Sunday, February 22, 2015

SOng of the Week - Walking Wounded by Everything But The Girl

Everything But The Girl was a duo which started in 1982. The pair, Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt, later married and now have three kids.

Between 1982 and 1999, they released 11 albums. They are currently inactive. I didn't become familiar with them until their later albums, "Amplified Heart" (1994) and "Walking Wounded" (1996).

Friday, February 20, 2015

2009 Finest Autographed Letter Patch Angel Salome

Here's a card I picked up in 2013 which I'm surprised I didn't make a post about when I got it.

This is the kind of card I'd never be lucky enough to pull out of a pack. I paid $2 for it at a local card show.

As I understand the way this sort of thing works, there would be a card for each letter in the player's name. This card is numbered to 218. So I guess there are 218 cards for each of the letters. That would add up to 2,180 cards. This is a player I never heard of and I had a hard time finding him in because Topps spelled his name wrong. His last name is Salome, not Solome. You'd think, for a series of cards like this, they'd want to get the guy's name right.

Mr. Salome never had much of a career. He appeared in 3 games for the Brewers in September 2008 as a pinch hitter and went 0-3 with one strikeout.

My guess is that he spent more time signing all these cards than his whole major league career lasted. According to the back of the card, a Topps representative watched him sign every card.

He played in the minors until 2009, mainly as a catcher. He hit for a good average and had some home runs in his bat, but he spent most of his career at AA or lower.

Which is probably why I got the card for $2. A search on eBay found two Os for $11.97. I decided to pass.

Monday, February 16, 2015

2005 UD Mini Jersey Collection

I was looking at some of my reference cards and came across cards from this set which I've never posted before.

I bought one pack of this product for $7.00. The pack had 3 cards and a surprise.  First the cards.

2005 UD Mini Jersey Collection Greg Maddux #16
After 11 years with the Braves, Maddux went back to the Cubs, the team he started his career with, in 2004. The card front is attractive with a full bleed photo although there's a bit too much ornamentation on the bottom of the card. Not too much foil, just the Upper Deck logo and a small team logo seal above the player's name.   The back has 5 years of player stats and a little career information. The set has 100 cards and the first 70 are of this style.

2005 UD Mini Jersey Collection Jason Schmidt #84
This is the "Jersey Evolution" subset, cards 71-75. has a scan of most of the cards from the set. Looking at a few of them I'd say these a photos mostly taken at games featuring old-time uniforms.  For the longest time I had now idea which player was on this card. I finally figured out it was Jason Schmidt.

2005 UD Mini Jersey Collection Stan Musial #98
This another subset "Midsummer Classic Moments". These are the last 15 cards of the set. I did pretty good with this pack, getting one each of the three types of cards in it. The whole pack ended up in my Reference Binder.

2005 UD Mini Jersey Collection Jersey Ken Griffey Jr.
It's a mini jersey! The jersey is about as tall as a regular baseball card. It has actual snaps on the front so you can use it to dress your Ken doll (although it might be a bit large). It's really nicely made. I have this displayed on a small frame along with other baseball stuff that doesn't easily fit into an album sleeve. There are 50 of these, with 6 of them being autographed and available through mail exchange. Most feature current players, 9 feature Legends.

The individual cards are pretty available on eBay for about 1-2 bucks. I only saw 3 of the mini-jerseys, Griffey (3 of them), Chipper Jones and Ichiro.  They're going for 8-10 bucks.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Song of the Wek - The Milk of Human Kindness by Procol Harum

When Procol Harum was active in the late 1960's and early 1970's they were my favorite band. And "A Salty Dog" is probably their best album.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Movie Review - Jupiter Ascending

My daughter and I decided to see this movie even after reading the terrible reviews. I said it can't be as bad as "Sucker Punch". I'm happy to say it is not as bad as "Sucker Punch". It's not even as bad as the reviews we've read.

If you hadn't seen any of the trailers, and you saw the poster above, you'd think "I know why the movie is called Jupiter Ascending. But you'd be wrong. Mila Kunis plays Jupiter Jones, and even though she cleans toilets for a living, she's actually the Queen of the Universe. The movie is about her ascending to the throne. Sort of.

The plot of the movie is pretty simple in a complicated sort way. The Earth isn't the home of humanity. Humans have been around for at least a billion years and have apparently populated the universe by seeding every plant they could with human genes. Our lovely Ms Jones is the exact genetic match for the last Queen of the Universe (dead for who knows how long). By law, that makes Jupiter the new Queen of the Universe. But the last Queen of the Universe had 3 children who inherited everything she owned (which was apparently everything). But she left a codicil to her will, leaving everything to her genetic match, should such ever be found. The three siblings all have different reasons for finding Jupiter, mainly to get control of everything.

Channing Tatum plays Caine Wise, he's a human with some sort of wolf genes spliced into him. As a result he has Mr. Spock ears and can sniff out genetic material across interstellar space. My daughter simply referred to him as "Dog Boy". He's sent to Earth to find Jupiter. Sean Bean is another "splice", named Stinger Apini (I am not making this up) only he's apparently got bee genes. This gives him the ability to live in a house full of bees. He's on Earth for some reason and Dog Boy needs his help. Dog Boy shows up at the bee house with Jupiter. The two of them immediately get into a knock-down drag-out fight for some reason. During this fight, Stinger's daughter shows up, introduces herself to Jupiter, says she's going to the store to get some food for dinner and we never see her again. Which is a symptom of this movie. It has more non-developed ideas then any movie I can think of.

I said that the movie isn't as bad as the reviews. That doesn't actually make it a good movie. There are parts of the movie that are great. The spaceships are fabulous. The special effects (and at least 50% of the movie is special effects) are good. About 95% of the movie has CG backgrounds which are also great. And it was fun. But don't think about it too much. As my daughter said, "The more you think about this movie, the less you want to think about it".

Here are some problems:

There is a lot of fighting in the movie: Dog Boy against various aliens (some of which can disappear while fighting), Dog Boy against alien fighter craft (did I mention that Dog Boy has way cool rocket boots?), spaceships against other space ships, Dog Boy against the crocodile aliens (who stand on two legs, have long tails and wear trench coats), etc. These fights aren't quite as confusing as the fights in the Transformer movies, but nearly so. As such they get tedious. A lot of things blow up as well.

Mila Kunis spends a lot of time falling. And speaking inane dialog.

Most of the main characters seem to have British accents.

You get the impression that there may be millions of planets full of humans. It's completely unexplained why everyone thought the future Queen was on Earth.

My daughter and I did enjoy it and spent the next hour after the movie trying to figure out what was going on. We like doing that sort of thing.

You may have heard that there is a Terry Gilliam 'tribute' in the middle of the film, complete with Terry Gilliam. This is one of the ideas The Wachowskis could have forgotten about.

Monday, February 9, 2015

2015 Topps - Third Pack

This will be the last pack-by-pack post. I also bought a rack box, and on Friday I got a blaster. Later in the week I'll pose anything interesting from those.

This is the first card of this guy I've seen. He made is major league debut late in 2014.

I had noticed, but hadn't pain much attention that the border pattern extends into the photo on the bottom of the cards. On the horizontal cards, th border extends too much into the photo.  And what is it with these camo jerseys? I don't get it.

Checklist/season highlight card. And a little product placement for ESPN.

This is the third Marlins card I've pulled vs no Phillies or Astros.

One of the 10-card "The Jackie Robinson Story" insert.

Two bearded-player cards in a row. What percentage of current players sport facial hair do you suppose?

Two Mets in a row, which makes this the third Met card in 3 packs. 20% of the cards so far have been either a Met or a Marlin.  Not a good trend.

The only fielding play in the pack. And pretty much the most boring photo in the 3 packs so far.

Friday, February 6, 2015

2015 Topps - Second pack

The second of three packs I bought a few days ago. The good news, no dups!

One thing I forgot to mention yesterday is that the cards are cheaper than they've been since 2009. The past few years I've been paying about 20 cents/card for retail. In 2010 and 2011, Topps was going at 26 cents/card, which was quite a price hike from 2009 (the last year Topps had any serious competition) when the price was 17 cents/card. The cards I bought so far this year have been about 16 cents/card.

The first base running card. Good photo in a horizontal card.

The first League Leaders card. Kluber, Scherzer and Weaver all won 18 games last year.

The first parallel card I pulled. Topps Gold features gold foil this year, on the upper part of the border, the players name, the Topps logo and those mystifying little circles. It's also the first World Series subset card I pulled.

This is from the 30-card insert "Baseball History". The cards come in pairs. The 12A card is the Space Shuttle Columbia. The connection may be that the shuttle was first launched in 1981. The connection between the other cards in the set isn't as clear.

 This is a 15-card insert set featuring people other than a President throwing out a ceremonial first pitch. I hope I'm as spry as Ms McKee when I'm 105.

The man with perhaps the longest last name in the history of baseball. Topps had to reduce the font size on the front and back to fit his name on the card.

The "Future Stars" subset is back. Silver foil is used for the lettering.

I also got this in the pack which caused the alarm to go off as I was leaving the store. I was immediately surrounded by the crack Target security staff and hustled off to a small room...

Actually, nothing happened, which is usually happens when the alarm goes off. And as usual, I completely ignored it and walked calmly to my car.