Showing posts from January, 2010

Classic card of the week

Malone-Eaton-Stockton, 1989 Fleer All-Star Game series

Here is a photograph of three All-Star basketball players who are all on the same team, their varying sizes and ethnicities spanning all corners of the globe and giving testament to the strong diversity of the state of Utah. We will learn more about them later. What is behind the curtain however, we may never know. Let us begin:

The Utah Jazz keeps on delivering

There seems to be a grammatical tug-of-war when it comes to sports teams that boast a nickname that is not otherwise of the plural variety. In one camp are those who insist on recognizing this name in its original form and not in the context of a collective basketball team, which is what we see here. In the other camp –- the one in which I have pitched my tent, so to speak -– are the normal people who realize that this name is, in fact, plural, and treat all accompanying words thusly. We would not, for example, say: The New York Knicks keeps on delivering. A) Because they don…

Grading Arizona

Note: This column appears in the 1/28 issue of The Glendale Star and the 1/29 issue of the Peoria Times

I enjoy it when one entity grades another entity based on the latter entity’s own method of grading. Which is why I was thrilled to see that Quality Counts -– an organization that does such things -– gave the State of Arizona a C- for its educational system.

Arizona -- which did not know it was getting graded and therefore didn’t even study – is among the majority of states that received a C or lower. So…America!

As with most studies and research of this ilk, the method of gathering information and the subsequent conclusion is suspect at best. For example, in the category of “Transitions & Alignment” -– for which, in general, Arizona received a C- and which, also, makes it sound as though Arizona’s educational system is a car –- the state received a D- in the sub-category of “College readiness.” In my humble opinion, being ready for college involves a myriad of factors, and the qua…

Classic card of the week

Brad Muster, 1990 Score

Seen here is Brad Muster –- as my friend Bill would say, and has actually said -– “demonstrating how to carry the football with both hands, in front of the waist, while looking to the sidelines.” Indeed. Were Brad Muster, at this very moment, to take a hit to the midsection, his lungs and intestines would come out of his mouth and his bladder would be punctured with a football. Unless of course, on this particular play, Brad Muster was running up the middle, an area of the football field where he was indestructible:

Brad, a big, tough runner up the middle

Rushing to the outside however? Not so much, as Brad Muster had the elusiveness of a desk. But hey -– that’s why they don’t ask big, hunkering white dudes who went to Stanford to make guys miss. Speaking of Stanford, how does one get into such an esteemed institution? I can think of nobody better to ask than Wikipedia:

Muster prepped at San Marin High School in Novato, CA, graduating in 1983.

I’m sorry…he prepped a…

Glendale, Peoria land trade goes smoothly

Note: This column appears in the 1/21 issue of The Glendale Star and the 1/22 issue of the Peoria Times

Have you ever found yourself looking at a map of Glendale or Peoria only to be completely disgusted and put off by the jaggedness of their respective boundary lines?

I know. Me neither. Nevertheless, this problem is in the process of, thankfully, being resolved. As reported here last week, both cities are planning on swapping land located along the New River.

Now, I know what you’re saying: We have a river? And: Is it a lazy river? Because I would like to float down it. Yes, we do. And yes, it is. More importantly, this river has, for years, contributed to the jaggedness of each cities imaginary boundary lines.

The current situation, as far as claimed land is concerned, has a Glendale area of land on the side of the river closest to Peoria, and Peoria’s parcel of land on the side of the river closest to Glendale. Crazy, right? The problem occurred when the original inhabitants of the la…

Classic card of the week

Derrick Coleman, 1993 Fleer Ultra

Here is Derrick Coleman, noted by Fleer Ultra as having a “Dunk Rank” of #10 in their influential “Top 20 Jammer” series. Off the top of my head, I could probably name 812 players from the Derrick Coleman era that I would rather watch dunk a basketball than Derrick Coleman. But that is only because I personally do not care much for disinterested dunks that possess the improvisation and stylistic twist of a UPN sitcom.

But dunks are only a small part of the overall basketball equation. What sayeth thee with regards to Derrick Coleman, basketball player? Let’s ask, oh I don’t know…Charles Oakley:

“I think he will be the next Barkley.”
- Charles Oakley

I think you are wrong. I must admit that I am very surprised to discover that the Oak Man actually said this, as my perception of Oakley is of a man who was, in his day, impressed by very little on the basketball court, and who would rather stick needles in his eyes than lavish praise on unproven young baske…

Gaining party experience for my family’s benefit

Note: This column appears in the 1/14 issue of The Glendale Star and the 1/15 issue of the Peoria Times

I have been on the 1st birthday party circuit for the past month.

This is mostly all new to me. Sure, I have been to 1st birthday parties before. Most of them, I imagine, when I was one. But I do recall attending my niece’s 1st birthday party a couple of years ago. I even, rather appropriately, brought a couple of my ol’ college buddies, partly because they were staying at our house at the time and I had no other choice, and partly because they really know how to party.

Nevertheless, things are different now that we’re kind of, unofficially, parents. Whereas before at non-family 1st birthday parties we were shunned as “childless acquaintances,” we are now members of an exclusive club, with a laundry list of privileges, not the least of which is acceptance. And cake.

Case in point: While in California over the holidays visiting our friends, we tagged along to a 1st birthday party that we…

"Class"ic card of the week

Mark Carrier, 1990 Score

One summer many eons ago I was at my friend’s shore house and it was his cousin’s graduation party. There was a small banner on one of the backyard fences that read: Congratulations “Amy.” We got a big kick out of that, because the sign seemed to imply that Amy was not, in fact, her real name, and that we were all celebrating the accomplishments of an imposter. Perhaps this “Amy” hadn’t even graduated at all. We were also drinking a lot, which made this about ten times funnier.

Anyway, it is in that vein that I present to you Mark Carrier, esteemed member of the “Class” of 1990. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.

What is Score trying to tell us here, with “Class” in quotes? My initial guess was the implication that the Class of 1990, ironically, had no class. To explore this possibility a bit further, I did some research and discovered that this classless bunch of morons included both Emmitt Smith and Junior Seau. Not that I know either fellow in any capacity whatsoever,…

For all of your immediate needs, simply pull over

Note: This column appears in the 1/7 issue of The Glendale Star and the 1/8 issue of the Peoria Times

I’ve always been fascinated with the opportunity to purchase something on the side of the road.

Most often, these opportunities involve food. Even back east you could occasionally spot someone selling tomatoes or something on the side of the road. This was pleasant, because it harkened back to a simpler time when, if you wanted to eat, you needed to drive your car aimlessly for miles until you spotted a makeshift sign alerting you that watermelons are available for purchase. Not that I ever stopped, but still. It was pleasant.

For me, one of the first indications that I was actually in Arizona occurred when I was afforded the opportunity to, while driving, pull over and buy some jerky. Any kind of jerky, according to the sign. Beef jerky, deer jerky, buffalo jerky -– pretty much any animal that could be transformed into an edible stick. Now, I wouldn’t eat a piece of jerky if my life dep…