Wednesday, October 26, 2011


AFLAC Duck Egg Savings Bank
Hawaiian Odysseus photo

Boredom can make one do some crazy things.

The other day, I rummaged through the freebies area just outside a thrift store.  I don't know...maybe I've been watching too many Storage Wars episodes on TV lately, or maybe what I was able to tolerate of the lackluster Seahawks offense did me in.  In any case, I was bored like a gourd, and I needed to do something.

So I...okay, I'll just say it...I dumpster-dived outside a thrift store.  Except it wasn't a dumpster.  It was more of a table with boxes and paper sacks and plastic bags filled with dusty, dirty stuff, making like Barry the antique aficionado hoping to unearth in all that debris a treasure of immense significance.  

My wife kept interrupting me, showing me some great stuff she'd found inside the thrift store.  It was beginning to annoy me just a little bit because I was feverishly employed in my intense battle with the donated knickknacks.  

You see, the more I get involved in this self-employed (and hopefully not self-delusional) gambit to sell novelty items along with my standard fly tying niche fare on eBay, the more I'm driven to prove a myself more than anyone else...that on any given day, a very determined man can muster up every bit of his resourcefulness and sell another man's junk.  (Okay, this is the part in my daydream where the piped-in THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM music volume builds to a crescendo as Richard Kiley belts out "...To reach the unreachable star!")

Falling abruptly back to earth, and fast-reversing to about an hour ago, I took a half dozen photos and whipped up a quick description and posted the item.  (I am posting a link to the item, but it'll be gone after three months, so I'll just copy and paste the verbiage below as well.)

Have fun!  I did!  And I'm curious to see how the bidding goes on this one.




The AFLAC duck is at it again.  This time, she played us pretty close to home.

It appears that she went dumpster diving outside a local College Place, Washington, thrift store. Since we've been tracking her whereabouts ever since she "dissed" Yogi Berra at the barber shop in that TV commercial, the owners of the thrift store called us to investigate.

We pulled out our forensic investigation tools--stuff we'd found on eBay--and went to work.

And we found enough evidence to indict her of vandalism and littering if she ever shows up in our conservative town again.

She had the nerve to lay an egg in the midst of all the donated merchandise from the locals.  We're now offering it up on auction, hoping some good citizen can make good use out of something she'd left as a poor joke on us.

The egg has a photo of this public enemy next to the AFLAC logo. It is approximately 4-1/2 inches tall with about a 3-inch diameter. The duck must have been eating a diet rich in PVC lately because the egg has a plastic composition.  It is cracked and can be disassembled and re-assembled quite easily. There is a handy slot at the top into which you or your youngster can insert coins.

There is a reward out for this duck, so please be on the lookout. In the meantime, bid heartily, and have a great time!

PayPal is the preferred method of payment.

We will ship to either USA or international destinations via USPS First Class Mail.

Thank you for participating in this eBay listing.  More importantly, thank you for vigilantly being on alert for this rascal little duck!
Why Collectibles? 
  • To preserve Americana
  • To understand our heritage
  • To appreciate our social, cultural, political, and economic roots
  • To enhance our grasp of history
  • To compare and contrast the past with the present
  • To own as antique or contemporary treasures
  • To acknowledge the art and artists of yesteryear and contemporary times
  • To frame and craft into attractive gifts
  • To utilize as decorative household pieces
  • To buy, sell, and trade
  • To enjoy a good return on investment
  • To keep tens of thousands of eBay sellers from becoming chronic couch potatoes
PayPal is the preferred method of payment.

We will utilize USPS Parcel Post to ship to USA destinations.  For international destinations, we will use USPS First Class Mail International.

Thank you for participating in this auction.  Be sure to check out our other items. Welcome back anytime!

Monday, October 24, 2011


Collectible Vase with Lord's Prayer
(This and subsequent images are Hawaiian Odysseus photos.)

The Message's interpretation of Isaiah 54:2 couldn't make it clearer for me...

"Clear lots of ground for your tents!  Make your tents large.  Spread out!  Think big!"

I am taking God's promise to heart, humbling myself and adopting a teachable  self-image.

In my Hawaiian Odysseus life's journey, I have figuratively come to a place where I must no longer run. Rather, I am taking up roots, stretching out every possible square footage of my tents, and driving my stakes deep into the ground.  For God, for family, for self...

It's with this state of spiritual, mental, and physical mettle that I approached yesterday's activities with my wife. 

There used to be a time that the most exciting part of my autumn Sunday was to watch and cheer for the Seattle Seahawks.  While I was wasting three-plus hours being a couch potato, according to my wife, she would be working hard taking care of the chores and errands she didn't have time for during the busy work week.

But nowadays, intent on making a serious go of building our eBay business, taking it to the next level, what really turns my crank is to find hidden treasures in other people's junk.

So we went to an estate sale in one of the more affluent neighborhoods in Walla Walla.  

(The Seahawks' offense sucked yesterday, by the way.  They could barely muster three measly points against the Browns in a game where each team was trying its very best to lose.  In that ironic sense, the Seahawks came up victorious.)

There was literally only a half hour left, and so we hurriedly went through the various rooms of the large, beautiful home, looking for last minute bargains.

We found a few things.  The photographs and captions in this post will show you what I bought and have either listed or am in the process of listing for this week's auctions.

I spent a total of $8.50, and I'm looking forward with breathless anticipation as to how my investment turns out.

Along with the item in the photo above, I picked up the following eBay candidates at this estate sale:

Krinkles by Patience Brewster
Investment:  Freebie

Bridge Set (external view)

Bridge Set (internal view)
Investment:  $2.00

Set of 8 Cross Stitch Booklets
Investment:  $2.00

Cross Stitch Doll (pair) 
Investment:  $3.00

I never thought I'd be playing with dolls.  But I guess I'm feeling less pressured to save face and be macho the older I get.  Besides, the motivation of contributing to the Scholarship Fund gives me a great deal of freedom to explore, shall we say, my softer side.  

The time at the estate sale quickly came to an end, and with a bit of excitement, I shared with my wife the auction strategies I'd be attempting later in the evening.

By the way, even on football and World Series weekends, listing on Sunday night is a pretty good idea.  A lot of eBayers find that a great time to look for bargains online.

Me?  I am so unorthodox.  I list any old time I please, and I usually luck out.

Anyway, we had an hour left before the Sonbridge thrift store closed, so we hustled on back to College Place.

Sonbridge Community Center is owned and operated by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.  It is located at 1200 SE 12th Street in College Place, WA. (If you're ever in southeast Washington, please check this shop out. It is literally bursting at the seams with treasures!  You'll feel like you're Johnny Depp playing Captain Jack Sparrow!)

Some of our best finds have been in this place.  Yesterday, for example, my wife picked up two great items. She found a complete VCR player for $2.50.  I'm looking forward to doing some minimal mechanical adjustments with it, cleaning it, and selling it on eBay.  

The other thing was a back massager, that sort of thing you put on a chair or car seat, lean back into it, and enjoy the good vibrations.  My better half got it for $1 because the adapter was missing.  No problem.  When we got home, she dug through a Tupperware full of cords and thingamajigs and found a compatible adapter. She attached it, plugged the device in, and voila! it worked like a charm.  I'm so proud of her.  We will most likely keep it, but something like that could sell easily on eBay for $40 or more.

Me?  Again, I found myself doing something I'd never done before.  I went dumpster-diving outside the store. Well, sorta.  They have a special area where a bunch of junk and doodads are kept in sacks, plastic bags, tubs, bins, and shelves.  It's right outside the store and has a sign that says:  FREE.

I like FREE.  It's my favorite four letter word that starts with F.

So the following pictures will show you what I found:

Jackson Brand Woman's Handbag or Clutch Purse

Investment:  FREE!

Madame Alexander Dolls--Hansel and Hansel
Investment:  FREE!

Madame Alexander Dolls--Three Mad Hatters
Investment:  FREE!

Ghirardelli Chocolate Collectible Tin
Investment:  FREE!

And so there you have it, faithful readers.  I'm having the adventure of a lifetime deep into the autumn of my life...and simply digging every second of it.

Be sure to check out our eBay store and auction offerings.  Here's a link below for your convenience in finding us.

Until next post, this is Hawaiian Odysseus highly suggesting that you support your local thrift stores.  They're working for a good cause, and you may just end up doing yourself a favor as well!

Vintage Photo
Investment:  PRICELESS!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


(Photos of this and subsequent postcards by Hawaiian Odysseus)

Thank God for the extended recession!

What do I mean by this?

Well, you know how they say that necessity is the mother of invention.  Or, as another tried and true adage puts it--When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

The veracity of these old sayings hits home to me more and more in the autumn of my life. 

I didn't always get along with my dad.  (Today, I love him dearly, and I always will.)  Time does have a way of healing.  More specifically, it gives one a more matured and wiser perception of human nature as a whole. And, for the better, I believe, time has a way of underscoring that a lot of the drama we either create or participate in in our lifetime is truly insignificant.

At this point in today's post, I am reminded of a third wise saying:

To err is human--to forgive, divine.  

Once I forgave my father and others, I was free to ask for forgiveness as well as forgive myself.  This process then eradicated any need to feel sorry for myself.  This then led to greater physical, spiritual, and psychological energy to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, whatever the IT happened to be at the moment.

Finally, it gave me pause to reflect on my life.  And this is what I learned.  In a nutshell, I learned that I can be thankful for the bad as well as the good in life.  The dichotomy of surviving both processes has inevitably made me a stronger human being.

One of the lessons my father taught me, both in word and by example, is that a real man hustles.

No, not in a bad way of using people.  But, rather, in a good work ethic way.

I utilized this lesson as a young lad.  Realizing at a young age that I wasn't athletically gifted, yet wanting, nevertheless, to make the various youth league baseball teams as well as high school varsity sports teams, I worked extra hard in practices and cheered extra hard while warming the bench.  As a result, every now and then, I got summoned by my respective coaches to get in the game.

As a senior in high school, wanting so much to have enough money to rent a decent outfit so I could take my girlfriend to the prom, a friend of mine and I sold 100 pies at a dollar apiece.  I paid the vendor $60 and pocketed the other $40.  In 1969, that humble amount of money covered my prom expenses comfortably.

I write about these life experiences because they are part and parcel of what I am about today.  

I refuse to let anything in life ever get me down again. 

So, thank God for the recession.

It has motivated me to expand my eBay business.  Over the past few months, I've risked investing increasingly larger amounts of money on credit in more inventory for our family shop on eBay, Lords of the Fly.

In addition, I've ventured forth into new territory, dabbling in vintage collectibles.  There have been, I'm happy and thankful to report, a few nibbles.  For now, I'll take the small fry.  It's a definitely positive rung up the ladder of success.

So, with this background in mind, my latest venture involves the marketing and selling of postcards.  In my limited understanding and experience, I'm sure that what I'm offering on eBay isn't old enough to compete with the big time vintage dealers.  But it's a start.  And, for me, having any impetus forward in the midst of what could arguably be depicted as the worst recession in history without being a depression is a huge PLUS.

I continue to ask God to bless our family business.  In recent months, I've seen some promising signs, and I'm more determined than ever to keep working hard.

Yes, life is good.  I have renewed purpose.  

And everything to be thankful for...GOOD and BAD!

Friday, October 7, 2011


Dutch Boy and Dog
Cover Art by Carl J. Becker
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

One of the greatest phenomena of the 20th century--and globally sprawling into the 21st century--is eBay!

Yet one of the most remarkable characteristics of our American heritage and, more specifically, our capitalist system, is this notion of competition.

That said, it's time for the juggernaut auction site, eBay, to move over--just a bit--as the newbies pull up with their slightly different variations and less expensive fee-based programs to continually attract more and more sellers.  

What's my personal take on it?

Honestly, I will always be an eBayer.  While I was a hobbyist with this giant venue in the 1990's, my wife and I officially opened up the LORDS OF THE FLY eBay store on January 1, 2000.  It's an easy day for me to remember, and it's thus equally simple for me to quickly figure out that we are finishing up our twelfth year.  

So while it's Semper Fi for us when it comes to eBay, I'm definitely interested at this point in time--as alluded to in recent blog posts--in expanding our business.  Just this morning, before my better half left for work, we had a quick brainstorming session in which I laid out to her my business plan for the coming month.  She gave me the green light, and I was jazzed!  It involves a substantial increase in inventory from our primary fly tying supplier, and the capital investment stretches our budget.  The potential financial return, however, given our business sales trend that I've been tracking for the last couple of months, certainly justifies the risk.

The balance between my wife--Ms. Caution--and me--Mr. Impulsive--is a sweet marriage. 

It behooves me, then, to strategize how to stretch our market.  It will involve a few major moves such as:
  • Negotiating with our supplier to give us a huge discount if we make a HUGE purchase of materials
  • Tweaking our existing eBay ads and prices to optimize our sales and profit margins
  • Utilizing to a greater degree the marvelous free advertising that social media provides us (Congratulations, dear reader!  You're participating in that very thing just by reading this blog post!  Thank you so much!)
  • Making good use of the new kids on the eBay auction block!
A little bit of serendipity here...I just realize, after 29 years of marriage, that I'm turning into my wife. I mean, I'm almost at the end of my post, and I'm only now coming to the theme of it.  LOL!  At my expense...


The name itself is a brilliant marketing gem.  It is purposely misspelled, and it consequently implores the reader to take a second look.  That's more than enough to lure someone to visit the website.  And once you're there...well, I'll let you find out for yourself.

I love entrepreneurship.  In fact, I'm passionate about it.  Not the corporate level stuff.  The current protests on Wall Street remind us all about our inherent distaste for corporate gone bad.

No, it's the grass roots level of entrepreneurship that I love.  In subsequent posts, I am going to give you real life examples that we've experienced this past month that exemplify the basic joy of buying and selling at the common man's level.

Oh, alright.  I'll give you an example right now.  See that photo above?  Here's the story behind it.  

One of the things I silently pledged to myself a while ago is that I would never go to yard sales with my wife.  I don't know why...maybe it's because a small part of me hangs on to this macho notion that men don't do that sort of thing.  

Truth is, I think it's more about me being stupid.

Last week, you see, I went to several yard sales and one estate sale with my lovely wife.

And guess what?  I AM HOOKED!

My wife found three old magazines dated 1905, 1906, and 1908.  She picked it up for a dollar apiece.  

One of the magazines still had a cover on it...just barely.  Something about it intrigued me.  

For one thing, the windmills accentuate the picturesque tension between that which is common and that which is magnificent.  I'm looking at a scene that figuratively pulls at my deep desire for nostalgia.  And then I realize that the artist, Carl J. Becker, may himself have sensed the same pull for vintage Holland.

The little Dutch boy appears to be both relaxed and yet impatient about having to hold the pose for the unseen artist.  It is the universal conflict of young boys.  

Finally, look at the little dog.  He displays the honesty of the moment, dejectedly looking at the ground as if silently imploring his master to engage in more interesting fun and games.  One can't grasp the true essence of this brilliant masterpiece without considering the canine's body language.

But check me out--clumsily attempting to pass as an art connoisseur.

Long story short, I detached the cover and...wait a sec!  Looky here...on the flip side is another masterpiece.

Delivering the Mail
N. C. Wyeth, Artist
Inside Front Cover, WOMAN'S HOME COMPANION, August 1908
(Hawaiian Odysseus photo)

Again, we have the nostalgic pull of the Pony Express and the mailbox made from a wooden Cream of Wheat crate.  

One has to wonder:  How long did that cowboy sit on that horse?

And, yes, don't forget...there's that reminiscent theme of an animal telling the true story with its accentuated sad and weary body language.

Captivated by these scenes, I did what any enterprising Hawaiian Odysseus would do.

I listed it on  

And, because I'm stupid, I plucked a random figure out of the air and affixed its value to something I truly believe is priceless.

In a nutshell, I'm having fun with this.

I never forget, you see, that just a few short weeks ago, I would animatedly balk at any invitation to frequent thrift stores and yard sales.

Nowadays, I'm the one asking my wife.