Showing posts from June, 2011

Classic card of the week

Wade Boggs, 1989 Score “1988 Highlight” series

I always thought this Todd Worrell was my most “that’s what she said” card. And it still may be. But the back-of-the-card-tidbit title alone on this Wade Boggs beauty gives Worrell a run for its suggestive money.


Yes. That is one way of putting it. Elaborate, please.

Wade, who has been called a hitting metronome,

By whom? Who has called Wade Boggs a “hitting metronome?” If I ever heard anyone describe Wade Boggs as a hitting metronome, my first immediate thought would be, “‘Metronome?’" Not because I don’t know what the word means, or what that statement implies, but because a) why? and b) I’m not certain anybody ever said that, and so I think you, Score, are lying. Wikipedia defines a metronome as “any device that produces regular, metrical ticks (beats, clicks) — settable in beats per minute.” They add, “Boggsian. Like Wade Boggs, the baseball player, in the way it produces metrical ticks.”

did something with his bat


Four years later, potential unrealized, but happiness sustained

Note: This column appears in the 6/30 issue of The Glendale Star and the 7/1 issue of the Peoria Times

My wife and I moved here to Arizona four years ago this very week. Since then, the following things have happened:

We were forced to refinance. We purchased our home, unbeknownst to us at the time, at the height of the real estate market. It is not classy, apparently, to talk about how much one spent on his home, so let’s just say we paid enough, at like a 26.3 percent interest rate. When the bottom fell out of the national real estate market and Arizona fell further down than most, our payments remained the same but our home dropped in value exponentially and suddenly we had no neighbors, construction halted, and we were surrounded by empty homes and vacant lots until renters began to move in and their dogs would relieve themselves on our property, which continues to this day.

Many things we liked, including people, are gone. Four years ago, a great part of our excitement in moving was…

Classic card of the week

Bo Jackson

Crack, the horrible and deadly addictive drug, was introduced to the streets in the 1980s by—according to noted historian Kanye West—Ronald Reagan, who “cooked up” the drug and planted it in the streets because … I’m not sure what his motive was there, actually.

Anyway, in the 80s there were two sides to the crack issue: those who liked and enjoyed crack, and those who opposed crack. As a means of adding brevity and friendly competitiveness to an otherwise extremely violent and heart-wrenching situation, MTV, in what would ultimately become the first of its popular Rock n’ Jock Series, in which people like Dan Cortese could hit a 10-point basketball shot, decided to host a baseball game.

Through which spectrum the nation as a whole viewed the crack issue would be decided by this baseball game. On one side was the “Turn Your Back on Crack” team, led by actual baseball AND football player Bo Jackson, who once single-handedly defeated a bumblebee. They had blue hats and uniforms.…

Unworn hat a fashionable reminder of insecurities

Note: This column appears in the 6/23 issue of The Glendale Star and 6/24 issue of the Peoria Times

Months ago, while shopping at Ross, my wife convinced me to buy a hat.

I have mentioned before that I have always wanted to be a person who wears cool and hip headgear. I have always desired to wear a cowboy hat in some ironic fashion, but have yet to find one that fits well and doesn’t make me look like an idiot, nor have I found a reasonable occasion on which to potentially wear one. (I think I’ve seen too many beer commercials, as I frequently imagine myself in such a social situation, when in reality my wife and I go out approximately three times a year, and by “go out” I mean go to someone’s house and leave by 10pm.)

Anyway, this particular hat was pretty cool, especially for summer. It was the type of hat Jason Mraz would wear. Or Frank Sinatra, if he were still alive, and 20-years old, and at the beach. Plus, when I tried it on, it fit perfectly. Still, I was hesitant to buy it bec…

Classic card of the week

Kurt Miller, 1991 Upper Deck

I’m not a superstitious person. At least I try not to be. But I married into an Italian family, and there are many, shall we say, quirks involved, of which I must abide lest I be blamed for an unfortunate occurrence. Among these not-quite-superstitious-based obligations: no shoes on the table, walk through the same door you came in, and, of course, when forced to mingle with an untrustworthy person—wear red underwear.

These are all important, obviously, but the most important obligation of all is this: never get ahead of yourself when speaking. In other words, the future is uncertain, no matter what things may seem, and never assume that this is not so. My wife and in-laws tend to take things a small step further with the notion that if you do happen to speak positively about something that is actually happening right here and now, your very words have just prevented this positive thing from moving forward. “Jinx” is an ugly, superstitious word, so let’s jus…


I just really like that word. I also have one, here.

To scare a monster with a monster

Note: This column appears in the 6/16 issue of The Glendale Star and the 6/17 issue of the Peoria Times

It has recently been revealed that our daughter is scared of Cookie Monster.
I can’t say that I blame her, with his aggressiveness and broken English—I’m not so sure that “Me want cookie!” is the best educational resource for young children—not to mention his wandering eyes and the fact that he is a self-described monster. Nevertheless, this evolved fear has been wonderful news for us.

You see, virtually nothing scares our daughter. In fact, she is greatly amused by the rare occasions when she is scared, like when I jump out from nowhere during a game of hide-and-seek. More, more! As parents of a child who, not yet two, is still too young to grasp the consequences of discipline—we still valiantly try though, which typically worsens the behavior we were attempting to correct—we are more than ready to employ scare tactics.

Is this wrong? Probably. But I think that, as parents, we are ofte…

Classic card of the week

Doug Drabek, 1991 Fleer Ultra

The trinity of attaining pitching excellence is as follows, in order of importance: 1) smile, 2) pitch, and 3) hit without looking like a total doofus. And as Meatloaf once said, specifically with regards to Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Doug Drabek—many people don’t know that—two out of three ain’t bad.

Let us begin:

The last time the Pittsburgh Pirates had a pitcher lead the league in victories, Doug Drabek wasn’t even born.

Because a specific date doesn’t always tickle my fancy, I enjoy relating the length of time by which something happened to the age/nonexistence of a different person. For example, if you were to say, “On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor,” I would be like, “???” But if you were to say, “When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Bill Cosby was four years-old,” I’d be like, “Okay—I get that.”

Also, taking note that this is a 1991 baseball card, a more accurate way for this sentence to read would be: "The…

Trapped in the Closet of No Self-Awareness

Note: This post originally appeared on this blog in July of 2005.

This post was going to be part of the music chapter of the book, but I ultimately decided against it. It's one thing to have a large chunk of your life's work involve Vanilla Ice -- quite another to include R. Kelly. Silly versus profane. Anyhoo, because I did put a modicum of effort into reediting it, I figured I'd just repost here for all to enjoy, or -- as it pertains to many people who have read said Vanilla Ice pieces in the book -- to be utterly confused by.

For what it's worth, it's been six years since Trapped in the Closet (anniversary special???), and I still don't know what to make of it.

The immortal R. Kelly has put out yet another album, this time a kind of R&B opera entitled Trapped in the Closet, which is accompanied by a string of approximately 800 music videos in which he “acts” out the song chapters. By “acts” I mean he lip syncs and occasionally pretends to drive a car in fr…

Food shopping together proceeds smoothly, for once

Note: This column appears in the 6/9 issue of The Glendale Star and the 6/10 issue of the Peoria Times

I do most of the grocery shopping. It is just one of the domestic roles I fell into, probably because a) I do most of the eating and b) I despise grocery shopping slightly less than my wife does.

I have a pretty good routine though. We make a list of the things we need, and then I will go to the store, forgetting to bring the list, and the coupons I acquired on the previous shopping trip, and our reusable shopping bags. My wife will call me as I’m on my way to the store to inform me that I forgot all those things, and to remind me to pick up an obscure item like scallions. She will say, “You know what scallions are, right?” and I will say, “Yes,” although I really don’t, but plan on figuring it out.

I will spend about 20 minutes in the produce section wandering around aimlessly before I call my wife and ask, “What do scallions look like?” Then I will breeze through the store, picking up…

Classic card of the week

Bill Spiers, 1994 Upper Deck

You know what I like about Bill Spiers besides EVERYTHING???!!!! The way he will sign a baseball or a baseball card while looking awesome wearing a helmet on top of his baseball hat and while not really paying attention because he is too busy trying to get the attention of an attractive female in the distance with the hope that she will notice how awesome he looks with all the protective hats protruding from his head.

Female groupies in distance: Look at Bill Speirs! Gossip, gossip, blah, blah, giggle, giggle! SO cute! You know what they say about a guy with three skulls! Giggle, giggle, hit with foul ball.

That helmet is so high atop Bill Spiers’ dome that there is ample room for a fast-moving baseball to still nail him in the head, rendering the helmet pointless, unless you count the fashion aspect of it, which is, from a monetary standpoint: priceless. It’s possible, however, that Spiers was simply basking in the glory of a facemask-less helmet that could …