Sep 27, 2015

The Washington Nationals Choke Again

Nice to see Jonathan Papelbon making friends with his new teammates.

Sep 25, 2015

Halloween Whopper

Halloween Whopper
Burger King (2015)
The Halloween Whopper has A1 Steak Sauce infused into the bun to make it black and spooky.  It also comes wrapped in a special mummy-themed wrapper.  Didn't seem too different to me than an ordinary Whopper.

Sep 23, 2015

Last Run Of The Foxx

Jimmie Foxx
1987 Topps Nestle All Time Dream Team - Card #11
Double X ended his legendary career with the 1945 Philadelphia Phillies.  In his final season, the first ballot Hall Of Famer hit .268 with 7 home runs and 38 RBI.  He was also surprisingly effective as a pitcher.  He had only ever pitched a single inning in the Major Leagues, but he ended the 1945 season with a 1-0 record and a 1.59 ERA over 22 ⅔ innings for the Phillies.

Jimmie Foxx played his last game 70 years ago today.  He played first base and went 1-3 with a double and two RBI in his final Major League appearance.

His career was honored in one of the cards from the Nestle All Time Dream Team set.  The set was produced by Topps in 1987 for inclusion in specially marked Nestle candy bars, including Nestle Milk Chocolate, Nestle Crunch, Chunky, Oh Henry, and my childhood favorite, Alpine White.

Sep 19, 2015

Mick Foley In Hazleton

Pennsylvania Premier Wrestling
Hard Knocks (September 19, 2015)
Two of our friends will soon be moving to Georgia, so we took them to meet Mick Foley at the PPW show in Hazleton today.  There was a long line, but he met with everybody and was very kind.  He took a photo with each of us, and he signed my copy of his first two books: Have A Nice Day and Foley Is Good.  I'm especially glad to have the first one autographed.  It was a Christmas present from my grandparents in 1999, and having the opportunity to meet the author and hand him the book that I unwrapped on Christmas Eve with my family, and that I've read so many times in the years that followed is special to me.

I've been watching Mr. Foley wrestle as Cactus Jack, Mankind and Dude Love for many years.  Like most wrestling fans, I'll never forget the Hell In A Cell match he had with The Undertaker at WWF King Of The Ring in 1998.  I was watching the show with my dad, and I had never seen anything like that before or since.  That's probably for the best.  I have no idea how the man is still walking after that performance.

I'm not familiar with all of the wrestlers on the PPW roster, but I've seen some of them wrestle before.  In a battle of WXW alumni, "Smooth" Tommy Suede defeated Afa Jr. to win the PPW Heavyweight Championship in the main event.  I haven't seen Afa Jr. since he was around 18 years old.  Back then, he was a high flying babyface,  These days, he's put on some weight and is playing the Wild Samoan character that his father made famous.  It's been about the same length of time since I was at a show with Tommy Suede on the card, but I bumped into him back in 2009 was I worked as an extra on the set of The Wrestler.

The match of the night was David Starr defeating Steve Shields.  I heard good things about Starr, but I haven't seen him wrestle before.  He's a talented and charismatic performer.  I expect that he's going to make it to a televised promotion sooner than later.

The other familiar face at the show was Lance Anoa'i, the 23 year old son of Headshrinker Samu.  I've never seen him in a ring before, but this wasn't the first time I saw him at a wrestling show in Hazleton.  Back in 1999, I was in the crowd at the WXW Owen Hart Memorial Show.  Samu wrestled that night, and one of the other fans pointed out his seven year old son, Lance, who was running around the venue during the show.  Now, he's four years older than I was on that night back in 1999 and he's been wrestling for five years.  This is the kind of moment that really makes you feel old and when you recognize how fast time goes by.


Sep 12, 2015

The Jean Ad Controversy

Calvin Klein billboard
Times Square - New York, NY (1995)
Photo Credit: Evan Agostini
Twenty years ago, this Calvin Klein ad campaign was the subject of an FBI investigation.  The problem they had with it was the fact that the model, Bijou Phillips, was 15 years old.  I was also 15 years old at the time, and I remember thinking that the outrage was absolutely ridiculous.  She's fully dressed in jeans and a tank top.  There was more skin being revealed by girls of this age in the underwear and swimsuit section of an average K-Mart flyer in the Sunday newspaper, but when you're selling expensive jeans and using a famous person as the model, suddenly the standards of decency are called into question.

After 20 years, my opinion on this matter hasn't changed at all.  If you see something inappropriate about this billboard, the problem isn't the advertisement or the model... the problem is you.  If you can't look at a photograph of a fully clothed girl without intrusive thoughts that make you feel uncomfortable, you might want to consider seeing a therapist to work through your problems.

Sep 11, 2015

A Great Blog From A Fellow Phillies fan

14,000 Phillies
2011 - 2015
It saddens me to learn that one of my favorite Phillies baseball card blogs is moving on from the hobby.  I totally understand.  It's expensive and overwhelming to keep up with, and the business practices of the major card manufacturers leave a lot to be desired.

I made the decision in my adult life to narrow the scope of my collection to only players who have appeared in at least one game for the Phillies at the major league level.  They don't have to be in a Phillies uniform on the card - just so they spent time in their career with the club, even if that time was very brief.  I have made a few exceptions to that rule for my favorite non-Phillies (Hank Aaron, Bill Lee, Ricky Henderson, Nolan Ryan, Ichiro, and a handful of others), but aside from a select few, I've kept to that rule.

Despite this, and despite the fact that I've limited my spending to just a few cards a year, I've found that the time, money and space that they take up are ebbing very close to being too much to deal with.  It might be a different story if I had someone to share them with or to pass them down to, but I don't.  I'm sure there will come a day when I reach the same point that the author of 14,000 is at.  That day isn't today, but I'm thinking it will probably be sooner than I expect.

Happy trails, Matt.  Thank you for all of the time and effort you put into 14,000 Phillies and for sharing your thoughts and your collection.

Sep 10, 2015

Sad Truth

Calvin and Hobbes street art
Portland, OR
Source: Colossal

Sep 9, 2015

Twilight of a Foxx

Chuck Klein and Jimmie Foxx
March 15, 1945
In 1932, both the American League and National League MVP played for Philadelphia teams.  Jimmie Foxx won the first of his three MVP awards for the Athletics while Chuck Klein won the award in the NL for the Phillies.

This photo was taken at the Phillies Spring Training camp in Wilmington, DE.  Klein was a coach for the Phillies having retired in June of the previous season, and Foxx was preparing for what would be his 20th and final season of his playing career.  Although his days of being the right-handed Babe Ruth were behind him, Foxx gave Phillies fans something to be proud of.  Playing first and third base, Foxx hit the final seven home runs of his career in a Phillies uniform, but the highlight of his season came when he fulfilled a goal of pitching in the big leagues.  Remarkably, the 37 year old had a very good season on the mound, appearing in 9 games including two starts, and finishing the season with a 1 - 0 record and a 1.59 ERA in 22 2⁄3 innings.

Seventy years ago today, Foxx led the Phillies in a 14 - 3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.  He went 4 - 5 in the game, including a double and the last home run of his career.  Foxx retired at the end of the season with 534 career homers, second only to Babe Ruth.  He remained second on the career home run list until he was passed by the great Willie Mays 21 years later.

Sep 8, 2015

Free Prize Inside

Cereal Box Collecting
Robb Berry
I've always loved breakfast cereal.  I was a kid in the 80's and 90's, I considered collecting cereal boxes.  I saved a few here and there over the years, but it never really got to the level of being a collection.  This dude came to the same crossroads and took the other path, and he now has a museum in his basement with over 8,000 boxes.

On a side note, if any company could ever get the rights to use all of the trademarks, cereal boxes would make a pretty awesome trading card series.  The front and back of the cards could be exact replicas of the cereal boxes themselves, so you could have different versions of the same cereal depending on the year it was released or the prize inside.

Video source: Perfect Duluth Day

Sep 7, 2015

Hazleton 1965

1965 Downtown
Broad Street - Hazleton, PA

Sep 6, 2015

Sweet Dreams You Can't Resist

The Alpine White bar was one of my favorite candy bars when I was a kid.  It was a creamy white chocolate bar with almonds, and there's nothing quite like it on the market today (Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme bar isn't even close).

It's very rare for Nestle to bring back something that has been discontinued (particularly a confections product), so I decided to go ahead and make my own using a bag of Toll House Premier White Morsels, minced almonds and a chocolate bar mold.  It didn't taste exactly like the Alpine White (no cocoa butter), but it was reasonably close and very tasty.

Sep 2, 2015

I Ain't Afraid Of No Kindergarten

Look at that suave son of a bitch with the Ghostbusters lunchbox on his first day of school.  My dad took this photo of me 30 years ago.