Friday, April 30, 2021

A-Z Music Challenge




Chris (The Collector) had a recent post where he listed his favorite bands/musicians starting with every letter of the alphabet. He then challenged others to submit their picks, and I'm more than up for the challenge. In addition to picking an artist, for each letter I'm also going to pick lyrics of theirs that just sticks in my head, as well as list anyone I've heard perform live for each letter.

A - Audioslave 

Chris Cornell is one of my favorite lead singers, and when he teamed up with Tom Morello and other members of Rage Against The Machine, I was hooked. Each album is a solid work of rock and roll.

Lyric: "I am not your blowing wind, I am the lightning" - I Am The Highway
Artists I've Heard Perform Live: Tori Amos

B - Barenaked Ladies

I've been a fan of BNL since their first album, and they've done nothing to dissuade my fandom. Their "Selfie Cam Jams" were some of the best Covid-related socially distancing music out there.
Lyric: "Like Kurosawa, I make mad films, 'kay, I don't make films, But if I did they'd have a Samurai" - One Week
Artists I've Heard Perform Live:  Barenaked Ladies, Blues Traveler

C - Jonathan Coulton

I'm betting most people haven't heard of him, but I heard him open up for another band listed later and have been a fan ever since. His songs are often catchy with a touch of dark humor.

Lyric: "All we want to do is eat your brains, we're not unreasonable, I mean no one's gonna eat your eyes" - RE: Your Brains
Artists I've Heard Perform Live: Jonathan Coulton, Cheap Trick, Cavo, Jerry Cantrell

D - Deep Purple

One of my dad's favorite bands, they became one of mine as well.

Lyric: "She's got loving like quicksand, Only took one touch of her hand" - Hush
Artists I've Heard Perform Live: Dave Matthews Band, Chris Daughtry, Days Of The New, Gavin DeGraw

E - Electric Light Orchestra

There wasn't a clear cut answer for me here, so I went with the musical genius of Jeff Lynne.
Lyrics: "Mr. Blue Sky please tell us why, You had to hide away for so long" - Mr. Blue Sky
Artists I've Heard Perform Live: none

F - Foo Fighters

Let's be honest people, did anyone really think the drummer would be the most talented member of Nirvana? This band has pumped out so much catchy rock anthems it was hard to pick a lyric.

Lyrics: "Send in your skeletons, Sing as their bones go marching in again" - The Pretender
Artists I've Heard Perform Live:  none 

G- Goo Goo Dolls

You may know The Goo Goo Dolls from their hits, but this Buffalo based group had more of a harder vibe before they hit it big. Don't let songs like "Iris" fool you, they can rock with the best of them.
Lyrics:  "We had a mountain, But took it for granted, We had a spaceship, But we couldn't land it" - Long Way Down 
Artists I've Heard Perform Live: Goo Goo Dolls, Lee Greenwood, Grant Lee Buffalo

H - Harvey Danger

These one-hit wonders created one of my all-time favorite songs of the 90's.

Lyrics: "Hear the voices in my head, I swear to God it sounds like they're snoring" - Flagpole Sitta
Artists I've Heard Perform Live: none

I - Incubus

A very underrated band, I can't help but sing along to "Drive" when it comes on the radio.
Lyrics: "If I were your appendages, I'd hold open your eyes so you would see, That all of us are heaven-sent, And there was never meant to be only one" - Meglomaniac
Artists I've Heard Perform Live: Indigo Girls, Billy Idol

J - Jet

Another underrated rock band.
Lyrics: "Well it's one, two, three, take my hand and come with me, Because you look so fine that I really wanna make you mine" - Are You Gonna Be My Girl
Artists I've Heard Perform Live: Tom Jones

K - B.B. King

I have an appreciation of blues music, and B.B. is a big reason why.

Lyrics: "I gave you seven children, And now you wanna give them back" - How Blue Can You Get
Artists I've Heard Perform Live: Lenny Kravitz, King Crimson

L - Led Zeplin

There's an unofficial rule in our house: When Led Zeplin is on, you don't change the station.
Lyrics:  "It was in the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair, But Gollum, and the evil one, Crept up and slipped away with her" - Ramble On
Artists I've Heard Perform Live: Letters to Cleo, Lisa Loeb

M - Metallica

I have a confession: I prefer the band's more polished work from the Black album onward to their early thrash days. 

Lyrics: "So close, no matter how far, It couldn't be much more from the heart, Forever trusting who we are, And nothing else matters" - Nothing Else Matters
Artists I've Heard Perform Live: Metallica, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Sarah McLaughlin

N - No Doubt

When I was in college, I played music at the college's local radio station. I remember playing No Doubt before they hit it big, and I always felt lucky to claim I was a fan before "Tragic Kingdom". 

Lyrics: "Now it's gone too deep, You wake me in my sleep, My dreams become nightmares,
'Cause you're ringing in my ears." - Spiderwebs
Artists I've Heard Perform Live: none

O - Oasis

"(What's The Story) Morning Glory"  is one of those albums I can play on repeat and listen to multiple times in succession.
Lyrics: "All your dreams are made, When you're chained to the mirror like the razor blade" - What's the Story Morning Glory
Artists I've Heard Perform Live: none

P - Tom Petty

From the Heartbreakers to his solo work and even including the Traveling Wilburys, Petty has been a constant source of great tracks.
Lyrics: "And I'll keep this world from draggin' me down, Gonna stand my ground" - Won't Back Down
Artists I've Heard Perform Live: none

Q - Queensryche

I was determined not to default to the super-group Queen for this one.
Lyrics:  "Wide awake you face the day, Your dream is over, Or has it just begun?" - Silent Lucidity
Artists I've Heard Perform Live: none

R - Rusted Root

This band had a huge following in Western NY during my college days, and I've seen them multiple times. 
Lyrics: "All I want is food and creative love." - Food And Creative Love
Artists I've Heard Perform Live: Rusted Root

S - Stone Temple Pilots

This letter was the hardest to narrow down, as there were just too many great groups out there. In the end I went with the always enjoyable STP.
Lyrics: "Does anybody know how the story really goes? Or do we all just hum along?" - Big Bang Baby
Artists I've Heard Perform Live: Smashing Pumpkins, Saigon Kick, Southern Culture On the Skids, Sponge

T - They Might be Giants

My favorite band, this was the easiest choice. I've seen them in concert 5 times.
Lyrics: "Everybody dies frustrated and sad, and that is beautiful" - Don't Let's Start
Artists I've Heard Perform Live: They Might Be Giants, Theory of A Deadman

U - Ugly Kid Joe

I don't really care for U2 - they're ok, they just don't do it for me. That left me with another one hit wonder from back in the day.
Lyrics:  "Surprise, Surprise, I'm comin' at ya' live, I sure as hell ain't Mickey Mouse, I'm a killer in disguise" - Madman
Artists I've Heard Perform Live: none

V - Veruca Salt

Nina Gordon and Louise Post are rock goddesses, and hearing them sing in person was the closest I'll ever get to two hot women fighting over me. 
Lyrics: "Way to go, way to flip off everyone, I steal your thunder then I try to bolt" - Volcano Girls
Artist I've Heard Perform Live: Veruca Salt, Violent Femmes

W - Weezer

I'm excited to hear their latest album when it comes out next month.
Lyrics: "What's with these homies dissin' my girl? Why do they gotta front?" - Buddy Holly
Artists I've Heard Perform Live: none


Everyone seems to be having trouble with this one. I'll admit, I'm not familiar with the band. They only earn favorite status because  They Might Be Giants wrote a song called "XTC Vs. Adam Ant". If XTC is good enough for them, they're good enough for me.

Lyrics: "XTC versus Adam Ant, I can't tell you why, Even the singer from Bow Wow Wow, Can't make up her mind" - XTC Vs Adam Ant (They Might Be Giants)
Artists I've Heard Perform Live:  none

Y - Weird Al Yankovic

I remember staying up late as a kid hoping to catch "Eat It" on a show called Friday Night Videos. He was the last artist I got to see in concert before Covid-19 shut everything down.
Lyrics: "Mashed potatoes can be your friend" - Dare To Be Stupid
Artists I've Heard Perform Live: Weird Al Yankovic

Z - Frank Zappa

Another artist I can attribute my fandom from my father, Zappa is on his own level of musical genius.
Lyrics: "The beat goes on and I'm so wrong" - Dancing Fool
Artists I've Heard Perform Live: none
So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed my choices, and we'll be back next time with our regularly scheduled sports card related content!

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Repack Haiku #202 (Steve Sax)

Stopped by Springfield cops
Don't know when to shut your mouth
Do you Saxy Boy?

1990 Donruss #2 Steve Sax (DK)

Thanks to the keen mind of Springfield police chief Clancy Wiggum, there are a lot fewer unsolved crimes in New York City...

Huh, would you look at that..this blog just hit the 4 year mark today....

Monday, April 26, 2021

First Impressions - 2021 Topps Heritage

To be honest, I had resigned myself to the idea that I wouldn't see any Topps Heritage on my store shelves. They've been barren for so long, with only the occasional scrap left behind. Imagine my surprise when I recently went and found more packs than I've seen in years! Both Series One and Topps Heritage were available. I must have hit that sweet spot after restock but before the demons who have been buying up packs arrived. In my giddiness I bought a box and two packs of Heritage, knowing full well that if I returned the next day they would be gone. With cards in hand, I opened the box and mentally notated my first thoughts and impressions:
#311 Miguel Castro

The first card honor goes to Miguel Castro and the single dread that cascades from under his cap. I've said before, when it comes to these tribute sets, I'm not a stickler for details like font size and color scheme. It does a decent job of giving us the overall feel of the original.
#244 Tim Anderson (IA)

Recreating the 1973 Topps set means recreating the In Action subset. We take action shots for granted now, but I can only imagine how the original subset stood out from a set full of poses and head shots.

#272 Miles Straw
#50 Joey Bart (IA)
#293 Bo Bichette
#170 Mike Trout (IA)
#76 Alec Mills
#312 Jesus Sanchez (IA)

One of the best things about this set is the recreation of all the different card backs the original set had. Your basic stats are fine, but it's nice to see other stuff too. Puzzles (I see you Hank Aaron!), So You're A Baseball Expert trivia, League Leaders through history, and Topps News headlines give us plenty of reason to flip our cards over.

#399 Kolten Wong
#41 Willson Contreras
#396 Yasmani Grandal
#222 Blake Treinen
#43 Jose Altuve
#328 Jonathan Schoop

Speaking of the backs, here's a traditional stat based one. Cartoons are always welcome, even if I can barely read anything
#317 Mike Minor
#119 Max Kepler
#273 Sandy Alcantara
#473 Colten Brewer (SP)

My first Red Sox card, and it's a short print! The baseball card gods smile upon me! (Seriously though Topps - Colten Brewer? You're short printing a run of the mill middle reliever?)

#GO-25 Roberto Clemente (The Great One insert)

Heritage honors the legacy of the great Roberto Clemente with his a whole insert set dedicated to him. I much prefer these single player inserts of legends rather than repeating the same handful of current players. This is a very cool card utilizing the statue, too.

#247 Justin Verlander
#329 Gregory Soto
#223 Adam Haseley
#171 Jackie Bradley Jr

Another Red Sox card, but something seems off...wait a minute! Where's the hedge? This isn't a proper card for a Red Sox player! It's almost like Topps knew he wouldn't be back. You knew, didn't you Topps?

#326 Jon Lester
#257 Jakob Junis
#299 Ronald Acuna Jr
#62 Martin Perez
#268 Kris Bubic (BPOTS)

Another popular insert from the original, I question who decided which players got the childhood photo treatment. Bubic hardly qualifies as a star, right? Was his mom one of the only few to read the letter Topps sent out and actually submit a photo?

#275 Aaron Nola
#166 Jorge Soler (IA)
#177 Keston Hiura
#124 Matt Chapman (IA)
#286 Ian Happ
#126 NickCastellanos (IA)
#88 2020 AL RBI Leaders (LL)

Overall, not a bad set. The abundance of short prints prevents me from getting overly excited about Heritage, but given the choice between this and Series 1, I'll buy this every time. (At least until I see something new shows up.)

Friday, April 23, 2021

These Two Lefties Are All Right!

Bob Gibson and Tom Seaver are forever linked in the history of baseball. Dominating right-handed starters who consistently mowed down all who dare stand against them. They are linked not only by their Hall of Fame careers, but also by a penchant for mischief. Both of these superstars tried to pass themselves off as left-handers on their Topps cards.

They almost got away with it too.

Back in 1967, both Seaver and Gibson posed for their photos wearing a left-handed pitcher's glove. Both of these photos made it as far as the proof sheet before they were discovered and ultimately removed. They were replaced with head shots on what would become the 1968 Topps set. This story was the basis for a couple of cards created by Cards That Never Were

These lost proofs were recreated for CTNW's latest set. To celebrate, he held a giveaway where commenters could win one of the two cards, if not both. In the end, he decided to generously give everyone a copy of both cards, and mine arrived this week!
I have to say, left handed or not, these shots are much better than the bland head shots they eventually used. I prefer these hands down! As always, the quality of these cards are fantastic, and the backs are equally impressive! Love that QR code!

You can purchase his latest set these cards and more through the web site, with individual cards available at eBay (Look for seller ctnwblog_8). You really should check out his work - especially his "Barrier Breakers" series featuring the first African American ballplayer for each club. 

Thanks for the cards!

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Repack Haiku #201 (Reggie Jefferson)

Argued with skipper
When left off playoff roster
Thought he earned his spot
1993 Select #330 Reggie Jefferson

He abruptly left the Red Sox when manager Jimy Williams told him he wasn't going to play. He explains what happened in this interesting interview on FanGraphs.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Time Travel Trading Update #52

This is an exciting update. History has been made - not once, but twice! I've got 5 trades to show off this month, and two of them are guaranteed to make you do a double-take. Let's dive in!
Our first trade comes courtesy from a blog reader named Ken. I showed off his first Time Travel Trade last month, and it didn't take him long to come back for a second trade. Thanks to him, there's more vintage (and a couple of vintage-inspired modern cards too).

Even after all this time, it still amazes me that I am trading for cards from the 50's and 60's on a regular basis. Before this project began, I don't think I ever traded away a card older than me. Now I'm sending out old cardboard every month. Unreal.
Over the past year, Brendan (The View From The Third Floor) has become one of my most frequent trading partners. This latest package from him was one that I'll never forget:
Your eyes do not deceive you - for the first time in Time Travel Trading history, there is a certified autograph in the stack. It's even serial numbered to just 800 copies! This opens up a potential Pandora's Box of possibilities. What kind of return can I possible expect for this card? Do I hold out for another auto? Do I expect a big return even though the player isn't a big name? I really don't know. We'll see when an offer comes in I guess. The other cards are welcome additions too. That grey blotch is actually  an oddball Chuck Knoblauch. Here's a better look at it:

US History enthusiasts, rejoice! Thanks to Jon (A Penny Sleeve For Your Thoughts), the first card of a former president has graced its way into our stack. I personally don't know much about these cards, although I remember seeing them before, a long time ago.

That sweet Robin Yount card found a new home with TCDB member Abraham, who passed along another 2021 card along with one of my favorite players:

It wouldn't be an update without a trade with Bo (Baseball Cards Come To Life!). He just keeps trading and trading - 14 Time Travel Trades so far by my count! This batch of cards includes some Bowman:

Some junk wax era goodness:

Football cards (Shout out to the original Goonie John Matuszak!):

Plus some vintage baseball of course!

I had an idea to wring some extra posts out the Time Travel Trading project. Last month I gave a detailed look at the trades that netted me the oldest card in the stack -  a nice Hurricane Warning card. Shortly after, Billy (Cardboard History) commented that he could trade me an older card for it. True to his blog name, Billy made history as well in the annals of Time Travel Trading with a card that hails from the 1800's!

Billy didn't have much info on this card, and it doesn't even show up in the TCDB! Fortunately, a little research led to a graded copy on eBay, letting me know this is a 1890 Sweet Caporal Actors & Actresses card of young silent film actress Frankie Raymond. I know I've said this before, only to be proven wrong time and again, but this card will probably reign as the oldest card in the stack forever. I can't fathom seeing an older card in my mailbox ever.

Thanks again Ken, Jon, Abraham, Bo and Billy! I'm so excited to be able to offer all these new cards. As always, this project is fueled by trades, so if you see something you like, all it takes is a card older than what I'm sending out! There's over 300 cards here - something for everyone!


The Time Travel Trade Stack:

2021 Topps
#274 Freddy Galvis

2020 Topps Heritage
#36 Kenley Jansen
#176 Dinelson Lamet
2017-1018 Pocket Schedule
Carolina Hurricanes

2017 Bowman
#12 Trea Turner
2013 Topps (football)
#30 Marshawn Lynch (AP) 
2010 Bowman - Prospects Black
#BP51 Chase D'Arnaud
#BP56 Rolando Gomez

2010 Bowman Chrome
#13 Brian Roberts
#122 Hanley Ramirez

2010 Bowman Chrome - Prospects
#BCP178 Nathan Adcock
#BCP186 Jhan Marinez
2006 SPx (football)
#39 Reggie Wayne
2004 Donruss Studio
#216 Michael Wuertz (AU, RC, SN800)

1998 Score
#68 Scott Rolen
#74 Mark McLemore

1994 Sportflics
#113 Pete Harnisch

1993 Leaf
#271 Jay Buhner

1993 Classic Draft Picks (basketball)
#33 Will Flemons
#67 Bennie Seltzer

1992 Fleer Ultra
#594 Dave Righetti
1992 MJB Holoprism Chuck Knoblauch
#R/4 Chuck Knoblauch

1991 Donruss
#744 Dr. Dirt and Mr. Clean (VAR) - Pack border, dot after INC

1991 Leaf
#174 Roger Clemens (CL)

1991 Upper Deck
#778 Dave Righetti
1990 Donruss
#712 Wade Boggs (AS, COR, VAR) - Pack border, dot after INC 

1990 Fleer
#271 Roger Clemens
1988 Score
#657 Mike Schmidt (HL) 

1987 Topps
#313 Roberto Clemente (TBTC)
1986 Donruss
#580 Phil Niekro 

1986 Topps
#5 Rose Special '75-'78
#5 Rose Special: '75 - '78
#6 Rose Special '79-'82
#405 Roger Maris (TBTC) 
1986 Topps - Glossy All-Stars
#9 Carlton Fisk #21 LaMarr Hoyt 

1986 Topps Major League Leaders Minis
#65 Tony Gwynn

1985 Topps
#694 Joe Carter
1985 Topps (football)
#176 James Wilder

1983 Topps
#70 Steve Carlton
1983 Topps (football)

1982 Donruss
#NNO Checklist 545-653

1982 O-Pee-Chee E.T. The Extraterrestrial (non-sport)
#15 Among Elliott's Toys

1982 Topps
#125 Danny Ainge
1982 Topps (football) 
#118 Kevin Porter 
#129 Ray Williams (RC)

1978 Topps
#148 Andre Thorton
#373 Jim Willoughby
#385 Tito Fuentes
#424 Boston Red Sox (TC)
#482 Rick Miller
#706 Rookie 1st Baseman (Cage/Cox/Putnam/Revering)
1974 Visual Panographics US Presidents (non-sport)
#9 William Henry Harrison 

1973 Topps
#102 Rudy May
1971 Topps (football)
#110 Floyd Little (AS) 

1970 Brooke Bond North American Wildlife In Danger (non-sport)
#32 Polar Bear

1970 Topps
#16 Charlie Metro (MGR)
#18 Carlos May
#18 Carlos May 
#38 Mack Jones
#39 Mike Nagy (ASR, RC)
#47 Bob Miller
#457 Rico Petrocelli (AS)
#192 Fred Gladding
1964 Topps - Coins
#7 Frank Malzone
1963 Topps
#174 Larry Burright 

1962 Topps
#19 Ray Washburn (RC, RS)
#79 Ed Hobaugh

#212 Haywood Sullivan
#215 Gus Bell
#258 Jack Sanford
#399 Cliff Cook (RC)

1959 Topps
#424 Ken Aspromonte

1958 Topps
#73 Pete Daley
#147 Don McMahon (RC)
#290 Dick Donovan 

1958 Topps Zorro (non-sport)
#83 Rude Awakening

1957 Topps
#68 Ray Crone

1947-66 Exhibits W461 
#NNO Ferris Fain 
1938 Church & Dwight Useful Birds Of America Tenth Series (J9-6) (non-sport)
#2 Black-throated Green Warbler

1937-38  Diamond Matchbooks Tan 6 (hockey)
#NNO Glenn Brydson

1922 Church & Dwight Useful Birds Of America Third Series (J7) (non-sport)
#7 Prothonotary Warbler

1915 Church & Dwight Useful Birds Of America First Series(J5) (non-sport)
#1 Quail
1890 N245 Sweet Caporal Actors & Actresses (non-sport)
#NNO Frankie Raymond

The Time Travel Trading Project is simple in concept. I started out with a random pack of 2018 Topps Series 1 baseball cards. My aim was to trade every card in that pack for something older. Each card I receive in turn is then made available for trade, with the goal to get the oldest card I can get.

Number of trades completed: 94
Unique trading partners: 48

Number of cards mailed out: 364
Year of oldest card mailed out: 1910-11

Number of cards received: 573
Year of oldest card received: 1890!