Meloncholy Feeling

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About 10 years ago I closed my business in rare coins. I owned a small house that I used for my office. It had 5 rooms including a kitchen. In the front two rooms my employees and I worked. One of the former bedrooms was used for photography. The kitchen was used to store packing materials and miscellaneous junk. The remaining room plus all the walls of every other room, including the kitchen, were lined with shelves for my library.

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I specialized in the most obscure and esoteric of numismatic items. Unlike government issued coinage, the things I liked were privately made. Most were not catalogued or listed in any guide books. At any certain time, I’m sure that at least 25% of the items I my inventory were first examples I’d ever seen.

I always bought any books I ran across that had even a marginal relation to  subjects that interested me. Some I never used or even opened beyond my flipping through them before the purchase.

Because many of these books were labors of love by the authors, rather than commercial undertakings, the print runs were very small. Often the first edition was 50 copies and there was no second edition. Consequently the small press runs caused individual copies to be very expensive.

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I am listed as a contributor to at least 60 books. I usually got a thank you in the forward, but nothing else. I was never paid a cent for my work, and in only a few cases was I even given a complimentary copy of the final product. I didn’t care. I understood the economics, and was happy to help.

The most prominent contributions I made were to an annual antiques price guide published by Schroder’s. For years I contributed to the categories of antique advertising, Civil War, numismatics, world’s fair memorabilia, political, cast iron toys, and a few other categories. They were kind enough to send me a complimentary copy every year. If you walk into any antique store in America, you will see a copy of Schroeder’s in the owner’s library. My name, address, and phone number are in the contributor’s list.

Anyway, after closing my business I packed my library into more than 60 banker’s boxes and stored them in my brother’s basement. They’ve been there ever since.

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Last week I retrieved three boxes of books and listed the individual volumes for sale on eBay. As I write this about a third have sold. I priced them at a fraction of what I paid for them, so I suspect most will end up selling.

I have no idea how much I spent on my books. My guess is $60,000.-$80,000. Tomorrow I’m picking up another three boxes from the basement. When the dust settles I’ll be happy if I net $10,000. While there is a handful of obscure references that increased in value, most have lost value. Such is the nature of books. They earned their keep by imparting their knowledge to me, not by their resale value.

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I love my books. Selling them seems the rational thing to do, but somehow I’m a bit sad, a little melancholy about letting them go. In a way I feel I’m losing good friends. Yet, if I didn’t sell them they would have rotted away in the basement. Life goes on.

City Girl, Country Boy

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Sea just got her visa for America approved. We’ve booked a 3 month stay in Flat Rock, North Carolina where I grew up.

Flat Rock is a tiny unincorporated town. I’m afraid she’ll be bored out of her mind in two days. She is sure she’ll love it.sea.20

I’m not taking bets, and I’m really not sure how she’ll do. I have family in the area and she really wants to be involved with them. She also mentioned looking for a part time job, so who knows how things will evolve.

This is where I stay. It’s a country inn here an occasional bear is seen wandering around. Quite different from Shenzhen.

Amazing

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I got this message on Facebook today. It blew me away.

Charles or Chuck as we called you in Nam, I found your last name on the back of a photo and that is how I made contact with you. I was always curious as to what became of you. I had shrapnel in my lower back and legs and I spent about three weeks in the rear before I boarded a helicopter back to Siberia (Siberia was what we called the obscure fire base on the Cambodian border where we were stationed, my emphasis). I don’t know if you remember Kaz, he and I were both from Toledo, Ohio. Kaz reuped for a year and left us on Siberia. He wanted to be a door gunner. He was a door gunner and of course he was shot down and received some wounds. Happy to say he did alright and made it out with no further problems. He eventually came back to Toledo and was a successful business owner. I joined the Toledo Police Department and retired in Jan.2003. I will talk with you later.

Part II. Just received.

While I was in the rear I became close to a couple of local girls and they would write me letters and send them out to Siberia. I have no idea what became of them. Where did you go after we got to Chu Lai that day. You were hit pretty good. Me and I think his name was Wetzel or Wenzel carried you over to the pad. I almost passed out after that. You never said a word waiting for the dustoff or while we were en route to Chu Lai.I didn’t think you were going to die but I wasn’t sure of that. So what is the rest of the story?

Part III. Me in 1970. Haven’t changed a bit.

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Part IV. Beer and soda day. Every week or two a helicopter would drop off a few cans of beer and soda. Unfortunately it never also dropped off ice too. So we were treated to 100 degree drinks. I preferred beer, because the sweetness of a100 degree soda left me thirsty. The picture below is of my friend Frank and I enjoying the special treat inside our bunker.

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White Squirrel

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In Brevard, a small town in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina, the majority of squirrels that live in and about the town are white. Most squirrels in western North Carolina are gray, and a few are brown.  Whites are rare.

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Brevard attracts many tourists during the summer, mostly for the cooler weather, but viewing the white squirrels is another attraction.

My brother lives in Hendersonville, about 20 miles from Brevard. Over the years the white squirrel population has spread out, and it is not unusual to see them around Hendersonville.

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A couple of weeks ago my brother had a tree removed from his yard. It turned out there was a squirrel nest in three and it contained a baby white.

Being a softie, my brother has become a mother to the white squirrel. He feeds him and plays with him daily. They have become friends. The squirrel lives outside, but as learned to come when my brother calls, much like a dog.

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He sent me a few pictures. I thought they might be interesting to any squirrel aficionados on SzS.

This blog is open to all comments and does not self-moderate. Criticisms of me, my brother, my blog, my ancestors, or squirrels, will not be reported to the moderators.

White Squirrels

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In Brevard, a small town in the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina, the majority of squirrels that live in and about the town are white. Most squirrels in western North Carolina are gray, and a few are brown.  Whites are rare.

squirrel.1

Brevard attracts many tourists during the summer, mostly for the cooler weather, but viewing the white squirrels is another attraction.

My brother lives in Hendersonville, about 20 miles from Brevard. Over the years the white squirrel population has spread out, and it is not unusual to see them around Hendersonville.

squirrel.2

A couple of weeks ago my brother had a tree removed from his yard. It turned out there was a squirrel nest in three and it contained a baby white.

Being a softie, my brother has become a mother to the white squirrel. He feeds him and plays with him daily. They have become friends. The squirrel lives outside, but as learned to come when my brother calls, much like a dog.

squirrel.3

He sent me a few pictures. I thought they might be interesting to any squirrel aficionados.

Shenzhen’s New Airport Terminal

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I lifted this article from The Nanfang. Its author is Kevin McGeary.

 

Check out these photos of Shenzhen’s futuristic new airport terminal

Posted: 11/1/2013 11:00 am

The new terminal C at Shenzhen Bao’an Airport will open on November 28. Shenzhen Daily says 83,000 passengers are expected on the first day.

The airport will close at 10 p.m. on November 27 as final preparations are made for the opening of the new terminal which will be more than twice the size of terminals A and B combined.

Metro Line 11, the future airport express line, couldn’t be finished in time for the opening of the new terminal.

Metro riders who take the Luobao Line to the airport will need to take free shuttle buses to the terminal’s General Transportation Center after they get off the Metro at Airport East Station. The shuttle trip takes about 30 minutes, airport authorities said.

The new terminal’s Wi-Fi system will be able to handle simultaneous use by up to 3,000 people.

Here are some images of the new terminal, courtesy of Gizmodo:

The interior of the terminal, which was designed by Italian company Fuksas

The gateway is designed to look like a manta ray and stretches for almost 1.5 km.

Natural light pierces through the honeycomb design on the roof

The supporting columns of the interior are designed to give the place the feel of a cathedral

Shit. Lost My Wallet

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Being a creature of habit, when I come in, I empty my pockets before sitting down at my desk. I have a ceramic dish that holds everything.

A few days ago something didn’t seem right about the contents of the dish. Examining them, I found my watch, camera, cellphone, tissues, keys, bracelet, wallet. No wait. There was no wallet.

I carry my wallet in my front pocket, so I double and triple checked my pants. No, I had not failed to remove it. It was gone.

Thinking back, I had made three small purchases that day. The first were my daily newspapers, then a beer in a café where I read them, and finally two lime fizzes at an outdoor drink stand to take home.

I rushed out and retraced my steps, but not surprisingly, no one had seen the wallet.

I don’t carry much in my wallet, just a credit card, a debit card, a bus card, and my North Carolina drivers license.  I had gotten 1000 RMB out of the ATM a few days before, so I probably had 7-800 RMB in cash left.

I keep backup copies of my credit and debit cards at home, so losing them isn’t a problem. Since I don’t drive, I don’t really need my drivers license, and my bus card only had about 50 RMB on it. While not welcome, the lost cash wasn’t a great tragedy.

But what to do next has been vexing. Should I report and cancel the credit and debit cards? I keep a bank account here in China. There is more than enough money in it to get me through until replacements arrive.

I keep a low credit limit on my credit card, and could contest any bogus charges made on it. The debit card has a $500./day limit on withdrawals.

So far as I know all ATMs have a camera, so if someone tried to use my debit card, they’d be photographed. I figured the most I could lose is a single $500. withdrawal and I’d have a picture of the thief for the police.

As soon as I returned home, I checked my accounts online. No activity was recorded. I checked again a few hours later. Same result. I have been checking my accounts several times each day for more than a week now. There has been no activity.

The fact there has been no illicit activity on the cards makes me think I might have done something stupid with my wallet, like letting it fall between the cushions of a chair, or leaving it in my pants pocket and washing it. While I checked these two possibilities, there might be something equally obvious that I have overlooked.

Strangely, I know a Chinese man and woman who both lost wallets the same day as I lost mine, and a third Chinese man who lost his cellphone then. Coincidence, or some sort of divine intervention into human affairs?

So now I wonder what to do. I think I’ll just keep checking my accounts a few times a day, and hope that the wallet will unexpectedly turn up. Life is difficult.

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