Hello everyone, this is Randy checking in with you. I am the Promoter for the Laughing Class comedy shows. We have started some pretty interesting things for comedy and entertainment for 2020. Right now we are in the works of starting an online comedy radio station through our website right here on Amerishop.biz.
We have continued to work with several different venues to bring pro stand up comedy to the lake of the Ozarks and Mid Missouri region. We have a listing of show tickets right here on Amerishop.biz. This is the real place to buy our tickets for all comedy shows no matter where they are happening.
One very impartant subject i would like to bring up is the need for community support to grow a comedy community for entertainment purposes in the mid Missouri area. Pro shows are expensive and there are a LOT of moving parts and pieces to make them happen. Not everyone is blessed with the gift of comedy. A very few of us in fact, so this makes putting on pro shows a logistics nightmare for the act and the venue to get them to the venue and be able to set up accomodations etc.
I am placing a link today on this post as a place for you to donate your $4 to secure comedy in Mid Missouri and always assure that we are able to bring you the best acts in the business. Sometimes just selling tickets is not enough to pay the bills and it is imperitive that we be able to do that to keep the lights on and acts coming. We are offering a free Laughing Class bumper sticker with your donation.
The radio station on this website is a TEST only and may go away depending on the amount of interest there is on the station. January 1 e will make a final decision on it.
Thank you for supporting pro stand up comedy and the ability to make people laugh!
The Laughing Class
The entire dome is not open for this game as of now. Lets make sure the entire dome is full this game. St Louis has done without football long enough lets stand up and make it happen Missouri. 70k people can fit in the dome, Let.s see 50k this game. Click the slide below for tickets.
What follows is a brief, companyissued history of the Rock Island Lines. It was one of the introductory sections of the “Yard Clerical Manual” issued by the RI around 1970. The manual, from the collection of Alan Kline, was apparently intended to serve as an introduction to the company, as well as to the duties of a yard clerk, and also included a review of the company's geography and route structure. The history is presented here as it appeared in the Yard Clerical Manual. The Early Years--1845 to 1892 Beginnings What is now the Rock Island system first came under discussion in June, 1845, at a meeting of civic leaders at Rock Island, Illinois. Conscious of the increasing migration to the West, these men felt a railroad should be built from La Salle, Illinois to Rock Island, to provide an overland link between the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. Visits were made to Springfield, the Illinois capitol, and a charter was drawn up. By special act of the Illinois Legislature, the Rock Island and La Salle Railroad Company was incorporated on February 27, 1847, but raising the money to build the line was difficult because people had little faith in a railroad that merely connected two waterways. The organizers took another look at their maps, saw Chicago at the base of Lake Michigan, and decided to petition the Legislature to build the railroad all the way to Chicago. An amended charter was approved by a special Act of the Illinois Legislature on February 7, 1851 and the name was changed to the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad. That October 1st, the first spade of dirt was turned at 22nd Street, the southern limits of Chicago and railroad construction officially was begun. The line was completed to Joliet, 40 miles away, by October, 1852. With the laying of the rail into Joliet, public clamor from people along the new line brought about a decision to operate the first train over the route despite the fact the depots along the line were non-existent. So, on October 10, 1852, a gaily painted little American-type locomotive (4-4-0), called the Rocket, was coupled to six sparkling new yellow coaches. At ten o'clock in the morning the Rocket belched a cloud of wood smoke from its balloon stack and headed west over the 58-pound iron rails that had been imported from England. The trip took two hours and the train was cheered by thousands along the way. It had to make the return trip as a back-up movement because there was yet no turning facilities at Joliet. This date is now considered the Rock Island's “birthday”. 1853-1862 The rails marched westward, through Morris, Ottawa, La Salle and Bureau, finally reaching Rock Island on February 22, 1854, the first railroad to connect Chicago with the Mississippi River. In the meantime, on February 5, 1853, the railroad incorporators saw Ariticles of Association executed under the laws of Iowa to create the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad Company with authority to construct and operate a railroad from Davenport to Council Bluffs. Now a railroad bridge across the Mississippi to connect the two lines was considered a must. The wood and iron structure was to be a Howe truss type set on stone piers. The corner stone of the bridge project was laid in Davenport on September 1, 1854. While the bridge was being built, progress of the M&M in Iowa was very slow. Iowa City was its first goal, but Muscatine also wanted a railroad. Civic leaders there pleaded with builders to bring the line into that community. It was finally decided to split the road at Wilton, extend the main line to Iowa City and to build a branch to Muscatine. Iowa Citians, fearful that the railroad might not reach their town, then the capitol of the state, decided to post a $50,000 bonus to the builders if the line was finished and a train run into the station on or before midnight December 31, 1855. The line to Muscatine was finished first and on November 20, 1855 the first train ever to operate in Iowa departed from Davenport with six crowded coaches for the run to Muscatine. But the builders had not forgotten Iowa City's $50,000. On December 31, in a temperature of 30 degrees below zero, the rails were just 1,000 feet short of their goal. Crews worked feverishly to finish the job. Ties were dropped on the staked earth and rails spiked hurriedly in place. Finally, with only minutes to go, a signal was given for the engine to approach. It couldn't move. It was frozen and dead on center. With the help of every available man, chains attached to the pilot and pinch bars under the wheels, the workmen pinched and pushed to slide the engine to the station seconds before the old year rang out. The Mississippi bridge ran into difficulties. The first train ran over it from Rock Island to Davenport on April 22, 1856. Its construction, however, had maddened the steamboat interests and every legal obstacle had been put in its way. It had been condemned as a hindrance to navigation. But there it stood, a monument to engineering genius. Two weeks after the first train had run across, a steamboat - the Effie Afton - cleared the drawspan on an upstream journey, then suddenly veered out of control and drifted back against the span where it burst into flames. The draw portion of the bridge was destroyed. This started a historic court action. Abraham Lincoln defended the railroad's right to bridge the river. The first jury disagreed and was discharged. A second trial resulted in a court order to remove the bridge. This, however, was carried to the Supreme Court and, in an opinion handed down in 1862, the court found for the railroad establishing a railroad's right to bridge a navigable stream. During this period of time the Mississippi and Missouri Road had bogged down and its rails only got slightly beyond Marengo. The line to Muscatine had been extended to Washington where it came to a halt. The outbreak of the Civil War had stopped railroad building. 1863 - 1872 The Mississippi and Missouri, by the end of 1865, had reached Kellogg, still 40 miles short of Des Moines. It was having economic troubles and was finally acquired by the Chicago and Rock Island on July 9, 1866. The two became the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Company. Construction from Kellogg to Des Moines was completed in 1867 and the line reached Council Bluffs on May 11, 1869. That June, a decision was made to extend the line westward from Washington to Leavenworth, Kansas. By the end of 1872, Rock Island mileage in Illinois had grown to 317, in Iowa to 718, and in Missouri to 139. This included the line of the Keokuk & Des Moines which was the first railroad to reach Des Moines, when it operated an excursion train into that city from Keokuk on August 29, 1866. 1873 - 1882 During these ten years the system expanded in various directions. Entrance into Kansas City was made in December, 1879, through an operating agreement with the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad which connected with the Rock Island at Cameron Junction, Missouri. Plans were made to build into Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Oklahoma. 1883 - 1892 In 1885, the Rock Island purchased the majority of the outstanding stock of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern Railway. It later was to take over the line completely. The road, extending from Burlington to Manly Junction, Iowa and including lines to Estherville and Sioux Falls and Watertown, South Dakota, provided entry into Minnesota and the Twin Cities. On March 19, 1886, a charter was issued to the Chicago, Kansas and Nebraska Railway Company to build the Kansas and Colorado mileage practically as it exists today. It also included most of the Nebraska mileage and a line from Lost Springs, Kansas to Caldwell. The intention was eventually to extend this line across Oklahoma and Texas, but Oklahoma was then Indian Territory and construction had to await approval by Congress. Mileage from Horton to Liberal was placed in operation on February 26, 1888; from Herington to Pond Creek, Oklahoma, on July 15, 1888, and from Horton to Colorado Springs on November 5, 1888. An Act of Congress, approved o March 2, 1887, granted the charter the right to cross Indian Territory and pass through Texas to Galveston. The charter also approved another line from Liberal -: again across Indian territory - to Texas and New Mexico Territory to El Paso. On March 19, 1887 a contract was signed between the Union Pacific and the Chicago, Kansas and Nebraska Railway Company for joint use of the U.P. tracks between Kansas City and North Topeka for a period of 999 years. Construction of the line south from Herington moved rapidly through fall of 1887 and in December the first train pulled into Caldwell, “the last outpost of the white man's country” and gateway to the Indian domains of Oklahoma. The Railroad reached Pond Creek on July 15, 1888. The survey followed roughly along the old Chisholm Trail. El Reno was reached early in 1890 and from there the track stretched on, reaching Minco on February 14, 1890 where construction, for the time being, came to an end. At this same time, lines were being extended west from Horton toward Jansen, Nebraska, just east of Fairbury. This was completed in 1888. From Jansen, construction moved on through Limon, toward Colorado Springs. A contract was entered into with the Union Pacific for the use of its line from Limon to Denver in 1889. Then on June 10, 1891, through various consolidations, the lines in Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado all were brought into the Rock Island System, a total of 1,476 miles of new railroad line. In 1892, building was resumed on the line from Minco, Oklahoma and the Texas state line was reached before year's end. Construction also had been started westward from Omaha, through Lincoln, for a connection with the Colorado line at Jansen. The System Develops--1893 to 1933 1893 - 1902 The Chicago, Rock Island and Texas Railway Company had been chartered in Texas in 1892, and laid track northward from Fort Worth to meet, at the Red River, with the line that had been built down from Minco. Thus opened through service from Chicago, through both the St. Joseph and Kansas City gateways, to the Lone Star State. In Oklahoma, in the meantime, the Choctaw Coal and Railway Company had completed a line from Wister to McAlester in 1890. In 1888, this company had surveyed a line from El Reno, extending eastward via Yukon to the present site of Oklahoma City. Controversy developed over the right of way and this line was not finished until February, 1892. In 1894, The Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf Railroad took over the Choctaw Coal and Railway Company and immediately launched a large scale expansion program. The gap between McAlester and Oklahoma City was closed in October, 1895. The El Reno to Weatherford extension was completed in 1898. The builders of the Choctaw then decided to buy the Little Rock and Memphis Railroad which had been organized by a special Act of the Arkansas Assembly on January 11, 1853. That line had been surveyed in 1854 and four years later the line had been completed from Memphis to Madison, Arkansas, 45 miles west. The next 40 miles to DeVall's Bluff, including a big bridge across the White River, was not completed until 1871. Later that year, through rail service was put into operation between Memphis and Little Rock. So, in 1898, the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf bought the Memphis and Little Rock Railroad and then completed the Little Rock-Indian Territory boundary line trackage 151 miles long, including a bridge across the Arkansas River. The Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf then extended its Oklahoma lines to meet the Little Rock line. By agreement of April 1, 1904, the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf, and practically all of its property, became the property of the Rock Island System. In April, 1902, the Rock Island acquired the St. Louis, Kansas City and Colorado Railroad, which had been building a line west from St. Louis. At the time the line had been completed to Bland, 104 miles away, and the Rock Island advanced funds to finish the project. Bland to the Gasconade River was completed in 1902, Gasconade River to Eldon in 1903, and Eldon to Hadsell in 1904. In the meantime, in late 1902, the Kansas City Rock Island Railway had been incorporated to build a rail line from Kansas City to Hadsell. Construction began and the two track laying gangs met at Hadsell in July, 1904 and the road put into partial operation. A historic development occurred near the close of this decade, when on June 1, 1902, the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern leased its property to the Rock Island for 999 years. This added another 1,289 miles to the system. 1903 - 1912 In July, 1902, the Choctaw completed its line to Yarnall, Texas, just 17 miles east of Amarillo, and entered that city over trackage rights. Construction of the Amarillo-Tucumcari mileage--113 miles in length--was begun in 1903 and completed May 9, 1910, establishing a through route from Memphis to Tucumcari, where a connection was made to the Pacific Coast. In December, 1903, the important Texas mileage between Fort Worth and Dallas was completed and placed in operation by the Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railway. In the meantime down in Arkansas, a railroad had been built from Little Rock to Hot Springs by a colorful Chicagoan who was known as “Diamond Joe” Reynolds. The line, later known as the “Diamond Joe Line”, was completed in February, 1876, originally as a narrow gauge railroad but changed to standard gauge in October, 1889. The Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf acquired the Diamond Joe after the turn of the century and when the Rock Island took over the Choctaw, it of course, secured this mileage also. The Rock Island then projected new construction which was to provide a new through route from Little Rock to New Orleans. The Rock Island, Arkansas, and Louisiana Railroad Company was incorporated in 1905. Into this company were incorporated several railroads and additional new trackage was built resulting in a railroad from Little Rock to Eunice, Louisiana. This was opened for operation February 1, 1908. The Malvern-Camden Line, 55 miles long was begun in November, 1911 and completed October 1, 1913. 1913 - 1922 In the early part of the 1900's a group of promoters known as the Reid-Moore syndicate secured control of the property. They set up two holding companies, one in Iowa and one in New Jersey. Because of certain financial manipulations the two holding companies could not meet their obligations and went into bankruptcy. A receiver was named on April 20, 1915 ending control by the syndicate and ending a great drama of empire, during which the Rock Island had acquired the Choctaw, Oklahoma and Gulf, and the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern. World War I had begun and at noon, December 28, 1917, the United States Government took over the railroads. They were turned back to their owners on February 28, 1920. 1923 - 1932 During this decade, the freight line between Amarillo and Liberal was begun in 1926 and completed in fall, 1929, opening up a rich grain country for a source of additional revenue. In 1930, the DalhartMorse line was opened. In October, 1929, the memorable crash of the stock market took place and the Great Depression began. Railroad industry in general continued at fair level through 1930 but the following year the economic collapse began to take its toll. Added to the company woes was the great drought that had begun in late 1931 and resulted in the well known “dust bowl”. The drought had a devastating effect on the railroad. Route of the Rockets--1933 to Pres- ent (ca. 1970) 1933 - 1947 On June 7, 1933, the Rock Island, for the second time in its history, passed into recevership. The general economic depression and repeated crop failures had combined to weaken the system financially. During the glum years of 1934-1935, the receivers decided to bring some new management to the property. The new management determined that what was needed was a program of “planned progress”. Heavier rail, new ballast and tie replacement for main and secondary track was called for. New bridges were needed at various locations. Segments of the main line had to be relocated to reduce curves and grades. Shops were modernized or eliminated. The first diesels were purchased, the remaining steam power was modernized, and streamlined passenger cars and new freight cars were acquired. Greatest of the bridge building projects were a new structure over the Cimmaron River, near Liberal, and another bridge built jointly with the Milwaukee Road that spanned the Missouri and provided a new and better operation into Kansas City. Eight and one half miles of new line were built and 12 miles of old were abandoned. The first diesel switchers were acquired in 1937 and these were followed by the inauguration of Rock Island's first streamliner, the Texas Rocket. Other Rockets - to Peoria, Des Moines, Kansas City, Minneapolis-St. Paul - quickly followed. Dieselized freights were inaugurated in 1945. On December 31, 1936 the Rock Island had 1,160 steam locomotives. By the end of 1947 this number was reduced to half. Then, in late 1941, the nation again went to war. Five years of progressive planning had brought the property, physically and competitively, to the point where it could accept its burden of wartime traffic. 1948 - 1952 At 12:01 AM on January 1, 1948, the railroad came out of receivership and the reorganized company took control of the railroad's property under the name of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Company. More new freight and passenger equipment was acquired and a heavy repair and building program in company shops was launched. In 1948, the major building project was a new retarder yard at Armourdale with 43 classification tracks, flood lights and radio communications. Another retarder yard was built at Silvis during 1949 and this facility, along with Armourdale, was the latest word at the time for efficient operation of the railroad's fleet of Rocket Freights. As the Rock Island approached its centennial year of 1952, it was a strong railroad, and one of the best in the country. Total dieselization was acheived in the centennial year. 1952 - Present (ca. 1970) Since then the railroad has progressed even further. No significant new lines have been built, but the personality of the railroad has been altered dramatically. Heavier diesels now move along at near passenger train speeds with ever-longer trains. Freight cars reflect change too, with jumbo hoppers, 89-foot boxcars and triple decker auto loaders common on every train. The nation's travel habits have also changed from trains to autos and airplanes. The many glamourous streamliners which carried people over the countryside no longer exist. Unproductive branch lines have been eliminated. Piggyback has “wed” the railroad and the truck into a profitable venture for both. So today, the Rock Island, nearly a quarter of the way into its second century, looks toward the future with hope. Whatever may occur in the way of progress for the industry, the Rock Island will certainly be in its forefront. Postscript The preceding history was issued by the company around 1970. The Rock Island entered its third and final bankruptcy in 1975, and despite the best efforts of management and trustee, and the flashy new blue and white “Rock” image, the company could not survive. The railroad was struck by its clerks in August, 1979, in a wage dispute. By order of the Interstate Commerce Commission, the Kansas City Terminal railway took over operations of the Rock Island, under an ICC “directed service” order. In early 1980, the bankruptcy court determined that the Rock Island could not be successfully reorganized and ordered the liquidation of the railroad, the largest such liquidation in U.S. history. On March 31, 1980, the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad operated its last train. Copyright © 1996 RITS www.rits.org Used with Permission
HEADLINE: Remembering 1959 at Lake of the Ozarks
1959 – 1: Max Allen’s Zoological Gardens featured reptiles, alligators, giant turtles, and a pickpocket monkey.
1959 – 2: There were some fat fish in the Lake at Loc-Wood Boat Dock at the west end of the
dam because you could empty your pockets of change buying food to feed them. The fish are
still in the Lake but the Aquarium and Loc-Wood have long since vanished.
1959 – 3: Loc-Wood Dock was a great place to take a ride on the Lake aboard the Larry Don
1959 – 4: Visiting Dogpatch on the Bagnell Dam Strip has become a “rite of passage” for
thousands of people who visit and revisit the Lake every year.
By H. Dwight Weaver
A lot of water has passed through Bagnell Dam since the summer of 1959 and a lot of people
have spent a lot of their weekends and summer vacations at the lake since then, which should
mean that a lot of us have a lot of memories from the good old days at the Lake. But what do you
remember from the summer of 1959?
Monkeys, Snakes and a 5-Legged Cow (Subheads: Please bold and use a sans serif font)
The summer of 1959 was when the wise guys bounced radio signals off the moon, banned "Lady
Chatterley’s Lover" by D. H. Lawrence, and two monkeys were launched into space by the U.S.
Army from Cape Canaveral, Florida. While all that was happening, carloads of vacationers
headed to the Lake stopped briefly at the south edge of Eldon to visit Tom’s Monkey Jungle.
There they could get their picture taken with a monkey but had to be careful because one of their
monkeys was a pick-pocket.
If the monkey failed to snatch their wallet or purse there was Max Allen’s Zoological
Gardens further down the road. His attraction had reptiles, alligators, giant turtles and another
pick-pocket monkey. And if you stepped next door to the Ozark Deer Farm you could visit with
Bambi, feed all kinds of critters, and stare at a 5-legged cow while enduring more monkey
business. All in good fun, but there is no longer any monkey business along the highway.
Tours and more Tours
Once you reached Bagnell Dam you could take a guided tour of the power plant, which no longer
happens except on special occasions. They scheduled free tours on the hour every day and took
you into the very innards of the big dam. It was damp, dark and full of whirring machinery but
great fun. And you even learned something, which most people try not to do on a vacation. The
next stop might be a gift shop and it seemed like every third business along the highway was a
gift shop of some kind. Every one of them overflowed with cedar novelties being produced by
three or four businesses in the Lake area that manufactured these examples of Americana kitsch.
J. B. Deere Cedarcraft actually gave free tours so you could see how it was all done, from
cedar log to cedar box. Gift shops are now fewer and the makers of all things cedar have just
about whittled away.
The Ozark Opry was less than ten years old and packing the house with people who wanted to
hear hillbilly music played by talented guys and gals who did a fine job acting like a bunch of
hicks. The city dudes who filled the auditorium clapped and stomped with glee; even the ones
who professed not to like country music when they got back to the city.
Just as entertaining were the performances put on by the Ozark Water Ski Pageant in
Paradise Cove under 14,000 watts of electricity. What some of those young people could do on
skis — as individuals and as a team — was pretty amazing. They weren’t outsiders either. Most
of young people who did the dare-devil skiing had parents who ran local tourist businesses. They
weren’t exactly circus brats but they were pretty close to it. We loved ‘em. The kids grew up
and the shows are gone.
Food, Food and More Food
I’ll bet some of you ate at Campbell’s Lake House close to the dam where the kids could eat out
of plates shaped like the engine and cars of a train; or at Clayton’s Café where the pies were
homemade and people would line up around lunch time because they couldn’t seat very many
people at one time.
There was also the Chicken Kitchen at the dam and Jo-Jo’s Ranch House Café in Osage
Beach. Some of you may have partaken of the catfish ‘n corn bread served at Lakeview Cafe at
the west end of the Grand Glaize Bridge, or even taken lunch at the Grand Glaize Café or
Sherwood’s Café. The eating places are no longer the same.
The Missouri Aquarium was one-of-a-kind and the largest marine display in the mid- west. They
had all kinds of live fish and you could get up close and personal with them, like the giant catfish
that weighed 61 pounds. There were also a few swimmers that you kept a safe distance from…
like the electric eel and the piranha.
There were also fat fish in the Lake at Loc-Wood Boat Dock at the west end of the dam.
You could empty your pockets of change buying food to feed them (as if they really needed
more to eat). The fish are still in the Lake but the Aquarium and Loc-Wood have vanished.
Rides and More Rides
Speaking of Loc-Wood Dock, it was a great place to take a ride on the Lake and you had your
choice of fast boats, slow boats, a moonlight cruise or a dance cruise. They had the Osage Chief
Excursion boat, which was available for a 30-mile cruise, and the Coronado Speedboat as well as
the Larry Don excursion boat. You could also just take off in a Cessna Seaplane and see the
Lake from way up in the clouds. When you did, you were able to see why the Lake is often
called the “Missouri Dragon” or the “Magic Dragon.” Only from the air can you see the Lake’s
true shape as it snakes around among the Ozark hills.
If it was hot and you just wanted to get down and under you could visit Stark Caverns north of
the dam with its “grand canyon underground,” or Ozark Caverns near Passover with its “Angel’s
Shower,” or Jacob’s Cave near Versailles with its extinct animal bones, or get married in Bridal
Cave near Camdenton. Stark Caverns is no longer open.
Dance the Night Away
Square dancing was big — VERY BIG — in 1959. Les Gotcher, a famous Hollywood dance
instructor, was holding square dance institutes at Kirkwood Lodge that summer and staging
square dances in local school gyms. There were square dances in the Ozark Opry building and at
lakeside at Lake Park near Camdenton. Square dancing still takes place, but not like it did in
The Western Touch
Rodeos were big in 1959. At Western Fun Ranch and the Ozark Homestead there were hayrides,
horseback riding and rodeo entertainment. The J Bar H Rodeo in Camdenton packed their
bleachers and had rodeo professionals competing from across the USA. Their special
entertainment featured Hollywood stars. The rodeos and western themes have all ridden off into
the sunset. And then there was . . .
Visiting this gift shop, crazy hillbilly village and snake farm combined was unlike anything else.
Dogpatch still exists, although the reptiles have slithered away. Visiting Dogpatch on the
Bagnell Dam Strip has become a “rite of passage” for thousands of people who visit and revisit the Lake every year. Thank goodness some things don’t change much!
HEADLINE: Our Own Pawn Star
SUBHEAD: High End Collectibles and Museum Quality Wares Worth a Visit
By Lee McCain
Be on the lookout for a bright red 2010 Grand Sport Corvette when you're driving the streets of Lake Ozark, Missouri, and when you spot it screaming down the road make sure to tip your hat to Richard Brown and his canine friends, a Red Pomeranian named Elizabeth and a gorgeous pure white German Shepherd called Crystal. Sure as anything they'll be coming or going from Richard's Relic Shack, a museum quality high-end collectibles establishment that has been in business for over a quarter of a century.
"Every day my customers tell me I should charge admission to see all of the fine merchandise we carry," the affable septuagenarian said during our interview. "We carry an extremely diversified inventory ranging from swords, knives, fighting weapons, Native American tribal relics, and of course guns and other valuables of interest to the collector."
Brown also deals in precious metals, high quality coins and currencies, "and finer things like antique glassware; basically, we have something for everybody here."
A REMARKABLE HISTORY
Richard Brown enjoyed a career as a civil service employee working in defense, and in 1960 he began attending gun and collectible shows where he dealt and traded on weekends and other down time he had away from his day job. Brown and his wife, Marilyn (who passed away a few years ago) parlayed that success into the retail store he has operated out of for the past twenty-five years. In addition to the collectibles side of the business, the Brown's embarked on one of the oldest and most respected businesses in the world: Pawn brokering.
"We've been pawnbrokers for many years," Brown related, "and while it's always been a good and steady business, I've never seen it quite like it has been during the recent economic times we've seen."
Pawn brokering at its core is a very straightforward exchange. A person in need of some immediate cash can bring something of value to the broker, who will offer up a loan based upon the value of the object. The broker holds the item in pawn until the owner pays off the loan plus interest, and then the owner reclaims the possession that was held in pawn.
"Pawn brokering provides an honest, reliable service and helps people who would otherwise have no means to secure a short term loan," Brown says. He is also quick to add that the interest rates are much lower than what a bank would charge on a typical credit card. "Way lower!" Brown also notes that since the debut of the A&E network's Pawn Stars television series, the public's perception of what pawn brokers do has gained favor. "We provide our customers with fairness, honesty, and integrity at the highest level," Brown says, "and that's what our customers tell us every day."
Brown is especially proud of the coins, currencies, and precious metals part of the business. "Again, we carry museum quality coins which are a sight to behold, and we also deal in scrap precious metals as well."
Richard's Relic Shack is offering something that Brown and Tammy Greer, his store manager for the past decade, believes the public is going to be very excited about. In fact, it's worth a phone call to Brown or Greer so they can explain all of the details, but in a nutshell
Getting America Working
How Much of What We Hear is True?
by Lee McCain
Numbers, figures, calculations, speculations, divinations, and expectations that are usually followed by damnations. It just gets to be too much and in a 24-hour news-cycle world there's plenty to go around. And goodness gracious is it ever consumed. Voraciously. I write of the negative news beast that is always ready to pounce, and never has he been as active as during that past four years of unemployment and economic malaise.
Most of us do not live under rocks, although the Henry David Thoreau method of clocking out and living off the grid is fast becoming a more appealing option, all things considered. But assuming that the majority cannot or is unwilling to head for the hills or otherwise return to nature, it falls upon each of us to figure a way back. I'd like to offer my take, if I may be so bold.
First, there is no denying that these are difficult times. But you know what? All times are difficult. There has never been a time when unemployment was a zero, and there have always been and will always be societal and social problems that can be directly traced to financial concerns. While we like to lionize the post-WWII decade as one big wonderful era akin to American Graffiti or Happy Days, the fact that one of the longest recessions we experienced as a nation was from 1955 to 1962. That's a long time.
So what does this tell us? What is the relevance when so many are feeling the pinch and are worrying about next month's rent and this week's groceries while the unimaginative partisans that we sent to Washington continue to do nothing while playing games of brinksmanship with the budget? There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and thankfully it's not from an oncoming express train. The light is this: We can and do have an answer to whatever our particular challenge happens to be — financial or otherwise — and if you'd like to see it, just look into a mirror.
Am I being glib? Uncaring? Simplistic? Not really, when one subscribes to the fact — and it is a fact — that all problems are solved on an individual platform.
Look, the 1930's were about as bad as it gets. Mass unemployment, rumors of war, and general nationalistic dyspepsia. But there were those who made money. There were those who overcame. Progress was made in spite of the playing field. It really was all about attitude. It really was all about the person staring back from the mirror.
There are things we can do right now — immediately — to effect change.
Grousing about the economy? When is the last time you truly bought American when out shopping? Every American product that you buy keeps another American employed. Every American business that you patronize keeps scores more in economic stability. And the good thing about stability is that it spreads, like a pebble tossed in a pond. The wavelets become waves, and such is the economy.
But it all begins with attitude. Defeatism isn't defeat; it's just the belief that defeat is the only possible outcome when that is the farthest thing from the truth. Defeatism is a self-fulfilling prophecy if ever there was one. And such prophecy has plenty of prophets. Just turn on the news. Or don't, and see what you can do on your own to improve your particular situation. It's easier than you think.
Oh, and there is one other ingredient in this fix of mine. Education. Whether it is traditional, college-related, or self education (or the gathering of new technical skills), education is the key.
So take a look in the mirror and take back what is yours. You don't deserve anything less. And then let us know how it's going for you a year from now. It all begins with you. And that's the true American Way.
Betcha didn't know there are Car Jokes!
END OF THE LINE
Near the end of their racing careers, a Ford and a Chevrolet made a pact. The first one to reach racing heaven would let the other know if heaven even had car racing. As luck would have it, the Chevrolet was demolished in a fiery wreck. A few days later, it revealed itself to the Ford in a vision.
"I have some good news and some bad news," the Chevy told the Ford. "The good news is that heaven is crazy about auto racing. They have everything here—NASCAR, Indy cars, Formula 1, you name it."
"So what's the bad news?" the Ford asked the deceased Chevrolet.
"The bad news is that you've won the pole position for next Saturday's race."
OH YEAH? TAKE THAT!
A motorist runs a red light and is photographed by an automated police camera. In the mail a short time later, he receives a photo of his car committing the infraction and a citation for $60. Instead of paying the fine, the motorist mails the police department a photograph of three 20-dollar bills. Several days later, he gets a letter back from the police department. Inside is a photograph of a pair of handcuffs.
APOLOGIES TO BLONDES
A not-too-bright but beautiful blonde was driving home one night when she was caught in a terrible storm. The hailstones were as big as golf balls, and her car was dented badly.
Next day at the auto shop, a repairman decided to have a little fun at her expense.
"To fix the dents in the body," he said, "drive home, park the car, and when the tailpipe is cool, get down on your knees and blow really hard into the tailpipe, and the dents will pop out. Later, a girlfriend of the blonde is driving by and sees her friend on her knees, blowing hard into the tailpipe. She asks what's going on and is told the story. The girlfriend laughs.
"Well, duhhh! You need to roll up the windows first, silly!"
ALL ANGLES COVERED
A couple of young tourists are pulled over by a highway patrolman. The officer walks up, asks for the driver's license and registration, and when he doesn't get it quickly enough, whacks the driver in the head.
"That's for not having your driver's license ready," he snaps. "I ain't got all day." After he issues the driver a ticket, the patrolman walks around to the other side of the car and whacks the passenger in the head.
"Owwww!" hollers the passenger. "What'd you do that for?"
"That's to make your dream come true," replied the cop. "I know that when you'd gotten a half-mile down the road, you were gonna say to your friend here, 'Wish he'd tried that with me!'"
THE BANKER AND THE JAG
A banker is proudly driving his brand-new Jaguar sedan around New York City. On reaching his destination, he parks the car at the curb and gets out on the traffic side. Just as he opens the door, a taxicab slams into it, ripping the door right off its hinges. The cabby drives off as if nothing extraordinary has occurred. A policeman who witnesses the whole thing walks up to the banker, who is now wailing loudly, "Ohhh myyy gaaawdd! Look what that idiot did to my new Jaaaaggguuuaar!
The cop looks at the banker, shakes his head, and says, "You bankers are so damn materialistic! Here you are whining about your expensive car, and you don't even realize the cab tore off your arm!"
The banker looks down at where his arm used to be and begins to wail loudly, "Ohhhh myyy gaawd, my Rolllllleeeexxx is gone!"
EVERYTHING'S BIGGER IN TEXAS!
A Texas rancher was visiting a farmer in Israel. The proud Israeli showed him around.
"Here is where I grow tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash. Over there I built a play set for my kids, next to the doghouse," the farmer said. The land was tiny, and the Texan was surprised by its small size.
"Is this all your land?" he asked.
"Yes," the Israeli said proudly. "This is all mine!"
"You mean this is it? This is all of it?" the Texan said incredulously.
"Yes, yes, this is really all mine!"
"Well, son," said the Texan, "back home I'd get in my car before the sun'd come up and I'd drive and drive and drive, and when the sun set, why, I'd only be halfway across my land!" "Oh, yes," replied the Israeli farmer wistfully, "I used to have a car like that."
UNLOCK YOUR BRAIN!
Someone at the auto repair shop locked the owner's keys inside his car. While the locksmith was working on the driver's-side door lock, the anxious owner walked up and tried the passenger's-side door. It opened. The locksmith looked up. "Yeah, I already got that one."
Q. How many car salesmen does it take to change a light bulb?
A. He doesn't know; he’ll have to ask his manager to see what he can do.
What Makes a Successful Auto Dealer?
By Lee McCain
What if you were told that there is a place where you can purchase a new or pre-owned vehicle without the usual, stereotypical car dealership theatrics; the kind of negative experiences that have become ingrained in our car buying experiences over the years? And what if you were given the customer service courtesies that have long become a thing of the past? Finally, what would you say if you were shown a dealership that actually believes that if a customer is truly taken care of in every way—from sales to service—that success for the dealership is a given? Too good to be true? Not in the case of University Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep in Columbia. Ever since Dave Drane and Danny Burks assumed ownership of the impressive lot (one of many locally owned by the University crew) located at 1310 Vandiver Drive, the sales have risen steadily right along with local consumer satisfaction.
Of course, it all starts with a good product. Chrysler has continually improved its product line to the point that they consistently receive some of the highest owner approval ratings in the industry, something that would make Walter Chrysler—who founded the Auburn Hills, Mich. carmaker back in 1925—very proud were he here to see all that his company has accomplished over the decades.
Customers are Everything
But as good as the car may be, it's all about how the customer is treated at the dealership level that ultimately determines the success of a brand. And at University Chrysler customer loyalty is rewarded by attentive service, the ability to deal based on the buying power University has, and by the excellent specials offered at the University service department. For instance, right now University Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep is offering an incredible deal for oil changes. How about this: buy one full service oil change for $39.99 and get three more free. It's an unheard of deal, but one that University is offering as a thanks to all the wonderful customers they've been honored to serve over the years. Customers just like you.
So if you're in the market for the highest quality new or pre-owned vehicle you'll find locally, stop by University Chrysler at 1310 Vandiver Drive in Columbia. You can reach them by phone at . And if you'd care to take a look at their extensive inventory, log on to www.universitysubaru.com and see what's there. Then come in for a test drive. Once you've experienced the University Chrysler way of customer service, no other dealer will do.