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Showing posts from November, 2009

Classic card of the week

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Jacque Vaughn, 1998 NBA Hoops

If you have not already figured it out, I will never stop posting these NBA Hoops cards with the amazing write-ups on the back. Never.

That said, here is a picture of Jacque Vaughn –- the encapsulated “V” is for “Vaughn!!!” –- making a mundane basketball motion look super intense. But it’s not what’s on the front of this card that I’m concerned with. Slam-poet commissioned to write these cards, hit us off with the realness:



Auntie M, Auntie M.

Jacque Vaughn played his college ball at Kansas. But we’re not in Kansas anymore. We’re in Utah. Which is totally different than Kansas, with its big-city lifestyle and diverse populace. So anyway, they went with the "Wizard of Oz" reference. Kind of presumptuous if you ask me. I would have started it off: Carry on my wayward Vaughn. But what do I know.

The only thing JV here is your initials.

Indeed, Jacque Vaughn plays for the Varsity Jazz. He also dates the head cheerleader who oftentimes can be seen donning …

On giving thanks for not giving up

Note: This column appears in the 11/25 issue of The Glendale Star and the 11/27 issue of the Peoria Times

We’ve had a few “I can’t do this anymore” moments as foster parents.

The first of these moments occurred when CPS came and rather suddenly picked up our first foster child just ten days after we met him. The next moment occurred when two children –- a two-year old and a three-month old –- arrived at our doorstep. There were a few moments after that as well, but one in particular sticks out very vividly in my mind.

We were about a month into our placement and had yet to really settle in. My parents were visiting from back east, and the quality time we were used to spending with them on their visits was lost amidst the chaos of having two foster kids. I got back from work that Monday feeling very sick, only to discover that our foster daughter most likely had pink eye. I felt terrible for my parents, but my wife and I were going to have to bring her to urgent care. We also needed to de…

Classic card of the week

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Yancey Thigpen, 1998 Upper Deck

Sometimes when I am doing research before posting a classic card, I stumble upon some amazing factoids that I would never have discovered were it not for my extreme dedication to reintroducing worthless and ugly sports cards to the insatiable American public. For me, it just kind of reaffirms the fact that: This is my calling.

Case in point. Here is an Upper Deck, Black Diamond Series Yancey Thigpen card. Not much to see here. In fact, my stable of post-worthy football cards is growing very thin. So many times I will Google a player from an otherwise unexciting card to see if there are any worthwhile goodies. This often -– and by often I mean always -– leads me to Wikipedia, which is pretty much my favorite site. As the great Michael Scott once said: “Wikipedia is the best thing ever. Anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject. So you know you’re getting the best possible information.”

The very first thing that I discovered while na…

One three-year old’s tactics prove difficult to overcome

Note: This column appears in the 11/19 issue of The Glendale Star and the 11/20 issue of the Peoria Times

Our foster daughter has recently begun employing the strategy of reminding us that she loves us when she’s in trouble.

For example, last week, after being reprimanded for the third and final time for sitting way too close to the television, she sullenly walked over to me, hugged my leg and said, “I love you, Michael.” (Fyi: She calls me Michael. I tried in vain for months to get her to call me Mike, but she prefers Michael. She’s very formal.)

This is a very shrewd tactic, especially for a three-year old girl who, when asked what she wants to be when she grows up, consistently replies: “a Care Bear.” It’s so obvious and transparent in its efforts, yet still so disarming. For one thing, it’s funny. I also feel obliged -– no matter what other disciplinary schpiel I delve into –- to remind her that yes, I love her too. Both of these factors take the edge off of any anger or frustration …

Classic card of the week

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Brad Lohaus, 1992 Fleer

Brad Lohaus, a.k.a. Toby Flenderson, was a prisoner in his own body:



A small shooting forward trapped in a seven-footer’s body

“Ahhhhhhh! Get me out of this seven-footer’s body!” is what the 5’11” shooting forward version of Brad Lohaus would scream from inside the robotic walls of his gargantuan master. These screams often came at night, waking the children.

And –- nitpicking alert! -– why is it a small shooting forward that’s trapped in Brad Lohaus’ body? Just to provide more contrast to that silly statement? I mean, why couldn’t it be an average NBA-sized shooting forward trapped inside? Also: what is a shooting forward? That’s not really even a thing. Why didn’t they just say: “A shooting guard trapped in a seven-footer’s body?” That way I could humorously picture Hubert Davis trying to awkwardly operate the arms and legs of Brad Lohaus. I smell sitcom!

I would be remiss not to mention that I myself am a 6-foot, 195-lb Hawaiian fullback trapped inside of a 6’ 3”…

Search for trash receptacle proves difficult, ends happily

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Note: This column appears in the 11/12 issue of The Glendale Star and the 11/13 issue of the Peoria Times

After months of deliberation and weeks of searching, my wife and I finally made the important life decision to buy a new garbage can.

Now, this wasn’t a decision made easily or without much heartache and gnashing of teeth. What happened was this: The springs on our original garbage can, which we had always kept under the sink, broke. This meant that I could no longer simply pull down the handle and experience the grand convenience of having the lid pop open, thus allowing me to easily dispose of waste. No, instead I had to drag the can out from underneath the sink, open the lid manually and, in the process, get hit with a brick wall of funk made possible when dirty diapers meet onions.

So we were in the market for a new garbage can. As a result, I was unusually excited about the normally loathsome trip to Bed Bath & Beyond. Their entire back wall was full of garbage cans as far …

Classic card of the week

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Doug West, 1996 Skybox

Quite possibly you recall a mysterious yet magical time when Kings’ forward Michael Smith was catching hot flaming balls. Now, you can believe this or not -– your call –- but other NBA players at the time enjoyed a similar experience. In order to sway your belief in what I have just mentioned, I will now post several cards as proof of my honor:



Here is the patented Charles Barkley: “Ouch! This flaming hot basketball is hot!” face.



And here is Dale Davis with the “I realize that this basketball is, literally, on fire. But I am going to rebound it anyway. Here goes…mother f-!” maneuver.



And of course, what would a flaming hot basketball feature be without Gheorghe Muresan’s famous “I am 10 feet tall, but this comet ball still alludes me!” low post move.

Which brings us back to Doug West. Now, let’s say you are the Skybox Company of basketball cards. Your ace young executive has just wowed the boardroom with her -– yes, her –- idea to feature NBA players catching flam…

When pretending not to be home doesn’t work

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Note: This column appears in the 11/5 issue of The Glendale Star and the 11/6 issue of the Peoria Times

My wife and I are utterly annoyed by –- and sometimes scared of –- people coming to our house and trying to sell us stuff.

This wasn’t much of an issue back east, for the most part. With the exception of Jehovah’s Witnesses –- who, long ago stopped coming to my parent’s house lest they be dragged into a dialogue with my Catholic deacon father -– people stopped ringing doorbells years ago. I think it was 1985 when the chances of getting injured or killed began to outweigh the chances of making of a sale.

And the fear was mutual. One year back in NJ, a few days after she had watched a special on Oprah about home invasions, my wife called me on my cell phone in a panic. She was at home, and pretty much hiding under her bed, and yelling for me to come home because “somebody keeps ringing the doorbell!” Luckily, I was just around the block at my sister’s house. When I pulled up to our place…