About Fong Sam

I am the CEO of Blacksparrow Auctions. I deal in memorabilia and collectibles.

Channeling Fandom Toward the Greater Good

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In 2010, I met Jo Garfein. I was working for an auction company at the time and we were contracted by ABC to do THE LOST AUCTION. Lost was the biggest television show at the time. There was nothing like it then (or now). It had audiences in its clutch on a weekly basis, as we all gathered around the watercolor to discuss theories, storylines and what it all meant. Lost was pop culture on steroids. So when it was my job to set up the Lost Auction, I was probably the most popular guy among my friends.

It was at the auction that I met Jo and her best friend, Jackie. They were the biggest Lost fans in the world. That auction set us all on a trajectory that continues to this day.

After Jackie passed away from brain cancer, Jo and Jared Wong created Cancer Gets LOST to raise money for various cancer charities through auctions and fundraisers that feature rare and autographed pop culture memorabilia. They wanted to honor their friend Jackie by channeling fandom toward the greater good.

Through Blacksparrow, I have been honored to help facilitate Cancer Gets LOST’s 2nd biannual auction in 2014. Today CGL is a bonafide 501(c)3 charitable organization and I’m excited to work on CGL’s 3rd auction. Over 450 signed and rare collectibles from 60 television shows and 18 films are represented in this sale. The list of goodies is amazing (Star Wars, The Walking Dead, The 100, Game of Thrones, The X-Files, Arrow, and so much more). We launch on 8.15.16 (these numbers should be familiar to Lost fans!). We sent out the press release this morning. Nerdist has this article about it.

Oh, and 100% of the net proceeds will be donated to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer. Alex’s Lemonade Stand raises awareness of childhood cancer causes, funds cutting-edge research projects, and creates travel programs to support families of children receiving treatment. Tell me that isn’t cool!

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Owls & Diabetes

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As he looked at me, David Sedaris said, “Have we met before?”

“I don’t think so,” I said.

“Have you ever been arrested?” he said.

“Did it involve alcohol?” he continued.

Then he drew scissors and signed his name in the book I had just bought. The book, he observed, was a large print edition, which I did not know at the time of purchasing. I was as bewildered by that as he was.

The book signing took place after David Sedaris gave an hour long reading at Royce Hall in UCLA. It was the first time I had seen Sedaris live. He is every bit as good in person. Definitely worth attending.

Just Eat It

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Just Eat It is very much worth watching. The documentary makes a compelling argument for changing the way we think about food, how we eat, and what we should be doing to break out of our decades long apathy about food waste.

The statistics alone are harrowing. We waste 40% of all food produced. That’s 40% of all water that took to make the food. That’s 40% of all energy consumed to create food. Not to mention labor and economies and the landfills and resulting methane production.

With all that food wasted, how are there even starving people in the world? This just cannot be right.

Everyone should watch this movie and then do some research. It’s worse than you think.

Harriet

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Andrew Jackson is out. He will be replaced on the $20 bill by Harriet Tubman, the ex-slave who worked in the Underground Railroad to free other slaves. The irony is obvious here: the ex-slave replacing the slave owner. Jackson, who was a fierce critic of central banks, probably wouldn’t mind though. Then there’s the critique that since Tubman fought against the buying and trading of people, that putting her front and center on currency, is sort of insensitive. Either way, there will be people celebrating this move and there will be haters decrying everything.

The one winner of this decision by the Treasury Department: Alexander Hamilton. When it was announced that a woman could appear on one of the bills replacing a current historical figure, Tubman was by far the most popular replacement. There was speculation that Hamilton would be the one to get the boot from the $10. There is talk that Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew was swayed by the popularity of the Broadway hip-hop musical, Hamilton. Who knows?

All I know is when I go see Hamilton at some point, I hope to pay for my tickets with the newly minted Harriet Tubman $20 bills.

Beware of Misleading Headlines

Take this Time online article: “How To Avoid That Scary 60 Minutes iPhone Hack.”

Just from the title you would think it is about the iPhone. The implication is that there is something wrong with the iPhone. If you don’t read the article, then you would infer that the iPhone has a security flaw. That’s what I thought.

Only after reading the article do you realize that it’s really not about the iPhone at all. There was a demonstration with Congressman Ted Lieu (D-California) using an iPhone, but it was to show a security flaw with cellular networks. Note this line in the article: “The hackers were targeting the network, not the individual phones on either end of the call.” Also: “The hack, carried out with the politician’s consent, was meant to demonstrate a security flaw in the global communications grid.”

So, there was nothing wrong with the iPhone in this instance. Then why imply it in the headline? And why show a large photo of the iPhone?

These misleading headlines are all too common on the Internet. With so many outlets fighting for eyeballs it is tempting to sensationalize a news story, even going so far as to trick users with clickbait headlines.

Goodbye Kobe

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This is the Kobe I will always remember: brash, fearless, unstoppable, electrifying, controversial, provoking intense hate and adoration… In twenty seasons playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe has entertained, frustrated and delivered in the tune of five championships. Never shied with scoring the ball, he scored 81 points once in a game. In his final game tonight, he scored 60 points, going out the most Kobe-like way possible. Goodbye, Kobe.