Showing posts from October, 2010

Classic card of the week

Jerome Kersey, 1993-94 Topps Stadium Club

Here is Jerome Kersey executing a slam-dunk. Feel the excitement. Undoubtedly, point guard Rod Strickland has driven the lane, thus drawing multiple defenders, and subsequently dished off to a wide open Jerome Kersey, who was standing on the block, and who then proceeded to jump as high as six inches in the air in order to dunk uncontested while letting out a half-hearted scream of dominance. Clear this area which has already been cleared! Jerome Kersey’s ‘bout to get his dunk on!

There are a few interesting things going on with this card. And by “interesting,” I mean stupid. For starters, the font of the “K” on the front makes it look like an “H,” so the uninformed onlooker may feel as though he or she was just dunked on by a man named Hersey. Hersey Johnson. Hersey Johnson is a person I made up, but who I Googled for fun and who I discovered is, among other things, one half of a charcoal grey sweatshirt-making team. Luckily for me, I grew up …

How a mortgage broke, almost -- a not-so-funny tale

Note: This column appears in the 10/28 issue of The Glendale Star and the 10/29 issue of the Peoria Times

Talking about mortgages is not fun, or funny. Whenever a friend or acquaintance attempts to become involved in a conversation about mortgages, interest rates, or anything involving finances, my strategy is to draw upon enough acquired knowledge to prove that I am not an idiot, and then make a forced and ill-timed joke in an attempt to steer the conversation back to an inane topic, like sports or celebrity gossip. You know who should refinance? David Arquette! What a jerk, huh?

If there is anything worse than talking about mortgages -- besides, of course, having one -- it’s reading about them. Please consider a forthcoming column that even I wouldn’t read evidence of my immense frustration.

Like many Americans, we have watched our home and greatest asset depreciate in value exponentially. This has been wonderful, especially since we purchased our home at the peak of good economic time…

Classic card of the week

Christian Laettner, 1993 Classic Games, Inc.

Here is another installment of Classic Games, Inc’s immensely popular and relevant “Four-Sport Collection.” Featured here is famous four-sport athlete Christian Laettner, who besides excelling at basketball, was also an offensive lineman for the Chicago Bears, a jockey (who once, it should be mentioned, almost rode Butter Purplefingers -- a thoroughbred owned by trainer D. Wayne Lucas -- to glory at the Belmont Stakes), and a competitive dancer who was featured in the independent film, “You Got Served.”

Today however, we focus on basketball. Laettner, seen here dribbling intensely with slicked-back hair, was dubbed “The Professor” while at Duke, for his entertaining brand of streetball and also because, when he received enough college credits, he actually taught an introductory course on French Literature. But let us see what else this card has to say:

Christian Laettner helped Minnesota tremendously during the 1992-93 season

The 1991-92 Minne…

Washing my hands of washing my hands a lot

Note: This column appears in the 10/21 issue of The Glendale Star and the 10/22 issue of the Peoria Times

All of a sudden, my wife is on a mission to ensure that I wash my hands more often.

I’m sure this is at least partially based on the fact that we have a child. Indeed I’ve found myself -- when ill-prepared with resources I should have thought to have at my disposal -- wiping clean the runny nose of our daughter with my bare hands. I remain unconvinced, however, that my wife’s concern with my hand-cleanliness stems from a more general concern for my well being, rather than for her own well-being and that of the aforementioned child.

It has been suggested on several recent occasions that I wash my hands. If I maintain that I have washed my hands recently, the follow-up question is, “Did you use soap?” Most 32-year old men with a lifetime of hand-washing under their hypothetical belts would find this question insulting, although I have been known to simply run my hands under water as a …

Classic card of the week

Junior Ortiz, 1985 Topps

No doubt this gorgeous, professional swing produced a grand slam home run for Junior Ortiz! That, or an opposing player has grabbed the other end of Ortiz’s bat with plans to drag him around the infield as retribution for an earlier insult.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. And here it is, the thing that you are thinking: Sure, Junior Ortiz likes to play baseball during the summertime. Who doesn’t?! But I wonder what he does during winter months?

Excellent, excellent question. I was wondering the same exact thing.

Junior is a graduate of Ana Rogue (Puerto Rico) High School.

This is valuable information. Especially the part about Puerto Rico. For a second there I thought they were talking about the Australian Ana Rogue, who was infamous for her stance on less education and who also hoarded and abused ferrets. That, or “Ana Rogue” is Spanish for “Puerto Rico,” which is already Spanish and which, if accurate, you would think I would have been aware of by now. Neverthe…

On Wonderpets and wondering how I got here

Note: This column appears in the 10/14 issue of The Glendale Star and the 10/15 issue of the Peoria Times

Things happen fast when you’re a parent. There’s not much time to reflect on what, exactly, is happening. Therefore, there are moments when you look around, and say to yourself, “Where am I, and how did I get here?” Once such moment occurred for me a couple of weekends ago, as I sat there on a Saturday afternoon, watching live Nickelodeon characters dance around and sing onstage.

We took our daughter to Arena to see Nickelodeon Live Storytime. (For those of you who follow the column, yes -- I returned to Westgate. They called me personally to apologize for the farmer’s market fiasco, explaining how they were forced to cancel last minute due to the heat and valiantly attempted to get the word out in time. Tip of the cap to them.) Considering it was the beginning of October, and still one thousand degrees outside thanks to “the summer that wouldn’t die,” I was happy to get …

Classic card of the week

Chris Zorich, 1991 NFL Pro Set

I don’t think that, as a society, we’ve given the half-shirt football jersey its just due.

We certainly can’t just pretend that this trend never happened. As evidenced here, the half-shirt football jersey was championed by such champions as Chris Zorich, who –- a quick Google image search will confirm –- didn’t rock the half-shirt during only practices and scrimmages. After all, 1990 LOMBARDI AWARD WINNERS aren’t typically shy about showing off their belly buttons.

Not that Zorich was the only one. The late 80s and early 90s witnessed a bevy of football players -– frustrated with layers upon layers of protective apparel that failed to adequately expose their natural physique -– paying homage to their most manly of man parts. That part being their stomach, so appealing to the opposite sex by virtue of the grizzled strip of hair leading from the belly button and down into an abyss of additional manhood.

In Zorich’s particular case, the half-shirt football jer…

A parental breakdown

Note: An edited version of this column appears in the 10/7 issue of The Glendale Star and the 10/8 issue of the Peoria Times

My parents are falling apart. Physically.

This is mainly a result of them both being super active. My dad is an avid runner, and my mom -- though she became involved relatively recently -- has possibly passed even my dad in her commitment to running.

Unfortunately, their bodies are having difficulty keeping up. A few weeks ago, my dad’s knee went out while playing softball. For whatever reason, most of my fathers’ injuries involve something “going out.” Nothing is ever “tweaked,” or “pulled.” It just dramatically goes out, collapsing, I imagine, onto itself. I’m not certain what the exact medical terminology is for something “going out,” but my dad’s back has gone out so often, it’s a wonder that it’s not, at this point, being held together with duct tape and string. (Which is, by the way, how he would fix his back if it ever fell off, in lieu of going to the doct…