Showing posts from May, 2010

Classic card of the week

Bob Tewksbury, 1992 Score/Pinnacle “Sidelines” series

When faced with something unusual that does not fall within the context of my own perceptions, my natural instinct is to laugh, point, and make fun of it. This is called “maturity.” Thus my first reaction upon reintroducing myself to this card was to laugh at Bob Tewksbury because baseball players are not supposed to draw cartoon caricatures of other baseball players. They are supposed to play baseball. And maybe hunt elk in the offseason or something. Any talent that transcends playing baseball and hunting elk should be exhibited only at an appropriate time post-retirement. If the talent in question involves cartoon caricatures it should never see the light of day.

But Bob Tewksbury was like, “Screw it. I play baseball and I also draw cartoons. Deal with it. I’m Bob Tewksbury.” The ultimate result of this courageous self-acceptance was: me having a Bob Tewksbury baseball card in which he is featured drawing cartoons. So I am the rea…

Iced coffee, cookies & HD: America’s hard work pays off

Note: This column appears in the 5/27 issue of The Glendale Star and the 5/28 issue of the Peoria Times

My wife and I have been watching this really great series on the History Channel called “America: The Story of Us.” The show traces our nation’s history chronologically, and does so in such an interesting way. It delves deeper into historical events that we haven’t thought about since the seventh grade –- and thus, never had a full and mature understanding of –- and tends to focus also on certain influential details of both major and seemingly minor events that many of us probably never considered before.

It is an enthralling series to watch, but it has also been a humbling experience for me. Because it has reminded me that I am not necessarily carrying the torch of those great Americans before me.

For one, being reminded of the realities and gruesomeness of warfare never ceases to make me squirm. Not only because it’s gross, but also because it reinforces the fear that if someone were…

Classic card of the week

Travis Fryman, 1994 Upper Deck

Get up, Travis Fryman! The future is now. You are 25 years old and a shortstop for crying out loud!

Oftentimes our epiphanies arrive at our lowest point. As it has happened to many of us –- while on our backs, hatless and confused, with some dude’s head on our shoulder –- it happened to Travis Fryman.

Fryman, who had always assumed that the future was later, got his wake-up call in 1993. He was 25 years old. A shortstop. Going nowhere except for the fact that he was playing professional baseball, and playing it well. But the voice motivated him. It was now or never. Fryman responded dramatically by continuing to play baseball, albeit at a slightly lesser success rate than his peak year of ’93. But hey, what are ya’ gonna do? In those days, the future was then.

Let us discover more:

Detroit fans have been spoiled

I would like to pause here for effect. Sorry, Detroit fans.

with the likes of Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell in the Tigers infield, but Travis Fryman …

The best laid plans rarely account for kids

Note: This column appears in the 5/20 issue of The Glendale Star and the 5/21 issue of the Peoria Times

One of the interesting things about parenthood is adjusting mentally to the fact that you are, indeed, a parent.

This has been a slow process for me. For I am a planner. I am always thinking ahead to the specifics of how the plans I have laid forth inside of my head will play out. For example, on Monday morning I am already thinking about the possibilities, and then the details, of Friday night. I will think, “Friday is supposed to be really hot. Maybe we can go to the movies. Westgate or Peoria? Westgate. We could park in the east lot. I’m not getting the large popcorn this time -- that was too much popcorn. That new documentary about the dangers of plastic is supposed to be good. Very romantic. It starts at 7:25. We should leave by 6:30, the latest. I’ll wear my yellow shirt.”

Not surprisingly these plans rarely play out the way I had envisioned. There are many reasons for this, not …

Classic card of the week

Frank Pastore, 1986 Topps

Considering he sent the card my way with accompanying comments, I’m going to let Sean take the lead here:

“No, no Frank – sweatier. Yeah, that’s good. Make your whole leather warm-up wet. Now do the ‘molester face.’ Yeah. It’s a wrap!”

Normally I’d say that I have nothing else to add, however I went on Wikipedia and as it turns out, I have something else to add.

On 5 January 2004 Pastore became the host of The Frank Pastore Show on KKLA 99.5 FM in Los Angeles. It is the largest Christian talk show in the United States.

Wow. This guy? Really? Okay. But for various reasons I think it’s warranted that we now retire the term “molester face.”

On 5 November 2004 an opinion piece Pastore authored, entitled Christian Conservatives Must Not Compromise” was published in the Los Angeles Times. In it, he references Leftism as “the evil ideology” and says that “the Left must defeated in the realm of ideas,” and has provoked a strong reaction on some message boards.

I enjoy how …

Because parenting and drugs don’t always mix

Note: This column appears in the 5/13 issue of The Glendale Star and the 5/14 issue of the Peoria Times

Parenting is a crash course in many things. Changing diapers, feedings, understanding the bizarre brilliance of “Yo Gabba Gabba,” just to name a few. For me personally, parenting has become an important lesson in a field that wasn’t mastered even during college: drugs and pharmaceuticals.

I personally try to go to the doctor about, well…never, so my knowledge of ailments and their respective remedies is lacking indeed. Because children are, generally, a disease-ridden species, being a foster parent and now (hopefully) a parent of my very own child has afforded me the opportunity to learn many things about the wonderful world of sickness. But this newfound knowledge really just involves the basic, technical methods necessary for treatment. For example, I can draw a plastic syringe like a cowboy –- sometimes I wear them on my belt just to show off -– and I can also give a child a breath…

Classic card of the week

Chris Brown, 1987 Classic Baseball

There’s a lot to cover here, so let’s get started.

The name Chris Brown has its connotations these days, and while this particular Chris Brown was never accused of assaulting his pop-star girlfriend, he may in fact be more interesting than the Chris Brown we all know and dislike today.

Of course, if you’d like to know more about Chris Brown the baseball player, you’re going to have to dig deeper than this, his 1987 Classic baseball card, which couldn’t be more boring on the front, and which is information-less and largely bizarre –- which we’ll get to later -– on the back. So where did I go for Chris Brown-related info? You guessed it:

Brown was a notable graduate of Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles, California, where he played high school baseball with Darryl Strawberry. The 1979 Crenshaw High Cougars baseball team was the subject of Michael Sokolove’s The Ticket Out: Darryl Strawberry and the Boys of Crenshaw.

That is very interesting. I am intereste…

When dogs attack…I have no advice

Note: An edited version of this column appears in the 5/6 issue of The Glendale Star and the 5/7 issue of the Peoria Times

Wanna know something that is not fun? Getting attacked by dogs.

I say that because last week we got attacked by dogs. What happened was this. My wife and I took our little one and our other little one –- our dog Mac –- on a nice family walk in our neighborhood. As we approached the turn for our street on the way back, I noticed in the distance a woman walking with two big dogs coming towards us. Then, when she noticed us, she moved with her dogs halfway across the street on the median.

Now, with retrospect as a handy guide, this proved to be some serious foreshadowing. Because in moving off the sidewalk this woman was basically saying, “These are not friendly dogs.” So as we began to pass them, Mac, who is 13 lbs but thinks he is a Tyrannosaurus Rex, began barking. The two dogs, boxers, were barking. It was a cacophony of angry barking, the storm before the storm. Ju…