Thursday, July 20, 2017

Ranting & Raving: O.J. Simpson, Linkin Park, and More

Sometimes I just want to convey my thoughts, and right now is one of those times, so its time for me to do a semi-regular commentary.

Let's start with the sad and unfortunate news of the passing of Chester Bennington of Linkin Park.  He hung himself earlier today, on what would have been Chris Cornell's birthday.  I wasn't aware of this until I read it, but Chester and Chris were real good friends, and Bennington had thoughts of suicide previously.  While this hasn't hit me as hard as Cornell's death, its still tragic and needs to serve as a wake up call to everyone who knows someone who is depressed or has suicidal thoughts to check up on them.  I don't know what was going through Mr. Bennington's head since the passing of his friend Chris, but I heard he did leave a wife and six kids behind, and was loved by many more fans.

Linkin Park started to make noise around the time I was graduating high school, and I was reminded today that their song One Step Closer is almost 20 years old.  It's hard to fathom that in a few more years that the music I graduated to will be considered classic rock (it already has been by some).  I enjoyed a lot of Linkin Park's music, but I don't think I ever owned one of their albums.  In the next few days I will probably find a playlist of a lot of their songs on Youtube and check them out again.  I really haven't heard much from them in recent years, but they always seemed like a band that could come out with a hit song at any time.  R.I.P. Chester Bennington.

On any other day, that would probably be the top story nationally, but it will be overshadowed by something else.  In fact I found out about this while waiting for the big story to develop.  The bigger story is of course O.J. Simpson.

On the surface, it really shouldn't be a big deal.  For those unaware, today was the parole hearing for O.J.  If things went well, he would be released from prison.  As it turns out, he was granted parole, but he won't be released until October 1st.  So, in a sense, it doesn't really matter what happens today, but October 1st.  I don't get why it takes 2 and a half months for him to get released, but you can breathe a sigh of relief if you R.S.V.P.'ed to go to the Pumpkin Carving Party at O.J.'s this year.

I'm really not that conflicted on this to be honest.  In years past, I would have said, FRY HIM.... okay, maybe not, but I would have been fine if he was denied parole.  However I have mellowed a bit in recent years.  Here's the thing a lot of people forget, he's not in jail for murder.  So in a sense, I don't get the lynch mob that wants him to serve 33 years for trying to get back his stuff.  Of course there's much more to it than that, but still.  The hearing itself didn't really look good for O.J. to be honest.  He actually in my opinion almost talked himself back in prison, and his attorney didn't really help his cause.  However the guy that he committed these crimes against DID HELP O.J.  He actually testified on behalf of O.J. and made some valid points.  As the victim, he's been a longtime friend of O.J.'s and has forgiven him of the crime.  In addition, he even requested O.J. only serve 1-3 years for the crimes to begin with, and he doesn't really blame O.J. for what went down, but blames the other people with O.J. that night.

What I can't get past in this crime is if we are to believe the victim and O.J., Simpson never used a gun that night.  So why should he be charged for weapons charge?  Well, in some places, since O.J. was the "mastermind" he is essentially liable for all the other people in his party.  I guess that makes sense, but by all accounts, O.J. just wanted his stuff and the other people kind of went rogue and in business for themselves, so he shouldn't be held accountable for them.  The other point is all the other people have been given parole or released already so why is he the only one still in jail?  I guess if he is the ringleader then he should serve longer than the rest, but I still think it was a bit excessive.

Where I do have some trouble with all of this though is for what he isn't serving time for.  Yes, I'm talking about the double homicide.  After it happened and likely many years after I said O.J. didn't do it.  I was a kid, so I had no evidence, but I also couldn't believe a big time sports star and celebrity could do it, and hey, he wasn't convicted.  As the years went by and the more I read and saw, I can't say I 100% agree with it now.  My belief now is that he was involved, but I'm still not sure he actually did the killing.  I can believe he hired someone, or something else may have happened where he knows what happened.  If it came out tomorrow that he admits he did it though, I wouldn't be surprised.

With all that being said, that wasn't the reason he was in jail, so I don't think keeping him there for the murders is justified.  If he did do it, than year it sucks he isn't in jail for life, but its also unfair to pin him in jail to correct a mistake the court system made the first time.

Here's something else I have to think about though as a collector.  Do I want any O.J. memorabilia?  Should I be honoring a man that I think had a hand in a double homicide?  It's a question I often wonder as think of other athletes who I may collect.  I collect a lot of Mizzou athletes, but should I?  Aldon Smith and Sheldon Richardson seem to get in trouble with the law on a consistent basis.  Should I be honoring them by collecting their cards?  I've already purged cards of former Chiefs Running Back Larry Johnson (I groan even as I type his name), and if former Mizzou Running Back Derrick Washington had cards, I wouldn't likely be trying to get my hands on them.  At what point is it okay to collect cards of a person who has done something less than honorable?  Also, would I be collecting because of their criminal fame, or the athletic ability?  Would/Should it even matter?  These are things I have to ponder.

I don't own any O.J. Simpson cards, but I'm not sure if I ever would if I found one at a good price.  I admit I looked on COMC last night just to see what some are going for, but I had no intention to buy one.  However as collector's are we also collecting history?  Sometimes I show my nephews or other people some of my cards, and I tell them stories about those players or something that reminds me of them.  I am preserving the past, wouldn't have a card of Simpson keep that part of history alive?  I mean if you are buying a card second hand from COMC or ebay or a card show, its not like O.J. will be making money on that card.  On the flip side though, if his cards starts selling, wouldn't Topps or Panini want to offer him a contract to sign some cards to release?  Its a vicious circle that I have to decide if I want to be a part of.  In the end, if I end up with one of his cards, I won't be upset, but I'm also not seeking them out either.  It could be a good talking point for future generations.

How soon will O.J. start attending card signing after he's released?  Would you go to any of them?  I mean in his shoes, I would book as many of those as I can, though as a collector, I'm not sure I'd want to attend one.  Also would that look good on the dealer to book O.J. Simpson for a signing?  Again, I can see both sides, but not sure I'd want to be involved.  Though again, he was found not guilty so if he really didn't do it, why should he be punished for it?

So let's switch gears a little bit.  Last week I got an email I was hoping for, it was from Netflix.  It was for a one month free trial, and I took it.  I've been waiting so I could watch the new season of Orange is the New Black.  After I signed up, I binge watched it, and let me say, I'm pretty disappointed.  I'll try not to spoil much, but the time span of the season is three or four days and it involves a prison riot.  Without saying much more, I thought a lot of the season dragged, and instead of 13 episodes, it could have been done in 5.  It's almost like they forgot about some of the characters for 2-3 episodes then remembered to use them again.  Some just disappeared then showed back up, and well, I don't know.  I hope next year is much better.

Since I finished up that show, I am waiting for Ozark to be released with Jason Bateman.  I'm not sure what to expect, but I hope its good.  After that there isn't a whole lot for me to watch but reruns of shows I like such as Burn Notice, Hawaii Five-O, Blue Bloods, Leverage, and Limitless.  I added a few others I may check out too and will try to watch as much Crossing Jordan as possible in the next couple weeks as I can.  I got caught up on The Ranch, and while I really liked the first 10 episodes, I feel like they've started to stray from the original idea a bit.  It's still good, but its not must watch anymore.  I will say this though, after trying out Hulu earlier this year, I think it is much better than Netflix, and I could see myself using it a lot more.

Yesterday I was on twitter and I saw Shane McMahon's name trending.  At first I didn't think much of it because it was the day after Smackdown aired, and sometimes WWE stuff trends a while longer.  However, I was curious so I clicked on it.  To my surprise I read he survived a helicopter crash in the Atlantic Ocean.  I didn't appear to be too bad, but it still was really interesting.  I've always liked Shane, and due to his daredevil ring style, many were quick to make jokes about it.  "Of course he survives a plane crash".... "Shane's bumps are starting to get out of hand"...

The truth is, I almost missed out on the entire story for a couple reasons.  First, if I didn't click on it, I wouldn't have heard about it.  There seemed to be no press coverage of it outside of the New York market where it happened.  At first I thought, so what, he survived, no big deal.  But then I thought more and one of the reports made me realize something.  Not only is he the son of WWE owner Vince McMahon, his mom Linda is one of Donald Trump's cabinet members.  I would think it would merit a little more coverage than it got, but oh well.

The other reason I almost missed out was because after the WWE Money In The Bank PPV in June, I've more or less cut off wrestling.  I watched maybe 20 minutes of it since, and check out my favorite wrestling site maybe twice a week, down for maybe 5-10 times a day.  For years I've said I needed a reason to stop watching, and now is the time.  The PPV was the last day I had a free trial to the WWE Network, and combine that with storylines I don't care about, it was the best chance for a clean break.  I'm not saying I'm never watching again, but maybe a few months off is what I need.  When I had the network I only watched the old WCW stuff anyways, so its not like I watched much modern stuff (aside from 205 Live).  Without the Network, I could watch Raw, Smackdown, and ROH, but I just don't feel like it.  Its to a point that my interest in checking out the new Netflix series GLOW is waning each day.  Its on my list, but I just can't get motivated to watch it.

Well, I think I've ranted and raved long enough.  Sorry it was so long, I just wanted to clear my head again.  It felt good, and also makes me excited to write two days in a row.  I've been working on sorting some cards, and have a lot to scan, and even more to post, so hopefully I'll be blogging more soon.  Before I go, one more thing on O.J.  He said when he gets out he could find all kinds of stuff to do, one of which is he could start blogging.  I so want that to happen.  Just think if he wrote about collecting.  That would be awesome, he would kill at it.... um.. wrong choice of words.

Anyways thanks for reading and have a great night.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Savvy Shopping and a Surprise

Its been a while since I've been to my local second hand store, Savvy Seconds.  I am hoping to go sometime soon, but I realized I haven't posted my last few trips there.  Part of the reason is because I've struck out a lot, and the other is because I haven't blogged much.  I thought today I would post my most recent trip, probably a month or so ago.  Before I do I thought I'd show a card my good friend gave me a while back.

Yeah today's post is all photos so maybe I should have waited to scan them but oh well.  My friend collects every Mizzou football player he can, and had an extra Charles Harris rookie, so he gave it to me.  I've neglected my Mizzou collection lately, but this is a fine addition.  Once I declutter a bit I hope to work on adding more.  Harris could be a big name in the NFL, and I think he's very underrated.  He might have been the only Mizzou player to get a card this year, but I have my eye on a couple other players who played in the state, one of them is Garret Fugate.  I'm watching his autographed card on COMC as we speak, and might pull the trigger soon.

So with that out of the way, what did I find at Savvy's?  Good question, let's take a gander.

Book deals are there every time I go, and usually you find a lot of worthwhile finds, at least my mom does, but we usually fall a book or two short, so I grab a couple random ones that I have a slight interest in.  This was one of those books.  Since I've gotten it, I've actually passed it off to my cousin who was a big fan of the show, so I figured she'd have more use from it than I would.

This CD I've also passed on, this time to my friend who gave me the Charles Harris card.  Hey, it can't be worse than those Kids Bop CD's right?  Well.... country-fied version of kids songs isn't up my alley, so I can't say, but he has a couple small kids, and he owns a John Deere, so I think its better suited for them.  He says the kids like it, so there's that.  Now if Sears made a Craftsman CD then I'd be all over that.  However, I think at most it would be an EP and two of those songs would be about bankruptcy or selling the Craftsman name to a rival, so I'm not sure how much I'd enjoy that.

So let's get into items I DID KEEP!

One thing being a Royals fan is how much I hate the Detroit Tigers.  I hate them so much because they have so many guys that I like or have liked in the past.  Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker, Kirk Gibson (at least he became a Royal), Jack Morris, to even more current guys like Max Scherzer (now in DC), and this guy... Justin Verlander.  I've been a Verlander fan since day one, even though he has KC's number.  He appears to be slowing down a bit, but he's still a guy I'd love for the Royals to get if it came at the right price.  However, this plastic sign/poster did come at the right price, so I snagged it up.  Sure I don't really have a place to display it now, but maybe one day I'll have a spot.  Oh plus I'm a bit jealous of him because he's with Kate Upton.... there's that too.

This came out of left field.  I have no idea how many card collector's there are in the area, but even if there are a few, I'm surprised to find a Beckett book from 2011, especially from Football.  If it was from the 90's or something, I would understand, but if there are many collector's around here, they appear to be in hiding.  I also am a bit surprised because if I saw this, I was hoping to at least find some cards for sale nearby too, but there were none.  I haven't really looked at the book yet, but I hope to sometime soon.  I'm a bit curious to see some of the prices in here.

I also have a question for those who visit Trading Card Database.  Should this book be included in the Publications section?  I have really only seen the monthly price guides on there, so I'm not sure an actual book should be on there.  While I'm at it, should the old Red Foley books be in that section too?  I mean cards were inserted, but it wasn't really a price guide.  Maybe I should ask that question on the Database.

Ok, last picture, and its a two-fer.

I was quite happy to find these two CD's while looking around last time.  I always say I should start listening to Christian music again, but never do.  These are a couple CD's that I've always wanted to check out, but never have.  I remember the old Time Life commercials for the Songs 4 Life series that came on TV in the late 90's.  It has one of my favorite Christian songs ever on it- El Shaddai from Amy Grant.  It is a 2 CD set, and it still was only 50 cents.  As for the Rich Mullins CD, I was happy to find it after watching the movie Ragamuffin a year or two ago and became more interested in his story.  Rich wrote one of the biggest Christian songs ever, Awesome God, and had a very interesting life.  He died way too early, and sometimes I'm curious what would have happened if he didn't.  However, I listened to this CD some, and wasn't quite entertained by it.  It also came with a DVD, but I haven't checked it out yet.

So overall I have to say it was a fun trip to Savvy Seconds, and I hope to go again soon, and find more deals.  That will wrap it up for today, thanks for reading and have a great night.  If its hot like it is here, stay cool this week, as I'm hearing triple digit temperatures around here for a few days, and I will find ways to stay cool.  Thankfully I have Netflix, and Ozark is about to be released soon on there, so I'll stay busy.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Worth The Risk?

I was at my local convenience store a few weeks ago and found a new card product there.  It didn't have a price on it, but I wanted to try it out (it was a day I came up empty after a Walmart visit).  So I tried my luck and it was 12 or 13 bucks.  Here's what I got, and heads up, not a lot of typing today, as I don't feel good and might try to sleep soon, but here we go.

I figured 4 packs were about 8-12 bucks alone, so depending on the autograph card, I would break even.  I didn't expect a good autograph to be honest, but at least good enough to be happy.

I admit, its not a bad autograph card, but I was extremely disappointed with how it was packed in the box.  It was just thrown in without even a penny sleeve to protect it.  so depending on how the boxes were handled, it could have been totally damaged before anyone opened it.  It really was at that point I decided I wouldn't buy another box, unless I really needed a fix.  As for the packs, I was a bit surprised at the jumbo pack, but happy they were all 2016 packs, though I would have been happy with an Archives pack, but I can't complain about the packs included.

I'm not a fan of Gypsy Queen, but I think it was a really good pack.  I was happy with the A-Rod, and also pleased to get the deGrom, Jansen, and Kris Bryant cards.  So I was happy with what I got.

If I had my way, I'd discontinue either the Heritage or Archives line.  I'd use one of them, and use the Heritage cardstock, but the designs of the Archives.  I think they could even make it a slightly bigger set too, but not by much.  Anyways, as for these cards, I'm not too impressed with them, but I will say I like the Blue Jays and Diamondbacks caps.  Maybe one day I should get them at some point.  I have a Pirates one somewhere, and also a Giants one too.  Not to mention the Royals one I where proudly, and probably a Cardinals one that I have somewhere.

Will Smith, YES YES Y'ALL! Okay, I'm not that excited about it, but I did want to throw in a song reference there.   However, I was more than happy to pull the Yasiel Puig card.  I don't have many of him, but this one will go into my binder.  Lastly is an Athletics Rookies card, of a couple guys I don't know much about.  Its a nice card, but not a fan of the jersey Blair is wearing.  Oh well.

2016 Topps.  Not much more to say since I've blogged about it since they've come out.

More 2016 Topps, and again, not much to add.  Though I was happy to pull the Herrera card.  Also happy to pull the Darvish, MadBum, and the entire bottom row, especially the Kenny Griff card.  I don't have a lot of good ones from his Reds days.

The last scan has a Steven Wright card I was happy to pull.  I see his name trending on twitter a lot and usually assume its about the comedian, so getting a card of the player allows me to know a little more about the pitcher.  Also to remind me to listen to more of the comedian.  Finally the Jake Gyllenhaal card was a nice surprise because I bought one on COMC a few weeks earlier, but now I can try to resale it.  I figure at a loss, but either way I have the card now and don't need another.

Overall, I can't complain a lot about the packs, as it was worth the 10-12 bucks, as that's what the the packs sell for individually and are still fairly new, so it was okay.  The turnoffs for me though was I would expect a little more bang for my buck since they were still from last year.  Maybe another pack or maybe switch a Topps pack for an Archives pack, or something.  At least they weren't Triple Play packs.  The biggest complaint though is no protection for the autographed card.  I would be majorly disappointed to get an Aaron Judge autograph and it was dinged to hell.  At worst putting it in a penny sleeve inside a hard sleeve, but for that price maybe put it in a one touch.  The repacks I get at Walmart has many more packs for a buck or two more, but no guarantee of an autograph, but all include a one touch.  I like that risk a lot better.

So, in conclusion, this wasn't a bad box in a pinch, but I doubt I'll get another one.  So that wraps it up for tonight, thanks for reading, and have a great week.  It's supposed to be super hot here, so I don't I do much.  For now I think I'll take a Nyquil dream and cut my losses on the rest of the night.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Cleaning Up Folders

So since I haven't been posting a lot lately, I have sort of mixed up a lot of things and some scans aren't labeled and in folders like I would like them to be.  I also have a few other scans that I can combine, so I figured I would do that today.  Enough small talk, lets begin.

I haven't been to Dollar Tree as much lately, but when I have, options have been scarce.  Last time I went I saw a 30 pack but it was mixed sports, and I didn't really want it, but I had an itch so I got it.

I prefer to get mostly baseball in the pack, and about half was, so I'm okay with that.  Plus 30 cards for a buck is a good deal no matter what.  There is some good names in this pile, I was the happiest with the last 3 though.  The Kevin Appier card is a Royal so that makes me perk up immediately.  Add to the fact that I liked this design and its a bigger plus.  Its a shame what Upper Deck became, but I wish they were still a threat to Topps because I think if both had full licenses then it could be magical again.  Speaking of Topps, the Wade Davis card I was happy to get because I don't think I had it, and while I'm not actively seeking out all of Wader's cards, I do like adding them when I get the chance.  Lastly is a Tim Wallach that is from one of the 1980's Topps All Star sets.  I always like getting those cards whenever I can.  Again, not actively seeking them, but pulling them in a pack is a nice surprise.

I didn't scan every card in this pack, but I believe this is all the basketball cards in the pack.  I have to say that I was very happy with the ones I got.  Before I pretty much gave up on the NBA (with certain exceptions), I loved watching a lot of these guys.  I was happy to pull the Toni Kukoc card, and even more excited to get the Dikembe Mutumbo.  The Corbin and Christie cards aren't too shabby either.  In fact, I thought the Ultra set looked a lot better with the NBA cards then the MLB ones.  Love the 90s jersey on Laphonso Ellis.  I miss he old style jerseys and designs.  Overall I thought these were good cards to pull, my only slight complaint would be I would like to maybe see another newer card or two, but since I'm not into as much anymore I can live with it.  I would also just once like to pull some WNBA cards as well.  I wish I could find some of the older sets and packs but oh well.

First let's knock off the Mike Gallego card, its a good card, not sure why I included it, maybe just so I wouldn't waste much space.  I do like the Collector's Choice design, but not as much as their other sets.  Okay, let's talk football.  What an amazing lot of cards here.  I was never a Cowboys fan, but I did like Alvin Harper.  I thought he was underrated but did really well opposite Michael Irvin, much like Darryl Johnston played well opposite Emmitt Smith.  When I first got into football, Steve DeBerg was the Quarterback for the Chiefs, so while I'm sure I already have this card, I was happy to pull it again.  Another card I was happy to pull was the Herb Adderley card.  I'm pretty sure that photo is from Super Bowl I as it was against the Chiefs.  I can easily add it to my Chiefs collection by proxy, so it all works out.  The Trent Smith card isn't bad, but I didn't really like the design of the card.  Its a shame since I thought the Upper Deck MVP line was a good one, though by the late 90's each brand had so many different sets that it could have been shelved and I would have been okay with it.

Oh man, I love this Dan Marino card.  I loved the helmets and jerseys of the Dolphins too.  I even loved the 30 for 30 about Marino.  From Elway to Marino was a really nice one, and I recommend it to anyone.  Something I don't really recommend is the Scare Bears card that was in the pack.  Its a sticker, but still, its not something my collection needed, but still I have to admit it was interesting to pull.

Overall I think the pack was well worth the buck just for the Marino, Dikembe, and Appier cards.  The other cards were just an added bonus.

Speaking of bonus, at some point I scanned some cards and they were part of a box I bought.  I can't remember where the rest of the scans are, so I thought I would just post these two random scans, to clean up my folder a bit more.

I really love this Stars and Stripes set.  Thanks to these boxes I've bought, I've fell in love with a design I never saw before.  The highlight of the top row is obviously Kris Bryant, but I think all four of those cards were nice pulls.  On the bottom row I pulled a Carlos Rodon card from the Draft Picks set.  I don't care for all the chrome and such, but otherwise a fine card.  I also got a couple blue Topps cards.  I was happy to get the David Freese and will happily add it to my collection.  The Peralta isn't too bad either, but not really one I collect.  Same goes for the Evan Longoria, though I really like that Upper Class design.  I hope they keep doing that.  To be honest, I know Topps has plenty on their plate with all the other sets, but I would be okay with this having its own set, almost like the Studio cards from the 90s.

YES!  Another Pujols to add to the collection.  Change Pujols to Jeter or A-Rod and you can complete that sentence 3 times out of the 4 scans.  If you want an easy way to build an A-Rod collection, just get packs of these crappy Triple Play cards.  I pull almost one every other pack, and its usually one I don't have.

Let's get to the big reason to look at this scan though.  In the box I opened these cards from, I finally got a jersey card.  Well, its the second jersey card if you count the Triple Play one I pulled, but this is of an actual player.  I don't know a lot about Kyle Funkhouser, but I love this card.  It will proudly be on display once I dedicate a space to actually display my cards.  I have many I want to display, so I might rotate them out on occasion, but still this one will be included.

So I guess that will wrap it up for today.  I hope everyone had a fun and safe Independence Day, and hope everyone stays cool this summer.  I have scanned a lot of stuff lately so if I'm in the mood, I'll try to post them.  Thanks for reading and have a great week.