Sunday, March 29, 2020

Sentimental Sundays: The Return

Remember when I did a few "Sentimental Sundays" posts a couple years ago? Been a while, but I'm going to try bringing those back. It's really just an excuse for me to dig out a box of my childhood crap that I've held onto and feature a 4 or 5 items that I think maybe a couple readers might find interesting.

I've kept the bottle of Mr. Bubble I had during much of my childhood.

But actually this isn't the last one I had. We had a bottle in the early 90s that had an updated label, but you know me, I love vintage.. and I ended up keeping the old one around anyhow, and have somehow kept it still today. There's even a couple uses of bubble bath left in it. Please note that I don't typically keep stuff like this-- that would definitely be hoarding!-- but no, this is one of the few things like this I might have still.

Here's the back. Dated 1987.

I don't remember where I got this pair of carved animals. Probably an aunt of mine took a trip to Africa in the 80s and brought me back these souvenirs as a gift. Sometimes I'd play with them.. you know, like having them attacking my G.I. Joe guys. lol

I believe this is the bowtie that my great-grandfather wore at his 50th wedding anniversary. Pretty cool. It's the only thing I have of his. Never met him, as he died before I was born. But seems like a cool guy. He was a big deal in the plastics industry in Chicago back in olden times.

Fifty years is a long time to be married! His son, my grandfather, also got there. I don't think I'll get to there. Well, I think I'd be 86... I guess that's possible. But hey, nobody's promised tomorrow, right?

But anyways, if I do make it to 50 years married, I damn well better remember to put on this tie.

You know how when you're a kid, any little bit of technical crap like this was super cool. Loved this thing. It was from inside our old garage door opener. The little blue box on the left is super fun to clicky-clacky with, if you know what I mean. I believe that is how you set the code for the garage door opener so that you and your neighbor don't have the same wavelength opening garages. Wow, from looking at the date printed on it, this thing is a little older than me! Also, I love how it's camouflage coloring! Fit right in as a "super computer" while playing G.I. Joes.

I try to include at least one baseball-related item in every Sentimental Sundays post, you know, since this is a baseball card blog after all. Don't want to alienate my base!

This is an antenna topper that was available from Jack In The Box in San Diego. Or was it a stadium giveaway? I'm not sure. Maybe both. I rarely eat fast food these days (my wife is awesome in the kitchen), but back in my bachelor days, a Sourdough Jack Combo Meal was my go-to when I wanted to splurge on something special.

I bet Bob from Best Bubble will like this thing since Jack is blowing a bubble. I don't think I was actually the one who originally got this, but I seem to recall a friend of mine had an extra one and gave this to me, back in the mid 90s.

Last item for today is this vintage Hot Wheels car.. whoo! That's a classic, right there!

Well-loved. This is one of my earliest toys ever.. One of those toys that you've had since further back than you can remember. I added many more little vehicles like this in my youth (many of which I still have stored somewhere), but this was one of the original fleet.

My mom did a thing where she painted a little nail polish on the bottom of my cars so they could be kept track of when I played Hot Wheels with other kids and know which were mine. From an adult collector standpoint, that makes me cringe. It's like parents who put their kid's initials on the back of their baseball cards. Not cool! But my mom never messed with my baseball cards, thankfully. And I suppose if I really cared about resale value of my Hot Wheels, I could probably do some restoration on this, and wipe off that nail polish with some nail polish remover. Searching "Auburn 852" on eBay reveals this is not a high-dollar toy-- one in much nicer condition than mine would likely run you less than $10 shipped. Oh well, it still means a lot to me! I wonder if I've got any "valuable" Hot Wheels. I'll probably keep including them in future Sentimental Sundays and eventually check them out. You guys like Hot Wheels, right?

Anyways, that's gonna wrap things up.

Quick update on my situation, after my stressed-out previous post... I was eventually able to work it out to where I can get much of my work done at home, avoiding leaving the house as much as possible. Still have to pop out once or twice a week, but it's a whole lot better than my usual work schedule before Corona. Trying to do my part in staying home as much as I can while still having a job.

Oh hey, if you're worried about getting mail during this pandemic, here's an article that may put you at ease. (Your mail isn't really a danger to you, thankfully.) I'll try to get some card mailings out to some people over the next week since I'll have some free time later in the week. I know Billy said he doesn't want to receive cards for the moment.. is anyone else among my usually trade buddies also not wanting to be mailed anything right now? If so, please let me know. Thanks, and thanks for reading!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Tatis in the house / Me in the office

Robert at $30 a Week pulled this Fernando Tatis Jr. variation RC refractor thingy from a factory set of 2019 Topps and I asked if it was available. It was and we soon whipped up a quick trade. Neat shot of Fernando taping up his wrist. Like all Padres fans, I'm so happy we've got him and hope he leads us into respectability, maybe even the postseason at some point. But I'm a little concerned with his durability. Injuries have slowed his promising MLB career so far (and now the virus is slowing everyone's career), but hopefully he matures into an ironman.

Another photo variation RC was also along for the ride. Looks great! This pair of cards really kicked my Tatis PC up a notch.

Robert surprised me with a couple 78s I could use. I've now cracked 80% complete with 1978 Topps thanks to these.

Thank you so much, Robert!

o---- - -   -

How's everybody doing during this pandemic? The rest of this post is not card related, so if you read card blogs as a way to escape the news and Corona chatter, you should stop here.

I'm a homebody. Staying home for a long time isn't that big of a deal for me. I spent stretches of my 20s where I'd only leave the house maybe once every couple weeks for groceries. I was unemployed (living alone rent-free in a condo owned by my mom). My close friends had gotten married and didn't have much time for me anymore. Never had much luck with the ladies. Spent my time watching TV, messing around online, and writing/recording music. It was lonely, but otherwise a perfectly acceptable lifestyle for me.

So the whole self-isolation thing is right up my alley. Now I have a wife, thankfully, so it's not so lonely. Wish I had a dog too, but unfortunately this all hit just as we were about to start getting serious about finding a new puppy to adopt.

While the company my wife and I both work for has technically closed the office and has directed everyone to work from home, I'm among the small handful of folks deemed "essential employees" who still need to trek into the office. My job isn't very important, but it involves burning and shipping about a thousand data DVDs per month. It's not something I could do from home under the current set-up, though I'm trying to formulate a plan to bring what I need home so I can increase the amount of work I'm able to do from home.

I was able to talk my way out of working last week, but part of that deal was I had to agree to come in this week. I'm typing this up Monday morning from home moments before I have to leave. Kinda scary! There are 2 other people in my department in the office, but otherwise I hear it's pretty quiet.

The last time I was at work was Thursday 3/12. I haven't really left my house since then except to drop the PWE in the mail for my trade with Robert (which was my first time riding a bike in years). So it's gonna be weird out there, I'm sure.


Ok, now it's Monday evening and I'm back home. Man, such a stressful day! WiFi was down most of the day, so I couldn't do much work anyways. My boss agonizingly left me hanging on whether I could work from home going forward. He had to check with his boss, who had to check with his boss.. eventually I had to leave for the day without an answer. And I'm still waiting for an answer, so at the very least I'll need to go back in Tuesday. The only question is will I be gathering things to take with me and work from home, or will I have to work a regular day/week in the office.

My two co-workers got sent home midday, but lucky me got to be the last employee standing. They made me nervous talking about all the times they've been going out for lunch the past week. And one of them takes the bus to work everyday. They seem to be ok so far, but it's like russian roulette. With the economy collapsing, I'm thankful for having a decent job, but this shit is really stressing me out right now! My wife was nice enough to offer to give me a ride so I wouldn't have to take public transportation, but even that is stressful. I'd rather she not be driving. A car accident could mean a trip to the hospital.. and now is definitely not a good time to be going to the hospital if you can help it!

Man, oh, man. Crazy times. Hope I didn't catch it. And if I did catch it, hope it doesn't hit me hard.. and that goes double for anyone I may unknowingly infect if I do get it.
But yeah.. Gotta take it day by day, keep positive.. etc.
Thanks for reading. How are you all doing? I hope you're staying safe and doing well.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Mad Magazine cards from 1988

Here's a follow-up post to one I made back in those carefree days of early February when I posted about Mad Magazine cut-out cards from 1990. Since those were billed as the "All New 2nd Series" I was curious about the inaugural series and hunted them down, too.

Here you go! As you can see, these borrow heavily from the 1988 Topps Baseball design, which makes sense as this issue came out in '88.

Here's the front cover. It's issue No. 282 (Oct 1988). "Designated Hittee" Alfred E. Neuman. Cool.

And yep, I bought an extra copy so that I could keep one intact and cut the other into "cards". Like with the 1990 counterpart, these don't have corresponding backs, with the inside cover being another of those "fold-in" gags.

The references are no doubt very dated today, but still interesting items for a card collector with a quirky, wide collecting breadth, such as myself.

Now let's see if there's any baseball stuff inside the magazine....

Welp, no inside feature on baseball cards (unlike the 1990 issue), but a couple things worth sharing.

Bob Uecker takes some ribbing among other celebrities of the time.

A baseball comic in a "how to stay cool in the summer" feature.

 Not baseball related, but I'm sure someone will get a kick out of this Alf gag.

In tracking down the back-issues with cards, I ended up with a couple eBay lots that included additional issues. Maybe someday I'll flip through them, but I don't really need them so if anyone wants to trade for these two, let me know. I'm a big GNR fan, so perhaps I should hang onto the Slash one. Whatever.

Anyways, I haven't been able to find any evidence of a 3rd series of "Mad's All-Star Flopps" so I suppose my collection of these pseudo cards is now complete!

Thanks for stopping by and take care out there (or "in there" as the case may be).

Friday, March 20, 2020

Muppet Babies and Me

I loved Muppet Babies as a kid. Maybe never my #1 favorite cartoon at the time, but at least in the top 5 for much of my childhood. I would love to watch thru it again as an adult, but doesn't seem to be streaming anywhere yet. Disney+ has a recent reboot available.. but it's all CGI and pales in comparison to the real deal in my eyes. But I was able to catch an old episode on YouTube the other day. That got me reading the Wikipedia entry for the show, and now I'm going to squeeze a post out of it.. specifically seeing how many voice actors from the show I have an autograph from.

Voice cast

Greg Berg – Baby Fozzie, Baby Scooter, Dr. Julius Strangepork (archive footage, ep. 107)

Do I have his autograph?


Barbara Billingsley – Nanny

Do I have her autograph?


Dave Coulier (1986–1991) – Baby Animal, Baby Bunsen, Baby Bean Bunny, Baby Janice, Uncle Statler and Waldorf

Do I have his autograph?


Katie Leigh – Baby Rowlf, Mrs. Mitchell

Do I have her autograph?


Howie Mandel (1984–1985) – Baby Skeeter, Baby Animal, Baby Bunsen

Do I have his autograph?


Laurie O'Brien – Baby Piggy, Captain Black Wig

Do I have her autograph?


Russi Taylor – Baby Gonzo, Baby Robin, Aunt Fanny, and Camilla (occasionally)

Editor's Note: I'm just now learning Russi died last year. Aw man, I'm sorry to hear that.. loved her!

Do I have her autograph?


Frank Welker – Baby Kermit, Baby Beaker, Baby Skeeter (1986–1991), Camilla

Do I have his autograph?


Additional voices and performances

Bob Bergen – Link Hogthrob (archive footage, ep. 107)
Peter Cullen – Smoggy the Bear (ep. 33), Football-Playing Bear (ep. 33)
Pat Fraley – Announcer
Jim Henson – Kermit the Frog (archive footage, ep. 45), Dr. Teeth (archive footage, ep. 61)
Tress MacNeille – Skater Kat
Hal Rayle – Miss Piggy (archive footage, ep. 107)

Do I have any of these people's autograph?


And there you have it! I own a total of 4 autograph cards of the voice talent behind Muppet Babies. Pretty cool!

Thanks for reading and my best to everybody in these nutty times we live in.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Home Displays

With many of us cooped up at home waiting for the coronavirus stuff to shake out, there's been some trends on social media with collectors sharing favorite parts of their collection.

I figured I'd do a post of the baseball/cards displays I've got up around the house.

Under our stockpile of wrapping paper and empty gift boxes, I've got some displays down in the basement in the little room with my drum set (I'm not much of a drummer, but I like to pound away for a few minutes from time to time). This Ken Caminiti display helps remind me of the glorious years 1996 and 1998 when the Padres were actually good. Also reminds me to not do hard drugs. Or steroids, unless prescribed by a licensed doctor.

The signed ball and wood plaque I got together for $5 at a card show a couple years back. Swapped out the Astros base card that came with it for the Donruss autograph. The jumbo Zenith dufex makes for a nice backdrop.

A couple of you readers might remember back when I did a post or two about making card stands out of LEGO? Well, I've got only one in use at the moment, and it's with this Julio Franco auto from '96 Leaf Signatures.

Might not look like much, but I love this Dave Winfield display. The signed postcard came from my close childhood buddy Chris who had been in little league with Dave's son a couple years earlier and got the autograph in-person. The '74 Topps rookie might be the 1st card I bought as an adult after leaving the hobby years earlier.

This one is in a part of the basement without good lighting, so it's a blurry photo. But that's a signed Steve Garvey flat along with a selection of Topps/OPC cards. This one came to me from the generous Padrographs Rod. He said he got the signature in person, and that Garvey said it was an unused shot for a bank ad or something along those lines. I have a lingering intention to perhaps swap out some of the cards someday, giving it more of a personal touch for me, but I've yet to bother getting around to it.

Another blurry one. This is the "1988 WS Game 1" display I've got. Bought it on eBay with the Kirk Gibson signed whatever-you-call-it ("Gateway cachet") on the top. The cards were originally 2004 Topps Retired autos, but I've since swapped them out with different cards of the same players. Posted about it back in the early days of this blog.

Another blurry basement one. We've got green LED Christmas lights up down there, which explains the green tint on this wooden plaque containing a signed Reggie Jackson 8x10. Got this for Christmas one year as a kid circa 1991.

Here's where I took a break to ride my bike to the post office to drop a couple things in the mail. My first time being out in the world since Thursday. Nice to get some fresh air, I suppose. First time I've ridden my bike in probably 3 or 4 years.

For the curious, here's my drum set. Above that...

Mystery Science Theater 3000 autograph display I put together recently. I need to do a real post on this at some point.

I recently started putting together a Glow-In-The-Dark Stuff shelf. Still plenty of stuff to add, but here are a few things. I envision this being chock-full of glowing stuff. Everything pictured here glows, at least in one little part of it. We will likely be moving soon, so the shelf may never achieve its promised greatness. Hopefully the next place has a similar shelf I can use for this idea.

Here it is glowing.

Here's a selection of wall in my card room with some cool stuff on display. My wife did the dog drawing to celebrate once when Annie got a bath.

Another corner of the room features my Goonies display, a Dick Allen white whale, and my framed Carrie Fisher TTM return.

Little Rod Beck frame.

This isn't baseball/card related, but here's a framed Decemberists gig poster I grabbed from the Casbah after their show there 4/6/04.

Guess that's about it as far as stuff on display in my house that anyone might care to see.

Thanks for reading and I hope you're all doing ok during this developing crisis!