Showing posts from April, 2011

Classic card of the week

Mike Scioscia, 1989 Topps

Does anybody remember the movie Field of Dreams? It was a movie about baseball starring the guy from Thirtysomething and also the guy from Waterworld and also Darth Vadar. It is about ghosts, too. No? You should Netflix it.

Anyway, there’s a rather poignant scene where the main character, what’s-his-face, finally gets to meet his dad, who is a ghost. They never really had a great relationship when both were humans because when the son was playing Major League Baseball, and he hit his first triple, his dad wasn’t there to see it. This caused a lot of resentment, as you can imagine, because every son who grows up to become a major leaguer dreams of the day he will hit his first triple and his dad will be there, cheering him on from the stands.

In one of the last scenes in the movie, before the dramatic explosion, the son reenacts his first triple, but this time ghost dad is there, and when the son reaches third base, his dad is there to hug him. It is very emotio…

City fighting waste with waste, #winning

Note: This column appears in the 4/28 issue of The Glendale Star and the 4/29 issue of the Peoria Times

Recently, the City of Glendale expanded its recycling program. Unfortunately, this expansion did not include plastic grocery bags, which cannot be recycled because, according to Debbie Coy, Glendale Recycling Coordinator, they “gum up the machinery.” Not cool, bags.

My wife and I try to do our part in the ongoing fight against plastic bags. For one thing, we have several reusable shopping bags. Granted, we almost always forget to bring them to the store, but the point is—we have them. We also reuse the plastic bags we acquire as garbage bags in our tiny garbage can. Because these bags often have holes in them, I typically go through a roll of paper towels cleaning up the coffee grinds and miscellaneous liquids the bags leak when I go to dispose of them. Such is the nature of saving nature.

Unfortunately, cities like Glendale and Peoria cannot rely solely upon the commitment of environm…

Classic card of the week

Tommy Gregg, 1991 Score

They say you should never trust a guy with two first names. And I should know, because I am one of those guys. I don’t even trust myself sometimes, and I am often forced to hire an independent arbitrator to review my own internal decisions. My untrustworthy parents chose to perpetuate this reality by not bestowing on me a last name as a first name—my choice: Clutterbuck Kenny—in order to balance things out, and so I am forced to wallow in a virtual force field of untrustworthiness. Just do yourself a favor and don’t believe anything I say. Except the following rambling account of nonsense, which is all true.

Luckily, Tommy Gregg is exempt from this popular mantra because it is canceled out by a separate mantra that states, “Never trust a guy named ‘Gregg.’” Also, Mr. Gregg’s full name is William Thomas Gregg, which is not only presidential (all presidents and people who sound like presidents should be trusted unconditionally), but also translates to the name, Bil…

Get the Cliff Notes version at Easter Sunday Mass

Note: This column appears in the 4/21 issue of The Glendale Star and the 4/22 issue of the Peoria Times

Easter, as we all know, is about springtime, bonnets, bunny rabbits, and the eggs they produce. Somewhere down on that list is Jesus being raised from the dead. Oooh, also, I almost forgot: chocolate!

This Easter is going to be a special one for us, because it will be the first major holiday shared with family here in AZ. Considering our respective Irish and Italian heritages, our family’s major holidays are, in order, Christmas, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, the Day of St. Joseph, Saturdays, St. Blaze and the Blessing of the Throats Day, and every day named after a saint. If we forget about one, it’s okay, because my mother-in-law will call to remind us and say, “Don’t forget—today is the Feast of St. Lucy. So … don’t use the oven.”

Not only will my in-laws be here, but virtually the entire side of my mother-in-law’s family will be, too. That means Paul, Denise, Tony, Anna, Heather (pron…

Classic card of the week

Bobby Witt, 1990 Fleer

Part of the reason why I find the “Did you know” on the back of baseball cards so darn enjoyable is because it often strains to highlight the good, even if the player featured is/was not very good. For example, let’s say a hypothetical player—we’ll call him “Luis Castillo … son;” yes, “Luis Castilloson,” is not very good, but still plays baseball professionally. His “Did you know” can easily avoid this fact. Hypothetical example:

DID YOU KNOW? Luis was MVP of his seventh-grade Little League team … batted .301 during a seven-game stretch for the Cornsville Cornballers in ’96 … has three daughters with wife Jill … only 5th player in MLB history to hit a double with both shoelaces untied, 6/23/07 … counts eating steak among his various hobbies.

See? Easy. So it’s a bit surprising and confusing when a card, rather than draw from the well of arbitrary statistics and random personal accomplishments and interests, opts instead to focus on like, reality. Enter Bobby Witt:


Something a little extra for the readers of this column

Note: This column appears in the 4/14 issue of The Glendale Star and the 4/15 issue of the Peoria Times

My wife and I, shamelessly, as a means of relieving stress and ignoring the more meaningful events and concerns of the day, watch “Extra.”

Honestly? It might be the worst show on television. Hosted by Mario Lopez, most of the “stories” involve Mario Lopez doing things that require him to take his shirt off, like working out, or eating, or talking to other people. The show will also tease a “story” before a commercial like, “What was Kate Hudson doing at Baby Gap? (Cut to terrible, blurry still shot of her holding up a pair of tiny overalls.) Is there a BABY on the way? ‘Extra’ has the story, next … Extra, extra!” Then, after the commercial and more buildup in which they blame “the paparazzi” for the photo even though they took it because they are the paparazzi, we find out she was shopping for her niece. “Extra” reveals this information as if we were stupid for thinking otherwise.


Reader feedback Tuesday

On our renewal notices here at the paper, we allow sections for reader feedback: Why I like the paper; What I would change. Here is today's installment, verbatim.

Why I Like:
I do not go ON LINE to read. Some of us still like to read a newspaper. Thank you for taking care of us. Don't "ON LINE" yourself out of business.

What I Would Change:
Try to put events, dates, times earlier so that when I get my paper by "snail mail" the event has not already happened.

First: Everybody, reverse course -- the future is behind us! Second: I don't know about you, and call me old-fashioned, and I don't follow the news, and what day is today?, but I can't wait for this "online" fad to finally end. Third: I mean, we post those dates and events on- ... forget it.

Classic card of the week

Larry Andersen, 1989 Topps

I just blogged in from Houston and boy, are my arms tired! What? Is this thing on? Ha, ha! No seriously folks, we’ve got a great lineup for you tonight. Some of you may remember our next act from his days pitching in relief for various Major League Baseball clubs … hilariously! Put your hands together for Larry AnderSEN!!!

Larry is widely renown for his comedic talent.

Thank you, thank you. We got any baseball fans in the house? Yeah, a few? Sounds like we got a few. The thing about baseball fans is, they’re stupid. Seriously. When I was playing, a baseball fan would come up to me and be like, “You suck!” And I’d be like, you know what? No—YOU suck! You know what I mean? Crazy. The other thing about baseball fans is, they can’t drive. Honestly. Just today I was driving behind a guy with a Cincinnati Reds bumper sticker, and the guy makes a right turn on red, and there’s a “No turn on red” sign right there! I mean, right there. How can you turn on your team like…

How I influenced the women’s liberation, and vice versa

Note: This column appears in the 4/7 issue of The Glendale Star and the 4/8 issue of the Peoria Times

My wife—as noted in her Matron of Honor’s speech during our wedding seven years ago—was never going to get married. She was her own woman, and no man was going to define her. Male companionship was not her goal, and was mostly viewed as an obstacle on the road to her professional and personal aspirations.

This ideology ran somewhat contrary to her Brooklyn-Italian upbringing, where young girls married neighborhood Italian boys via a system of cleverly arranged courtships: Oh, hey, Vincenzo randomly stopped by for no reason! Come in, come in, have some coffee. MARIA! Get over here and get Vincenzo the biscotti.

Not that my in-laws themselves abided by this blatant stereotype, but they assuredly were concerned that their daughter’s independence may serve as a barrier to potential relationships. When I first met them and managed not to say or do anything stupid, they could barely contain th…