Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Trade Me Anything XI: #11

I made it through the Card-vent season, so now I can finally get to a trade that's been sitting in my dining room for weeks. It comes from the post-series-finale blogger GCRL, and it actually evokes some bittersweet emotions. My wife's parents moved from St. Paul to a small town just on the Wisconsin side of the border in the past year. This means I probably won't be passing by the big water tower with the name of Jim's community of Woodbury painted on it very often. Let's see what will be exchanged.

Giving:
#US128 Ervin Santana Rainbow Foil Parallel, #US214 Cody Bellinger, #USS-22 Manny Margot Topps Salute


Getting:
Some 1988 Topps Wantlist Cards

Always appreciated.

Brewers Young Talent

The backbone of a team that will soon go deep into the postseason? We'll see.

2017 Topps Update #US206 Partners in Pop, 1992 Fleer #708 Robin Yount Pro-Visions

That's one for the Braun binder, so that's nice. And it goes without saying that I have a deep affinity for this Yount card. I actually would love it if a mystery could be solved. Back in the halcyon days of card blogging, someone posted this card, and a bit of commentary accompanied it. I'm not sure if it was a comment or it was in the body of the text itself, but someone dropped a brilliant line: "Robin Yount loved vision quests." I wish I could find the original use of this phrase so I could properly thank its author.

Thanks for the cards, Jim, they will be heading your way soon!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

2017 Card-vent Calendar: December 24

December 24, 2017:
2000 Upper Deck Black Diamond #24 Sean Casey

Another Card-vent draws to a close. It's amazing to think that I've done this eleven times. This card is the 264th ever to be featured for Card-vent. That's a card a day from January 1 to September 21. That's 72.3% of a calendar. And let that number be your guide.

Sean Casey wasn't a pleasant, caring individual for 72.3% of the time. He was committed to being the nicest guy he could be 100% of the time. Let's all resolve to be a little more like Sean Casey for 2018. The world will be a better place for it. Strike up a conversation with a random stranger. Compliment a food service worker on their hard work. Offer a cold beverage to your letter carrier in July, and a hot cocoa in February. Thank any person who watches over your children when you are not around. This is no longer modeled to us, so we need to do it ourselves.

Have a Merry Christmas! Thank you for spending a few moments reading these words.

2017 Card-vent Calendar: December 23

December 23, 2017:
2008 Donruss Americana #153 Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake

Looking a little thick in the face there, Bruti. More like Brutus "Eats Cake," amirite?

Sorry, that's all I got, guys and gals. Time's running out, I'm a day behind, and things are busy. One more post coming later tonight.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

2017 Card-vent Calendar: December 22

December 22, 2017:
1978-79 Topps #75 Stan Mikita

This is a cool, cool card, but the best thing about it is that it gives us an excuse to check out a clip from Wayne's World. Several scenes, if you recall, take place in Stan Mikita's Donuts, a place I wish was a real, permanent chain. Enjoy some Ed O'Neil brilliance.



Friday, December 22, 2017

2017 Card-vent Calendar: December 21

December 21, 2017:
2006-07 Upper Deck The LeBrons #LBJ-7 Wise LeBron

Who put this card in the calendar?
Not quite sure why, but something just doesn't sit right with me about this card. Maybe if I talk my way through it, some answers will emerge.
I think it's the creative part of me that senses the inherent laziness involved in the "Hey, Let's Dress Up the Super-Famous Athlete/Singer/Politician in a Funny Get-Up" approach to entertainment. There's a tacit admission there that the subject isn't funny or talented enough to carry a premise any further than "silly wig." And yet, we, as audience, are asked to lap this up from the gutter and ask for more. No knock to his unparalleled skill and drive, but James has the personality of dried grass clippings, the ones stuck to the bottom of your mower after falling out of use for a few weeks. A couple of years ago there was that series of commercials or online vignettes where different NBA stars would don old age makeup and insert themselves into a pickup game. It's a paper-thin joke that Pepsi stretched out to a five-part series.
I give this card a thumbs down for laziness.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

2017 Card-vent Calendar: December 20

December 20, 2017:
1995 Upper Deck Sonic Heroes of Baseball #7 Robin Yount

1995 was the start of a string of lean years for Robin Yount cards. Since Robin played his last game in 1993, he did appear on a fair amount of 1994 cards. The following year is when things started to dry up. He had two cards in Upper Deck's Collector's Choice set, one on his own, and another alongside also-recently-retired George Brett and soon-to-be-retired Dave Winfield. (Both cards were available in silver and gold signature parallel editions.) Yount was also included in Final Tribute subset in 1995 Upper Deck proper.

As far as I can tell, there are no actual Yount cards from the years 1996, 1997, and 1998. Not Topps, not Upper Deck, not your cousin Richie's printer that was always out of cyan ink. With his induction into the Hall of Fame in 1999, though, his cards began to enter a number of new products, and there hasn't been a year without a Yount card since.

Today's card represents quite an oddity. Accoring to BaseballCardPedia ("The Most Legit Checklisting Source in the Hobby"), Sonic customers would receive a three-card pack with the purchase of a combo meal. The complete set featured 20 retired players, all of whom are now enshrined in the Hall of Fame. At the time of release, there were no Sonic restaurants in the Milwaukee area. In fact, the state of Wisconsin would not get its first until 2008. At the time, this would have been a semi-difficult card for a Yount collector to acquire, at least until online auctions got more popular a few years later.

Great, now I want some tots.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

2017 Card-vent Calendar: December 19

December 19, 2017:
2014-15 Panini Prizm #163 Julius Erving Prizm Parallel

I never saw Jordan. I never saw Bird. Didn't see Kareem, either. But out of all the guys who I never saw play in person, I guess Dr. J. would be the one I'd most like to go back in time to see. I only went to a handful of Bucks games growing up, usually against non-marquee opponents when kids would get a free basketball or something. So, yes, I got to see Manute Bol play in person. Those Bullets tickets were not exactly selling like the proverbial hotcakes back in 1980s Milwaukee. Erving, though... that would have been something.

Monday, December 18, 2017

2017 Card-vent Calendar: December 18

December 18, 2017:
1972 Topps #157 Don Gullett

Most of the time, I feel on the inside the way Don Gullett looks on the outside.

Nice, Christmasy colors on this card, though.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

2017 Card-vent Calendar: December 17

December 17, 2017:
2016-17 Panini Absolute Basketball #141 Lucius Allen (220/999)

You know, I think we in Milwaukee are being sold a bill of goods on this Bucks team. National media outlets have been picking the Bucks to be this sleeper darling dark horse that's going to contend for the Eastern Conference championship very soon. Our record doesn't look much different than the last few years, when we hover around the final playoff spot, the holding pattern of death in today's NBA. First round playoff exit or just missing the playoffs, you get a shitty first round draft pick, and then repeat for fifteen years. We're good enough to beat anybody in the league, but on Friday we lost to a can of expired creamed corn in the Chicago Bulls.

Giannis can't do it all. Would a guard like Lucius Allen help? Probably not. NBA is rigged, you know.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

2017 Card-vent Calendar: December 16

December 16, 2017:
#220 Alan Ashby, #486 Larry Bowa, #222 Jose Cruz, #488 Bill Buckner

There's a place in the continental United States where you can lie down and simultaneously touch four baseball cards while only touching one piece of cardboard. This card deserves its own national monument and 24-hour armed guard.

This may be the worst-cut card in existence. I guess technically you could find one containing exactly 25% of each card, but that would actually be more mathematically stable and would adhere better to the Golden Ratio. This one is even a few degrees off from vertical and horizontal orientation. I suppose it could be double printed on one side, out of register, or could have a mismatched front and back, but that would be asking too much.

I'm getting this thing graded.

2017 Card-vent Calendar: December 15

December 15, 2017:
1992-93 Upper Deck #507 Birdman Fanimation

Cybernetic Larry Bird is also the dirtiest player in the game of the future. Droids with mechanical reach are no match for his well-hidden nut shots and wild elbows. Trash talking in the 25th century has evolved, and Birdman is the master there, too.

Artwork by Jim Lee. I'd be curious to see who the other artists in this subset were.
(Quickly scampers away to do a COMC search.)
Hmmmm, interesting.
Karl Malone, Dikembe Mutombo - Marc Silvestri
Jordan, Bird - Jim Lee
Looks like it was just the two of them. And they didn't even do a full team. Still, pretty much a Who's Who of the mid-1990s comics bubble.


Thursday, December 14, 2017

2017 Card-vent Calendar: December 14

December 14, 2017:
1995 Fleer Ultra Aaahh!!! Real Monsters #77 Scent of a Monster

There's just so much about this card I find... troubling.
The pit hair.
The lower-half hair.
The hands holding eyeballs.
The neck stubble.
The way the flaws in the ceiling panels mirror the neck stubble.
The weird spat-like stirrups.
The bulbous things under the purple costume.
The general carriage of the blue-lipped monster.
The card title, combined with the bathroom setting.

I'm glad I was into other things in 1995, cards and Nickelodeon not being those things.

Excuse me while I go and get my Dumbo Blu-ray and cleanse myself.

Trade Me Anything XI: #10

My lifestyle was very different during the first iteration of Trade Me Anything back in 2007. When TMA bleeds into the Card-vent Calendar, keeping up gets a bit difficult. Mrs. Thorzul works many nights at a second job in retail, so I'm a single dad several times a week. After putting the kids to bed, I just want to sit.

That was the self-pitying way to explain to Marc from Houston why he hasn't seen his trade posted yet, even though he sent it back when Al Franken was still sitting pretty. Let's check out the exchange.

Giving: #299 Yulieski Gurriel Photo Variation (Series 1)


Getting:
Nice Stack of 1980 Topps

This worked out nicely. Between this lot and the bunch traded to me earlier, there were only two doubles. I might be getting close to putting this set in pages.

1988 Donruss Chris James

This was one of the last cards I needed to finish the 1988 Donruss set. Someone sent it this summer, I believe. It's the thought that counts, though.

2016 Topps Update Series #US7 Blaine Boyer Pink Parallel (32/50)

I just read the copy on the back of this card for the first time: "Blaine spent a chunk of the 2015 offseason in Southeast Asia where, with friend Adam LaRoche, he wore a hidden camera to document and combat child exploitation. 'We were in deep, man,' he said."
Awesome!
It gave me pause to think of a 6'3" redhead going undercover in a Thai brothel, but then again, that might be what your average sex tourist looks like.

Some More Brewers

Those minis sure are fun.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

2017 Card-vent Calendar: December 13

December 13: 2017:
1970 Topps #25 Cesar Tovar

The best card shoots really do end with the player ready to fight the photographer.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

2017 Card-vent Calendar: December 12

December 12, 2017:
1991 Topps Stadium Club #308 Tony Gwynn

Healthy teeth and gums, everyone.

Tony Gwynn's secret to good brushing? Pretend you're brushing your gums, not your teeth. You'll be able to make perfect contact with the gum line.
Tony Gwynn's secret to good hitting? Pretend every pitch is a strike. You'll be able to make perfect contact with every ball.

Monday, December 11, 2017

2017 Card-vent Calendar: December 11

December 11, 2017:
1991 Topps Tiny Toon Adventures #43 The Plucky Interview

This is actually the perfect card to receive this time of year. Plucky is an absolute rage case, much the way I feel inside when, like now, there are nine school days left before Winter Break. My class couldn't give fewer fucks right now.
Looks like Plucky is all up in Hamton's ass here. Plucky was easily my favorite character on the show, and he also had the best playable character in the NES Tiny Toon game. Sure, Dizzy could spin through some objects, but that came in handy almost never. The cat, I forget its name, but it was modeled after Sylvester, it could climb up walls and stuff, but that was hardly ever useful, either. Buster could jump higher, but as the default character, you could always switch back to him. Plucky, though... man, the ability to flap your wings and glide down was the best. You could make jumps with pinpoint accuracy, not to mention change directions in flight in case an enemy popped up in the wrong place. So awesome, just wore a beater with nothing on bottom, got in everyone's face like his mentor, Daffy. A-plus.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

2017 Card-vent Calendar: December 10

December 10, 2017:
1994 Score Select #379 Denny Hocking


Let me tell you a story about coincidences.

There's a consortium of automobile dealerships located throughout the Twin Cities area. This dealership is named after its owner, naturally. The owner has one of those names that's embarrassing to think about, much less speak. If it showed up in a work of fiction, you'd shake your head at the author for trying too hard. On my frequent trips to Minnesota, this man's likeness and his business advertising were nearly inescapable. I'd see him, hear him, wash him out of my pores at night.

Well, it just so happened that in 2011 this man was found guilty in federal court of committing fraud to the tune of no less than $80 million, and he was sentenced to ten years in prison. His name recently popped up in the news after it was revealed that he was being moved from a prison in Illinois to one in Duluth, not to a halfway house as some had been speculating.

But I digress. The name of this mogul-turned-criminal: Denny Hecker.

Now, I don't know about you, but I find this to be a strange coincidence. Sure, I can buy that there are two men who have different careers that put them in the public eye, and they have first and last names that are somewhat alike. But for Denny Hocking to be drafted by and play most of a relatively long career for a team in the same city where Denny Hecker operates is simply fascinating. Hocking gets drafted by one of 29 other teams, and this connection never gets made. Very strange, indeed.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

2017 Card-vent Calendar: December 9

December 9, 2017:
1961 Topps #313 1960 World Series - The Winners Celebrate


Today, Major League Soccer will crown a champion. Winning a championship gives one license to do the sorts of things one might not usually do, like wear a ridiculous looking hat. Here's to hoping Jozy, Bradley, and the boys up in Toronto get to wear ridiculous looking hats in a few hours' time. Evil prevails too often in real life; two straight years in soccer might be too much to bear.

Friday, December 8, 2017

2017 Card-vent Calendar: December 8

December 8, 2017:
1994 Comic Images Jim Warren 2 More Beyond Bizarre #25 Earth: Love It or Leave It (Japanese)


Jesus.


The sci-fi aesthetic is really, really difficult to convert to a static, visual medium. Speculative fiction, outside of the hands of a minuscule amount of masters, just doesn't translate to the form. However, it should be noted that the image of the Earth blasting a forceful stream of diarrhea out the Bay of Bengal is a ham-fisted metaphor that fits well with the current state of the planet. Our children and grandchildren are the ones who are fucked. Our generation of "Smoke-Free Class of 2000," 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth, D.A.R.E., and Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue is just trying to keep our heads above water. In the process, we're stepping on the faces of millennials for purchase. Nothing matters, so let's pop that O-ring, melt Sri Lanka and Perth off the globe, and hold on for dear life. Beats what we're currently doing, right?

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Trade Me Anything XI: #9

The TMA packages are dwindling a little bit. This next one came from Jonathan, who sent a small flat rate box that rattled loudly when shook. "What's a battle?" or "What's that rattle?" Let's open it and find out which is true.

Giving:
US142 Tzu-Wei Lin, US71 Junichi Tazawa Gold Parallel (0417/2017), US156 Yu Darvish Photo Variation


Getting:
UNO Spin Game

Yeeeeeaaaaahhhh, this even came with the directions and everything. These little cards spilling all over the package were the source of the noise. This reminds me that last week there was a girl in my class playing with a tiny Finger Twister game during math. I threw that shit in the trash.

Well-Worn Pocket-Size Notebook

Now I have a place for all my secrets.

Big Lot of 1980 Topps

If I was Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman (I'm not.), I would give this a hearty "Hoo-hah!" Whatever, rules were made to be broken. So... Hoo-hah!

1992 Stadium Club Barry Larkin and Jack Clark

A couple steps closer to finishing series 1.

1992 Stadium Club Series 2 Pack

Okay, I haven't finished series 2 or 3 yet, either. This helps.

Brewers and Random '90s Basketball Cards

Casual Charles. Not too shabby.

Thanks, Jonathan! I will have fun losing the UNO cards, but I'll make up for it by placing the notebook under a stranger's windshield wiper. That I can promise.