Showing posts from December, 2008

Classic card of the week

Gheorge Muresan, 1992-93 Classic Four Sport Collection

First of all, that is an offensive foul. You cannot use your non-shooting arm weapon to ward off would-be defenders whilst also utilizing your tree branch fingers to poke said defenders in the eye, mouth, or mustache. Second of all, it doesn’t even matter because you are simply delaying the inevitable if you call an offensive foul on Gheorge Muresan, unless you do that five more times, which would cause Gheorge Muresan to foul out of the game, thus delaying the inevitable until the next game. Also, the inevitable is Gheorge Muresan dominating your sorry ass in the lane all day long with his array of big man moves and arm weapon tactics. Third of all, this is the French League, and the first rule of the French League is: There are no rules. The second rule of the French League is: Get out of Gheorge Muresan’s way.

Let’s find out more:

Gheorge Muresan enters the NBA as an untested potential star.

This is the exact same way ever person w…

Classic card of the week

Dikembe Mutombo, 1992-93 Fleer

I’m sorry -- I know this sounds dorky, but aesthetically, this has to be one of the ugliest series of cards ever made. And within that ugly series, this card may very well be the ugliest of them all. And that is saying a lot.

Imagine that you have absolutely no background in basketball whatsoever. Somebody hands you this card. What would you make of it? Would you enjoy looking at the multitude of flailing arms and assortment of atrocious colors? Would you know what the letters -- written vertically, so as to cause additional confusion for the uninformed -- signified? And if you were somehow able to distinguish that the letters formed the name of the moderately popular Congolese-American professional basketball player Dikembe Mutombo, would you be able to figure out which player featured on the front of this card was him? And let’s say, for arguments sake, that upon further detailed inspection you were able to determine which player was Dikembe Mutombo. Wou…

Classic card of the week

Shawn Kemp, 1995 Upper Deck

When I think about the “Images of 95,” one of the first images that pops into my head is Shawn Kemp dressed as Santa Claus. An easier way to describe this image is: Santa Kemp.

Since I am, for the moment, rendered speechless, let’s immediately go to the back of the card:

Looking up at a six-foot ten-inch tall Santa may be hard to believe

Equally hard to believe: Looking up at any Santa. That aside, why can’t Santa Claus be 6’10”? He’s a mythical figure who rides a sleigh operated by eight reindeer -- one of which has a red nose -- and he delivers toys to every child in the world by sliding down a chimney at night, yet now we’re putting height restrictions on the guy? I think the “hard to believe” factor arises from the fact that, in this particular case, Santa plays power forward for the Seattle Supersonics. To wit:

The Seattle Supersonics All-Star forward has represented Santa proudly

This is -- for anyone familiar with the off-the-court exploits of Shawn Kemp -…

Making holiday memories here in moderate AZ

Note: This column appears in the 12/18 issue of The Glendale Star, and the 12/19 issue of the Peoria Times

There were two reasons my wife and I thought twice about moving to Arizona. First and foremost: family. Was Arizona far away enough? (That was a joke.) The second reason was much less important -- though still relevant -- and actually in direct contrast to one of our main reasons for wanting to move here in the first place (the warm weather), and it was this: Christmas…in Arizona?

(Spoiler alert: We moved here anyway.)

Now granted, both of these issues are rendered moot when we travel back east for the holiday itself. But Christmas isn’t just a day. It’s a season, and it’s one that starts -- judging by my 2008 calculations -- three weeks before Halloween. I had my reservations about what it would be like here for those days and weeks, especially after my dreams of sipping hot cocoa by the fireplace (that we don’t have) were interrupted by the sign near our house that reads: Fire dan…

Classic card of the week

Mel Blount, 1991 Pro Line Portraits

Scene: NFL studios is Los Angeles, California. Several executives are meeting with Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Mel Blount.

Executive #1: Thanks for coming by today, Mel. Listen -- I’m going to be “blount” (makes quote signs with his hands) with you-

Mel Blount: Stop right there. I will walk out of here right now.

Exective #1: I’m sorry…I’m sorry, Mel. I thought you’d appreciate that. Let me start over. Mel, I’m going to be honest with you -- we want you to do a Pro Line portrait. You’re one of the most popular players in the league, sort of, and it would mean a lot for our line of football cards to have you on board.

Mel Blount: I really appreciate that, guys. Really, I do. But I’m a busy man. Why can’t you just send out a guy to take pictures of me playing football?

Executive #2: That’s not how we do things over here at Pro Line portraits, Mel. We want the fans to get a taste of who you really are, off the football field. That’s what the football-card…

Holiday movies teach us important lessons

Note: This column appears in the 12/11 issue of The Glendale Star and the 12/12 issue of the Peoria Times

The theme of almost every holiday movie is finding the true meaning of Christmas. Except, of course, for the movie “Jack Frost,” in which the theme is: if your absentee father dies, be alert, because there is a good chance he will come back to life in the form of a snowman, and finally teach you how to play hockey. This is another important holiday lesson.

Anyway, the true meaning of Christmas in these movies usually proves to be quite elusive at first, but is ultimately found in some form of non-materialistic love. That is why, I am sure, so many people like myself are suckers for holiday flicks -- because they make you feel good, and reaffirm what you already know to be true.

But let me ask you this: Have you ever tried, in real life, to execute a non-materialistic Christmas? Contrary to what the movies would imply (gasp!), it is quite difficult.

A few years ago, on the heels of Hur…

Smell of the week

Milk That’s Almost Gone Bad, But Not Quite Smell

I go in stages with my milk usage. Sometimes I drink more of it because I’m on a milkshake kick or I’m mixing it with my protein (due to my vegetarian status) instead of water. Other times, I’m just using it on my cereal. Either way, I generally try not to think about milk that much because -- not sure if you’re aware of this -- milk is a white substance that comes from a cow’s utters and is often made even more disgusting than that through various processes it endures on the way to the supermarket. I almost threw-up just writing that. Nevertheless, the inconsistency of my milk intake frequently leaves me with a dilemma: How much milk do I buy?

What usually ends up happening is this: I end up buying a whole gallon of milk. Then I get home and realize that there’s still a half-gallon left in the refrigerator. My wife rolls her eyes and tells me she told me we didn’t need milk and emphatically warns me that I better not waste any. Then when…

Classic card of the week

Billy Ray Smith, 1991 Pro Line Portraits series

Let me ask you a question, and I want you to be honest with me: How many lightening bolts are on the outfit you are wearing right now? If your answer is: less than 800,000, then you are dead to me.

I feel like somebody is messing with me when it comes to this card. It doesn’t seem possible that this is real. Zubaz? Flowing mullet? Mustache? Billy Ray? Wristbands? It’s the wristbands that really take it over the top for me. Everything else is moderately feasible. I mean, did I personally ever own a pair of Zubaz? No. But I thought about it once. The mustache-mullet combination is a sign of the times, I suppose. And I would be less shocked if this guy didn’t have a two-name first name. But it’s the wristbands that make me question the integrity of this card. I don’t know what to believe anymore. Let’s hear what Billy Ray has to say:

Preparation is the key for me. I wasn’t blessed with blinding speed, or Herculean strength, but I spend a lot o…

Touring Luke with a General and a rental car

Note: This column appears in the 12/4 issue of The Glendale Star and the 12/5 issue of the Peoria Times

We hosted an attorney general a couple of weeks ago.

That would be my uncle, a lawyer from New Jersey who was recently promoted to Brigadier General of the Air Force. I have no idea what this means, but it did result in a big family party back home, so I know that it is at least as important as graduating the sixth grade. Of course, since his promotion, I have come to understand that this is probably the greatest professional accomplishment anyone from our family will ever experience. Unless you count my blog.

Having family visit was great. It was my uncle, his daughter and her fiancĂ©, and they couldn’t wait to see us. And by “us” I mean the New York Giants, who also happened to be in town that weekend. Go figure.

Anyway, what’s the point of having an esteemed family member if you can’t exploit their hard-earned reputation for your own benefit? With that in mind, we kindly demanded tha…