Crazy Bricks

Financially, when does spending on a hobby become crazy? I have a number of hobbies that come with very different price tags. We have a sports car – that’s expensive in annual depreciation, insurance, and repairs. We like to travel, but flights, hotels, and sightseeing also add up quickly. Activities? Softball costs money, curling costs money, and the tennis club costs money in the winter. … Continue reading Crazy Bricks

2020: A Most Unexpected Result

Count us among the very, very lucky in 2020. Amid the craziness of a deadly pandemic, global race riots (that started in our metro area), and a rancorous Presidential election, we stayed healthy and our retirement nest egg did much better than expected. Last night I went through our year end numbers and updated the spreadsheet I use to track our portfolio. We’ve been enjoying … Continue reading 2020: A Most Unexpected Result

Antique Store Reverse Shoplifting

My Dad was a department store manager for his whole career, so the idea of ever shoplifting was abhorrent to me growing up. Never did it. Not even a piece of candy or a baseball card. Strangely, this week I’ve become a ‘reverse shoplifter’ and may do it more in the future! What’s a reverse shoplifter? That’s my name for someone who brings merchandise into … Continue reading Antique Store Reverse Shoplifting

MrFireStation’s Top 10 Posts in 2020

It’s always interesting to see what articles people responded most to at the end of the year. Some posts connect with current events, some were linked to by bigger websites, and some are perennial favorites. have several thousand hits. Top 2020 posts … 1. Time To Put Off Retirement? – This early-pandemic post (April 2020) pondered if it was a still a good time to … Continue reading MrFireStation’s Top 10 Posts in 2020

Vintage Christmas Catalog Countdown

As I do every year, over the last month I’ve used my personal Facebook feed to countdown the days from Thanksgiving to Christmas. I’m sharing the countdown more broadly through this blog post.

2017 Countdown: Vintage Christmas Advertising

2018 Countdown: Christmas Classic Toy Countdown

2019 Countdown: Illustrated Christmas Magazine Covers

This year’s countdown is a trip back in time through the 1970 JCPenney Christmas Catalog. My Dad worked his whole career as a JCP store manager and my brothers and I memorized almost every page.

I hope you see some favorite toys, mod outfits, entertaining gifts, and wonderful memories in these pages from 50 years ago. Note on the cover of the catalog it says that “toys and giftware orders need to be placed by August 28th” … already more than 90 days ago!

All scans are from the amazing christmas.musetechnical.com archive

🎅🏻 27 Days to Christmas – Snoopy & his Peanuts Pals earned a 2-page spread in the 1970 JCP catalog. To adjust for inflation, multiply the prices 7x. No doubt all of these toys & watches would be vintage ‘collectibles’ worth more than that on eBay today.

🏈 26 Days To Christmas – Uniforms for the newly merged NFL + AFL were popular fifty years ago in the JCPenney Christmas Catalog. The Chiefs had beat the Vikings in the Super Bowl the previous season and the Cowboys were on their way to beat the Colts in the January 1971 championship. Did they photograph the same kid in all 26 team uniforms?

⭐️🥃 25 Days to Christmas – Drinking & smoking were a big part of the 1970 holiday season. Lots of sophisticated bar sets, decanters, and lighters – with a full length fencing foil (left) to add to the fun!

🎁 24 Days to Christmas – 1970 fashions from the JCPenney Christmas catalog put Mrs. Roper from ‘Three’s Company’ into context with ‘quilted culottes’ and ‘shimmering caftans’ …

Continue reading “Vintage Christmas Catalog Countdown”

Seeing A 20/20 End To 2020

My eyesight has never been great and has been gradually getting worse over the years. I’ve been near-sighted and wearing glasses/contacts since junior high and increasingly relying on reading glasses. An eye infection, the cold weather where we live, and this year’s pandemic face mask steaming over my glasses have added to the nuisance. My wife and son had similar eyesight issues and began looking … Continue reading Seeing A 20/20 End To 2020