag and said, "did you see these"? I looked in and it was about a dozen GAF reels for the View-Master. Geez. I totally overlooked them. Thank goodness my wife was with me. Some of these reels had never been opened and most are complete and in awesome shape. The only disappointment I had is that these are all tourist reels. Too bad they weren't of Scooby, the Superfriends, or some Disney reels. Oh well. I'm sure I'll find them some time.

The other three sales went we to were duds. But, with what I found at the first two sales, I was more than happy. So, if you don't go to garage sales and you do collect vintage things, or really anything, you need to start going to garage sales. You may not find stuff every time, but, the thrill of the hunt is 80% of the fun!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

When Farrah Fawcett Ruled the World

Farrah Fawcett-Majors. The name that all boys drooled over back in the late 70s and early 80s. Seems like you couldn't go to the mall, school, or a ball game without seeing a t-shirt with Farrah or Charlie's Angels on it. As a kid, there was no woman in the world but Farrah. I had a small collection of Farrah stuff when I was a kid including Charlie's Angels trading cards, a t-shirt (which I still have), puzzles, posters, pillow, mug, etc.

Here is a mug I found for $5 a few years ago in an antique store in Oklahoma. I snatched it up immediately because I had this exact one as a kid. I used to fill it up with milk, mix in the Nesquik, and drink away. Mine is long gone, but now I have this one in its place. I also had a puzzle and poster which I proudly hung on my wall of this same photograph on the mug.

Here is my pillow from when I was a kid. I remember buying it at a garage sale for something like 50 cents. Yes, even back when I was a kid we used to go to garage sales. I also had a poster with this picture as well.

Those were the days. But, since this time, what in the world has happened to my Farrah? So disappointing. But, I choose to remember her from back in the day.