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Showing posts from September, 2010

Classic card of the week

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Craig Worthington, 1991 Score

Let’s pretend, for fun, that we are not aware that this is a Craig Worthington baseball card we are looking at, okay? Just trust me.



He has quick reflexes and goes well to his left and right, covering a vast amount of ground around third base and throwing with a powerful, accurate arm for the Orioles. Who does that remind you of? Brooks Robinson?

Yeah! I mean, if this wasn’t written in the present tense!

Doug DiCinces?

Not really, but…okay, yeah! It may have helped jog my memory though if you had spelled Doug DeCinces correctly, as nobody, really, reminds me of Doug DiCinces.

You’re wrong on both counts.

WHAT??!!!???!!!!????!!!!!????

It’s Craig

So wait. You’re telling me that the biographical tidbit contained on the back of this Craig Worthington card is about Craig Worthington? I am dumbfounded. This has really caught me off guard.

I also appreciate that I am wrong about being reminded of different baseball players when the author’s intent is to speak of Craig Wor…

On bulging veins, trains and automobiles

Note: This column appears in the 9/30 issue of The Glendale Star and the 10/1 issue of the Peoria Times

The other day I was driving to work and, as usual, some guy in a monster pick-up truck was riding my bumper. And he was mad at me.

There is a light at 91st and Grand, near the 101. I was making a left onto Grand, and I could tell this guy was too, not because of his turn signal, which he refused to use, but because his vehicle was in my back seat. I had missed the green arrow, and the traffic light was now just green, and so in order to turn I was forced to wait for the oncoming traffic to break.

Now, on these occasions, most people -– and everyone in this state –- moves out into the middle of the intersection to wait, so if the traffic never breaks, the turn can be made after the light turns red. I am honestly uncertain if this is legal or not, but I no longer do this. A couple of years ago, my wife was involved in an accident when she thought it was safe to turn left on a yellow ligh…

Classic card of the week

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Rob Konrad, 1999 Topps

Rob Konrad is one happy fellow. Perhaps it is because he has reached the open field, with no defenders in sight. Perhaps it is because, as this card subtly mentions many, many times, he is a 1999 NFL Draft pick. Or, perhaps it is his new, boy-band-infused haircut:



Either way, Rob Konrad is living large. Let us discover more.

It is not often a team can find a player with the size of a small lineman, the speed of a tailback, and the pass catching ability of a tight end.

Indeed, Rob Konrad encompassed, in one person, what every NFL team was looking for at the time: small linemen, fast tailbacks, and the pass-catching ability of a blocker. Unfortunately for Rob Konrad, he played none of these positions in the NFL, but was, rather, a fullback. But Rob Konrad, it should be stated, did and continues to do what fullbacks do best: manage wealth via private equity funds. Sayeth Wikipedia:

Konrad is currently the CEO of Alterna Wealth Management (a registered investment advisor…

A farmer’s market without the farmers, or market

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Note: This column appears in the 9/23 issue of The Glendale Star and the 9/24 issue of the Peoria Times

We are vegetarians, my wife and I, and so when we go hunting we typically hunt for farmer’s markets.

This was our intention two Saturdays ago, our hunt very defined in that Westgate was having a farmer’s market that day. Having found out about this event weeks earlier, our anticipation had increased our excitement, as did the fact that it was a beautiful Saturday morning, the chance to finally venture outside of the house -– to get fresh vegetables, no less! -– signifying the beginning of the end of another endless summer.

It didn’t even matter that Westgate is approximately 40 minutes from our house. Not that helping the environment and local farmers is our sole reason for attending farmer’s markets –- we actually enjoy eating the vegetables of our labor, too –- but the irony of burning lots of gas in order to purchase organic fruits and veggies was not lost on us. But hey, whatever.

Classic card of the week

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Eric Hillman, 1994 Topps Gold

I would like to switch things up a bit today, and start here with Wikipedia, which I find, in this particular instance, to have surpassed even its own reputation for awesomeness. We shall begin with the famous biographical category –- and, in this case, the only category -– “Nippon Professional Baseball career.” Off we go:

He also played four seasons in Japan.

Now that is a lede.

He firstly played with the Chiba Lotte Marines where Bobby Valentine was a manager at that time.

Let me say, firstly: a manager, or the manager? Was Chiba Lotte Marines a place wherein Bobby Valentine did some managing? Or was Bobby Valentine one of the many managers that the Chiba Lotte Marines employed at this time?

In 1995, his first season in Japan, Hillman had 12 wins and 9 losses. In 1996 he logged 14 wins and 9 losses, and was voted to the best nine Hillman was also voted the MVP of the 1996 All-Star-game..

A few lessons to be learned here. Firstly, what is “the best nine?” Does…

Fatherhood: Where grudges go to die

Note: This column appears in the 9/16 issue of The Glendale Star and the 9/17 issue of the Peoria Times

We embarked on a family drive to California over Labor Day weekend. We departed for this six-hour trip at around the same time our daughter usually goes to bed, as was our purpose, hoping that she would sleep. She did not sleep. Not for the first two hours, at least.

Instead, she cried, screamed, and whined incessantly. When her whining would settle down into what we thought would be a deep sleep, she would scream herself awake again and start from scratch. For two straight hours, while driving my car, not even one-third into a long trip, my ears rang and my head ached.

I go through stages of emotion during moments like this. Typically the more patient one in our marriage, I initially pride myself on that virtue, and try to laugh off the craziness with jokes and a lighthearted, one-sided conversation with our screaming child. When that inevitably does nothing, I sort of zone out, and s…

Classic card of the week

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Bobby Higginson, 1999 Topps

I don’t know a lot about Bobby Higginson. But I have heard things. Crazy things. The reputation of Bobby Higginson – one that we are all too familiar with, I am sure -– speaks to his ferocious competitiveness, and also to his competitive ferociousness. He plays baseball, I have heard, like a fighter who fights things. He fights baseballs, ferociously, and wins. This is his reputation. And not that I would ever doubt Bobby Higginson in a million, trillion years, but still, I must ask, in a strange grammatical fashion: Does Bobby Higginson come by his reputation as a ferocious competitor honestly?



Bobby Higginson comes by his reputation as a ferocious competitor honestly.

Whew! For a second there I was very worried that I had Bobby Higginson all wrong. But now I am okay. I knew a guy in college who did not come by his reputation honestly, or, rather, did come by his reputation dishonestly. It was not cool.

He is the grandson of boxer Gus Dorazio, who faced Joe Le…

The highs and lows of my affinity for a particular coffee

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Note: This column appears in the 9/9 issue of The Glendale Star and the 9/10 issue of the Peoria Times



Almost everything in my wallet relates, in some way, to Dunkin' Donuts.

For starters, I have a Dunkin' Donuts card. It's like a debit card that I registered online, and which tracks my spending and earns me Dunkin' Donuts rewards. A few weeks ago I received one of my awards in the mail -- a coupon for a free medium coffee! -- and it was one of the happiest moments of my life. I also "recharge" this card online by adding money to it. According to my American Express online pie chart, more than 60-percent of my spending is applied to "coffee and coffee-related products."

I also have a Dunkin' Donuts punch card with me, always. Whenever I purchase a coffee there, Dunkin' Donuts will punch it, and when it's finished, I get...a free medium coffee! Whenever I cash in this free coffee I make sure to get a new punch card immediately, and sometimes…

Classic card of the week

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Jeromy Burnitz, 1991 Upper Deck Prospects




When the Mets selected Burnitz in the first round of the ’90 draft out of Oklahoma State University, many critics thought New York drafted him too high.

Mets? Criticized for personnel decisions? Really? Weird.

After all, he never matched his .403 freshman season and struggled against left-handed pitching as a junior.

In the Mets’ defense, I’m not entirely sure that “hitting over .400 only once” and “being a young left-handed hitter that struggled against left-handed pitching one year” necessarily qualify as valid reasons to avoid selecting a player high in the draft. Nevertheless, what did the Mets see in Burnitz?

The Mets, however, were sold on Burnitz, who attained the highest score ever on a psychological test the New York Mets administrators give to all prospective draftees.

Question 21: What is your favorite color?
A. Lilac
B. Blue is my favorite color, but my least favorite feeling, Go figure
C. Auburn
D. My favorite color is subjective data and d…