Sunday, January 29, 2023

A Prize Package from The Retro Network

As an '80s kid, I enjoy the occasional reminder of my youth. A cassette tape. A sporty yellow Walkman. A flashing "12:00" time stamp on the front of a VCR. An old Scholastic book. An issue of Highlights magazine. A rinky-dink battery-operated handheld video game of some sort. 
So when I came across a YouTube channel last year called The Retro Network that seemed to share all of these things and more, I started watching some videos and subscribed.
And when the channel ran a giveaway a couple of months ago, I figured I'd enter. It was easy enough. I just had to like the video, be a subscriber, and leave a comment that included a specific hashtag.
Well, as you can tell by the title of this blog post, I won the giveaway!
Have a look at the variety within the prize package that made it to my front door last month:
First up, a couple of branded stickers. Thrift Store Horde is a monthly series on the channel where the hosts—Jason, Kevin, and Adam—take turns showing off their recent hauls from local thrift stores, antique malls, and goodwill shops. It's always a combination of cool, wacky, funny, bizarre, and rare.

Next up, a collection of wax packs. But not just any wax packs. The giveaway was the culmination of a video series on the channel called "Grossest Cards Ever", and boy are these wax packs ever examples of that. Baseball's Grossouts, Trash Can Trolls, Grossville High, and so on. (Not shown in the photo is a more recent pack from a set called "Pukey-mon".) I haven't opened any of the packs yet, and I think I might keep the grossness sealed for a while.


And here are the two big stars of the wax pack portion of the prize: Original Garbage Pail Kids stickers! 3rd series and 6th series. I'm definitely keeping these sealed. They provide an instant dose of nostalgia for me.


Next up, more grossness. A brand-new copy of Monopoly—the Garbage Pail Kids version! I had no idea this existed.


Here's a shot of the back. Instead of keeping this for myself, I might be sending it to my young niece and nephew—as long as their mom and dad allow it. They've already got a dinosaur version of the game called Dino-opoly, as well as a fishing version called Fishin-opoly. Can they handle a third, gross version? Not sure. But if they do, I know they'll ask me to play it with them.
Next up is the big, awesome, totally rad, not gross portion of the prize package.


A Trapper Keeper! This is one of the reissues that have come out fairly recently, and it sure does bring back memories. In elementary school I had a Trapper Keeper with a red Lamborghini Countach on the front. I'd say the design on this new one is just about as cool.  


Here's a better look at the car from the back of the binder. I'm not sure how I'm going to utilize this yet, but I do have a small collection of Garbage Pail Kids stickers from my youth, and they're already in nine-pocket pages. Maybe I'll transfer them to this binder.
But first I'll have to clear out what's inside, because this brand-new Trapper Keeper wasn't empty. 


An original-style Trapper Keeper folder!

 With more surprises inside. That Superman comic is from the early '80s.


Followed by yet another folder with even more surprises. The Indiana Jones comic is also from the early '80s. As for Jackie Chan Adventures, that was an animated series that aired for a few years in the early 2000s. I enjoyed it—especially Jackie's uncle, who was referred to only as "Uncle".

And finally, there was one more surprise at the back of the Keeper.  
A Garfield book! I've already had some fun flipping through this one, and it might be headed over to my niece after I've finished. I think she might like the humor and the illustrations.
And that just about does it. Big thank you to Jason, Kevin, and Adam for running the giveaway. I'm overwhelmed by the generosity.
If any of you have enjoyed the nostalgic vibes you've found here, I hope you'll stop by TRN TV and give them some support.
In the meantime, what's your favorite portion of the prize package? Share in the comment section, and thank you for reading, as always.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Baseball in French, Lesson 2: La Flèche

Welcome to Baseball in French, Lesson 2. Previous lessons can be found here.
Today's term is la flèche.
In English, that translates to "the arrow". What's the baseball translation?

Line drive.

As in the following broadcaster expression:

Here's the pitch... and Dawson shoots an arrow into left field for a base hit!

I think it's simple enough to picture an archer loosing an arrow with purpose toward its target a couple hundred feet away, and how that action would resemble a line drive. Considering Dawson amassed 1735 singles, 503 doubles, 98 triples, and 438 home runs over his career, you can be sure he slung a bunch of arrows himself.
In the English language, we've got numerous terms for a line drive: dart, seed, pea, bullet, rocket shot, liner, laser, frozen rope, etc.

Arrow is a little more French and elegant, isn't it?

What do you readers think? Good terminology? Or do you prefer some of the English-language versions?

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for Lesson 3 a few Sundays from now.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

A Boost from the Dime Boxes

Last month I looked back on my 2022 collecting year and came up with some pluses and minuses. A plus was that I succeeded in posting content here every Sunday throughout the year again. Another was that I designed more custom cards than ever, which was a lot of fun.
A minus was that I only added a couple dozen cards to my personal collection all year. And because of that, one of my collecting goals for 2023 is to get back into the hobby a little bit more, picking up a few cards along the way. 
Recently, Mr. Nick from the Dime Boxes blog gave me my first boost toward reaching that goal. The eclectic collector and all-around entertaining blogger celebrated his 11-year blogiversary with a very generous giveaway, allowing readers to claim a healthy amount of trading cards from an even healthier 20-page list.
I didn't waste any time, and scrolled through the pages to claim some cards before other more zealous collectors had the chance to snatch them up.

2010 A&G World's Wordsmiths
#WGWS10, Edgar Allan Poe

First up was writer extraordinaire Edgar Allan Poe. This mini is from a 15-card insert set that features other literary greats like Homer, Shakespeare, Washington Irving, and Marcus Aurelius. I might have to seek out some of those names, as well.

1979 Hostess #149, Jerry Koosman

Next up is pitcher Jerry Koosman. He's trying to force an optimistic glance past the camera despite having been airbrushed into a Minnesota Twins uniform after spending some great years (and winning a World Championship) with the Mets.

1978 Kellogg's #23, Willie McCovey

Then I had to claim this sharp-looking Willie McCovey 3-D Kellogg's card—not only because Stretch was a superstar who was winding down his playing career at the time, but also because it seems like he made a concerted effort to place his signature over a portion of the card that would help its visibility. I always appreciate when a player does that.

1982 Kellogg's #17, Bruce Sutter

While we're on the subject of breakfast cereals, here's another Kellogg's card that I claimed. I like the "relief pitcher" designation instead of just plain-old "pitcher". Relievers were big deals by the time the 1980s rolled around, and Bruce Sutter was a perennial league leader of the era.

1989 Cereal Superstars #9,
George Brett

This George Brett card intrigued me. From the information I've gathered, it's part of a 12-card set featuring 6 National League and 6 American League stars of the day. Two cards from the set were inserted in select boxes of Ralston Purina–brand cereals back in 1989, and that's how you'd acquire them. Most of the photos are headshots, and because only an MLBPA license was obtained, all uniforms and caps are airbrushed. So even though I've only got 11 cards to go to complete the set, I'm not sure I'll be going for it.

1986 True Value Superstars #27,
Dwayne Murphy

Finally, I couldn't resist this True Value card featuring Dwayne Murphy with his baseball cap riding way up high, but tilted way down. Dwayne and his 29 other MLB buddies in this set were issued in fold-out sheets that contained three perforated cards, plus an advertisement for a product you could find at True Value stores, such as Weber barbecue grills, GE light bulbs, and Wagner power painters. Cool.

I'm sure you've noticed a pattern here. If I do regain some zeal for the hobby this year and start picking up card singles, a decent portion of them would be food-issue and oddball cards from the '70s and '80s. They're just the most fun and nostalgic to me, and those are the criteria that drive my hobby tastes the most these days.
Big thank-you to Nick for holding such a generous giveaway, and for sending these six cards that are motivating me to search out more cool stuff in 2023.
Congratulations again on 11 years of blogging, Nick. Keep up the great writing, and here's to an excellent year 12!

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Cookin' Up Another Custom Card

Time for another look-alike custom card. First, here's the original.

1985 Topps #401, Bobby Ramos

It's catcher Bobby Ramos, enjoying a sunny afternoon by the batting cages. Does that face remind you of anyone?

Here are some hints:
For the past 25 years or so, the look-alike has been one of the biggest personalities in the culinary world.
If he were a baseball player, whenever he hit a home run, the signature call from the home-team commentator would simply be, "BAM!"
And if he hit a second home run in that game, the commentator's call might be, "HE JUST KICKED IT UP ANOTHER NOTCH!"
Okay, I think I've given the answer away, so here's the custom card.

It's Emeril Lagasse!
I suppose Emeril would be a good fit behind the plate (pun intended), but the "C" for catcher on Ramos's card can also easily designate "chef" on Emeril's card. So either way, it works quite well.
But let's talk about the guy on the original card for a moment.
Cuban-born Bobby Ramos was drafted by the Expos in the 7th round of the 1974 amateur draft. His first taste of big-league ball came in 1978 (two games), and then he'd have a little bit longer of a stay in 1980 (13 games) and 1981 (26 games). I guess it's tough to get playing time when Gary Carter is the #1 catcher in town. 
In 1982 he was traded to the New York Yankees. He'd only play 4 games for the Bombers, but had a memorable moment in that short time:

Ramos' one and only hit for the Yankees was a home run. It took place on September 12, 1982, at Yankee Stadium, where in the 8th inning he took a pitch from Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Jamie Easterly over the fence. 
Soon, though, Ramos would be on his way back to the Expos for the 1983 and 1984 seasons. Even so, he only reached a high of 31 games played for a season. 
From 1985 through 1988, he played at the AAA level, and that was it for his pro career.
Here are Ramos's career numbers in the majors:
103 GP, 232 AB, 44 H, 7 2B, 4 3B, 1 HR, 17 RBI, 22 BB, 38 SO, .190 AVG, .262 OBP, .280 SLG
His best season may have been 1983 with Montreal, when he put up a slash line of .230/.329/.311.

Ramos would eventually become a minor-league manager in the Astros and Rays systems (from 1993 to 1999). After that, he worked as a bullpen coach for the Anaheim Angels and Tampa Bay Rays (2006 to 2011).

As for Emeril? 
His show, Emeril Live, ran from 1997 to 2007 on the Food Network. The crowds were always energetic, and featured live music from Doc Gibbs and the Emeril Live band. 
The show also occasionally featured celebrity guests who'd sit right in front of Emeril's kitchen setup. To tie sports into the discussion here, one episode of the show featured New Jersey Devils Ken Daneyko and Scott Stevens, who entered the studio with the Stanley Cup and presented Emeril with a New Jersey Devils hockey jersey. I can't remember what dishes Emeril was cooking that day, but I'm sure Stevens and Daneyko scarfed all of them down with gusto.
Apart from the TV show, Emeril has also released numerous cookbooks, custom spice blends, and sauces bearing his name, and has promoted various kitchen products and cookware. He's also got restaurants across the US. Where does he find the time?
The 1985 Topps set begins with a whopping 10 record-breaker cards. A few of them were of the "lifetime achievement" variety, like this Pete Rose card:

I thought about how many times Mr. Lagasse must have exclaimed "BAM!" throughout his career, and an idea for a custom record-breaker card developed. Here it is:

I'm happy to have found an image that captures chef Emeril mid-BAM. And I couldn't just leave it at a card front. Here's the text I came up with for the back:

I used the back of the Pete Rose record breaker card as a template. Capitalizing "BAMs" makes it sound a little more like a baseball stat, like RBIs, which gives this card another nice connection to an actual baseball card.

So that's that. Another two custom cards finished. Hope you enjoyed the way they turned out.

Any Emeril fans out there? Anyone have some of his cookbooks, spice blends, or other products?

Leave a comment below, and thanks as always for reading.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Katy Jurado Sure Gave Lloyd Bridges a Good Talking-To

Welcome to 2023, everyone! 
In the first Nine Pockets installment of the new year, we'll be going back exactly 70 years, to a set that Topps released in 1953 called Who-Z-At Star? 
It's an 80-card set that features many remarkable actors, actresses, singers, and musicians from the era: Clark Gable, Elizabeth Taylor, Lionel Barrymore, Gene Kelly, Slim Pickens, Ava Gardner, and Errol Flynn, to name a few.
And here's the focus of today's post: actress Katy Jurado.

Jurado became a crush for me as soon as I saw her in the classic 1952 Western called High Noon, starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly. In the film, she plays a beautiful and tough saloon owner named Helen Ramirez who, among other things, gives a young Deputy Marshal named Harvey Pell a good stern talking-to about manhood in the Wild West. (Pell was played by Lloyd Bridges.) 
The role earned Jurado a Golden Globe award for Best Supporting Actress. Have a look:

She's a stunner inside and out, right? 
Jurado played memorable characters in other films of the decade as well, such as Bullfighter and the Lady (1951), Arrowhead (1953), Broken Lance (1954), and The Racers (1955). She also had a love for Mexican cinema, and devoted as much of her time, if not more, to starring in Mexican films as she did Hollywood films.
Here are some quotes from Jurado that help define who she was:

[On High Noon] I am very proud to make this picture because I look and act like a Mexican—not imitation. Some Mexicans go to Hollywood and lose their career in Mexico, because they play imitation. I don't want this to happen to me.
Movies will have to change—they just show too much. Sex is supposed to be what people feel and think. If you show it, there's no sex. It's just like women's skirts and see-through dresses. They got shorter and shorter and were so ugly until they came out with the maxi. People get tired of that sort of thing.
[When asked if she preferred Hispanic men] Nationality has nothing to do with being a man. What counts is the way he brushes your hand, the way he looks at you, and the little things he does and says.

I am not afraid to play mothers. Some of these little girls are afraid to admit they are getting older. I am not afraid. You can't put your finger in the sun and stop time.
Women can have a career, but the real career is to be a woman. It's beautiful to be a woman and give birth.
There's definitely some food for thought in those quotes, all these years later. And I'm happy to have a Katy Jurado card in my collection. 
Here's what the card back looks like. 

They're pretty well done. I might have to pick up a few other cards from the set, too.
As for where this card came from, I've got to thank Mr. Jon Pennysleeves.
He saw the card on my want list at TCDB, and sent it to me as a RAK. Or, more specifically, a return RAK for a book that I'd sent him shortly before. You can learn more about the book, which documents Theodore Roosevelt's adventures through the Brazilian wilderness, at another one of Jon's blogs, My Kind of Nonsense. The blog—and the book—are both worth a read, for sure.

Jon, thank you so much for the surprise gift. It's the new star of my vintage collection. If I can get down to Tennessee one day, maybe we'll meet up and watch High Noon, or explore the Tennesean wilderness like Colonel Roosevelt did in Brazil—just with a little less danger and difficulty, thank you very much.