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.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Meeting Disney's Robinsons

As mentioned, on Easter Sunday after we went to church, the wife and I took our two oldest kids to see Disney's latest animated feature Meet the Robinsons. My parents had just arrived from San Antonio and had driven all night, so they wanted to nap. Our two youngest needed naps too, so we left them. Anyway, we were running late so I dropped the wife off while the kids and I went and parked. We went at this time so we could hit the matinee. Well, when I got inside, my wife said it was $31. I was like, "WHAT"? She said, "isn't that right"? I said, "no"! I waited and asked and apparently, for 3-D movies, it is an extra $2. So, if you go see this show, be aware of that. Of course, then my wife and kids wanted popcorn and a soft drink. And, to top it off, the girls didn't want to share with the boys! WHAT IS THIS?!

So, we got into the theater and the show had started. Ugh. It wasn't that crowded, but, we chose to sit toward the front on the left wing. So, while everyone was getting situated, I ran out and bought two medium drinks and two medium popcorns. Of course, us boys had to have our Code Red while the girls got their nice little Diet Pepsi. Yuck! Well, those were $17+ refreshments!!!

Anyway, back to the movie. It really was cute. But, don't expect some overly deep plot. If you've seen any number of mystery movies, you'll figure this one out fairly fast. But, the kids really enjoyed it. The robot in the movie reminded me a lot of the animated movie Robots that came out a couple years ago. Not really sure why except that, well, it was a robot. The show moved along pretty quick too. Especially when you compare it to Cars. But, don't expect to see a lot of the dinosaur if that is what your kids are expecting. Maybe five minutes tops.

Now, a couple tips. First, if you go see a 3-D movie, DO NOT SIT CLOSE TO THE SCREEN. Second, DO NOT SIT ON THE SIDES. After the movie was over and the credits were rolling, we went and sat towards the back. The picture looked a lot more 3-D than where we sat for the movie. So, all in all, we dropped $40 to see a decent animated Disney flick where we didn't get the full 3-D effect. Story of my life.

But, it was worth it because when we got home, my parents asked my son what the movie was about. Take a guess what he said? One word...DINOSAURS!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Easter non-Pez Dispensers

Happy Easter everyone! I hope everyone had a great day and it wasn't too cold to hunt for Easter eggs. We did our Easter egg hunt yesterday, and it was cold then. Well, we got up this morning and of course went to church. Easter Sundays are always one of those special Sundays at church. And, along with Christmas, it is always more crowded than usual. Then, this afternoon, my wife and I took our two oldest kids to see Meet the Robinsons. I may post on that tomorrow.

Ok, now for the pictures. These two pictures are of a white bunny and a pink bunny from the Easter Bunny and Chick line by Ce De Candy Inc. This is the same company that makes SMARTIES. Everyone is familiar with those. This pink bunny is extremely rare and one of my favorite dispensers in my collection. There is also a yellow chick which I do not have.

This next picture is of the Easter line put out for the last few years by Klik. These were discontinued last year. The cards are pretty nice too. Fortunately, Klik has put out three new dispensers this year in their Easter line which I have purchased, but, I didn't take a picture of.

Anyway, I threw this post together at the last second. I know that I've kinda dropped the ball on posting this past week. It has been pretty hectic around here. I wanted to post today something Easter related but I didn't have anything to really take a picture of. I didn't want to post more Pez pictures, then it dawned on about Non-Pez dispensers? This should have been a no-brainer for me, but I obviously wasn't thinking. I have a rather extensive collection of non-Pez dispensers. In fact, I wrote a book on them last year. I may post about it in a few days. Ok, who am I kidding? Maybe in a few weeks. Well, enjoy the pictures.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Old Maid a la Marvel Comics

Here is an item I purchased on eBay a couple weeks ago. It is the Marvel Comics Super-Heroes Card Game by Milton Bradley. It is from 1978. I have no idea why I decided to look this up, but I did. I guess I was trying to remember different toys I had as a kid and what I wanted to add to my collection. Anyway, I won the auction and now it is in my collection, and I am very happy.

I remember playing this game with my younger brother all the time. Basically, it is Marvel's version of Old Maid. But, who wants to look at an old woman when you can look at Doctor Doom? These are over-sized cards and feature the greatest heroes Marvel had to offer back in the late 70s. Ironically, the X-Men were not on any of the cards. I'm not really sure why. You've got Spider-Man, Captain America, Thor, and the Fantastic Four to name a few.
We use to also play a memory match game with them where you flip them all down and then take turns flipping them over to find matches. Man, I loved this game. Really, it didn't have anything to do with the game itself but the awesome graphics. Just take a look at these cards. This particular example I won has a fairly decent box with outstanding artwork. The cards, however, are in nearly perfect condition.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Garage Sale Saturday #3

Anyway, garage sales still aren't in full swing yet so I'm not really having any luck for my collection. Here is a picture of what I did get. It includes a Thomas the Tank Engine pillow and VHS tape for $1 each. A Jeff Gordon Pez I got for a nickel, and a vintage bus stop sign in which I lost a whole buck. The Thomas stuff is obviously for my kids. They immediately put in the tape and watched it. We washed the pillow and my oldest son is sleeping with it tonight. He really, really, really likes it. He made a point of telling me so. The Pez and bus stop sign were for my personal collection.

The bus stop sign is about 20 years old. It is for tarc, which stands for the Transit Authority of River City. This is the name of the Louisville, KY transit service. The sign is marked 7/88. The picture of the sign isn't all that good. It looks kind of orange in the picture bus it is really red. Now, for a lesson I learned and am kicking myself. Someone had taken a pink marker and drawn on the 'c' in 'tarc'. So, I thought I'd take a Magic Eraser and get it off.

There were a couple other small spots I thought I'd get off too. Well, after rubbing a couple spots and not really paying attention, I realized I was taking the paint straight off the sign. Argh!!! If you look at the picture, you will see THREE obvious discoloration spots. They appear as a darker red in the picture, but in reality, they are faded areas now. I didn't know it, but, the Magic Eraser has abrasives in it. My wife said, "oops, I should have told you that". Grrrr. My fault though. I should have known better. I usually ALWAYS check and read stuff before using it to clean and even do a small test. So, that is the lesson. Oh well, at least it wasn't something I paid a lot for and not something that is highly valued in my collection. I bought it more for the novelty, so, not all is lost. Anyway, a good lesson. I'll try to take a better picture of the bus stop sign and post later to show the true color of it.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Before Trivial Pursuit, There Was Quiz Wiz

We all love trivia games. From Jeopardy to Trivial Pursuit to Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, we are all captivated by our abundance of general and mundane knowledge. Ok, or lack thereof. Before any of these, there was Quiz Wiz, the electronic handheld game by Coleco. It had a plastic sleeve with a giant number on it signifying which quiz book you were using. You then would plug your game into this plastic sleeve which had some sort of computer chip in it. This game had a number pad, ABCD pad, Answer button, and Clear button. Also on the front were two lights--a red 'NO' and a green 'YES' light. Each plastic cover had a booklet of 1001 various questions. The quiz book #1 covered had general questions covering sports, history, people, television, and other categories. Each of the other quiz books centered around a different category from Sports to the Bible.
I really did love this game. I still have my original game I got for Christmas back in 1979. For whatever reason, I fortunately kept the box all these years. This is one of my favorite toys in my collection because it is the actual one I had as a kid and is in excellent shape. I remember in 6th grade when we would have reading time, I would bring my game and play it. This was truly my first introduction and love of trivia.

By searching the Internet, I was able to obtain a complete list of all the quiz books as follows:
  1. 1001 Questions
  2. The World of Sports
  3. Movies and TV
  4. People & Places
  5. Trivia
  6. Music & Books
  7. Math Mania
  8. The Book of Lists
  9. Greatest Sports Legends
  10. Super Heroes
  11. Disaster! When Nature Strikes Back
  12. The Ocean- Mankind's Last Frontier
  13. Energy- The Fuel of Life
  14. How Things Work- Aerosols to Zippers
  15. NBA Teams
  16. NFLPA
  17. MLB
  18. Guiness Book of World Records
  19. The People's Almanac #1 & #2
  20. Sherlock Holmes & Other Famous Mysteries
  21. Greatest Sports Legends- Volume II
  22. Monsters, Vampires, Witches and Ghosts
  23. Words - Used, Misused and Confused
  24. Super Trivia - Movies and TV
  25. Rock 'N Roll - Doo Wop to Disco
  26. The Bible - The Old and New Testaments
  27. Soap Opera Digest
  28. Ripley's Believe it or Not
  29. Celebrity Trivia
  30. Fascinating Facts about Animals

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Dixie...Not the Chicks, Not the Song, but the Cups

I remember as a kid going to my neighbor's house after school. Her mom was our before school and after school babysitter. At the time, they had six kids. Along with them, she watched, my two brothers, me, and some other kids. It was actually pretty cool. We'd all get there after school and plop down in front of the TV. There wasn't really much discussion about what to watch back in the 70s because there were only three stations. We'd watch The Flintstones, The Three Stooges, Gilligan's Island, and Batman. I can't really remember the order of the shows, but those were the ones we watched. Of course, Batman was our favorite.

Anyway, while we plopped down in front of the TV, our babysitter was fast at work cutting us snacks. I always, ALWAYS, had sliced oranges. I still eat them to this day and every single time I think of my time at the babysitters. Along with the snacks, she would make Kool-aid. But, what she put the sugary drink in is what made it fun. And that was Dixie cups. They came in all sorts or different designs. The ones I remember the most were the ones with riddles. Now, I can't remember a single riddle or anything, but I do remember how cool they were. Just like all my neighbors, we had the Dixie Cups too. Heck, I don't even know if they still make these any more. Guess I'll have to check next time I go to the supermarket.
Well, a couple years ago, my Mom bought me this unopened box of Dixie Cups at a garage sale for 25 cents. It isn't a Star Wars or the riddles cups, but instead are just some generic designs with flowers. But, it is cool nonetheless. It is from the late 70s, either 1977 or 1978. There is an AIM toothpaste coupon on the back. Pretty neat graphics and ya gotta love the Mommy's haircut as well as the beautiful colored tile bathroom walls. Sad part is, the walls of my bathroom look just like that now. Guess I need to put me up a Dixie Cup dispenser now.

Monday, March 26, 2007

How I Conquered the Cube

How many people have tried to solve the Rubik's Cube? How many have been successful? Well, I have never met anyone who could ever solve the cube. I was first introduced to a Rubik's Cube back the early 1980s when I was in 7th Grade. I remember someone bringing one to Home Ec class and how we all tried to solve it. No one even got remotely close. Heck, for a 7th grader, it was a big deal if you could only get one side. Of course, my brother and I begged our mom for one so we went out on a Saturday and each of us got one. Being the smart kid I was, I didn't open mine and instead always played with my brother's. This picture is of my original Rubik's Cube still in the box. I even bought a solution manual, which is pictured, and helped me absolutely not at all. I did take off the shrink wrap. Oh well. Many hours were spent trying to solve that cube. I was able to get one side, and even with a little work, I could get all the edges on that one side correct. I tell myself that the most sides I ever got was three sides, but, I'm not even sure about that now. Many other puzzles soon followed like Pyraminx, Rubik's Snake, Missing Link, Alexander's Star, and several others.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is about a month or so ago, I was watching Fox and Friends and Tyson Mao was on there. He was the guy on Beauty and the Geek that could solve the Rubik's Cube in less than 20 seconds. He was on there talking about a new movie starring Will Smith and how he taught WS to solve the cube over two days at four hours each. I thought, 'if Will Smith can do it, then surely I can'. Also, Tyson said there were sites on the Internet to show you how to solve the cube. Now, I do admit, I had no idea if Will Smith was smart or not and since then, I have read about him and obviously he is a very smart man. Well, I hadn't played with a Rubik's Cube in forever, but, I thought that surely I could follow the instructions on one of these sites. Well, that was a mistake. The solutions are not exactly straight forward. So, after several hours of searching and trying to follow the directions, I finally found one that was a little more straight forward, but difficult nonetheless. So, what I did was rewrite that solution and combine some of the other tricks I found on other sites. I got to where I could solve the cube by following my new chart. So, whenever I needed a break from work, was watching TV, or whatever, I would play with the cube. Now, in just a few weeks, I can solve the cube in about 2 minutes every single time. Now, this isn't a fast solution, but, is fine for me and I can't wait til I see my brothers so I can hustle them!

Here is a link to my Rubik's Cheat Sheet PDF for anyone that wants to download the solution and try it out. I think it is the easiest solution you will find out there because it was written by someone who didn't know how to solve the cube and wrote his own notes. Good luck and let me know if you can solve it!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Garage Sale Saturday #2

Well, my wife, kids, and I got up early and headed out for some garage sales. There were only about half a dozen to go to. Nothing even remotely promising at any of them and they were all over-crowded. Looks like everyone is so antsy to get started on the garage sales after a long four or five month seasonal hiatus. But, on the very last garage sale, there was promise. There were a lot of comic books from the 70s and 80s for a buck a piece. I didn't get any though. There were a ton of carded Hot Wheels, all from this year most likely. So, I passed. There was a nice He-Man board game from the 80s I was looking at. It was complete and not played with. However, the box cover was less than perfect and very faded. He said it was $2. I passed. I asked if he had any more He-Man stuff and he pulled out two figures. The pair was 50 cents. I couldn't pass them up. Heck, I can't even remember who they are as I type. One was Stratos, I do know that. I can't remember who the other one was. Both need a very good cleaning too.

After that, I took the two youngest out and we went to a flea market. It was not a fun flea market for those looking for antiques, collectibles, or vintage type of items. It has basically become one of those places where all you see is incense, pets, velvet paintings, buck knifes, and other junk. Junk I am not the least bit interested. We then headed to the Antique and Toy Mall just outside of town. My wife and I used to have a small booth there a few years ago. I have found many items for my collection there. Unfortunately, I left empty handed. So, today was not very fruitful at all. Oh well, the hunt is half the fun. But, because I didn't really find anything, I don't have a picture for today.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

We are the Freakies!

One of my favorite cereals as a kid were Freakies. I don't really know why since it has been so many years since I've actually tasted them. My recollection is they tasted like a cross between Quisp and Cap'n Crunch. Not sure why that has stuck in my mind. But, I do remember how I loved the cereal. I think it must have been the characters though. I still remember when my Mom bought that first box back in Missouri. We opened it up and found an figure! It was Boss Moss. Of all the characters to get first, we got the leader. My favorite cereal up to this point had been Quisp. But Freakies were so much better, if for no other reason, the toy. We all know that kids love cereal because of the toy. To this day, when I get cereal that has a toy in it, it is all I can do to NOT let my kids stick their arm all the way down in the cereal box searching for the toy. No telling how many pieces of cereal we wasted with each new box.

Anyway, I have been searching for these figures for at least 10 years now. Sure, you can find them on eBay all the time, but they cost a pretty penny. But, the only one I have ever found was at a flea market here in Louisville a couple years ago for a buck. It was a loose Goody-Goody (the pink one). Well, last week I won an auction for 11 Freakies figures all in their original wrapper. I got them for a great price too. Not really sure how that happened except they were sort of mis-listed. Not a single mention of 'Freakies' anywhere in the title or description. So, it was a great find. So, now I have a complete set all in the original bags. But, to act like Grumble, grrrrr, now I need to get them all loose so I can actually hold them and play with them. Some of the other Freakies toys I remember were the magnets, air bubble cars, and air bubble boats. You can still get the whole set of cars for pretty cheap, which I did get a couple years ago.

I think everyone had a favorite Freakies character. For me, it was Snorkledorf. Why? Because he was the very last figure for us to get. For a kid, things were really simple on what made things your favorite. And, I am telling you, I still remember buying and eating box after box just to get my Mom to go buy yet another box to see if we could get that blue Snorkledorf. And finally, we did. The names of these cool characters were just as crazy as the cereal name and were self descriptive of the character. The names of the other Freakies are Boss Moss (green), Goody-Goody (pink), Grumble (orange), Gargle (purple), Hamhose (octopus-like), and Cowmumble (light green).

If you want to find out more about the Freakies, there are several sites out there. But, the one I really like is This has a description of each character, the entire song, and other goodies, no pun intended.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Boys, Bugs, and their Temporary Homes

A couple years ago I spotted these two items at different garage sales for 10 cents and 25 cents. I snatched both of them up. They aren't in the best shape, but they brought back tons of memories. I remember as a kid growing up in Missouri and Nebraska, when other kids had mason jars and empty mayo jars, my brother and I had these super cool bug condos. Actually, we used to call them bug catchers. But, this item from the 70s is really called a BUG ZOO. I only recall them in green and red, so now I have both.

For us curious boys, these were such a cool way to observe our ever rotating pet bugs. What was really cool is you could open the top and drop them in. Then watch the bugs funnel on down the neck and into their new glass house, or plastic house in this case. Then, when you were ready to let them out, you just pop off the bottom and away they go. And, ya just knew they loved that plastic plant while they were in there. Of course, we always added some grass and sticks, just in case. Now, my kids have "bug catchers", but, they aren't nearly as cool looking as what we had as kids. And of course, in the summer, I never forgo an opportunity to help my kids catch grasshoppers and lightning bugs for their modern-day bug condos.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

My Daughter's Little Ponies

The other day I mentioned that my oldest daughter, who is in first grade, has a My Little Pony collection. I said I would post her collection in the future, well, I think two days counts as "the future". So, here is a picture of her pony collection...a pretty impressive one if I do say so myself, although I might be a tad bit biased.

A few years ago she decided she wanted to start collecting ponies. My sister-in-law collected them and my wife had several, so, this gave her something to collect that she could associate with us. And, it made it fun for my wife and me. Now, she has something to look for at garage sales, flea markets, etc.

Well, about two years ago, I bought a display at a garage sale, painted it white, and put in my toy room. Ok, I think it was some sort of small kitchen pantry, but hey, it works. I brought her down and asked her if she knew what this was for? She had no idea. I told her it was for her to display her pony collection in my toy room. You should have seen her face light up. She immediately went and got all her ponies and we spent the next hour putting them up. Now, whenver people come over, they don't get to leave without seeing Daddy's toy room, and specifically, her pony collection.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Garage Sale Saturday #1

It is finally that time of year again. No, not March Madness and no not St. Patrick's Day. Although both are fun, I am talking GARAGE SALES!!! Finally, garage sales are starting up as Spring is here and the weather is getting warm. My wife and I have been avid hunters of garage sales since before we were married. So, starting today, every Saturday I go garage saling I will post my finds.

Today it was a little chilly but the wife and I headed out with the kids. I ended up only finding one item today which I was more than happy to buy. It is a SURE-HIT BAT-N-BALL by Irwin Toys. The seller said he had purchased it from extra stock from an old grocery store. Of course, they always say that now, don't they? I'm not sure of the year, but, it definitely looks pre-1980s. Nothing really spectacular about the graphics or the item except that it is still complete with the ball in the plastic package and the cardboard header attached to the bat with its rusty staples.

But, it does bring back childhood memories. I remember having similar ones like this when I was a kid. Whether it was a solid ball or a Whiffle ball, all the kids in our neighborhood loved slugging with this thing because it was so hard NOT to actually hit the ball.

One specific memory does come to mind. I remember playing a game of baseball with a bat-n-ball like this one in gym class in junior high, 8th grade specifically. I happened to laugh at a kid that was slightly overweight right as he struck out. Now, I wasn't really laughing at him, but he thought I was. He wanted to meet after school to fight. I tried to talk him out of it, but, he wouldn't have any of it. So, of course, not wanting to be a coward, I showed up with my buddies coming along for support. Ok, and hopefully a good fight. I was nervous all day. Who wants a bloody nose and this guy was a lot bigger than me, not only in girth, but in height. But, luckily, he never showed. The stupid things we do and argue about as kids. Anyway, the next day at school he came up to me and said he chickened out and I won. I told him, "Name omitted, I didn't win and seriously, I really was not laughing at you". We shook hands and all is good. That was really a good lesson for both of us, and obviously had an impact on me since I still remember it well, 25 years later.

Well, now off to clean the bat up a little and watch March Madness, yes, the other reason this is such a great time of year.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Some Pictures of My Toy Room

Here are a couple more pictures of my toy room, or as my kids say, "Daddy's toy room". And, they know to STAY OUT unless I take them in there to look around. Of course, I always keep a couple of toys for them in there to play with. My daughter is really proud too because I let her put her My Little Pony collection in there. I'll put some pictures of her collection in the future. I must say, it is pretty impressive.

I figured since I had already posted several of my Pez displays, I'd post some pictures of other parts of my toy room. Notice how I conveniently did NOT take pictures of the floor since it is covered with "stuff". Someday I'll get everything organized and displayed. Yeah, someday. Enjoy.

Here's a close-up of the display. Some of the items in here are my Mego's, Big Jim stuff, Pulsar, and other random stuff.

I took the doors off the walkin closet to give me more display space. Here is a nook in the closet of some Rubik's puzzles and electronic handheld games.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Vintage Pez in Cello

Here are some of my favorite MIB vintage Pez. Believe it or not, but about 10 years ago I purchased a small collection that included several Pez Pal Nurses, Mickeys, Donalds, and Plutos all MIB. Really good deal. Again, thanks to Toy Shop Magazine for that purchase. Curse eBay and the Internet!!!

But, my favorite is the carded Chick in Egg. This is such a cool card that I picked up at a flea market in Dallas about 10 years ago as well. Seems like I used to have a lot more luck acquiring vintage Pez. Hm. I haven't seen this card before or since.

Just check out the back of it. Color graphics of a Pez Shooter and a Golden Glow. Super cool.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

More Pez Pictures

Here are a few more pictures of my Pez collection. This first picture is a small Peter Pez display that my Mom purchased for me back in the 90s from the back of Toy Shop Magazine. Remember when that magazine actually used to be good? I have filled the display up with a lot of my no feet and discontinued Pez that are MIB.

This next display is just a floor shipper that I have filled with common current dispensers. Well, current up til a couple of years ago. I only wanted one of these, so, I thought I would get the Star Wars one since it is a crossover to other toys in my collection...those Kenner action figures.

This last display just contains all of my carded Pez. I really wanted one of those tall Peter Pez display racks or some other Pez rack, but, I couldn't afford it, so, I figured I'd build my own for much less. I just went to Home Depot, bought some peg board, spray painted it, put up some hooks, and screwed it to the wall and VOILA...instant carded display. I think it looks good and is a lot cheaper! I'm thinking of pulling these down though and storing or getting rid of them. I really want to scale down my Pez collection to only the vintage stuff.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Pez...A Treat to Eat in a Toy That's Neat

A treat to eat in a toy that's neat...that's the slogan all Pezheads know. But, do ya really like the candy? It's ok, but the toy is what Pez is all about. I have been collecting PEZ ever since I was in graduate school back in 1991. I got started on PEZ when my Mom showed me an article in the local newspaper about a guy who collected PEZ. I read the article and thought "what a great collection". This was much cooler than comics because these little things you could display. I also remembered the PEZ I had when I was a kid back in the 70's so I thought this was the perfect collection for me. Little did I know it would become an obsession for the next decade.

I remember going into Walgreens, Wal-Mart, Target, and Kroger's just about every day looking for Pez. I look back now and am bummed because there were lots of Smurfs, Pez Pal Boys and Girls with extra holes, and three piece witches. I remember thinking, "Man, I hope I don't see anyone I know. Especially some cute waitress I work with, they'd think 'What a freak!'".

In 1993, I started improving the quality of my collection with the addition of Captain Hook, which my parents got for Christmas. The reason I wanted Captain Hook was because that was the one specific dispenser I could remember from my childhood. The next dispenser I acquired was Uncle Sam, which I paid $3 for at a toy shop. Now that was exciting and a story in itself. Maybe I'll tell that story someday. Hey, like the Fourth of July!

Now, sixteen years later, I am sort of burned out on Pez, if you can believe that. But, I the reason I'm burned out is there are just so many new Pez out there now that I can't keep up monetarily. So, I've decided to pack up all my dispensers that I consider current and pack them away for a couple ten years. So, sometime this year, I'll do that undertaking and rearrange my display. Ugh, that even makes me sick to think about that right now. Anyway, here are several pictures of my Pez collection. I hope you enjoy.

My Dad made me this HUGE display case for Christmas in 1998. It is about 6' tall and 5' wide. He made it out of the shelves used in my grandfather's country store. Kinda sentimental. This rack will help keep the dust off my Pez and is awesome for displaying them. It truly is awesome. Thanks Dad!

The following pictures are of select shelves from the large display featuring some of the more vintage Pez in my collection.