Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Decent Of Bones

This past Sunday Jon Jones ran a red light, it is believed that he was driving while impaired, in the early morning causing a three-car accident. One of the drivers, a pregnant woman, was sent to the hospital with a broken arm and wrist. The incident is part a continuing trend of poor choices by Jones which was made worse when he ran off only to return moments later to grab a “large handful of cash” out of his rented car and ran off again before the police arrived on scene.

The UFC put their foot down on Tuesday following his arrest by suspending Jones indefinitely and stripped him on his Light Heavyweight title, the first time in UFC history that a champion lost their title due to disciplinary reasons. Jones was scheduled to fight Anthony Johnson at UFC 187 at the end of May but he will be replaced by Daniel Cormier, the #3 ranked fighter, with the winner taking the title.

What is sad is that Jones as a person is not a bad guy. He is good family man, loves his significant other and their three children and he has put himself in to harm’s way to stop a thief who had robbed an elderly couple hours before a fight.

Many consider him to be the best pound-for-pound MMA fighter in the world and was set to defend his title for the 9th time against Johnson but now that is gone. Since 2012 he has made bad decision after bad decision including a DWI, a refusal to take a scheduled match, dirty fighting, slanderous slurs and most recently a positive test for cocaine prior to his last fight in December.

I think there are things that fans are willing to overlook within reason but he is looking at felony charge and possible jail time not to mention there were injuries to an innocent victim. I think there will be a mass abandonment of fans along the lines of Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Michael Vick and A-Roid. I am a Ryan Bader fan so I am not a Jones fan (he beat Bader in a 2011 fight to determine who was going to fight for the Championship) but I respected his training process and his fighting ability and this is such a disappointment and a waste of talent.

Autographs that used to sell for $25 or more as recently as December are now going for under $10 now and relics can be picked up for $2-$5 each. I wonder what the prices will be at in a couple of weeks.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Trade Completed III

Earlier this month a reader reached out to me about a possible trade. Angus, a Browns fan, said that he had checked my Griffey Want List and my Zistle account and he had a number of Griffey cards that I was missing and was interested in a trade for a 2009 National Chicle Mohamed Massaquoi relic card that I had available. After a couple of emails a deal was worked out.

I got his package recently and I was pleasantly surprised, out of the 15 cards that he sent two cards were on my immediate purchase list and five were ghost cards that have been missing from my collection since my ex-wife decided to “lighten” up my collection plus a couple of 1994 Fun Cards, which are always humorous.

Thank you Angus, I really appreciate the Griffey cards and I hope you like what I sent.

A couple of the 1994 UD Fun Packs were foldouts and I am so bummed because when I tried to open them I damaged the cards. Sadly after 20 years of being sealed the glue holding the cards together had become like sticky cement and didn't want to open up. The Griffey-Mattingly Headline Stars wasn't too bad with just a small paper tear on the back of the Mattingly die-cut but the Foldouts card ended up pulling away a good portion of the inside. If I used emojis this would be the point where I put a sad face.


Monday, April 27, 2015

A Quick Peek: 2015 Topps Star Wars Illustrated: Empire Strikes Back

In 2013 Topps released Star Wars Illustrated: A New Hope, a set based on the NPR radio broadcast from the 1981. There were three Star Wars radio broadcasts between 1981 through 1996 and they each built on the original trilogy (A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) adding to the storyline.

Topps is set to continue their Illustrated line with the Empire Strikes Back movie with the release of 2015 Topps Star Wars Illustrated: Empire Strikes Back later this week on April 29th. Like the Illustrated: A New Hope release each box will contain 24 packs (@$100/box) but the pack out will be better. Each box will contain 10 parallels, 30 inserts and 2 hits.

There will be three different base card parallels not counting the artist autograph version; Purple (1:3 packs), Bronze (1:12 packs) and Gold (#/10).


The inserts are:
One Year Earlier (1:2 packs)- 15 card checklist; shows what was happening one year before Empire Strikes Back was released

Movie Poster Artist Interpretations (1:3 packs)- 10 card checklist; illustrators show their interpretations of the  Empire Strikes Back poster

The Mission: Capture Skywalker (1:8 packs)- 12 card checklist; outlines a major storyline and the hunt to capture Like Skywalker

Embossed Carbonite Character (1:12 packs)- 8 card checklist; foil cards that combine to create a specific scene from the radio broadcast

There are four different types of hits, which will come two per box
Sketch cards, three different types:

 Base Sketch Cards

 Panorama Sketch Cards- Double sized sketch cards

Sketchagraphs- Sketch cards signed by the actor who played the role
Artist Autographs- Base card parallel signed by the artist who created the art

Film Cell Relics- An original frame from the Empire Strikes Back movie

Printing Plates
With the New Hope set doing so well I was expecting this set to come along and I am glad to see that Topps followed through. At this point I am betting that Jedi is already on the drawing board and will probably hit the shelves by 2016 if not late 2015. Like other Star Wars sets you can expect a positive response from fans.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Wallet Card Shaq Studies Arachnology

One problem that we encounter in Arizona often is the bark scorpions, last year we had 21 scorpions in our house (a record high for us). The other day I grabbed this little dude, he is our third visitor of the 2015, it doesn’t help that we had some very warm days recently which brings them out of their hibernation and they go on the hunt for food.

When I found this guy I felt he had something special about him. I noticed he was able to accomplish “Blue Steel” better than Derek Zoolander ever could. He was so photogenic I just knew that I had to put him in front of the camera.

After the standard model poses we went on to do some shots with #walletcard Shaq, I think they worked well together. When I went to the black light shots though Shaq disappeared in to the background while the scorpion lit up the stage.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Kurt At The Bat

There is an interesting fact about Kurt Russell that many people do not know, he played professional baseball. In the early 1970s he played for the California Angels minor league teams in Bend (Rainbows), Walla Walla (Islanders) and El Paso (Sun Kings) and by 1973 was considered one of the Angels top prospects when he was batting .563 in El Paso before being hit by another player during a run-down and damaging his shoulder. Later when his father Bing purchased a minor league team in 1977 called the Portland Mavericks Kurt returned to play a couple of games while working in the team’s front office. There was a wonderful documentary made about Bing Russell and the Portland Mavericks last year called "The Battered Bastards of Baseball" that can be seen on Netflix.

Obviously he chose the path of acting to become a super star in his own rights but the sports bug never disappeared from his family. His father Bing spent decades in baseball in various positions as a player and in the front office, Kurt’s son Wyatt played semi-pro hockey for 6 seasons and his nephew Matt Franco played for the Cubs, Mets and Braves.

The card was created by Dave Stewart, a disabled Vietnam vet, in the late 1970s. He created a number of unique card sets between the 70s and 90s, each card he made is limited to 500 (though not numbered) and Stewart gave these cards to people who made donations to his cause to help support disabled vets.

The card is 2 x 3.5, the same height as a standard card but not as wide. It is printed on glossy card stock and the back lists information from Kurt's final season with El Paso in 1973. The photo used is from a common promotional 8x10 photo released by El Paso while Russell was still playing for the team..

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Vintage Card Of The Month: 1892 Arbuckle States And Territories Arizona

This month’s VCoM comes from the 19th Century courtesy of a bag of coffee. Arbuckles’ Coffee was started by two brothers John and Charles Arbuckle in 1864. They were the first to pre-roast the beans and packed the coffee in one pound bags. It became so popular because it was so much easier to use pre-roasted coffee beans instead of roasting the beans on a stove or in a skillet before making coffee. The company was eventually broken up and sold off in the 1930s but their original Yuban Coffee brand is still being made today though it is owned by Kraft now.

In the 1890s the company inserted promotional cards in to their coffee changing the subject each year. One year was animals, one year flowers/vegetables, one year for sports, one year was states and territories, and one year was countries and so on. The cards are larger than normal, 3x5 inches, and extremely thin paper so condition is a big issue.

This card is from the 1892 States and Territories set, a 50-card checklist. I have searched for a checklist to try to figure out which cards are all included. In 1892 there were 44 states and 5 territories (Utah, Oklahoma, Indian Territory, New Mexico and Arizona), Alaska was considered a district and Hawaii was still the Kingdom of Hawaii.

I picked up this Arizona card for $5.25 shipped and I am still looking to add a Washington state card. The card is in great condition considering the age and paper type, the corners are soft with a bit of folding and there is staining in the upper right corner but otherwise beautiful.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Blue Harvest In Card Form

What happens when you blend the classic film Star Wars and fan favorite show Family Guy? You get the very awesome Blue Harvest (followed by Something, Something, Something, Dark Side and It’s A Trap!) parody by Seth McFarlane.

The DVD included a pack of 12 promo cards when first released. The cards included various scenes from the movie and when they are all put together the back completes a 3-D puzzle. The sets were only included in the European DVD releases so unfortunately I had to order these from an English dealer so there was a bit higher shipping cost. There is also 9 card sets released with the other two DVDs too but I have not been able to find just the card sets anywhere. I have found the sealed DVDs with the cards included but I have a problem paying extra for a DVD that will not play on my DVD player just to get the cards.