Sunday, July 7, 2013

Off The Net For Awhile: My Biggest Surprise Today -- So Few Stories On $104 Oil ...

... and unless I missed it, a story about the Bakken crude oil train that exploded in the center of a small Canadian town was not on the front page of the NY Times on-line Sunday edition, but a story on funding for the Texas highway department was.

As we all know, "futures" mean squat, but right now, 1800 EDT, Sunday evening, the price of oil (futures) is up 50 cents, hanging on to gains from last week.

A Note To The Granddaughters

You know you've found the best hobby store in the world when your granddaughters love it, and your wife is disappointed that it was a "model" store, not a hobby store. 

JD Hobbies, on 6th Street, just off Pacific Avenue, in San Pedro, CA, is one of the best hobby stores I've visited in a very, very long time. This is an "old school" hobby store. Mr Louis Lee is the proprieter; he has had his store for about eleven years, first on Western Avenue, which he outgrew, and then on 6th Street, which he outgrew, and then moved next door to his present location. 

For the most part, yes, it is a model kit hobby store. But one can spend hours looking around, finding hidden treasures. Much of his inventory is purchased from private collectors who have grown old(er) and realize that they will never put together that model they bought 50 years ago. Mr Lee has a huge fan base from all over southern California, and probably farther away than that. He looks for models that customers ask about, and when he finds them, he puts them in the back for three days after notifying the customer who was interested. If the customer does not come in within three days, the item is put on the floor, and it becomes an "Easter egg hunt" to find it. There is some organization to the store, but only in a general sort of way. That is what makes it so inviting to look around. 

I'm used to looking straight ahead, and perhaps down, when looking at "things" inside a store, but at JD Hobbies, it is just as important to look up: maybe a 100 model aircraft are hanging from the ceiling.

Upstairs, he has a library of history books and books on models. It is there that one realizes this is truly his passion; it's the store I always wanted.  He has two brand new sofas upstairs (about the only things not on sale in the store) designed for folks to sit down, read a bit, and rest. It really is quite inviting, and quite incredible. 

Back downstairs, about a third of the front of store is "covered" with a huge US HO railroad layout. Really, really nice reminder of what so many of us did or wanted to do when we were younger. Resting against one of display cases was a vintage slot car racing set; I was tempted to purchase it just to show the grandchildren what I enjoyed so much growing up. In the process I learned a bit about building (or at least maintaining) electric motors.

Back to the HO train set: I have a huge collection of Märklin trains and I've always wanted to set up my own HO railroad layout but it looks more and more like I will never get around to it.

The younger granddaughter couldn't wait to buy a Snap-Tite model. She was introduced to them yesterday and when we went back to the store today, she picked out a 1977 Monte Carlo. She couldn't wait to start putting it together as soon as got back home.

By the way, Mr Lee, about 50 years old, son of Korean immigrants, will soon have his own reality show, either on the History channel or National Geograpic. Watch for "History in a Box." In addition, he did the "lake model" for the Hollywood movie "Evermore" coming out later this year (2013).

JD Hobbies

Incredibly he has Pocher models available. The Rolls Royce will take you more than two years to build, working full time, he says. Looking at the parts, I believe him. It will cost you $1,000.99 for the kit.

An example of a Pocher Model Rolls (Mr Lee had a different version):

Pocher Rolls

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