Wednesday, August 29, 2007
The extraordinary story of the long-lost '67 Stanley Cup ring is much like a fairy tale.
The cast of characters in this three-decade-old tale include Maple Leafs hero Jim Pappin, a good-hearted treasure hunter and a cockatoo named Reno.
And now the story comes complete with a happy ending.
Over the weekend, treasure hunter Mark DesErmia, who found Pappin's missing ring off the coast of Clearwater, Fla., three weeks ago, handed the bauble back. He met with Pappin's friend and former Chicago Black Hawks teammate Lou Angotti at Siesta Key beach in Sarasota, Fla., for the exchange.
"Angotti says it's in great shape, like it just came out of the box," said Pappin, who scored the Cup-winning goal for the Leafs in 1967.
According to DesErmia, Pappin sold a replica Cup ring – the one his former father-in-law Peter Kyrzakos had purchased to replace the original – for "somewhere around $17,000." He said Pappin deducted the commission of the dealer who sold the ring as well as the original price of the replica, which was going back to Kyrzakos' family.
DesErmia would not reveal the exact amount of his reward, but said it was roughly half of what the replica ring sold for. Pappin said the buyer wished to remain anonymous.
"(DesErmia) accepted a lot less than he could have gotten," Pappin said yesterday. "I felt bad about that so I wanted to make sure he got a good deal and was taken care of."
And with the trading of envelopes Pappin has his original Stanley Cup ring and DesErmia has enough reward money to buy a new toy for his sidekick Reno and fix up his home, a 1983 Chevy camper-van.
"It feels great, it really does – I've got a perma-grin on my face," said DesErmia, who found the ring using an underwater metal detector.
He says he has no regrets about his deal with Pappin, even though he turned down more lucrative offers from collectors in order to return the ring to its rightful owner.
"I told everyone that I want to be able to look back on this years from now and feel good about it and know that I did the right thing," the 44-year-old said.
DesErmia's story so touched Star readers that some contacted the paper wanting to send him money for doing the right thing.
"I'm so overwhelmed that people want to do that for me, I don't know what to say," DesErmia said. "I can't believe this has turned into what it has. It's going to be something that I remember for the rest of my life."
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Friday, August 10, 2007
Cory Doctorow: Salon has a heart-rending feature on the ubiquitous, eternal plastic bag. These things last forever, and they're piling up so fast, they're choking us. Americans throw away 12
Once aloft, stray bags cartwheel down city streets, alight in trees, billow from fences like flags, clog storm drains, wash into rivers and bays and even end up in the ocean, washed out to sea. Bits of plastic bags have been found in the nests of albatrosses in the remote Midway Islands. Floating bags can look all too much like tasty jellyfish to hungry marine critters. According to the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation, more than a million birds and 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles die every year from eating or getting entangled in plastic. The conservation group estimates that 50 percent of all marine litter is some form of plastic. There are 46,000 pieces of plastic litter floating in every square mile of ocean, according to the United Nations Environment Programme. In the Northern Pacific Gyre, a great vortex of ocean currents, there's now a swirling mass of plastic trash about 1,000 miles off the coast of California, which spans an area that's twice the size of Texas, including fragments of plastic bags. There's six times as much plastic as biomass, including plankton and jellyfish, in the gyre. "It's an endless stream of incessant plastic particles everywhere you look," says Dr. Marcus Eriksen, director of education and research for the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, which studies plastics in the marine environment. "Fifty or 60 years ago, there was no plastic out there."...
The problem with plastic bags isn't just where they end up, it's that they never seem to end. "All the plastic that has been made is still around in smaller and smaller pieces," says Stephanie Barger, executive director of the Earth Resource Foundation, which has undertaken a Campaign Against the Plastic Plague. Plastic doesn't biodegrade. That means unless they've been incinerated -- a noxious proposition -- every plastic bag you've ever used in your entire life, including all those bags that the newspaper arrives in on your doorstep, even on cloudless days when there isn't a sliver of a chance of rain, still exists in some form, even fragmented bits, and will exist long after you're dead.