Posts Tagged ‘Cubs’

Where’s Allen Funt?

April 29, 2014

Saturday April 26th, 2014 – Island Lake, IL

This was the Saturday off I didn’t know I had until two days ago, and I chose to shut my mouth and just work through it. Complaining about it isn’t going to change anything, and it’s more than just one lost gig that’s the problem. It took years to get to this point, and I am really in a corner.

I didn’t choose the safe route in life – if there even is one. What I chose was the adventure trail, and that’s exactly what I got. There were a few thrills along the way, but I trusted everything that I had always read about “do what you love and the money will come” and “everyone with talent will eventually get their shot.” I’m losing hope about all of that faster than the Cubs lose games.

It just floors me how nice people get crapped on time and time again. It’s not just me, and I see it so much it makes my gag reflex go off. How about at least a LITTLE break for the people that have kind souls? I’m just not seeing it anywhere, and it sure makes me question life’s existence.

The whole God thing is a very sore spot with me. We all want to have one, just like as children we all wanted a Santa. I have to believe even Jews and Muslim kids were up for a guy that brings them free toys. What kid wouldn’t love that? Then we find out it’s all a lie, and it’s devastating.

I am seeing the whole God vs. “The Devil” scenario the same way. I used to believe there was a God and I hoped to go to “heaven” after I died. Then one day – just like my grandpa predicted I would – I woke up and realized it was a bigger made up tale than Santa. But I wasn’t devastated.

It just makes me wonder, why all this huge potential on such a beautiful planet filled with such monkeys but most never gets fulfilled? It might make sense someday, but I don’t think it will for the living. If there is indeed a “next life” – and I’m having severe doubts – I guess we’ll find out.

The latest example that makes me scratch my head is a friend of mine that is a former comedy student. I can’t think of a more gentle soul, and I know a lot of people. He has always supported me and said kind words at every opportunity. He loves comedy, and just enjoys being around it.

I won’t mention his name because I don’t want to get him in trouble, but he’s going through an absolutely hellacious divorce and isn’t allowed to see his son. It’s ripping him up, and I can’t see how this happens to such a laid back nice guy. If anything, he should be asked to talk to the sons of countless scoundrel fathers who never get the time of day from their old man. They need him.

And don’t get me started on women liking “bad boys”. The last woman I really cared for threw me aside like a bag of lawn clippings for some greasy maggot that will cheat on her without any guilt. He told her he would, yet she fell for him anyway. I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t lived it.

And I know it’s not just me. It goes on all the time everywhere, and I’m begging for some kind of relief. Prove to me there is a God and all of this is just a big joke. At the end of our life we get taken to a big room and St. Peter looks mysteriously like Allen Funt, and all our friends are there to greet us. I said I wasn’t going to complain, but I guess I did. Oh well, nobody hears it anyway.

I'm showing my age, but Allen Funt hosted a show called "Candid Camera" when I was a kid.

I’m showing my age, but Allen Funt hosted a TV show called “Candid Camera” when I was a kid.

Hopefully if there is a next life, Allen will play the role of St. Peter, and tell us this life was all a big prank.

Hopefully if there is a next life, Allen will play the comedic role of St. Peter, and tell us this life was all an elaborate prank.

Leo Durocher was right about 'nice guys'. Why is life like that?

Leo Durocher was right about ‘nice guys’ finishing last. Why does life work like that?

Ten Cent Triumph!

November 9, 2012

Thursday November 8th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   One of a precious collection of useful things my grandpa told me that still sticks with me today is the difference between good luck and bad luck is good luck isn’t funny. When someone else is mired in a losing streak, those who see it laugh out of sheer tension relief. The only one laughing during a streak of good luck is the one experiencing it. Everyone else is feeling jealous or angry.

I’d much rather be the only one laughing, and today I got my chance. Actually, I have been in a tremendously upbeat mindset of late, and I can’t say it’s bothering me in the least. I’m enjoying a brief respite from being life’s dart board, and quite frankly if I never go back to the other side I’ll be more than fine with it. ‘Mr. Lucky’ is a character that lives onstage, and he needs to say there.

Dobie Maxwell is an entirely separate entity. He’ll take all the breaks he can get – funny or not. Today I caught a nice one, and it piggybacked on a couple of others I’ve had recently. I’d like to gratefully acknowledge them all, and vehemently ask the universe to keep sending them my way.

A couple of weeks ago, I happened to find a $10 bill crunched up on the ground and stuck it in my wallet to decide what to do with it later. A few days after that, I was walking through one of my favorite thrift stores and happened upon a collection of Apollo 12 collectible drinking glasses dated November 19, 1969. There were five of them on the shelf, and they were priced at $1 each.

I bought all five, thinking if nothing else they’d make fun gifts on The Mothership Connection at some point for either guests or listeners. I paid for them with the $10 bill I found, and in return I received a receipt with a red star on it and was told those are lucky winners of a $5 store credit.

Technically, the glasses were free and I still had the $10 I started with. I decided to keep going and see what else I could buy for ten bucks and hopefully spin it for more. I would have to scour the thrift stores, but I do that anyway. It’s a relaxing pastime I’ve always done. I enjoy the hunt.

It’s kind of like my own personal ‘Storage Wars’ or ‘Pawn Stars’ adventure. I’m trying to find something someone else didn’t know the value of when they priced it, and neither did those who looked at it on the shelf before I got there. Chances are low that it happens, but once in a while it absolutely does. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time, and having street smarts.

Today I drove by the same thrift store and was kind of in a hurry but that little voice inside told me to take a quick lap. I almost blew it off, but decided against it as I felt it strongly urging me to do it immediately. Positive things usually happen when I listen to that voice, and they did today.

I walked past a shelf of knick knacks and saw two official National League baseballs in plastic cube holders screaming at me to buy them. One was priced at $2.12 and the other $2.62. I looked closer and saw that one was autographed by Hall of Famer Ernie Banks and the other by some of the 1989 Cubs including Mark Grace, Jerome Walton, Mike Bielecki and Rick Wrona. I couldn’t believe they were priced so low, and I took them right to the checkout and the total was $5.10 for both balls. I gave them my winning receipt and my total was .10! I floated to my car in ecstasy.

So let’s review. I started with ten bucks I found on the ground and bought five collector glasses for $5. With tax, it was around $5.40. I won $5 in store credit, and used that to buy two baseballs in plastic holders – both autographed. The total was $5.10, so my out of pocket cost was a dime.

There’s no way to authenticate the signatures, but I’d bet they are legit. They’re official league balls, and I’ve seen autographed stuff before. These should have no problem selling to somebody in the Chicago area who loves the Cubs, and I can hold out for my price since I have little into it.

All totaled that would mean I’d have five collector glasses, two autographed baseballs plus my left over total of roughly $4.50. That’s a pretty good start, and I think I’ll be able to sell all of it for a healthy profit without gouging anyone and keep the ball rolling. I know how to find stuff.

Selling it has been an issue, and it may continue to be. Where would I sell collector glasses or baseballs? The first thought would be Ebay, but I’ve never sold anything on it before. I bought a ton of stuff over the years, but never sold even one thing. But how hard can it be? I can handle it, but I’m not sure if I want to. I have enough going on without starting some new time demander.

Still, the lure of the treasure hunt is strong. Who doesn’t love looking for the big payoff? I sure do, and I freely admit it. I know every deal isn’t going to be a winner, but I’ve heard tales of big scores through the years and I do believe things like that happen. To win, one has to participate.

I did take a quick lap through Ebay and saw that the glasses weren’t all that rare, and weren’t at all priced consistently. I saw them listed for anywhere from $2 to $20 each, but shipping was the big expense. I’d be thrilled if someone gave me $20 for four of them, and I’d keep one to give to my Mothership Connection co-host Greg DeGuire. He’d enjoy it, and it would be a fun souvenir.

The baseballs should realistically bring somewhere around $100 for both, or at least that’s what I’d look to get out of them. They’re in great shape, and Ernie Banks is a Hall of Famer without a doubt. I know he signed a lot of stuff in his life, but some Cubs fan would love to have that ball.

Say I can manage to score my asking price somehow from someone and walk away with $120 for everything. Couple that with the roughly five bucks I have left from my original $10 and call it an even $125. That’s well over ten times my original stake, and it literally came from nowhere.

I don’t think it’s realistic to expect to keep pulling off ten times my investment on a consistent basis, but doubling my money doesn’t seem out of line in the least. What could I invest $125 into that will bring me at least double in return? The possibilities are endless, and I’d love to give it a shot. I’d get it in cash in smaller bills and have them available to make a buy everywhere I went.

Eventually, $125 becomes $250 becomes $500. Then $1000, then $2000 and on and on. It may take a while, and I’m sure I’ll blow it on occasion and make some less than stellar buys, but on a long term basis I like my chances to be able to build a significant wad of cash I can use to keep a constant flow of more items and cash coming in. It’s been done before, but not by me. I’d love to take it all the way from $10 to enough to walk in and pay cash for a new car. It will be fun to try.

Opening Day Of Destruction

April 7, 2010

Monday April 5th, 2010 – Chicago, IL

I know it’s not right in most people‘s eyes, but I cheer for more than one baseball team. As a kid growing up in Milwaukee, I heard radio broadcasts of the hometown Brewers as well as both Chicago teams. At night, it opened up even further. I listened to the St. Louis Cardinals on KMOX, the Cleveland Indians on WWWE and The Detroit Tigers on WJR.

Once in a while I’d find a Cincinnati Reds game on WLW or a Minnesota Twins game on WCCO. I thought it was great and as a kid all those places sounded far away and even kind of exotic. Hearing local streets in Cincinnati I never heard of before was a real kick.

Maybe I was a geek, but who cares? It kept me out of trouble when I was 11 and I loved hearing the broadcasts because I enjoyed baseball. It was especially fun to hear the teams of the National League, because the Brewers were in the American League then. I grew to really love the Chicago Cubs, and found myself cheering for them in the National League.

I suppose if it came down to it I’m a Brewer fan, but only because that’s my home team. It’s not my fault they moved to the National League, but when they did it presented a real dilemma. I like both teams, and depending on who’s hot at whatever time I cheer for them to win it all. Two years ago both teams were in the playoffs, and so were the White Sox.

Living in Chicago, it’s not possible to cheer for both the Sox and the Cubs. It has to be one or the other, and that’s how it is. Those who cheer for both cheer for neither. I guess I don’t hate the White Sox, but I don’t really cheer for them either. I may get to a couple of games every year, but that’s about it. I just go to take in the summer baseball experience.

That being said, the weather today was spectacular and I actually thought about driving up to Milwaukee and trying to get a ticket to the game. I haven’t been to an Opening Day in years, but in my day I used to show up whenever I could. I’ve sat through sleet storms, pelting rain, nasty snow and bitter cold, all to fight thousands of drunks for a urinal spot.

When I was a kid, County Stadium was the Brewers’ park and it was a dark dingy hell hole with no character at all. Add 55,000 boozed up halfwits in 31 degree weather and it’s not anything I want to relive again. Today was different. I wanted to go sit in the sunshine and soak up some vibes. Miller Park is gorgeous and I do enjoy watching games in there.

Thankfully I didn’t go, and the Brewers lost to the Colorado Rockies 5-2. That took the wind out of my sail in a hurry. How can a home team lose on Opening Day? There’s a ton of positive energy, and a packed stadium is cheering for the victory. I felt like I got kicked in the face and had I gone in person I’d have really been upset. Am I a fair weather fan?

I guess I am. Then I turned over to see what the Cubs did and they got annihilated 16-5. I heard it was their worst opening day loss in 126 years and I’m glad I didn’t have to see it happen. It was hard enough to listen to the Brewers stink it up. I know there are 161 more chances to win, but I’m scorched right now. Forget about baseball, bring on the Packers!