Thursday, November 15, 2012

Southwest Adventure 2012

Here is a little video about our Southwest Adventure, which we enjoyed in October. Good fun. If I have time, I'll post some photos on this poor, neglected blog. – Jack

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Exploring Humboldt Bay with Kayaks


On Dec. 24 we explored Humboldt Bay in our kayaks. The weather was perfect. The bay was as smooth as glass.


We paddled up the slough near Murray Field.






There are all sorts of interesting remnants from railroads and piers from years gone by.

We saw this fellow hovering above. Then it swooped down and snatched a little duck out of the water, returned to shore and devoured it. Yikes!


It seemed pissed that I was taking its photo.




I'm seeing a lot of "Old Crow" graffiti. Is that a local gang? Maybe I'll start my own gang called Bombay Sapphire.


Another beautiful day with The Goddess.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Exploring the Southern Oregon Coast

For Thanksgiving, The Goddess and I decided to pack up our little trailer and explore the Southern Oregon Coast. The weather forecast was bleak, but that's why we have a little trailer – a 15-foot-long 1965 Aladdin.


There's a little table up front where you can play cards.


This unfolds into a double bed, so even if the weather outside is frightful, inside it's delightful.


We left Tuesday and slowly made our way up the coast. Our first stop was Gold Beach. It was raining buckets. Later that evening the wind picked up. There were reports of gusts up to 97 mph on the Oregon coast. I don't know what the measurements were at Gold Beach, but the trailer was a rockin'.


The next day we meandered up U.S. Highway 101 to Coos Bay, then drove about 10 miles west to Sunset Bay State Park. This is a really beautiful place. It was raining hard, so most of my photos (like this one) were taken using my iPhone in a waterproof case.



We ventured out into the rain, then retreated to the comfort of our trailer. Later we went into Coos Bay and went treasure hunting.


On Thanksgiving the weather improved slightly. We explored the park.


This is were Malcolm Forbes started his transcontinental hot air balloon journey.


One of our favorite spots is the overlook for the Simpson Reef. This is a couple miles from the campground.


Here's the Simpson Reef.

There are a gazillion seals and sea lions here. You can hear them barking day and night from the campground.



We saw a Bald Eagle!


Please excuse the blurriness. I have a 20X zoom on my camera. That's not enough to get this close, so this is a combination of digital zooming and cropping. (200X?)


Suddenly the eagle flew out over the water and caught a fish.


It returned to the rock and ate the fish.


What an awesome sight!

We saw a rainbow over the Cape Arago Lighthouse.



About a mile from the campground is Shore Acres, which includes a botanical garden once owned by timber baron Louis Simpson. During the holidays it's decorated with thousands of lights. It was an impressive display.


On Friday we enjoyed a raging fire.

Hula kept one ear up and watched for intruders.


We took a photo Saturday morning before we left for the trip home.


One the way home we came across dinosaurs.

GoldBeach Jetty

We ate turkey sandwiches near the Rogue River.


Rogue River at Gold Beach.


We stopped for a final photo at the Ship Ashore. Then we hurried home. Good times.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Political Button Collection

I always enjoyed show-and-tell day in elementary school. Once a week you’d bring in a neat rock, paperweight or maybe a shell casing from an artillery round and show it to your classmates. One of the favorite items I brought in was a photo of my cousin Tim shaking hands with President Gerald Ford. This was probably in the second grade.

Tim’s dad was a Secret Service agent for Nixon and Ford, so Tim was able to get his photo taken at the White House. I didn’t know much about politics at that age, but I knew who the president was. I thought it was really cool that my cousin got to shake his hand, and Tim had a photo to prove it.

I recall that there was little reaction to the photo from my classmates. Maybe they didn’t know anything about the president. Or maybe they just didn’t care.

Readers of this blog may feel the same way about this posting, which isn’t much different than show-and-tell day. It’s about my political button collection.

Early last year I didn’t have a collection, just two buttons tucked away in a box somewhere. They’re remnants from my childhood. I think my brother Pat was cleaning out his stuff and gave me a McGovern button from 1972. In 1981 there was an incident with Libya, and my brother Matt gave me a button about it. I tucked these away in a box and, for some reason, kept them.

Early last I was at a rummage sale and came across a couple buttons, probably a Nixon, maybe a Goldwater. There are interesting historical artifacts and only cost a couple bucks, so I bought them.

When I got home it occurred to me that I should put all of my buttons together – all four of them. A collection was born.

But can you call four pathetic buttons a collection>? Not really. I needed to fill in a few gaps. So I found a couple more buttons at a different sale.

Then, at an event at Redwood Acres, I hit the Mother Lode. There was a bucket with at least half a dozen old buttons, along with a Nixon bracelet. I paid $2 for each button, $5 for the bracelet.

Now I had a real collection. But there were so many gaps, and the collection was dominated by Republicans. I needed more Democrats.

So the search continued. Later, after learning about my collection, family and friends started giving me buttons.

It kept growing and growing, and continues to grow today.

Why collect buttons?

My wife and I enjoy hunting for treasures. We go to garage sales, rummage sales and antique stores. We look for interesting kick knacks and household items. Lately, we’ve become “rummage snobs” and often come home empty handed.
Unless, of course, I find some buttons.
Each political button has a story to tell – politics, history and a personal story. As a bonus, buttons are inexpensive to collect and they don’t take up too much space.


How much is my collection worth? Answer: Very little.

There are serious collectors out there who pay top dollar for rare political memorabilia, none of which I own.

The buttons in my collection cost 50 cents, $1, or maybe $2. Sometimes I pay a little more than they’re actually worth.

If I want a button that’s worth 25 cents, but an antique store has it priced at $1.50, I’ll pay for it. After all, the store owner has to pay rent and utilities. But would I pay more than $3? Probably not.

Note that this particular collection is limited to national candidates, with a few exceptions. Scattered about my office and elsewhere I also have buttons from local candidates, but that’s a different collection for a different time.

Here’s the collection:


1924, Coolidge and Dawes


I'm not clear on the age of this button. Some internet sources claim it's from the race of 1932.


1936, Landon and Knox


1940, Roosevelt and Wallace. Also shown is an anti-Roosevelt button, year unknown.


1944, Dewey and Bricker
1948, Dewey and Warren
1940, Willkie and McNary


1952 and/or 1956? Eisenhower, and Eisenhower and Nixon


Here is some Ike jewelry.

1958-62? Pat Brown
1966-70? Ronald Reagan

These are among the exceptions to my "national" button rule for this collection. Pat Brown can't be ignored, and Reagan later became president, so they fit in the collection.


1960, Nixon and Lodge


Here's a Nixon bracelet from 1960. I imagine that Republican women received these after making sizable donations.


1964, Scranton, Goldwater. I don't know the age of the "Time for a Change" button.


1964, Johnson and Humphrey


Jan. 20, 1965. Here's a book of matches for inauguration day.


1968, Nixon and Agnew


1972, Pete McCloskey. McCloskey was a Republican who was against the Vietnam War. He ran against Nixon for the Republican nomination, but lost. I'm told this button is from that race, but it could be from Pete's other races.


1972, McGovern and Shriver


1968, Wallace and LeMay. What a ticket! Wallace was racist asshole segregationist. LeMay was a proponent of using nuclear weapons.


1976, Ford

Jan. 20, 1977 – Inauguration of Carter and Mondale. This cost a buck or two on eBay. I failed to look at the size. It's too big to fit in my display cabinet. Owning it is a burden. I need to get rid of it.

1980, Carter and Mondale
1980, Reagan

1980, Anderson


1984, Mondale and Ferraro

1984, Mondale and Ferraro. Please excuse the water on this button. My display case is located over the dog bowl. Twice today this button jumped out and took a plunge.

Late 1980s?

1988, Michael Dukakis. I like the severed head floating over America. Very inspiring.

1988, Socialist Party. I love a button like this because I had to research who the heck these people were.

1992, Ross Perot

1992, Jerry Brown

2008, Barack Obama


Date unknown. Herb Caen for President. I love this button. A friend I haven't seen since high school recently mailed this to me.

Collection as of 9.7.11

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