Tag Archives: collecting

This and That

tedcruzOkay, I know I claim to be a conspiracy theorist when it comes to aliens and 9-11… I am… totally loony and tinfoil-hat-wearing… can’t let those men in black read my mind, right?   But those crazy ideas are based on facts that I have uncovered and investigations into the obvious and admitted manipulations of those facts that have come out over time… from credible whistle-blowers and witnesses.  What is going on in Texas right now is not that, and not my fault.  I don’t adhere to any Alex-Jones-2nd-Amendment-FEMA-death-camps sort of conspiracy theories.  President Obama is NOT planning an attack on Texas with these routine military exercises involving Green Berets and Navy Seals.  The crap thinking that motivated Governor Greg Abbott to activate the Texas National Guard to oversee the military exercises is stupid-headed paranoid Republican propaganda.  I am trying to make humor here out of scary Texas political poop, but this is too wacko to even joke about.

20150501_195234To totally change the topic and talk about something else, I may have inadvertently changed one of my collections that feed my hoarding disorder mental illness…  I was very poetically snapping pictures of the sunrise when I walked the dog every morning and calling that “collecting sunrises”.  But I started taking other dog-walking photos, like cloud shots and moon shots and sunset shots.   Uh-oh!   More time lost to collecting things pointlessly… or is that how art happens?  the artist finding certain observations to be spiritually and creatively fulfilling… and tries to share that fulfillment?  Or when you consider the Avengers Coke cans… is it clinically a concern?

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Okay, let’s switch again…   Friday night my daughter, the Princess, was inducted into the National Junior Honor Society.  This happened at her middle school, Dan F. Long, home of the Falcons.


They had this wonderful candle-lighting ceremony filled with wonderful things.  I experienced several of what Ralph Waldo Emerson calls “spots of time” in which there is a transcendent moment that carries you far beyond the daily dose of mundane.  The first one was when the Falcon orchestra, complete with cellos and violins, was playing a waltz.  The principal was in the hallway with his young daughter to greet the parents and friends attending the ceremony.  The two of them, the extremely competent and hard-nosed black principal and his pretty little black daughter began to waltz together, not even thinking that some of us seated in the cafetorium might see them do it.  I couldn’t help but think, “while Baltimore burns…  if only we had more of this!”  And more wonderful things followed.  The NJHS faculty sponsor was a teacher I subbed for a decade ago.  She is a determined and bubbly little woman who impressed me once upon a time with her detailed planning and sharp methods.  This little woman could throw big bad trouble-making boys around the room (metaphorically of course) to get her point across and make lessons happen.  I saw her in action.  She was tough and ambitious in spite of being small and always smiling.  And the Princess was inducted with a candle ceremony (a potential disaster waiting to happen in a middle school setting) in which she was in the middle of three rows on the stairs… and no one set anyone else’s hair on fire.  And we’re talking seventh-grade nerd-boys standing with a lighted candle behind seventh-grade girls with long hair!


And finally I wanted to share with you the progress I have made on cardboard castles.  I have made all of this so far with my own two arthritic claws using Ritz Cracker boxes, Honey Nut Cheerios boxes, tape, scissors, and glue.  I have only glued fingers together once and managed not to accidentally cut off any necessary part of my body (fingernails don’t actually count, do they?).  Why am I doing nutty stuff like this?  Well, I’m retired.  What am I supposed to do?  Sensible real-world stuff?  Get real.


Filed under autobiography, humor, photo paffoonies

A Collection of Sunrises

I made the horrible mistake yesterday of revealing the true nature of my hideous mental condition that leads to never-ending collecting of a long list of collections that probably will become a black hole of collecting from its own gravitas and stretch on into infinity.  (Yeah. I know… you can see right through my phony over-blown exaggerations that consist mainly of stringing lots of science-y sounding adjectives together.  Don’t get all smug about it.)

I did not, however, reveal the newest collection.  So today I open my stupid writer mouth and another sacred secret pops out.  Since retiring from teaching last June, I have been collecting sunrises.


I know it is a silly, sentimental,, goofy-sort-of self-pitying thing, and I also know that is probably not “normal” from an abnormal psychology viewpoint, but don’t call the loon-catchers just yet.  Wait till I reveal my delusional quasi-religious reasons for doing it.


I am retired now from a profession I truly loved.  I have a full pension now because Texans Republicans are not completely on their toes about taking benefits away from people who don’t earn them by trading stocks and bonds, running a corporation for maximum profits, or inheriting billions because Daddy did one or both of the previous things for you.  They let my pension slip by unaltered on a grandfather clause because I’ve been teaching since a time when education was actually a respected, value-producing industry that rewarded  those who did the actual work  (This really only occurred in the middle 1990’s when the world was briefly too sane to be Republican.)  I can’t do the job any more for crippling health reasons.  I am lucky to have a good pension, but not lucky enough to be able to use it for very long.  Hence, the interest in sunrises.  Every single one is a miracle.


You may have already noticed that most of my sunrises in this collection are taken in the same park.  It is where the dog walks me every morning in order to keep my heart pumping.  She wants to keep me alive so the food dish keeps getting refilled, and so someone will still be able to bag and dispose of her daily poops.  (I swear, that dog is a champion pooper.   Three times her own weight in poops every single day.)  I also can’t sleep as much as I used to.  Five hours a night is about the maximum that arthritis pain, COPD, and diabetes allows me.  School trained me to get up early because my last job was a thirty-mile commute one way and classes started at 7:30 a.m.  I really began noticing on my morning drive how beautiful city sunrises can be thanks to the colors produced by exotic pollutants.

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So, I keep adding to this collection of sunrises because each one is a reminder that a loving God is still being generous with me, and I still get at least one more day.  See?  I warned you there was crackpot religious sentiment in this post.  Now you can call the loony-catchers.  But hopefully, they won’t catch me until after sunrise.

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Filed under collecting, humor, photo paffoonies

Hoarding Disorder

Pinkie PieI am writing this post today to celebrate two things.  My doctor’s visit today not only came back with positive post-op results, but it was free.  And while I waited at Walmart for my prescription to be filled at the pharmacy, I found the two Equestria Girls that finish my collection.  I spent the co-pay that I didn’t have to pay on Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy (I made that rhyme without a try!)  Yay me!

But I have also come to the sobering realization that my collecting mania may actually be a form of mental illness.  After all, my daughter is now 13 and not really interested in My Little Pony any longer.  That excuse no longer flies.  My wife has lost interest in collecting also (although she still collects clothes and shoes with a gusto that shames Imelda Marcos.)

So why do I do this collecting thing so relentlessly?  Is it a serious mental disorder.  As always I turned to the internet to diagnose myself with life-threatening conditions based on one, or possibly  two symptoms.   I may be doomed.  What I found was an explanation of Hoarding Disorder.

Yes, I inherited it from Grandma Beyer.  She hoarded all sorts of stuff in her little house in Mason City, Iowa.  In her basement, when they cleaned out the house, she still had wrapping paper from Christmases in the 1930’s.  It was in stacks. neatly folded and ready to be re-used.  According to the Psychology Today website article about extreme collecting, one of the first signs of the disorder is the inability to part with personal possessions no matter their actual value.  Never in all the years we spent Christmases together did I ever notice Grandma re-using wrapping paper.  She actually kept that stuff for the memories they invoked and the sentimental value they held for her.  My mother ended up throwing out all that wrapping paper when the house was sold.

Another indicator is the extreme cluttering of the home, to the point of rendering living spaces unlivable.  One glance at the upstairs hallway sends shivers down my weak little hoarder’s spine.

Toyman's Hallway

There are any number of things that might concern a psychiatrist in this hallway.  Of course, the blocked door in the back is where the old non-working air-conditioner is stashed, so there is no room in there for stuffing more stuff.  This picture reveals that I have a vast collection of collections… not merely one.  I collect stuffed toys, HO model railroad stuff and trains, Pez dispensers, stamps, coins, comic books (in the boxes in the back corner under the stuffed toys), and books… gobs, and gobs, and gobs of books!  (“Gobs” is Iowegian for “lots”, not “sailors”.)  In fact, the door on the left is actually the door to the library.

A quick scan of Toonerville along the tops of the bookshelves reveals the full extent of my madness.  Here you see HO-sized buildings, most of which I painted myself or built from kits.  You also see the Pez dispensers that suck money out of my pockets at $1.50 a shot. Downtown Toonerville Downtown Toonerville2My trains have been around for many years.  I shared that obsession with my father (Grandma Beyer’s eldest son) when I was a boy and most of these trains were either gifts from him, or purchased with allowance.  (I haven’t bought anything new in seven years.)

Pez Supers Pez Toons

So, the evidence makes it clear.  One day soon I will be locked up somewhere in a padded room.  I hope, at least, that my children still like me well enough to sneak in Pez dispensers when they come to visit.


Filed under autobiography, doll collecting, humor

Final Star Trek Confessions


I am sorry, but today’s post will probably bore you unless you are a doll-collecting, obsessive-compulsive bag of mixed nuts like I am.  These are the kinds of details that only interest the true collect-a-holic.  You see in the picture my mint in-the-box Star Trek Barbie and Ken, 1996 30th Anniversary Edition.  It was a difficult track-down.  Now, you Google it and you can get one for 25 dollars on e-Bay without breaking a sweat.  When I got hold of this in 1998, however, it was a bit tougher to find.  It started with a trip to Goodwill.  My wife loves the bargain clothing and especially the shoes.  (She’s from the Philippines and has a touch of Imelda Marcos Footwear Disease.)  While there, with my young son in tow, in the toy section… I discovered two loose Barbie and Ken dolls that actually weren’t naked.  Barbie’s head was severely damaged, and she had lost a leg.  Ken was in practically un-loved, un-played-with condition.  Both had uniforms.  The Star Trek uniforms you see here on the two figures in front.  (Ken was missing the shoes, phaser, and communicator, but the original accessories were pretty small and pitiful anyway.  Barbie had no fishnet stockings and no shoes, along with no working head.)  Of course I had to buy these wonderful items.  They cost me 25 cents apiece.  Gonga!  I hadn’t known that such a 12″ action figure existed!  (Okay, really a doll, but, you know…)  I immediately began a search of toy stores and junk shops in South Texas.  At the time we had relatives in Dallas.  So I went prowling there too.  You wouldn’t believe the looks I used to get from parents wondering what a forty-something old man by himself wanted in the Barbie section of KayBee Toys.  Now they see my gray hair and figure, ah yes, shopping for his granddaughter (of which I have none, but I digress.)  Finally I found the rare item in a San Antonio flea market stall.  And it only set me back fifteen dollars.  Wotta find!  It made my goofy old collector’s heart glad for a couple of months afterwards… heck, that’s not true either!  Sixteen years later it still makes me giddy.


Filed under Barbie and Ken, doll collecting, goofiness, irony, toystore quests

The Action Team Defends Mickey’s Library

Today it was rumored that the sinister Dr. Evil planned on invading the Mickian Library to threaten the books… just because he could.  He’s been known to channel super villains like the evil Emperor Ming of Mongo.  (Nobody scarier than that because Playing Mantis toy company couldn’t license DC or Marvel either one)




So, once we learned of the plot, we called on the Captain Action League to defend the library and rescue the books.



Hopefully the plans of the evil doctor with the removable brain have been thwarted.


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A New Toy

Okay, I admit it, a grown man playing with dolls is somewhat worrisome.  But, hey!  I’m a retired school teacher that survived 23 years of seventh graders.  I’m entitled to be a bit mentally damaged. But I recently saw Guardians of the Galaxy, and I was so inspired that, when I saw this doll… er… action figure at Walmart for only ten dollars…  Okay, I know I don’t have any money.   I do remember what teacher pay is all about (self-satisfaction, enough money to keep you from qualifying for food stamps, and all the pencils and chalk you can fit in your pockets).  But ten dollars… and I have only bought a new toy one… er… two other times in 2014.  And, Rocket Raccoon!  Right?

new toy1

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Collectible Dolls… err, Action Figures

DSCN5018These two 12″ ACTION FIGURES are Luke Skywalker and Princess Leiah.  They are rare 1978 dolls that are hard to find because they are in a size much larger than other Star Wars figures, and they are from a toy company that no longer exists.  When I bought Luke on E-Bay, he only had the pants and the boots.  I had to buy Leiah stark naked.  The doll didn’t have any clothes on either.  I was able to cobble together some clothing with the help of Barbie and G.I. Joe.  I had to re-braid Leiah’s hair, and, of course, I had no idea how to re-create the Cinnabun ear-muffs Leiah is supposed to wear, so I left it looking as you see it.  I am proud of my ability to find and acquire two such rare dolls, but I am well aware that they are not presently worth diddly-squoot compared to a mint conditioned pair.

And, Dang it!  I didn’t edit the words “doll” and “dolls” in favor of “action figures”, but I am much too lazy to go back and fix that.

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June 18, 2014 · 6:42 pm

Toy Story Pez Dispensers

Toy Story Pez Dispensers

Yes, I am definitely abnormal when it comes to collecting junk. This particular obsessive collecting behavior seized upon these Pez dispensers who all come from the Pixar movie Toy Story Two. Did I really have to get all seven? From seven different trips to the store? Yes. It was life or death. Especially since they only cost a dollar and a half, and I only have to risk diabetic coma from Pez candy. I’m not a fool. I gave the candy to my non-diabetic kids.

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May 29, 2014 · 12:44 am

Mego Men



In 1976 I ordered a Mego Spiderman from the ad in my Avengers comic book.  It came by mail.  It was only 8 inches tall, not the 12 that would become the basis of my action figure (don’t call them dolls) collection.  I love Megos.  I should’ve bought more of them, but I was in college and had limited space to keep them.  I ordered the Wolfman second, then the Lizard, and finally Iron Man.  I was going to buy a Captain America next, but Mego stopped making these things at the end of the 70’s.  That, of course, is what makes them valuable.  The last time I priced them in the collector’s market, Iron Man was going for fifty dollars, and Spiderman for forty five.  I have no intention of selling them.  They will one day belong to my own children to play with or do with whatever destructive thing they will.  Until then, they are mine to play with.

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