Hoping for a Christmas Miracle

Merry Christmas everybody !!  Tis the Holiday season, and we are all hopeful of the upcoming year. I also have high hopes for this upcoming year 2018, so in hopes of spiritual cleansing and karmic uplifting I decided to salvage some seeds from my latest bag, and try to give them another life.  I get the top shelf shit, so it is very rare that I get any seeds at all. But this particular batch is a homegrown hybrid that my people in Michigan have developed, and I got to “beta test” it, so to speak.  This amazing new strain is called “Chem Dog 21” and I am convinced that it is a candidate for my top 5 strains. I am keeping my fingers crossed, and wishing for a #Christmas #Miracle.  

God bless you all.  Happy Holidays, and prosperity in the New Year!!


Poker book review: Super System

I wanted to take some time and discuss poker’s greatest textbook, the “Bible” of poker books: Doyle Brunson’s “Super System”. This book was not the first poker publication, but it is the most influential.  Doyle Brunson collaborated with some of the best poker players in the world, and produced a seven part book covering the most popular variations of the game.  Doyle himself wrote the section on the No Limit (NL) Hold’em.   “Crazy Mike” Caro, the same guy that authored the “Caro’s Book of Poker Tells” (another must have for a serious poker player) wrote the section on Five Card Draw Poker.  Obviously, he is the best at reading people, so the game with no cards exposed makes him the expert.  The section on Limit Hold’em was written by Bobby “The Owl” Baldwin, a 1978 World Poker Champion and a 2003 inductee into the Poker Hall of Fame. David “Einstein” Sklansky, who is considered to be one of the top poker theorists, put together the section on High-Low Split and High-Low Declare. The section on Lowball was written by Joey Hawthorne.  Nicknamed “Howard Hughes”, he is well known in the top poker games both as a player and as an author and theorist.  Chip Reese, another legend of the poker world wrote the section on Seven Card Stud.   Click on the cover image to buy this great poker book on Amazon.


Philately and Stamp Collecting: Tools of the Trade

Lighthouse stockbook, stamp tongs and a magnifying glass is all you need.

Basic toolkit includes:

  • Stamps tongs – This is stamp collecting 101.  You cannot touch the stamps with your hands. (See also :  Proper stamp handling),  Rough handling and oils from your skin (even cleanly washed hands have oils on them) discolor and damage stamps.  So… all philatelists and stamp collectors use stamp tongs to gently handle the stamps.  Stamps tongs look like big metal tweezers with smooth tips.  There are several different varieties, but they basically boil down to Angle Tip (which is my preference, I use the # 1 from the list below), Spade tip – which is the straight version of the angle tip.  Point Tip have thin, pointy tips, and are good for handling very small stamps.  Round Tip stamp tongs have big round tips, duh.  So everybody has their own preference, but I use the 6″ Angle Tip by Showgard.  Inexpensive, but very high quality.  Check out the different variations.
    1.   Showgard 907 Stamp Tongs, 6″ Angle Tip
    2.   Showgard 903 Stamp Tongs, 4 5/8″ Spade Tip
    3.   6″ Point Tip – Buy on Amazon.
    4.   6″ Round Tip – Link.
  • Stockbook with clear plastic pockets is one of the safest way to store stamps.  It is also very convenient to display and view your stamp collection.  Some collectors prefer a traditional stamp album, but I collect mint, never hinged (MNH) stamps, and hinging and mounting damages the original gum.  I prefer the Lighthouse stockbooks, they are made in Germany, and are some of the finest in the world.  These stockbooks have a glassine paper separating all the pages, it helps to protect the stamps from rubbing against each other when the stockbook is closed.  Lighthouse stockbooks come in the same standard size, but vary by the number of pages.  One big 64 page Lighthouse stockbook is almost 2 inches thick, and will probably cover all the needs of a novice stamp collector.  If you want to have different stockbooks for different topics or countries, you can get the 32 page or the 16 page (or a couple of those).
  • Glassine envelopes are useful when you are organizing and trading/buying/selling stamps.  They are perfect for storing stamps for long periods of time, because they keep the moisture out, and keep the stamp paper from getting exposed to the elements, and aging quickly.  (Click Here to find them on Amazon)
  • Magnifying glass is essential to philatelists, because most of the stamps are very small.  Magnifying glass is used to examine the stamp and its condition in detail.  There are numerous philatelists who study the tiniest differences and misprints, and they would be absolutely “unarmed” without a proper magnifying glass.  And don’t go fancy with it.  You don’t need LED lights or any bells and whistles.  You just want the plain old magnifying glass.  With a big handle, for easy manipulation, like Sherlock Holmes only smaller.
  • Catalogues are the primary tool used by serious collectors to organize their collections.  Catalogues are used for identification and valuation of stamps.  There are several respectable philatelic catalogues on the market, I myself use Scott, but there is also Michel, Stanley Gibbons and Yvert et Tellier.

Difference between Philately and Stamp Collecting

Philately is the study of stamps and postal history, as well as other postage related items.  It also refers to the collection, appreciation and research activities on stamps and other philatelic products.  Philately involves more then just stamp collecting, which does not necessarily involve the study of stamps (but rather accumulation).  It is possible to be a philatelist without owning any stamps.  For instance, the stamps being studied may be very rare, or reside only in museums. Here is a great book on the subject.

Also, if you are serious about philately and stamp collecting as a hobby, you will need the Scott 2018 Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue.  This is Volume 1, for United States.  The catalog is essential for pricing stamps.  I know its a bit expensive, but you do not have to buy the same year for all the volumes.  I have a Volume 5, for Russia and area, and it’s from 2000.  And my Volume 1 is from 2015.  I know I do not have the last 17 years of the Russian stamps in the catalog, but its only 17 years.  In philatelic times, its nothing but a finger snap.

Almost all of the philatelists are stamp collectors.

Not all the stamp collectors are philatelists.

See also: Tools of the Trade

Jen Psaki is on CNN

This is truly terrible. Jennifer Psaki, the former spokesperson for the US State Department is now an “expert” on CNN. This is the same woman that never had any clue of what was going on. She always had to “check with the office”. I knew she was worthless when she threatened to land the 6th fleet “on the coast” of Belarus. (In case you do not know, Belarus is a small, land-locked country in the Eastern Europe.  It has no access to the coast.).

And now this “victim of the American education system” is offering up “expert” opinions on a national news network.  Geez, CNN. How low can you sink?  Talk about scraping the bottom of the barrel.