Sunday, September 27, 2009

Song of the Week - Sample and Hold by Neil Young

I have 8,049 songs on iTunes. This is one of them.

This song is from Neil's 1982 album Trans. In the early 80s, Young was experimenting with synthesizers and this is probably his most extreme use. He is singing through something called a vocoder, which is an electronic instrument used to digitize speech. The other guitarist featured in this video is Nils Lofgren.

Sample and Hold
Hair: Blonde
Eyes: Blue
Weight: 110
Disposition: Even
Mood Code: Rotary Adjustable

I need a unit to sample and hold
But not the angry one
A new design, new design.

I need a unit to sample and hold
But not the lonely one
A new design, new design.

I need a unit to sample and hold
But not the lonely one
A new design, new design.

Sample and hold.

We'll send it out right away
Satisfaction guaranteed.
Please specify
The color of skin and eye
We know you'll be happy.

Don't hesitate to give us a call
We know you'll be satisfied
When you energize
And see your unit come alive
We know you'll be happy.

I need a unit to sample and hold
But not the lonely one, the lonely one, the lonely one
Sample and hold.
Weight: 110.

Perfection in every details
Fabricated from the curl of the hair
To the tip of the nail
Because our units never fail
We know you'll be happy.

I need a unit to sample and hold.

Don't hesitate to give us a call
We know you'll be satisfied
When you energize
And see your unit come alive
We know you'll be happy.

I need a unit to sample and hold.

We know you'll be happy 110
We know you'll be happy
We know you'll be happy.

But not the lonely one
A new design, new design
Perfection in every detail, new design
Sample and hold.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thursday Night at the Movies - The Imformant!

This movie is based on a true story about how the food conglomerate ADM was brought down for price fixing. The on-screen message, even before the credits, is that the movie makers took some liberties with the story, so it's hard to say how "true" the movie is.Matt Damon plays Mark "Corky" Whitacre, a biochemist who helped design the plant which makes an amino acid called lysine. He starts moving up the corporate ladder and finds that AMD is conspiring to fix prices with other lysine manufactures around the world. He goes to the FBI and tells them the story and agrees to help them gather evidence.

The trailers for the film make it look almost like a light-hearted farce as Whitacre talks into his lapel (he's been wired by the FBI) to narrate his day and can't keep himself from looking for the hidden cameras that the FBI has installed in hotel meeting rooms.

But the last third or so of the movie takes a darker turn as it becomes clear that Mark Whitacre is not whom he seems to be. I can't reveal any more without giving up too many plot points. It's kind of a weird movie to classify. Definitely not a date movie, and kids will be bored to tears, but I liked it. My wife didn't really although she was fascinated by the Matt Damon character. Damon is very good in this. One gimmick they use very well involves a voice over of Whitacre's conversation with himself in his head. He makes all sorts of astonishing statements, which often had nothing to do with what is actually happening.

And if you do see it, try to spot the cameo appearances of both the Smothers Brothers.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A hobby box of goodwins

It's retro card week here at Capewood's Collections. My box of Upper Deck Goodwin Champions arrived yesterday. Of course the two Phillies cards I bought separately and posted the other day were in the box. But I also got Ron Howard in the box.
I very much like the design of these cards. The graphics are bold and really grab your attention. The backs are kind of boring, however, but I generally don't base my card buying purchases on the design of the backs.
There are a number of veteran players represented. This Ted Williams is the best looking card of the veteran players.
There are also a lot of non-baseball player cards. Here is where I think this set starts to disappoint. Of course, Allen & Ginter has a lot of non-baseball cards as well. Goodwin's non-baseball cards are at least all sports cards like this Yamaguchi (if you consider figure skating a sport and many do).
I'm not a big basketball fan but managed to pull 3 basketball cards. In the A&G packs I bought this year, the non-baseball cards were about 1 in 8 cards. In the Goodwin packs the ratio was about 1 in 3. That's way too much, in my opinion, for a set which is supposed to be about baseball.
There was a mini card in each pack. I'm happy to get a Ken Griffey mini. It's sad that his career seems to be ending on a down note but I still collect him. On the subject of minis, here is another minus for the set. Topps has done the mini cards for years. It's not a new idea. It's an old stale idea. The set looks great but the minis are just not doing it for me. There are also black bordered minis. Where have I seen that idea before?
Well, here's something a bit different, a foil mini card. I got one of these. The card looks ok but I always have a problem with the application of new technology to a retro card set.
The box promised 3 "hits' per box. I got this Ryan Braun relic and a Manny Ramirez relic. The Manny card was in the first pack I opened. It also has a line of glue across the front of the card. Why is the relic cut-out an M? M for Memorabilia? Dumb.
My other hit was this Josh Willingham auto. The autos are on card which is a plus. I would have liked a better player.
I got one card from the "Citizens of the Day" insert set. There is also a "Citizens of the Century" insert but I didn't get one. This idea is also very A&G.
A Komodo Dragon! Notwithstanding that this is one cool animal, this is another card idea right from A&G. The card even looks like an A&G.

I also got 10 of the 20th anniversary cards. Boy do I hate them.

My final verdict: I love the base cards but there are too many non-baseball cards in the set. The relics and autos are OK (especially with on-card autos). There are also a bunch of them (93 autos and 98 relics) so the odds of a pull per pack seem pretty good. The minis and the other inserts - yawn.

2009 Tristar Obak

Tristar specializes in minor league players. This is a set of minor leaguers with a twist. It features famous players when they were minor leaguers on a retro card. I picked up 4 packs of this at WalMart over the weekend. 4 full sized-cards and a mini-parallel per pack for $2.97. The cards are very attractive and I think I'll buy some more.
In addition to the mini parallels, there are red, green, and purple parallels. As near as I can tell, the parallels have different color printing below the picture on the front. I didn't get any. There are also autograph cards.
This, of course, is Dale Murphy, later of the Braves and Phillies (and Rockies for that matter).
Brooks Robinson (I'd rather have that other great third baseman, Mike Schmidt, but he doesn't seem to be in this set).
When I started collecting cards in the mid-1980s nobody was hotter than Vince Coleman. I still collect his cards when I come across one. This picture really looks like it's from later in his career when he was with the Cardinals.
This is Virne Beatrice "Jackie" Mitchell. There is a subset called "Game Changers". Jackie is a Game Changer because, according to the back of the card she is the first woman to sign a pro baseball contract. She signed with the minor league Chattanooga Lookouts in 1931 and struck out Ruth and Gehrig in an exhibition game. A few days later baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis voided her contract and declared women unfit to play baseball as the game was "too strenuous".
This is Stan Musial on one of the Mini T212 parallels. They also come in red, green and purple flavors.
I also got this Ted Williams card with an alternate back.
I don't know how many cards have variants but the Williams card has 5.

Monday, September 21, 2009

My First Upper Deck Goodwin Champions

I have a hobby box of this on order from an eBay seller and I should get it soon. But I saw a couple of Phillies for sale and had to have them. The first is #43, Cole Hamels. It has the World Series trophy on the card. I'm happy that for the first (and who knows, maybe the last) issue of Upper Deck Goodwin Champions, the Phillies were the World Champions.The second card I bought is #15, Richie Allen.

I include the back of the Allen card so you can see what they look like. The cards are printed on gray card stock and the backs are pretty plain. I also included the back of the Allen card to complain a bit. Many bloggers have complained about the sloppiness of Upper Deck over the past few years. This card has two examples. The card presents Allen's 1966 stats with the Phillies. He is identified as Dick Allen. Maybe this is picky but when Allen played in Philadelphia he was known as Richie Allen. He only became Dick Allen when he went to the White Sox. The other complaint is the Phillies logo on the back. The logo pictured is the Phillies logo from the 1970s and 1980s. In 1966, the Phillies had a very similar logo as today's which you can see on the front of the card. Picky maybe, but I say sloppy.

Otherwise I like the cards and can't wait for my box to arrive.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

2001 Bowman Heritage 1948 Bowman Reprints

When I was at my new favorite card store the other week also picked up this set. 13 cards in the set for $1.00. The cards are not real attractive but they are reprints of a set which wasn't real attractive in the first place. Topps made several decisions about this set, some of which I don't understand.

1. The cards are the same size as the originals, 2 1/16 by 2 1/2.
2. has images for all 48 of the cards in the original set. The pictures on the reprint set appear to be cropped differently on some of the cards.
3. The original cards were numbered 1-48. The reprint set carries the original numbers (with one exception) but in the fine print at the bottom of the card the reprints are numbered 1-13.
4. There are 2 cards in the reprint set which appear to have the same number, 4, as in the original set. These are Johnny Mize and Allie Reynolds. In the original set, Allie Reynolds is #14.
5. The cards in the reprint set are in a different order than the original set. So card #1 in the reprint set is #3 in the original and #3 in the reprint set is #47 in the reprints.

So anyway, here are a few of the cards.
Ralph Kiner

Johnny Mize

Johnny Mize with relic
There was also a parallel relic set with pieces of seats from the stadiums the players played in. I already had this Johnny Mize card.

Bobby Thomson

I looked on eBay to see what these cards were going for and I probably got a good deal. On eBay, you'll pay about $1 a piece for these cards.

While I was on eBay I found an autographed version of the Robby Thomson card, which I bought. After I got it I realized that it is not an official Topps Autograph card. There were only 2 autographed 1948 Bowman Reprints issued and neither of them were Bobby Thomson. I had an email out to the seller to see what he says about this. It will probably be the subject of another post next week.

Song of the Week - If I Had A Hammer by Peter, Paul and Mary

Since Mary Travers just passed away this week, I guess a Peter, Paul and Mary song is an obvious choice for Song of the Week. There are a number of songs by them available on YouTube but I finally settled on this one. This is probably the first Peter, Paul and Mary song I ever heard. It came out in 1963 when I was 11 years old and it had a big effect on me at the time. Even today I get chills when I hear it. The song was written in 1949 by Pete Seeger and Lee Hays which means this year is the 60th anniversary of the song. I think today, more than ever, we need a hammer of justice, a bell of freedom and a song about the love between my brothers and my sisters all over this land.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

1987 Fleer Record Setters

While I was at the baseball card store last week I also bought a pack of 1987 Fleer Record Setters. This was a 44-card set produced by Fleer for the Ekcerd Drug Store chain. There were a number of these sorts of sets in the 1980s, mainly produced by Topps and Fleer. Off the top of my head I can think of sets made for Woolworth's, Ames Hardware Stores, Rite-Aid, and K-Mart.

A set called Record Setters makes me think that there should be a lot of good players in the set. Most records are set by good players. I'm really only looking at offensive records. So let's see what we have here.

Off to a good start with George Brett, although that may be more of a function that the cards are in alphabetical order. Brett was a great player and is in the Hall of Fame but as near as I can tell he holds no career or single season records.

#2 Chris Brown (Giants) - no records
#3 Jose Canseco - no records
#4 Roger Clemens. He currently holds the record for most Cy Young Awards with 7 but he only had 1 going into the 1987 season

#5 Alvin Davis (Mariners) - No records

#6 Shawon Dunston (Cubs) - No records

#7 Tony Fernandez (Blue Jays) - No records
#8 Carlton Fisk. Another future Hall of Famer, but no records. Those uniforms were really unattractive (meaning ugly).

#9 Gary Gaetti (Twins) - No records

#10 Gene Garber (Braves) - No records

#11 Rich Gedman (Red Sox) - No records (not even close)
#12 Dwight Gooden. In 1987 he was probably considered a likely candidate for the Hall of Fame but it didn't work out that way

#13 Ozzie Guillen (White Sox). 1985 Rookie of the Year and 2005 Manager of the Year but no records.

#14 Bill Gullickson (Reds) - No records

#15 Billy Hatcher (Astros) - No records
#16 Orel Hershiser. Another great player, but no records.

#17 Wally Joyner (Angels). He appeared in the All-Star game in his rookie season in 1986 but it was his only appearance. No records.

#18 Ray Knight (Mets) - No records

#19 Craig Lefferts (Giants) - No records
#20 Don Mattingly. Donny was a good player but never set any records and is unlikely to get into the Hall of Fame. This set does not feature a lot of great photography and this is one of the worst. It looks like he was sleeping off a bender in the dugout before the picture was taken.

#21 Kevin Mitchell (Mets). Kevin hadn't done too much by 1987. He'll have have a good year in 1989 but no records.

#22 Lloyd Moseby (Blue Jays). He was an All-Star in 1986 but I see no justification to include him in this set.
#23 Dale Murphy. A popular player and all-round nice guy, but no records.
#24 Eddie Murray. A great player and Hall of Famer but no records.
#25 Phil Niekro. Another Hall of Famer but no records. 1987 was Phil's last playing year.

#26 Ben Oglivie (Brewers). Ben retired after the 1986 season after a 16-year career but no records.

#27 Jesse Orosco (Mets) - No records

#28 Joe Orsulak (Pirates). Another future manager but no records.

#29 Larry Parrish (Rangers) - No records
#30 Tim Raines. 5th in career stolen bases but no records.

#31 Shane Reynolds (Phillies). Please don't make me laugh

#32 Dave Righetti (Yankees). We have a winner. Dave got 46 saves in 1986, which at the time set a single season record.
#33 Pete Rose. The biggest record breaker in the box. In 1987 Pete held the all time career records for at bats, plate appearances, hits, singles, times on base and outs made. And he still holds those records.

#34 Steve Sax - No records
#35 Mike Schmidt. Mike was a shoo in for the Hall of Fame but the only record I can find for him is single season salary in 1985 of $2,130,300. Sounds quaint today but it was a record in 1985.

#36 Mike Scot (Astros) - No records
#37 Don Sutton. The 5th Future Hall of Famer in the set but no records.

#38 Alan Trammell (Tigers) - No records
#39 John Tudor. A great career but no records

#40 Gary Ward (Rangers) - No records

#41 Lou Whitaker (Tigers) - No records

#42 Willie Wilson (Royals) - No records

#43 Todd Worrell (Cardinals). 1986 Rookie of the Year but no records

#4 Floyd Youmans (Expos). I guess they had to include someone else from the Expos.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Another Fistfull of Bagwells

I've been complaining almost since I started this blog about the lack of baseball card stores in the Houston area. There are no stores within easy driving from my house. I've known about a store over on the west side of town but never got over there. Well, now I work over near there so I stopped in the store today. Pretty nice. Having nothing in mind, I went through his Bagwell's and pulled these 9 cards out. I paid about what I would expect to pay for Bagwell cards in the Houston area. I'd have bought more if I had known he was going to cut the price in half when I paid. The store is the Houston Sports Connection. Here's what I got.

1992 Donruss McDonald's MVPThese cards were available from McDonald's Restaurants in Ontario Canada. They look very much like the regular issue 1992 Donruss. The photo on the front is different from the Donruss card but the photo on the back is the same.

1992 Upper Deck Home Run Heroes
I didn't have any of these. This 26 card set was inserted 1 per low number jumbo pack.

1992 MooTown Snackers
These cards were found in Sargento Cheese products. They were produced by Michael Schechter Associates who made a lot of these kinds of cards in the early 1990s. MSA had a license from the Player's Association but not with MLB so no logos. There is a facsimile signature on the pack justifying the "Signature Series" designation. The cards has a perforated attachment which has a checklist and a mail-in offer. You could get the whole set for $6.95 and three UPCs from Sargento products. The 2007 Sports Digest catalog lists the set at $7.50. Not much of a return on investment. Here is the checklist.
This is a great checklist as far as I'm concerned. In 1992 I was collecting all of these players with the exception of Felix Jose and Kevin Mass (did anyone collect Kevin Maas?). I still collect these players except I've dropped Jose Rijo.

I now have 32 1992 Jeff Bagwell cards. According to Beckett there are 106 Bagwell cards for 1992. I seem to have all the major releases.

1997 Ultra Top 30
This was a 30-cards insert in 1997 Ultra, one per Series 2 packs. I already had the Ryne Sandberg and Roberto Alomar.

1998 Leaf Rookies and Stars
This was a 339-card set featuring, well, you figure it out.

1998 Metal Universe Universal Language
A 20-card insert set to Metal Universe inserted 1:6 packs. I had the Nomar Garciaparra. The cards have no finish with some gold foil. They are also die cut. Nice looking cards actually.

1998 Sports Illustrated
This is the Legends of Today subset. I have exactly 19 cards from the 1998 Sports Illustrated set but have managed to collect cards from 5 of the subsets. This is one I didn't have

2000 UD Ionix Shockwave
Upper Deck UD Ionix was only issued in 1999 and 2000. It is a weird set. The graphics are strange and it has a funny coating. The coating is refractive (although you can't see it in this scan) and is soft so the cards feel sort of sticky. The 2000 set had a couple of interesting insert sets. This isn't one of them.