Monday, October 31, 2011

HorrorFest #7

Another two-fer for you tonight... I hope these won't be the last of my HorrorFest viewings. There are still a few movies left on the to-watch pile, but a malfunctioning PS3 has put a damper on things. I've been turning to the backup DVD players in order to soldier ahead.

#9 Jennifer's Body (2009 - Karyn Kusama, dir.)

I was hoping this would rise above your typical teen horror genre picture, but it never did, even with Juno's Diablo Cody writing the script. I'm not even going to bother with the plot with this one, and just skip ahead to the stray observations.
*Amanda Seyfried can actually act. I've discounted her because everything else that she appears in (except Mean Girls) is universally horrible, at least they seem that way from the previews. The glasses she wore also normaled up her face a bit, so that helped.
*Megan Fox couldn't act her way out of a cottage cheese container that's currently being used to store leftovers.
*I don't have a picture of this DVD because that was not the format I viewed it on. Back in June we had a free week of HBO and I just went nuts with the DVR. This movie has been waiting there since June.

Boobs?: Nope. The stars are a little too close to the A-list for that.

#10 Saw III (2006 - Darren Lynn Bousman, dir.)

A mess is what this was. Some hints into the backstory were nice, but there were way too many flashbacks to propel a coherent narrative forward. This movie depended on a background knowledge of the film series that only a supremely dedicated fan would have. Main characters from the first two films appear, but we leave Marky Mark's brother in the middle of a jam, then are shown what happened to him in a flashback. It's very difficult to know exactly when the flashbacks are happening: Is this scene taking place before the events of the first Saw? Between the first and second? Concurrently with something else happening right now? A total mess. Glad I only paid $2.00 for it last week at a used bookstore.

Without giving too much away, I must say that it's surprising (but at the same time not surprising) that this franchise has been able to continue for four more movies. If you're at all interested in these movies, I suppose you need to see this one so the later ones (which I haven't seen yet) make sense. If you're questioning your interest, just watch the first one and leave it at that.

Boobs?: Yes, but they haven't quite thawed out yet.

Start looking for Nightmares on Cardboard submissions tomorrow.

zoolBay #9: Derek Jeter

You know the drill. From time to time I like to skip the middle man and take the goods right to the consumer. I recently finished opening the worst box of 2008 UD Spectrum in recorded history. This Derek Jeter Retrospectrum short print [#DJ92, (61/99)] might have been the best thing to come out of it, but I'd like to let it go anyways. Make a bid in the comments, and this beauty could be yours.

The bidding for this item shall begin at $5.00 (including shipping, most likely a PWE), and bidding ends at 11:59 the evening of November 1, 2011. If you don't feel like bidding, just sit back and enjoy this pic of Derek Jeter from the SNL skit where he has a fresh perm.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Trade Me Anything V #1

Trying something different this year, it's not quite perfected yet. This one's from TheBrooklynMet at Clear Cut Cards.

Thanks for the trade, TBM!

HorrorFest #6

So while waiting for last night absolute mess of a horror movie to begin, I was able to watch a much better horror movie. It really goes to show that putting a little effort into something can truly make it better.

#8 Slither (2006 - James Gunn, dir.)

If you weren't aware, James Gunn is the guy who used to be married to Jenna Fischer (Pam from The Office). Fischer has a small part in this movie, but the real star of the show is Elizabeth Banks. She stars as a trophy wife for Michael Rooker (whose most frightening role to date was the title character in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer). Early on in the film, Rooker becomes infected by a parasitic alien, which we see crash landing to Earth in the opening scene. The monster burrows itself into his chest, and from then on, things aren't quite the same.

The horror movie I was reminded of the most was John Carpenter's The Thing. This was probably because the alien in both films took on multiple forms. In Slither, it starts out as a pod creature. When Rooker is infected he begins to develop chest tentacles, and shortly after that his arm becomes tentacle-like. A woman Rooker infects turns into a humongous ball, presumably because her parasite was using her as an incubator. When she pops open, the creature is in its larval state, looking like the tongue-shaped, slug-shaped creatures seen on the DVD cover. Towards the end of the movie, Rooker's grotesque body has begun to incorporate the bodies of other infected people into it, in the process creating a sickening conglomerate of a monster. Great stuff all around.

Stray observations:
*The mayor of the hick town in which the story is set is totally ineffectual and annoying throughout the film, but the source of many good laughs. He is presented as a staunch advocate of hunters' rights early in the movie, and when he eventually gets him comeuppance, the infected person who does him in takes a dig at him as a slimeball Republican in the process. Awesome!
*CGI works well when used only when practical effects won't suffice. This film blends the two rather well.
*Ever see a woman infected by an alien parasite which goes on to spawn inside of her body?

*Elizabeth Banks is great in nearly everything she's in. She's also older than you would imagine, 37. I'm wondering why none of the print promotional materials wanted to advertise her presence in this movie.
*The lighting in this movie is a little too high-key. At times I felt like I was watching an episode of Nash Bridges, and I've never even seen an episode of Nash Bridges, I'm just assuming that, as a mundane CBS action/drama series, it's extremely brightly lit .
*The meat-filled basement is one of the sickest things I've ever seen in a movie. I'm fairly immune to scares in movies, but I hope I never encounter anything as revolting as that basement.

Boobs?: Just barely. You get a quick peek during the alien slugs' assault on the girl in the bathtub form the DVD cover, but that's it. Elizabeth Banks has a shower scene, but we are foiled again by a steamed-up glass shower door.

I highly recommend this movie if you want to see something smart, funny, scary, and original.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thorzul's Scary Sleepover -- Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday

Okay, here we go. George Romero with the introduction, this HAS to be good. Comment away!

Thorzul's Scary Sleepover Begins in 30 Minutes

Get to your televisions by 10:30 Central to attend the group viewing of Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday on AMC. Join in the beboping and scatting all over this movie. If you don't have AMC, go out and rent it, hit it up on Netflix, or borrow a copy from your grandma. Be there or be square. See you in 30!

Thorzul's 2011 Scary Sleepover

If you've had it up to here (now imagine me holding my hand a few inches above my head) with baseball by the end of the night, and you'd just like to relax and have a good scare, you might want to join in my first annual Scary Sleepover tonight. Sorry for the late notice, but I'm hoping to have a few fellow bloggers and readers joining in for this live blog event.
Tonight at 10:30 Central (11:30 Eastern, 9:30 Mountain, and 8:30 Pacific) AMC will be screening Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. I'll be staying up late to watch it, and while watching I will not hold back with the snide comments and general tomfoolery.

This is a movie I have never seen, but I think it's perfect for this inaugural event. First, I wanted a scary movie from a major studio, nothing indie and cheap. Second, I wanted something that would inspire sarcasm as well as scares. As you probably know, the word "final" carries almost no meaning in the world of horror films, and any flick with the word in its title is probably jerking you around. Quality aside, the time of this movie is right in the sweet spot. Hopefully the baseball game will be over and people will be in the mood for something more enjoyable. There will be no talk of baseball allowed in the comments, and any comments that break this rule will be deleted.

Furthermore, there might be a contest or two during the show, so make sure you check in often. That's at 10:30 Central tonight, AMC (in high definition where available), Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday. Be there.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Trade Me Anything V Has Arrived!

Five. It's the number Michael Jordan reached before he said, "Hey, why not one more?" Yes, this if the fifth annual installment of Trade Me Anything! It's the special time of year when you can trade me literally anything for some of the extras in my hobby box of 2011 Topps Update Series. This year was the year of the Cognac Diamond parallel. In my box of 36 packs I received 44 of these, and I'm only keeping three of them. In addition to these, I'd go so far as to say that the quality of cards I'm offering for trade is the highest it's ever been. Before we get to that, though, let's first do a quick rundown of what I'm keeping.

*Base cards
*Dynamic Duos
*Topps 60
*Gumball Minis
*Platinum Diamond Parallels (I have the feeling that these will soon become dime box fodder, and I'll slowly build this set for the rest of my life.)
*For some strange reason, ToppsTown
*The Autograph (Saving that one for its own post, so you know it's either really good or really bad.)
*These three Cognac parallels:
Yogi Berra

Yovani Gallardo

Yovor Hoffman

Here's what will be included in Trade Me Anything, along with a short rationale.
*The aforementioned Cognac Diamond Parallels (I guess I never really read closely enough to understand that these were going to include parallels of Series 1 and Series 2 cards as well as Update cards. And I'd further imagine that no fewer than 30,000 blog posts have already been written about this. I clearly need to pay closer attention, and not just to the subtle differences between McDonald's Double Cheeseburger and its McDouble.)
*All of my Gold Parallels (#/2011), except the one below (These I've always been keeping for myself. They just get thrown into my serial numbered card binder, and there they sit, only occasionally making their way into a trade, but really making nobody happy. I suppose it's too much to expect a two-way relationship between man and mass-produced card, but I just feel like we should see other people, you know?)
*Two base cards (Yeah, I only got two doubles this year. Hey, how 'bout that.)

And here's where shit gets real:
*My single Black-Bordered Parallel (#/60) (Yeah, you'd better send me something NICE if you claim this one.)
*My single Hope Diamond (Blue) Parallel (#/60) (Yeah, you need to send me something really, really, FUCKING NICE if you claim this bad boy.)

Here's what you do:
1. Check out the list of available cards below. Select one (or a couple) you want. Just remember, the more you claim, the better your trade material should be.
2. Send me an email with your choice of card at
3. I will reply to you as to the card's availability. First come, first serve. I will include my mailing address.
4. When I confirm the card of your choice, pick out one or more of your own cards or anything else you want to send me. A few guidelines about what you can't send: Nothing that should really be in the garbage, nothing perishable, and nothing illegal. (Notice I didn't say nothing immoral.)
5. Send me whatever is was you picked out. Don't tell me what it is before you send it, I'd like to have it be a surprise! Include a SASE or you won't be getting your card.
6. When I receive your item, I will take a picture of the trade materials and post the happy couple on my blog, and then I will send you the card.

AVAILABLE CARDS (Cards in BOLD have already been claimed.)

255 Allen Craig - Cardinals
290 Sean Burroughs - Diamondbacks

Black-Bordered Parallel (#/60):
182 Ronny Paulino - Mets

Hope Diamond Parallel (#/60):
444 (Series 2) Brett Cecil - Blue Jays

Gold Parallel (#/2011):
4 Brian McCann - Braves
20 Adrian Gonzalez - Red Sox
75 Gio Gonzalez - A's
78 David Ortiz Home Run Derby - Red Sox
91 Brandon League All-Star - Mariners
131 Jeff Keppinger - Giants
173 Charlie Furbush RC - Mariners
174 Jacob Turner RC - Tigers
202 Derrek Lee - Pirates
207 Jay Bruce All-Star - Reds
305 Carlos Beltran - Giants
306 Brandon Phillips All-Star - Reds
329 Dee Gordon RC - Dodgers

Cognac Diamond Parallel:
Series 1
119 Jason Bay - Mets
199 Jimmy Rollins - Phillies
220 Todd Helton - Rockies
245 Neil Walker - Pirates
270 Ubaldo Jimenez - Rockies
Series 2
336 Chris Heisey - Reds
342 Jorge De La Rosa - Rockies
369 Wilson Betemit - Royals
372 Jarrod Saltalamacchia - Red Sox
377 Esmil Rogers - Rockies
389 Carlos Quentin - White Sox
409 Vin Mazzaro -Royals
430 Trevor Crowe - Indians
443 Brian Roberts - Orioles
445 Mitch Talbot - Indians
455 Logan Morrison - Marlins
464 Daniel Bard - Red Sox
474 Jeff Mathis - Angels
497 Alex Avila - Tigers
505 Tommy Hanson - Braves
508 Homer Bailey - Reds
513 Adam LaRoche - Nationals
537 Jake Peavy - White Sox
558 Carlos Zambrano -Cubs
575 Rod Barajas - Dodgers
632 Scott Kazmir - Angels
651 Kendrys Morales - Angels
Update Series
43 Carlos Quentin All-Star - White Sox
85 Roy Halladay All-Star - Phillies
91 Brandon League All-Star - Mariners
130 David Robertson All-Star - Yankees
134 Michael Bourn - Braves
140 Clayton Kershaw All-Star - Dodgers
192 Mike Moustakas RC - Royals
202 Derrek Lee - Pirates
230 Miguel Cabrera All-Star - Tigers
248 Octavio Dotel - Cardinals
249 Starlin Castro All-Star - Cubs
252 Derek Jeter 3K Magical Milestone Moment - Yankees (Honestly, you need to come correct if you claim this one, too.)
287 Matt Joyce All-Star - Rays
292 Mike Adams - Rangers

Okay, there they are, take your pick(s) and scrounge around to find the anything you wish to send. Don't be greedy, just take what you need and scoot down the buffet line towards the fruit punch fountain. I'd appreciate it if you could take a look at my Want Lists, which have just been updated. There's still a lot from Series 1 and 2 that I'm looking for, and the Update Series needs are thrown into that list as well.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Possible Topps Cognac Hot Box???

I'm nine packs in and have already pulled ten cognac diamond parallels from my 2011 Topps Update Series box. The stated odds of getting one is 1 out of every 3 packs. Anyone hear anything about cognac hot boxes? I mean, aside from a cognac hot box being outlawed (even between two non-same-sex, consenting adults) in 65 of Alabama's 67 counties?

This is good for you guys, because Trade Me Anything V (Can you believe it? 5!!!) is right around the corner, and the cognac parallels will make up a large part of what's available for trade.

Monday, October 24, 2011

2011 HorrorFest #5

Alright, this one was supposed to be posted sometime yesterday, but I got too tired last night to do it.

#7 Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982 - Tommy Lee Wallace, dir.)

Since watching this movie, it's been difficult to shake this song.

Yes, we even find ourselves singing it to the baby. And honestly, Silver Shamrock seems like a decent place to work. Full medical and dental, four weeks of paid vacation per year, and a decent heads-up with regard to not having one of those medallions anywhere near you when it comes time for the "big giveaway."

If none of this makes sense to you, then you should make sure to watch this movie. You needn't have seen the two previous Halloween films, since this is a standalone story. On its surface, it's about a guy played by Tom Atkins (who later went on to play lead in another awesome horror flick, Night of the Creeps) who works to uncover the truth behind a novelty Halloween company set on using witchcraft to take over the world. This company actually has its own town, and along with it a set of oppressive rules like a mandatory curfew and little means for its residents to contact the outside world.

What the movie is really about is how this guy has every woman he meets wrapped around his finger. He's got an ex-wife who allows him to come and go as he pleases, he's very chummy (in a sexually-charged way) with one of the lady doctors he visits in the lab, and he uses his animal magnetism to charm his way into bed with Stacey Nelkin's character, Ellie Grimbridge, whom he's helping to investigate the death of her father.

Oh, and there are also themes about consumerism and the untrustworthiness of corporations. But in the end, all you're left with is a man, a mustache, and an ability to mack women as he sees fit.

Boobs?: Almost, but not really. Ellie emerges from a shower and can be seen through frosted glass. In my book, that doesn't qualify. However, the casual viewer can tell that her below-the-belt flocculence (to borrow a term from 2011 Topps A&G) is substantial.

To close, make sure you find a way to see this movie. And think twice about viewing the video below. It just might result in bugs, and then snakes, streaming out of your skull.

Nightmares on Cardboard Reminder

Just a reminder that you have one week to get your submissions to me for Nightmares on Cardboard IV. If you haven't started yet, get crackin'. The entries I've received are pretty good so far, and I'd like this to be the best year yet.

Also, I will be sending the October group break cards out today, in case you've been waiting for those.

And finally, a message to Zpop about your September group break cards. I goofed on the zip code and they got sent back to me, but they will be on their way to you today as well.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

2011 HorrorFest #4

On we go...

#6 The Funhouse (1981 - Tobe Hooper, dir.)

This was a fun little movie from the guy who directed The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Hooper shows a willingness to continue his portrayal of masked maniacs and deformed freaks in film, this time combining the two shocks into one. While spending an ill-advised, after-hours night in a carnival funhouse, a group of teens is tormented by a hideously deformed freak (who spends the first half of the movie wearing a fairly convincing Frankenstein's monster mask) and his adopted carny father. Most of the scares are derived from the low-light nature of a run-down carnival. The atmosphere is perfect, the stupid teens do what stupid teens in movies do, and the ending is satisfyingly macabre.

This DVD edition is a piece of crap. The picture is letterboxed, resulting in a windowboxed image on a modern widescreen television. I really should have watched this on our extra old-fashioned tube television. Stay away from this 1999 GoodTimes Home Video release and opt for the 2004 release.

Boobs?: Early on, the female lead is being spied on in the shower. With audiences so familiar with Psycho, this scene is meant to suggest that some sort of menace is after this woman, and she might get smoked in the opening minutes. However, in kind of a disgusting reveal, the peeping tom turns out to be her younger brother, who later factors in on the plot. So much wrongness!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

2011 HorrorFest #3

This year's HorrorFest makes its first foray into Blu-ray with The Toolbox Murders. That's right, this one is another reader suggestion, this time by SpastikMooss.

#5 The Toolbox Murders (1978 - Dennis Donnelly, dir.)

The thing readers might want to know, especially if they have no actual plans for seeing this movie, is exactly what tools from the toolbox were used in the aforementioned murders. Without giving too much away, I've compiled a chronological list of murders, victims, and the tools used to murder them. This post will see the word "tool" in print at least seven hundred more times.

The Rundown:
1. Drunk woman thinking the killer is some sort of repairman -- Drill
2. "Perfect" woman (That's the word found in my very sparse notes, but I'm not remembering what that means. I watched this movie in parts and this was from a few nights ago. What about her was perfect, I don't recall. Her eyebrows, maybe?) -- Hammer
3. Neighborwoman -- Screwdriver (Although maybe an awl, can't be sure.)
4. Redhead playing with herself in the bathtub -- Nail Gun
5. Diet Pepsi fan -- No tool, was strangled/asphyxiated, but not really dead, just kidnapped and later held hostage.

Boobs?: Ummm, have you looked at the cover of the Blu-ray?

Apparently this movie was remade in 2004. I have no immediate plans for seeing it. The original was entertaining enough, though. I'd give it a lukewarm recommendation.

CC: Fiddy and Hundo

Not too long ago, a pair of parallels made it into my cart over at CheckOutMyCards. This may be the last time I acquire two CC Sabathia cards in one swoop.

2008 Upper Deck SP Authentic Gold Parallel #44 (31/50)

2008 Upper Deck Timeline Gold Parallel #242 (090/100)

The SPA is one of those Barely-a-Brewer issues with the team name on the front and the Brewers logo on the back, but yes, it counts.

I like the Brewers treatment UD gave CC in their Timeline set. However, I learned a valuable lesson from this purchase. YOU CANNOT ALWAYS TRUST UPPER DECK'S ONLINE CHECKLISTS. For the cards in the style of the 2004 Timeless Teams set, the online checklist lists gold parallels numbered to 25 and silver parallels numbered to 100. This is incorrect. The opposite is actually true, with the golds to 100 and the silvers to 25. (Awwwww, crap. This means I still have to chase the silver #/25 CC parallel. Back to the old Most Wanted list, I guess.) And yes, these cards do exist, with a few being offered on eBay right now. Most (but not all) of the payers on cards #211-310 have an autographed parallel. Lucky for me, Sabathia is one of the players who is skipped in this series. One less card to track down.

Once again, it's a one step forward, one step back situation. (Well, two steps forward, at least.) The quest continues.

In retrospect, hell, maybe they're calling the #/25 parallels "platinum." Frustrating.

Friday, October 21, 2011

CC: Cross One Off the Most Wanted

If you've been paying attention, you've noticed the Thorzul's Most Wanted gadget in the sidebar of this blog. This is the place where I've listed the few remaining CC Sabathia cards I need to reach reasonable completion of the Sabathia-as-a-Brewer Compendium of Cards. If you've been paying closer attention than even I have, you might have noticed that where there used to be four cards on this list, there are now only three. In today's mail a much-sought-after card arrived.

2009 Upper Deck Gold Parallel #212 (34/99)

Just over two months ago I discovered that the gold parallels of 2009 Upper Deck base cards exist, and now CC's regular card (not the team checklist) is in my hands.

Now the Most Wanted List is down to three, but that doesn't mean that there isn't more to show off. More to come...

Monday, October 17, 2011

2011 HorrorFest #2

The march of the horror film continues as we near October 31st. The progress has been slow so far, but at the end of this week I officially go on paternity leave, so things should pick up soon. In the meantime, I've been able to view of pair of films that couldn't be more different.

#3 Friday the 13th (1980 - Sean S. Cunningham, dir.)

This is a film franchise I've never gotten that much into. Apart from this original film, and a small handful of the more recent sequels (Jason X, Freddy vs. Jason), I've largely ignored the series. It must stem from my youth, when a guy with a razor-knifed glove was infinitely cooler than a mute lummox in a hockey mask.
It's been a long time since I've seen Friday the 13th, but it still didn't surprise me to see Kevin Bacon as a horny camp counselor. His death is the coolest of the film, even though you kind of wish he could stick around a little while longer. The scare factor of this movie has long since dissipated, as audiences have come to expect the worst to happen to a bunch of teens camping out in the woods. I'm afraid there's nothing special about this movie, save for the ending, which really sets off some positive momentum for the franchise.

Boobs?: A couple. During a sex scene we are spared a glimpse, thank goodness, of Kevin Bacon's bacon.

#4 Terror Firmer (1999 - Lloyd Kaufman, dir.)

I should've known better, this being a Troma film and all, but this is not a horror show. The plot places the viewer in the middle of a low-budget, independent feature film production, with director Lloyd Kaufman playing... well... director Larry Benjamin. A motley crew of freaks and geeks populate the film set, which quickly becomes a troubled production as a mysterious stranger begins killing crew members in increasingly bizarre ways. We get to see Troma favorites like the Toxic Avenger and Sgt. Kabukiman in bit roles, seemingly as a reward to those of us who have faithfully viewed Kaufman's past films. This movie tackles strange subject matter like gender identity while managing to ramp up the gross-out factor to 9.5. Among the highlights are some breasts with implants getting blasted with a shotgun, a guy getting roasted with a knocked-over high intensity film light, and a crew member getting his legs severed as he's sandwiched between two truck bumpers. If you're into Troma films like Tromeo & Juliet, The Toxic Avenger, or Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, this is a must-see. If those don't tickle your pickle, then just make sure to run quickly in the opposite direction, since this will definitely offend you.

Boobs?: A metric ton.
Beware, though, as many of them are attached to rather large women. There's even as fair amount of wiener and man-ass, along with some full-frontal vag shots, including fake prosthetic that needs to be seen to be believed. Ron Jeremy even has a cameo in this film, a role that starts out sweet but becomes as deranged as the rest of the movie by the end.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tony La Russa

He's not having fun leading 9-4.

What an ASSHOLE!

What Is It With St. Louis Cardinals Fans???

I mean, shit, every single one I see in the stands looks like the dictionary definition of "blue blood." How much fucking old money is there in St. Louis anyway?

Judging from appearances, 90 percent of Cardinals fans have used political and/or monetary influence to avoid a date rape charge.

Oh, and ummmmmmm, SHINGLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

October Group Break: Dual-Team Randomizations

I turned to to help decide who would get the cards that featured a player or players from more than one team. Here are the results, with the team receiving the card indicated by the arrow.

David Ortiz (Twins/Red Sox) -----> Twins
Mark Teixeira/Jim Edmonds (Rangers/Cardinals) -----> Rangers
Nomar Garciaparra (Red Sox/Cubs) -----> Cubs
Alfonso Soriano (Yankees/Rangers) -----> Yankees
Dale Murphy (Braves/Phillies) -----> Braves

Friday, October 14, 2011

October Group Break: 2005 Playoff Prestige

When it rains, it pours. Unbelievably, another Cincinnati Reds hit. Watch.

Barry Larkin AUTO (5/5)

Rickey Henderson/Tony Gwynn Bat Relic (074/250)

What a perfect model of our country's economic status: Wealth concentrated in the hands of the few.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

God, Why Must You Taunt Me So?

I checked my email at lunch today, and to my surprise, the Brewers had sent me this:


Just great.

An essentially meaningless message. Let's be perfectly clear: The St. Louis Cardinals are going to win the World Series. I will not be scrambling for tickets next Monday morning. There will not be another baseball game played at Miller Park in the year 2011. I was at Game 1 of the NLDS, and Game 1 of the NLCS, and that will be it. The St. Louis Cardinals are going to win the World Series. Let me repeat that: The St. Louis Cardinals are going to win the World Series.

Well, at least I can print this off and store it right next to the 2007 Brewers playoff tickets I bought (and for which I was later refunded the money).

Anybody wanna buy four 2011 World Series tickets to a game played in Milwaukee? Two grand takes the whole shebang.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

October Group Break: 2007 Upper Deck Sweet Spot

Here's the second box for the October break.

The Sweet Spot was a Tom Glavine (for the Mets). Very faded (or absorbed, really) signature (56/99).

Jon Knott... knott playing baseball anymore. Still, I like these helmet thingies.

Another Griffey?!?! Along with yesterday's AUTO and last month's 1/1, Griffey has been coming at us fast and furious recently. I'm wondering what the final box will hold.

Joel Zumaya Jersey

Base cards, Rickie Weeks and Matt Holliday

This is turning out to be a pretty good break so far.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

October Group Break: 2005 Upper Deck Origins

Here its is.

The Cathedral of St. Griffey... God DAMN that is a nice on-card auto! Nice pick-up, jaybarkerfan!

Eric Chavez Jersey

Scott Rolen Jersey

Gerald Laird Blue Parallel (15/50)

I forgot to scan or photograph the Babe Ruth tin sign, and I ain't putting in the effort right now. That Griffey makes this box a winner.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Nightmares on Cardboard 2011

Ahhhh, the time has finally arrived...

All of this playoff stuff has gotten me behind on things, not the least of which is my annual Halloween card designing contest, Nightmares on Cardboard. This is the special time of year when you, the readers, can win a wonderful prize for sharing your talents. But let's face it, the real prize is the admiration of your peers. The last time most of you received a compliment on something you created was back in second grade for that model of the solar system you made. (And truth be told, you had Jupiter and Saturn in the wrong order, but everyone was too nice to let you know.)

This year's grand prize will include a complete set of baseball cards from some time in the past 10 years, as well as something nice from your favorite baseball team. This will be the only prize awarded this year, so you'd better be at the top of your game. I expect the competition to be fierce this year. Condition: Poor has dominated this contest for the last two years following PunkRockPaint's particularly strong showing in it's debut year. Will one of these fellas claim the crown again, or will some new blood step up?

After much internal deliberation at Thorzul headquarters, the theme for this year's contest has been chosen. This year's entries must adhere to only one rule: NOT TOPPS.

Any custom card entries must not have any relation to a past Topps product. This means you can borrow a design from any of the other competing card companies, most of which are mere spectres by now, or you can create a card completely from scratch. Remember, in-hand cards usually (but not always) garner more favor than images that exist only in the electronic realm. (However, know the limitations of your printer. A great idea that looks like you're running low on cyan might actually do worse than a so-so idea that's technically sound.) I encourage you to stray off the haunted, beaten path. It's the OH MY GOD moment that usually decides the grand prize winner.

If you wish to enter, you have until October 31 (a Monday) to submit your entry to me. Email me at if you wish to submit electronically, or if you just need my mailing address. If you have that stuff already, then I wish you good luck. Remember: NOT TOPPS.

I bid you a spooky adieu.

Friday, October 7, 2011

October Group Break Randomization

Here's the screencap.

That make the master list look like this.
1. Angels - Thorzul
2. Athletics - Jason
3. Rangers - Teddy Dziuba
4. Mariners - jaybarkerfan
5. White Sox - Thorzul
6. Indians - Jason
7. Royals - Alex
8. Twins - Thorzul
9. Tigers - Teddy Dziuba
10. Red Sox - Sbsugar
11. Yankees - Alex
12. Blue Jays - Dave
13. Orioles - Thorzul
14. Rays - IkesCards
15. Cubs - jaybarkerfan
16. Cardinals - IkesCards
17. Brewers - Thorzul
18. Pirates - BS
19. Astros -jacobmrley
20. Reds - jaybarkerfan
21. Padres - Dave
22. Diamondbacks - Thorzul
23. Dodgers - jaybarkerfan
24. Giants - BS (paid)
25. Rockies - Chris Mays
26. Braves - Chris Mays
27. Nationals/Expos - Sbsugar
28. Mets - jacobmrley
29. Phillies - BS
30. Marlins - BS

Feel free to propose trades in the comments. I'm expecting the boxes to arrive early next week. Kinda funny I ended up with the Diamondbacks, WHOM WE JUST BEAT TO ADVANCE TO THE NLCS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Parity... Or the Lack Thereof

This evening I was reading a post on Sully Baseball. The topic was parity in Major League Baseball, and Sully's argument was that there is more parity in baseball than most people realize. I felt the need to comment on this post, as I agreed with some of the points and disagreed with others. Well, the comment turned into a dissertation, which I've decided to reprint here in its entirety. Enjoy, and feel free to comment.

Here's my take on this situation. A huge payroll alone cannot buy a championship. However, it creates a significantly longer window of opportunity for the top half of spenders as opposed to the bottom half. Attentive baseball fans like to espouse, "Once you get to the playoffs, anything can happen." And that's the key here.

Let's look at the last ten groups of playoff teams, going back to the 2002 season. In that time, the Yankees have made the playoffs in nine out of ten years. The only other teams to make the playoffs more than half the time are the Angels, Twins, Red Sox, and Cardinals. Those teams, starting with the Yankees, have the 1st, 4th, 9th, 3rd, and 11th highest 2011 MLB team payrolls, respectively. There is a definite correlation between payroll and playoff likelihood. The team with the second-highest payroll, the Phillies, was one of two teams making the playoffs five times during that span (the other being the Braves).

I also made some calculations after dividing the league into 10-team thirds. The top salaried tier can expect to make the playoffs an average of 4.3 times during that ten-year span. The middle year averaged 2.4 times, and the bottom third averaged 1.1 appearances per the ten years.

You're right, the World Series has been won by many different teams in the last ten years, not always by the biggest spender, either. But for teams like the Yankees, Reds Sox, and Phillies, the window of opportunity is ALWAYS open. Small-market teams find themselves having to gamble the future away because their window is closing. Sometimes this gamble pays off (2003 Marlins), but many times it doesn't. Having a huge budget allows the bigger teams to reload in a shorter amount of time, a luxury the smaller teams do not have.

That being said, there remains something to admire about the Yankees. The freedom of spending they enjoy is often paired with good decision making, the likes of which top-10 payroll teams like the Cubs and Mets can only dream about. Money keeps that window of opportunity open. Couple that with smart decision making and a little bit of luck to earn a championship.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

October Group Break Needs Four More Dudes

...or chicks. We don't discriminate here.

Plenty of perennial favorites, like the Dodgers, Cubs, and Orioles, are still available. Get in while the gettin' is good.

Details here.

Monday, October 3, 2011

October Group Break Is Open!

Here it is this month:
One box of 2005 Playoff Prestige (2 relic or AUTO cards, plus a buttload of inserts and parallels)
One tin of 2005 Upper Deck Origins (2 relics, 1 AUTO, 2 parallels, 1 box topper sign)
One tin of 2007 Upper Deck Sweet Spot (2 relics, 2 AUTOS, we've done this before with some nice results)

Two-team slots will run $19.00. Choose one team (by claiming it first in the comments), another at random is assigned to you. You can also claim a four-team slot at a discount for $37.00. (You get to pick two of the teams.) Remember, Canadian residents add $1.00 per slot.

Send immediate payment to:
Please include your screen name, address, and team(s) of choice as a note with payment. Your cards will arrive faster if you do this. I'd like to order the boxes by Friday, so let's fill the break quickly.

1. Angels -
2. Athletics -
3. Rangers -
4. Mariners -
5. White Sox -
6. Indians - Jason (paid)
7. Royals -
8. Twins - Thorzul
9. Tigers - Teddy Dziuba (paid)
10. Red Sox - Sbsugar (paid)
11. Yankees - Alex (paid)
12. Blue Jays - Dave (paid)
13. Orioles - Thorzul
14. Rays -
15. Cubs -
16. Cardinals - IkesCards (paid)
17. Brewers - Thorzul
18. Pirates -
19. Astros -
20. Reds - jaybarkerfan (paid)
21. Padres -
22. Diamondbacks -
23. Dodgers - jaybarkerfan (paid)
24. Giants - BS (paid)
25. Rockies -
26. Braves - Chris Mays (paid)
27. Nationals/Expos -
28. Mets - jacobmrley (paid)
29. Phillies - BS (paid)
30. Marlins -

2011 HorrorFest #1

After many of you so graciously made excellent recommendations regarding horror films to watch this Halloween season, what do I go and do? I stop posting for days at a time. Complete ass, I am.

Actually, I have gotten a start of the horror viewing and I've got some quick reviews for the first two movies. Maybe I'm not such a fockstick after all.

Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988 - Stephen Chiodo, dir.)

This was one of those movies that I enjoyed, but which I'd have enjoyed more had I seen it a bunch of times growing up. I always look at Airplane! as an example of this type of film. I think it's hilarious, but if you didn't see it until you were 25 years old or so, it probably looks pretty stupid. As someone who, for some reason, never watched Spaceballs until his 30s, I can vouch for the late-to-the-game phenomenon. Full disclosure here: I didn't even make it halfway through after saying, "This is dumb," and turning it off. Not a huge loss.

Killer Klowns was entertaining, a lighthearted take that will ease me into this project before arriving at something a little rougher. Maybe it was because it took me three nights to finish it, and because I was standing and soothing a baby through much of it, but it was a rather disjointed experience. I actually loved the popcorn gun, and the way they made it stick to the guy's sweater. The characters were mostly annoying, but John Vernon was good as the crochety cop. I also liked that the younger blond policeman wasn't the cliched hard-ass skeptic cop you see so often.

Last, I need to discuss the clowns. I'm not one of those types who says, "Man, I fucking hate clowns, they freak the shit out of me," and who won't even look at a clown. Rather, I fall into the camp that is puzzled by clowns. I can't for the life of me understand what would make them entertaining for anybody. It's an odd concept that has seen its time come and go.
Actually, the clowns in this movie were pretty awesome. They were mischievous without being overbearing. Cotton candy cocoons, a crazy funhouse, the Achilles heel noses... they were fun, kind of badass, and not scary in the creepy way most clowns are. They were barking dog scary, not molester scary.

Boobs?: None. Quite a tease during the shower scene, but nothing came to fruition.

Trapped Ashes (2006, Joe Dante, et al.)

I love me a good horror anthology film. This ain't one of those. With five directors, we've got one framework story and four short stories within that story. Here we go.

The framework story starts with a tour (led by guide Henry Gibson) of a generic Hollywood movie studio. As the tour trolley passes an ominous Bates Hotel-esque house, the tourists beg to be let inside. Once inside, they find themselves trapped and soon decide to tell scary stories to pass the time. The weird part is that all of the stories they tell were supposed to have really happened to the characters. Being supernatural in scope, this interrupts the suspension of disbelief on the part of the viewer.

The Stories:
A. Wannabe actress talks about getting freaky breast implants harvested from once-living tissue. They turn on her, making "sexy time" difficult, to say the least.
B. On-the-rocks couple heads to Japan for a trade conference. The wife is sexually assaulted by a ghost.
C. Older screenwriter remembers an old director friend of his and the affair he had with his girlfriend. There was some supernatural stuff, but it was really slow.
D. A shrewish woman tells the story of her childhood, involving something with a parasitic twin that infected her mother during pregnancy and stayed alive following the birth. Possibly a commentary on women's nutrition/body issues, but confusingly vague.

If you do a movie like this, you have to make the stories really cool and novel, like Stephen King's Cat's Eye, or you have to do them outrageous and suspenseful, like Creepshow. The breast implants segment was the only one that hit the appropriate tone. This part could have been expanded as a full episode of Tales From the Crypt, but the segments that followed just dragged.

Boobs?: Several. However, be advised that this movie contains images of breasts with lamprey-like mouths where nipples should be, mouths that sip from glasses of blood through straws.

In conclusion, I'd recommend Killer Klowns above Trapped Ashes, for sure. I think that repeat viewings will make Klowns a perennial favorite. Also, it's a good gateway movie before breaking into the harder stuff.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

NLDS Game 1

I'm in the midst of a world-class sinus infection that's dogging me pretty bad, so I'm a day late with my post covering the first Brewers playoff game I've ever attended. It went smashingly well, and it continued to go well tonight. After being at some of the games in the chase for the Wild Card in 2008, I found this crowd appropriately subdued. Yes, it got loud, and the crowd was excited, but on a scale from 1 to 10, I'd give us a 7 on the fever pitch scale. There's just this feeling I got that we're saving something for the next few weeks.

Today's post will take the form of a photo essay with limited commentary. Before that, however, I have to share the video I captured of Prince's home run in Game 1. I had an inkling that his at bat was going to be something special, and in one of only two times I took any video during the game, I struck gold.

Man, that was a great moment. Now, onto the pics.

The walk up to the stadium.
I wasn't even four years old the last time we could hang a banner like this.
Two hours before first pitch, Miller Park was my playground.
Bunting, and not the inferior opening day kind.
Brewers BP - McGehee's up, with Sveum, Marcum, and Counsel looking on.
This one's for the Tigers fans out there, should-be Hall-of-Famer Alan Trammell. A guy who hopefully won't see another pitch after today walks behind him.
I was a smidge too late to capture manager Ron Roenicke shaking hands with Trammell. Stupid slow camera.
More BP.
Nice HD graphics.
A different view.
Out in right field.
Gotta sneak Yount in somewhere. His banner from the concourse.
Looking on from above the turnstiles.
No photos during the game, but here's Axford following the final out.
A subdued congratulations.
More to come???