Thursday, December 30, 2010

Collecting Autographs - Hobbies May 1942

"Pencils with Personalities" - I found this article interesting for a few reasons, one, who would have thought to have people of note autograph pencils and two, to love your hobby so much you would travel as much as this man did and set-up your display so often. Today I present Mr. Gfeller and his pencils:

"The number that collect autographs is legion, but autograph collecting has other sidelines. Ralph R. Gfeller, Kansas, has what he calls a collection of 'Pencils with Personalities.' Gfeller has approximately 3,000 pencils, many of them autographed by internationally famous people, such as Winston Churchill, Madame Chiang-Kai-Shek, Thomas Edison, General John J. Pershing, Robert Ripley, Shirley Temple, and others.

His largest pencil is seven feet long, and 17 inches in circumference; his smallest is the size of a tack.

As an example of the interesting paths into which a hobby will lead one, Mr. Gfeller has traveled 25,000 miles and displayed his pencils more than 100 times in one year."

Just a small portion of some of my collections

Roman Candles in your Car - The year - 1908!

"Automobilists running on country roads at night must send up a red rocket every mile and wait ten minutes for the road to clear. They may then proceed carefully, blowing their horns and shooting Roman candles."

I wonder how many cars upholstery caught fire with this brilliant plan!

No Roman candles in our store but we do have some lovely well-priced decorative candle holders. Here are just a couple -

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lincolniana - from Hobbies magazine May, 1942

Alfred W. Stern of Chicago recently purchased a famous letter by Lincoln, at a reputed price of $15,000. It is Lincoln's famous letter to Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker after appointing him commander of the Army of the Potomac. The letter gently upbraids Hooker for thwarting his predecessor, Gen. A.E. Burnside, and for saying that "both army and the government need a dictator." Lincoln told Maj. Gen. Hooker, among other things: "What I now ask of you is military success, and I will risk the dictatorship." He closes with these words of advice: "And now beware of rashness - beware of rashness, but with energy, and sleepless vigilance, go forward, and give us victories."

While we do not have such amazing pieces of history from the Civil War, we do have these lovely souvenir glasses from Gettysburg in our store currently:

Saturday, August 28, 2010

If I worked in a union

I would want it to be the same one Santa Claus aka Kris Kringle uses.

The man works 1 day a year!! And how hard does he work? Sure, he has to TRAVEL the world, oh how horrible, all expense paid travelling in his own private sled. No airline fees, airport waits, delays, etc.

The extent of his office work is making a list and checking it twice, something which by now he has either loaded up into Access or some other Microsoft program created just for him so it is a matter of a few minutes on the computer in between games of Bejewelled.

The best part to me about being Santa Claus is the Union makes him stay fat if he wants to keep his job so non-stop cookies and milk! Bet he has no problem getting one of the elves to stand in line for him at the Hoboken bakery to get him cookies. A

Now this part is not appealing to me because I am not a voyeur but I am sure there a few who would like the "sees you when you're sleeping," not my cup of tea but hey, to each his own.

The ones with the sucky union are the elves. They do all the work! Making the toys, loading the sled, cleaning-up after the reindeer (though I would hate to be Santa if one of the elves got p*ssed off at Santa and fed the reindeer baked beans before take-off), shovel all the snow in the North Pole, rub Santa's feet, etc.

Friday, August 27, 2010

You Don't Bring me Cookies Anymore

Occasionally, Don would bring home some amazing cookies from a bakery in Hoboken. Bringing me cookies is akin to bringing someone flowers and much more appreciated! Flowers wilt and die, they require maintenance, some make my allergies act up, but a cookie, a cookie stays with me eternally. I can recall with extreme clarity the taste and texture of a fine cookie as a wine connoisseur dreams of a rare claret they enjoyed once.

Well, the bakery in Hoboken is none other than the home of the TLC show the Cake Boss. Apparently now that the bakery has made the big time of reality tv stardom, the line snakes around the block and eager patrons wait for hours to enter the inner sanctum of the now-famous pastry chef. I saw a PATH train this morning from my train window, at first I thought the graffiti vandals had attacked it, the whole train was covered, including the windows in a giant advertising mess for the Cake Boss, enormous red TLC’s were splashed all over as was the Cake Boss’s face. One car, fine, but the same tacky ad covered each and every car!

I digress from the topic at hand, sort of. Until this show runs its course, Don no longer brings me cookies from this fine bakery. He does, though, attempt to sate my cookie addiction with substitutes, some have succeeded, most have failed.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The end draws near...finally!

Well, after starting a novel back in early 2001, it is almost done. I had put it aside several times, picking it up occasionally to work on it. I have since (about the end of 2009) made a concerted effort to work on it almost everyday, mostly on the train.

It is such a strange feeling to be wrapping-up and bringing closure to the characters I created in this dark-comedy fictional novel. It is as if a close friend is leaving me forever!

I am eager, though, to begin the next step in this journey and hopefully find an agent and become an officially published author. And even if it does not get published, it will feel great to say I at least finished what I started and I tried.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Box - Movie Review - Spoiler Alert

There are certain standards I apply to watching a movie, bad being when I demand the producer pay me for the hours I just lost watching their creation. This was one such movie, I want my hour and a half of life back I lost on this one!!

Why Cameron Diaz thought when this script came her way that it was a good idea to take is beyond me.

The movie starts out well enough, although Norma, Cameron's character, getting distraught about a small financial crisis (her son's PRIVATE school tuition will no longer be subject to a discount which she had received as a benefit as teacher at the same institution) is a bit much. Her husband works for NASA and it is clear he has job security. They live in an affluent neighborhood in Richmond, VA in a large Colonial home for just 3 people and hubby drives a brand new Corvette Stingray. Cry me a river on your finances, they live (gasp) paycheck to paycheck because living outside of the city in a smaller and modest home was never an option she considered.

So when a man with a face that looks like a Rottweiler took a chunk out of arrives to explain the box, which is called the button, explains how all her financial woes can be eliminated if she presses the red button, Norma is interested. A million dollars just to press a button. The catch, because there is always a catch when the half-faced Amway sales person arrives on your doorstep, is someone she does not know will die somewhere in the world. There are rules blah blah blah, of course, Norma presses the button, a lady across town dies, they get their money, hubby tries to return it, too late!

Now the premise to me was intriguing, I would have found the movie more interesting if it stayed with the button only aspect, would they press it? Husband and wife debating, walking past it, waking in the middle of the night. A study of human nature regarding greed vs. morality. I would have preferred the man to have a whole face, but that would have made the whole magical and science fiction aspect pointless, he had to have a visible deformity to make the whole box even more interesting...not.

You see, the man, Mr. Steward who is not Mr. Steward, it is just his body that his employers (you are supposed to believe some alien presence from below the surface of Mars which are better than humans in all regards, intelligence, ethics, morality, humanity - I guess that would be Martianity - entered his body via lightning when a camera probe was sent to Mars by NASA) which we are not privy to know who they are, are using him as a vessel to deliver the button and test us all and the people who receive the button decide the entire fate of mankind. Apparently, women like to press the button, the men all just watch in mock horror in each instance while their selfish, money hungry wifes slap the button in much the same manner as Press Your Luck except in this version, you always got a Whammy. Someone dies as soon as the button rose.

There are lots of details which made me say WTF quite often, the library, the motel...portals to this other place, why the Martians would know what our supposed afterlife was even like. And there are tons of unexplained tangents, the movie had more holes than, well, Swiss cheese!

The commercials for this movie were much better than the movie itself and I bet the short story, Button Button which the screenplay is based upon was much better than the movie as well.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Gangs of NJ

Well, even though we live in the 'burbs, it is official, we have a gang in the hood. Currently, it is small, only 3 members but they are taking over the street and our yards.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

For whom the bell tolls - don't ask, it wasn't for me!

So I was sitting here getting ready to do some eBay work when I heard the rain that has been threatening all day finally coming down.

Over the raindrops, I heard a sweet sound, music! It was not any ordinary music, oh no, this was the music of the ice cream truck!!! We had just come home from a nice lunch out where I had apple crumb cheesecake, we have a pint of Ben & Jerry's strawberry cheesecake ice cream in the freezer yet I heard the music and in true Pavlov-style reaction, I was ready to bolt outside in the rain and flag that truck down!!

Something made me stop for a second and listen the sound of the neighbor's radio. No ice cream truck :(

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Someone told me its all happening at the zoo...

We bought a family membership to Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange, NJ. Today was the 2nd time for me this year and 4th time for hubby and Donnie. They had already been on Wednesday and Thursday this past week and Donnie wanted to go again today! When we got home and after his nap, he wanted to go back again.

They have the coolest bird aviary, you can buy these little popsicle sticks covered in bird seed and the birds come and sit on them. There are hundreds of colorful birds in there and miraculously, we all left without any spots of "good luck" droppings on us!

We rode the train and the carousel and checked out the animals. It is a lovely zoo and perfect for a day out. And they also have these lovely Zen-inspired gardens with plenty of benches and seats if you want to just sit and meditate, which I had Donnie doing at one point, wish I had the video camera going, was adorable! He had his legs crossed and did the thing with his fingers and was saying "uhm". Of course at 3 and half years old, that last for uhm, uhm, "Mommy, let's go over there now." But the two seconds were restful.

Tomorrow we will just hang-around here till Donnie goes to grandpa's and I will be listing pending I do not get distracted as I usually do. I was finally able to grab the last 2 discs of season 3 of Mad Men, so tempted to watch all the episodes now but I am saving them for the train rides.

Well, no major life realizing AH HA moments right now other than me trying to be more committed to posting more on here. Next week I will attempt to stay on my diet better and go to the gym. One thing at a time! At least blogging lets me sit and snack :)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Wishing Well

I approached an old well, I looked down into the darkness and was about to toss a coin into it when I heard a voice come up from within the well.

“If you jump in, I will grant you three wishes. The only condition is you will lose something precious to you with each wish.”

It was tempting, three wishes. I thought I could wish for a beautiful, large house but I already had a house that was not grand by any stretch of the imagination but it was a home and provided shelter for me.

I could wish for money to buy all that I needed but what did I need? I could buy designer clothes but I had clothes already which kept me warm and did not have holes. I could eat out every night at a fancy restaurant but I had all the food I needed already.

I could wish for perfect health and immortality but if I lived forever, I would only live to see all the people I ever loved die.

And of course, there was that clause, I would lose something precious with each wish and I knew that what I would lose would not be something but it would be someone and no matter how tempting the offer might be, I knew I was already blessed with a happy, healthy son, a loving and caring husband and a large family and lots of friends who I adore. So I walked on past the well and wondered for a brief second of the sort of person who would accept such a proposition.

Hmmmm I wonder if there is such a well in Washington D.C. Sure would explain a lot! Apparently honesty and integrity are a couple of the precious commodities which are taken in exchange for power and fame!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Strawberries, Vaseline and Guinea Pigs!

Well, it is confirmed because, even at 41 years old, I still have not learned to just trust my first reaction. I am not talking instincts or emotions, I am talking physical reactions to food, medications, beauty products.

A few years ago, it looked like I had contacted some sort of STD around my lips. I kept breaking out, friends were repulsed, my husband questioned me as to my whereabouts during Fleet Week...I kept a record of what I was eating thinking one of my allergies from my childhood had returned (the Strawberry Incident of 1977 fresh in mind), it had to be something I ate. Hmmm strawberries, I had not consumed any lately BUT I had been using cherry flavored Chapstick. Say it wasn't so!! That harmless stick of tinted wax that I kept liberally smearing to my lips could not possibly be the culprit. So I did what any logical adult would do, I kept using the crap to confirm my suspicion. And then I did what any logical adult really would have done, I stopped using. It was tough for the first few weeks, my tongue kept tasting my once cherry-flavored lips, they were now a dull, tasteless Vaseline taste. But lo and behold, my rash went away and the swelling, whick looked like a bad collagen injection, finally went away as well. I no longer looked like the OctoMom!

So now we come to another moment of when I should have trusted my first reaction and ceased using the Avon eye care cream and gel. I had been using it for months with no problems, well, not for months, a couple of times a week if I remembered or even cared to do my complete night-time beauty regime. Anyway, two weeks ago, I had the itchiest sensation around my eyes and then they puffed up underneath. I stopped using it and miracle of miracles, my eyes went back to normal! Of course, I could not let this go and that sh*t is expensive!! Last night I very smartly applied it again...and now I am looking at the world through puffy eyes. At least I can claim hay fever, there will be no accusations of STD's on this reaction, thank you very much!

I wonder what product or food will cause my next reaction. Stay tuned as I am sure there will be another incident and I will yet again let myself be my own Guinea Pig!

Friday, April 9, 2010


Yesterday Don and I went to the Tick Tock Diner in Manhattan by Penn Station for lunch. The check arrived and the waitress had forgotten to put the bottle of Barq’s root beer on the tab. Don wondered if we should tell her or just pay. So it was now WWJD – what would Jeanette do? I told Don as tempting as it was since the food was expensive to not say anything, we had to tell her and pay for the soda.

Now the sad thing that always gets me regarding these sorts of situations is that apparently doing the right thing is not the norm. The waitress thanked us profusely (it was a bottle of soda, not a needed kidney for goodness sake) and said how rare it was to find honest people. It drives me crazy when I pick-up the paper or read on the internet the kind stranger who returned a wallet or something else to its RIGHTFUL owner. Since when did found items become finders, keepers? As a child, that is fine for a quarter but as we get older, finding something of value should be returned to its owner or brought to the police station. An attempt should be made to be like a Spike Lee movie title and “do the right thing”.

And the right thing should be the NORM, not the rarity that has praise heaped upon it.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Doom and Gloom!

It is another gorgeous day here. What a difference in the morning to stand and wait for the train. Of course there are always those who no matter how perfect the weather, the train is on time, they are healthy…they are what I call Eeyore’s. You know the sort, they always seem to say “ho hum, it could be better”. Well, the Train Eeyore was there as I approached and I said, “Isn’t this great?” and Eeyore replied, “What?” I waved my arm in a sweep to indicate the blue sky with the white clouds that appeared to have been painted with a wide artists brush. “The weather!, as if I needed to explain myself. He said, “I guess,” in his usual ho-hum approach to I imagine everything in his life. He is married, I can just imagine how enthusiastic he is in the bedroom with Mrs. Eeyore. I can see the sign on their master bedroom door, “Welcome to the Doldrums.”

So then I get to me next stop, Dover, and I am sitting on a bench on the platform, drinking in the sun as I waited for the midtown train. I had my iPod on and was just enjoying the few minutes before I would be on the train. And then I heard it, a sound I am used to in Manhattan but not at the Dover station. The Apostle, they stand and preach for all to hear but most just walk on by and go about their business. I turned off my music to listen to what this man had to say. It was rather uplifting, he started with statistics, such as half of marriages end in divorce, 1 in 4 is not insured….it culminated with 10 out of 10 people will die. I observed to all within earshot that this man was just a barrel of sunshine! I said based on what he has just revealed, perhaps we should all just step in front of the next train since we were the 10 out of 10 he was talking about! Prior to his stats, I was not aware of this and appreciated his revelation.

And then came the next bit of information which gave me my ah-ha moment and I knew where this was all going. He spoke of the afterlife and if we felt we were going to make it to Heaven. He began reciting the 10 Commandments and pointed out to all of us commuters and tourists that we were all sinners. At this point, I popped my earphones back in and cranked the tunes once more and basked in the sun for the next five minutes.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Egg Hunting – the latest in adult full-contact sports

So we took Donnie upstate NY this past weekend for the Easter holiday with my side of the family. My sister’s neighbor and her 4 younger children came over yesterday afternoon for a an egg hunt which my nephew’s had kindly hid 160 eggs on my sister’s front yard for the 4 young ones and my three and a half year old. (Donnie also had a 2nd private egg hunt later that evening at his grandfather’s. He did very well for himself between these two egg hunts).

Anyway, the town of Norwich, NY had hosted an egg hunt at 10 a.m. on Saturday. We were too late for this as we arrived around 12:30 that day. And it was a good thing we did.

Apparently, there were a lot more kids then eggs. When the children were released along with their over-zealous parents, the children took off to find eggs while their parents ran defense. We heard the elbows were flying, it was rumored to have been a complete melee with parents whisking toddlers across the green to outrun the older children and hopefully get a few eggs for their little darlings.

I can only imagine coming home from an egg hunt with a black eye and saying, “You think I look bad, you should see what the Easter Bunny looks like.” Which makes it clear as to why the “Easter Bunny Hates You” youtube video exists. If egg hunts have always been like this, I can see why the Easter Bunny spends the other 364 days kicking ass. Notice he doesn’t go after any kids because, just like the parents who incite riots and shoot coaches, it is the parents who somehow turn these children’s events into competitions. It will not be the children to blame when there are less town and other sponsored egg hunt events, it will be the banshee screaming, elbow throwing parents who ruin yet another tradition.

Leave the bats, the guns and the fight mentality at home mom and dad, let your kids be kids and enjoy the egg hunts and sports! Observe and encourage, you are also one of their most influential role models.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Vegetarians - The Lepers of the Carnivorous Family Get-Togthers

Heading upstate NY tomorrow for Easter with the family. My sister, Denise, will be making an 18 lb ham. Of course, I won't have any as I suffer from what my mother thinks is a disease, vegetarianism. We go to a restaurant, she whispers to the waitress , "mine doter doesn’t eat meat anymore." She asks me if I will be having cornbeefed for St Patty's Day and says, "oh I forgot, you don’t eat da meat anymore." Thanksgiving she gave me a sigh of pity over the phone when she realized I would not be eating any turkey."Oh ya, das ist vight, no meat" after I explained that turkey and other fowl are a no-no for me now.

My mother’s reaction to my latest lifestyle choice reminds me of when I was of drinking age and I would go out to dinner with my mother and father. My mother would order her, “Bloody Mary mit Absolut,” and my father a martini. I would order a glass of milk. Guess after growing up having milk with dinner almost every night, I grew accustomed to it and actually enjoyed it! So on one of our dinners out, I ordered my usual. My father just looked at me and said “You sure you are related to us?”