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When Fortune Finds Us

History is alive with tales of how merciless and cruel big cities can be.  Whether the evidence is Biblical or anecdotal, we understand that the culture of the city is a culture of machines and finance, two engines that run on the fuel of human souls… if left unchecked.

New York City does not have a gentle, gracious, or generous reputation.  It’s a city that can devour humanity in a way that is different that the slow fade of Los Angeles or the carnival pleasures of Miami.  New York never sleeps, it’s always working, and it’s always ravenous.

This is what makes the story of Christian Lopez so interesting.  Christian is a 23 year-old, single, New Yorker who sells cell phones to pay off his college debt.  Christian also had history fall into his lap yesterday when he became the finder of the ball that came off of the bat of Derek Jeter’s 3,000 major league hit.

The ball featured in most history making hits comes back to the player after the play is over, and the player keeps it for posterity.  Fortunately for the Yankees, and unfortunately for Derek Jeter’s trophy case, his 3,000th hit was a home run.  The ball went into the stands, and Christian Lopez had a decision to make.

Putting the ball up for auction would have yielded at least 6 figures.  It also meant that the ball would go to a private collector, or that Derek Jeter himself would have to pay money for something he created.

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Caramel Gold Rush

The phrase, “Worth its weight in gold” is completely overused.  I’ve heard it applied to everything from denim to sparkling cider.

When was the last time that you experienced something so good that someone could have weighed it, then demand payment based on the weight of the item multiplied by the price of gold per ounce?

When you think about it in those terms it becomes difficult to find something that is wonderful, yet not so weighty that it becomes prohibitively expensive.  For example:  I purchased a 12″ Macintosh Powerbook back in 2005.  It was the pinnacle of compact computing, and the best technology purchase I ever made.  Unfortunately, 6 years ago the lightest computer on the planet still weighed 4.9 pounds.  Using the price of Gold per ounce from the year 2005 ($427 per oz.) we can estimate a purchase price of nearly $34,160.00 (shipping included).  While a great computer, it wasn’t worth a year’s salary.

While you may not be willing to pay it, The 4 oz Magnum Ice Cream bar absolutely tastes like $1,500.  It’s that good.  If you think I’m crazy, try finding the Double Caramel bar at your local supermarket.  Right next to the fully stocked Dove and Haagen Dazs Bars you’ll discover an empty shelf with a tag that reads: “Magnum bars, $5.99, box of 3.”

You read that right, on sale you’ll pay two dollars per bar.  That my friends is a deal because they usually cost $3 per.  How can this be?  I’ll tell you, Magnum Bars are the smoothest ice cream you’ve ever had, dipped in the finest, silkiest, Belgian chocolate you’ve ever tasted.  In the case of the Double Caramel, that bar is additionally dipped in two layers of caramel, then dipped again in chocolate.

You’re probably uncontrollably wondering, “If this is true, then why haven’t I heard of this before now?” while salivating like one of Pavlov’s finest.

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The Death Of Us All

In December of 2001 I drove my car to see the Fellowship of the Ring.  I bought a tank full of gas and a full price admission for $22.85.  I was cautious yet hopeful because the year in film had not been kind.  Sure kids got the 1st Shrek, 1st Harry Potter, and Monsters Inc, but adults got The Mummy Returns, Hannibal, Jurassic Park III, Pearl Harbor, and wait for it… Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes.

It was the summer of patriotic bombs, Indiana Jones rip offs, brains for dinner, and Aperham Lincoln.

If it’s surprising that the first film in Jackson’s Rings Trilogy will be 10 years old this year, consider how much has changed since The Fellowship was released 3 months after America was reminded that the world was still a dark and dangerous place:  Gasoline and milk are now roughly the same price per gallon, everyone owns an iPod, and Peter Jackson’s weight is more Gollum than Gimli.

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