Your Quarters Worth

The Cut II


Written by John Andreula

Edited by Kodid Laraque-Two Elk

Say someone has a bag that holds a collection of golf balls. This bag fits exactly fifty balls within.

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This owner then collects fifty white golf balls. Then they store the ball bag in their home.

After compiling this perfect collection of balls, they make the discovery that there are also red and blue balls available for purchase.

This collector of golf balls also has acute O.C.D. They want some of these colorful balls for their personal collection, but it’s unthinkable for them to have more than one ball bag. It just doesn’t seem natural.

The only way this finicky collector of balls will be able to justify acquiring these new poly-chromatic dimpled spheres is to first rid themselves of some of their old balls. How will this person determine which of their balls to sever?

This is obviously a silly metaphor, but it is apropos of material goods ownership in the modern world.

blue ball

If someone has a 750 square foot apartment, how many movies, books, music, and toys will their home be able to accommodate comfortably?

Similarly, a three bedroom house can become cramped and overstuffed quite quickly if the owner continually and indiscriminately purchases things.

It’s all relative. Whether dealing with a storage shed or a huge mansion, the math is still the same. People only have so much space to fit their balls in.

As I look around my living and creative space, I tire of the chaotic feeling of having too much stuff. This overwhelming sense of overabundance makes it difficult to remain focused. It’s stressful and at times it negatively affects my emotions.


I’m certain there are many people out there who feel the same. As a direct response to this problem I have created The Cut.

The aim of The Cut is to lessen this burden and to create an additional, but modest, revenue stream. It requires me consistently assessing my collection of stuff. I repeatedly scour the many things I have acquired throughout my life to determine what I really want to keep.

I weigh my items’ nostalgia and investment against current resale value, as well as the value of clearing out additional personal space.

Below are some the items that have recently come up against The Cut. These all have been assessed and a verdict has been reached as to whether or not my ball bag can still handle them.

Without further adieu, here’s The Cut II.


Items 1 & 2:

Heltah Skeltah Nocturnal and Heltah Skeltah D.I.R.T.

(Audio CDs)


There once was a time when I listened to gangster rap music. Back in the day I used to listen to rap with my homies. We would cruise around with the windows down in my Mazda MX-3. The speakers would be bumping Heltah Skeltah, Smif-N-Wessun, and the rest of the Boot Camp Clik.

Who am I kidding? I still listen to gangster rap music. I listened to The L.O.X. on the ride to my last Kung Fu class to help get me into the zone. I just don’t listen to it nearly as often these days.

In all seriousness, when I was a teenager and a younger adult, rebelling was a considerable aspect of my personal self-expression. Musical acts like Heltah Skeltah gave voice to that inner rebel. Regular use of the F & N-words helped make the music cringe-worthy to adults and any other sensitive or sensible ears within hearing distance. They were part of the soundtrack to my suburban middle-class Caucasian angst.

Questioning authority, particularly the authority of the police and “The Man”, is a common theme within the genre. It was easy to connect with it in a world that just doesn’t get me.

Plus the music sounds good. The beats are heavy and melodic. The rhyme schemes speak to the poet that has always dwelled inside. These albums still have replay value. I listen at the gym or when the house is empty and I just want to rock out.

heltah skeltah - nocturnal.jpg

The Verdict:

The two Heltah Skeltah albums miss The Cut.

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Despite the fact that I can still bump Nocturnal or Da Incredible Rap Team, the music is oozing with ignorance. The albums are filled with sophomoric immaturity. Lyrics about robbing suckers and selling drugs just doesn’t have the appeal it once did. Now that I have a young child and more—ahem—mature tastes, Heltah Skeltah no longer fits my life’s soundtrack.

Plus, the ability to digitize music CDs into MP3s keeps me finding fewer and fewer albums that I am compelled to keep. That said, I’m not quite ready to part with my Cocoa Brovas or BCC albums quite yet. Stay tuned for future iterations of The Cut to see how those fare.

Items 3 & 4:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

(Paperback books)


It’s ironic how at the age that I was listening to Heltah Skeltah in 1990’s New Jersey I wouldn’t have gone near a young adult or children’s fiction series such as Harry Potter. Undoubtedly, I even cracked jokes at the expense of all the people who got caught up in all the Hogwarts hysteria.

I sure had the whole world backwards!

Needless to say, I caught on to Harry Potter late. I picked up Sorcerer’s Stone around the time the sixth book, Deathly Hallows, was released. I purchased and briskly read each of the seven books in the series.

J.K.Rowling’s world of youthful, adventurous wizards provides the perfect gateway to many geek masterpieces. Thanks to Harry Potter’s seven books, as well The Hitchhiker’s Guide, and Ender, I rediscovered my long-forgotten passion for reading.

My daughter is now old enough to be introduced to Rowling’s wizarding world as well. She is an avid reader who consumes as many printed works as she can get her hands on. She is hungry for reading in a way I never was. It’s quite inspiring.

The two of us spend so much time in the car throughout our weeks that I decided to borrow the audio-book versions of the Sorcerer’s Stone and the Chamber of Secrets from our local library.

The professional narration by Jim Dale makes consuming the books feel like watching the stories with our ears. Unlike the movies, or other books turned into television shows, these unabridged audio-books provide the complete consumption experience.

Harry Potter2.jpg

The Verdict:

Harry Potter makes The Cut.

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What else can I say, but I fell in love with the books all over again?

If it were even possible, I enjoyed them more now than I did the first time through. Witnessing my daughter experience these books throughout all the twists and the jokes likely increased my own enjoyment significantly.

I feel no need to purchase the audio-book versions while owning the paperbacks, but I also don’t foresee parting with my copies of the series anytime soon. I can see my family reading and rereading these beautiful masterworks multiple times in the future.

The world is a better place with these amazing pieces of fiction in it. Similarly, my house is a better home with these books on our bookshelves.

Item 5:

Code Name: The Cleaner



Spies, video games, and Marc Decascos; this movie offers a lot. I can see why I liked this movie enough to purchase the DVD the mid-2000’s.

Cedric The Entertainer puts on a hilarious performance in this movie. He plays Jake, a hapless man who wakes up to find a dead FBI agent and a briefcase containing two hundred and fifty thousand dollars on the bed with no memory of who he is or how he got there. Naturally, comedy madness ensues. Jake attempts to piece together his missing memory while discovering clues leading him to believe he is a deep cover agent.

There is no denying that the movie makes you laugh out loud from beginning to end. At the climax, Cedric dons wooden shoes and performs a Danish folk dance with eight other trained dancers. He crushes in the scene.

Lucy Liu is the lead supporting actress. She is very funny in her portrayal. I love when she gets all angry at Cedric. She slaps the crap out of him. It’s just as funny when she call-backs the schtick later in the movie.

The Verdict:

Codename: The Cleaner misses The Cut.

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“This ain’t what you want!” -Jake

Marc Decascos’s kicks were only displayed briefly at the end of the film and Nicolette Sheridan’s unbelievably poor acting are enough to prevent this movie from being a keeper and a classic.

I’m sorry Cedric, but to the second hand media store the movie goes.

Item 6:

Angels & Demons

(Paperback book)

angels demons.jpg

Good ol’ Dan Brown and Robert Langdon. I know I can count on the Langdon books to provide ample edutainment. Inferno, the fourth book in the series, was an amazing book in its own right. I have yet to read the latest in the series, Origin, but it is high on the list of books I want to read.

Angels & Demons was the second book in Dan Brown’s mystery novels about Harvard professor and symbolism and code specialist, Robert Langdon. I remember it being a prequel to the book everybody has heard of in the series, The Da Vinci Code.

Angels & Demons offers a solid story of people running around in tombs, churches, and city squares solving religion inspired murders and mysteries.

The Verdict:

Angels and Demons gets The Cut.

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I was able to read Angels & Demons when it first released on paperback. That was long before it was adapted into the movie of the same name. It also happened to be the first book I read in the series. This created a special connection with the book that I did not feel with The Da Vinci Code.

The book was good, but it was nothing spectacular. When I look upon my bookshelf and the tomes held on it, I do not see myself rereading this book before any of my favorites, or a new story like Origin.

This book will most likely be donated to library when I find out 2nd & Charles doesn’t want it.


Even though I playfully approach my process in The Cut, I take reduction very seriously in my life. There is a sense of peace to be gained in creating better utilized, clean, and clear space.

I truly believe cutting out the unnecessary leads to increased creativity, productivity, and positivity. There are studies that better organized spaces lead to improved mental and physical health. Don’t just take my word for it; check out these pieces at,, and

We don’t want to be the only ones in our community sharing our journey in reduction. invites you to share stories of slimming your own collections down to a manageable size. We’d love to hear your anecdotes and experiences.

Use the comment section below to tell us about the weird stuff you’ve been hanging on to for far too long. Tell us why you’ve kept it, what you’ve done with it, and how it felt if you’ve finally unburdened yourself of it.

Until next time…

Thanks for reading The Cut II.


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