The Topps of the ’80s

Aahh,  the Holiday season is upon us and what better way to get in the mood than… baseball cards?! What?  That is just silly.  I mean really, baseball = summer, right now = winter.  Who in their right mind would write about such a poorly timed subject? (I know these are the thoughts going through you head right now, I just know it.  and now you’re thinking “How did he know I was thinking that?  I’m thinking it after this has already been written?  Wow!! The dudes amazing!!” and now your thinking, “Shut up and get to the point” so I will)

When I was spending time at my parents house over the extra long weekend, I came across a giant box with a ton of my and my brothers’ old baseball cards.  I couldn’t resist diving in! As I was flipping through them, I thought, “There’s enough ridiculousness in here that I could make a post out of it no problemo.”  I examined so many cards from the ’80’s and was so into finding perfectly corny cards, time just started to fly down memory lane.  After a while, I blacked out, and when I came too, my lips were covered in gum and powdered sugar from ’84 (at least I hope that’s what it was) and I had “fuck face” written all over my arms.  Anyway, it was a wild time and here are just a few little ha ha’s I came up with.

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I would really love to meet the guy or guys in charge of “Rating” the “Rated Rookies” or “Future Stars.” What criteria was used in giving out these awards?  BJ Surhoff. Ron Gant. Mike Campbell.  How does anyONE get the idea these names are headed for greatness, much less, how do these ideas get agreed upon to be mass produced?  How many people had to sign off on these decisions?  If you now anyone who ever rated rookies at any time in their lives, keep them away from your stock portfolio.

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If anyone questions the authenticity of my Gary Roenicke autographed 3rd year card, I will have you charged with first degree slander!!!

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I had a couple of silly quips about the randomness of having a card from the trainer of the 1981 Triple A Portland Beavers until I JUST realized Kent Biggerstaff would have been a heavy weight if I considered him for “Best Name of the ’80’s,” (see below).  Just checked, this card has a listed value of $53,823.58.

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Look at all the contenders Sparky Lyle laid to waste while on his way to winning “Mustache of the ’80’s.”

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I thought this was funny just comparing the sheer intensity of the ’82 wings / curly ‘fro to the ’87 version.  I also wanted to honor Bill Scherrer for being the last player in the “Bigs” to hold on to them.  Way to keep it real.

Drum roll please……

Last but not least, the winner for best name from an ’80’s baseball card iiiiiisssssss…………

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JJJJJOOOOOOHHHNNNNNNYYYYYYYY GGRRRUUUUUUUUUUUUUBBBBBBBBBB!!!!!!!!

My sincerest apologies go out to Jerry Don Gleaton, Oddibie McDowell, and Johhny Wockenfuss, but the Grubby One brought it home not only because his last name is Grubb, but the glasses and awkward look as if to say (in the voice of Poindexter) “No, I will not look at your camera, that is final.”  The Grubber’s card really has everything your looking for in an ’80’s baseball card: funny name, awkward pose, picture definitely not taken during a game (look at those empty stands, unless, maybe that is a picture of Grubber-ino in action), horrible uniform,  Coke bottle glasses, and the little hat down the bottom lets everyone know it’s from 1981.  Congrats Grubb-alicious!!  Today, you are a champion.

Whew, who else wants to dip a 3 inch piece of cardboard into powdered sugar and chew on it for like 7 minutes?  If anyone has any cards that can rival these (not that I’m claiming these are the greatest cards or anything), PLEASE email me or post them on the comments section if you can, or on my Facebook wall.  They will be shared here.

And just another reminder to click through the link on the left when shopping on Amazon.  There are a couple of new products being endorsed by the staff here at FCC, so check them out.  Click through the link.  Click through the link. Click through the link.  Have you remembered yet?  How about now?

Thank you for sharing this blog with friends and coworkers. Thank you so much for reading it too.

A “Will Be Grateful For” Blog Post

Turkey Day is upon us.  What a great time to step back and give thanks.  I had a great time writing about all the twists and turns that lead me to the happy life I have now and how grateful I am for everything and everyone.  I will not share that right now (I’m keeping it tucked away for a rainy/snowy day, or a day I just can’t think of anything to write about).  Today I’m going to flip the script and look ahead, ya know, to the future.  For a Thanksgiving tribute, I have compiled a list below of things I am grateful for that will be invented but have not yet.  Enjoy.

1)      Clearly visible markers or flags for Bluetooth ear pieces.  Throwing a little neon triangular flag three to four inches high on people’s ear piece has had a two-pronged affect on the use of this much-discussed piece of technology:  1) it allows non-Bluetoothers to see “them” coming and not be totally surprised, startled, or confused when the lone person 7’ away in the grocery store breaks into full conversation about spaghetti sauce when there is clearly no one around to listen; and 2) it limits the amount of people who use Bluetooth to those who REALLY need it.  The threat of potentially standing out in a crowd (unwantingly) makes people pause for an extra half second and assess whether holding a cell phone up to their ear is actually an arduous task.  (did I just make up the word “unwantingly”?)

2)      Color coded license plates for cars made in different eras.  Since improvements in the use of technology in and the manufacturing of cars (circa. 2009) took a giant leap, law enforcement officials in all 50 states realized cars made after 2008 need to be guided by a different set of rules.  A car’s color ranking is determined by the age of the car and the score received on the latest inspection.  Since the color-coding system has been in place, highways are moving more efficiently because cars that can safely travel at 80mph can do so thanks to many cities opening a lane for the “green plate” cars, owners of “yellow plate” cars are given a warning that they are in need of a serious tune-up and the shakes felt when traveling at 75mph are in fact not good, and flat tires are way down now that everyone knows the red plate on the car in front of them may drop an exhaust pipe at any minute.  I am also grateful for the large print license plates given to drivers over 67 years old.  Officials pulled off a great coup when they told the senior citizen community that the program would allow all drivers to be able to see their own license plate clearly, but in reality, the large plates were just a warning to everyone else.  (In case the giant Buick or Lincoln weren’t warning enough.  When was the last time someone under 50 bought a brand new Buick?  I need to know this.)

3)      I am grateful that hoverboards and self-drying jackets are available at most department and clothing stores.  Everyone who saw Back to the Future II couldn’t wait for these items to be available for Christmas, and had to sit by and wait while tablets, Skype, and picture-in-picture TV have now become commonplace.  After a couple billion dollars in R&D, twisted ankle lawsuit settlements, and battles over patents, ditching the bike for the hoverboard has become the new green commuting tool and water parks can stay open a couple months later (get it, cause you can wear a jacket, jump in the water and come out dry).  I am most grateful for being able to yell out the phrase, “You can’t use that, Bozo! Yeah, you need poww-ah! Hahahaha!” and not seem TOTALLY insane.  (Check out this link from gawker, I think you have to cut and paste it: http://gawker.com/5667202/11-things-from-back-to-the-future-ii-that-actually-came-true-and-3-that-havent-yet?tag=television)

4)      I never thought I’d see the day, but I am so grateful that the music played in grocery stores, airports, and other public places has improved dramatically.  I’m not sure who to thank, but if I never hear Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer” again, it will be too soon.  I was planning on making this the top item on my agenda when I run for President, so I guess I’m not really grateful for having to come up with something else, but I am grateful that the powers that be found out no one rioted in the streets, keeled over, or boycotted a single store when Jack Johnson, Miles Davis, or Hot Tuna was heard while shopping.  I’m glad we crossed this bridge together.

5)      I love the new fad created by the company who made those “coexist” bumper stickers a few years ago.  Branching out, using the same symbols for more pedestrian words, like “bacon” and “sidewalk” was just genius.  I give thanks that the religiosity of the symbols could be used to lighten the mood of people’s bumpers, so everyone could laugh together and, dare I say, coexist, cause really, I think all religions can support the merits of a good sidewalk, well maybe not bacon, though.  They might have to revise the word list, but it’s a great idea.  I heard a rumor the same company is getting into the sports teams business.

6)      Finally, I give thanks every day at 2:30 that this great nation of ours finally embraced the siesta.  Seeing businesses close, people shut off their computers, and just have a rest for an hour is such a great reminder of how hectic our lives of hyper-connectivity once were.  Embracing the siesta was a reminder that we all needed to slow the eff down.

So there’s my futuristic gratitude for you.  Good thing this is posted on the internet, and will be forever, so I can go back into the archives and see how long it took for these things to come to fruition.  Don’t forget to click through the Amazon link on the left when doing any online shopping.  Thanks in advance for that.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!!!!

A Neighbor and His Stories

Feel free to forward the link to this blog, repost it on Facebook, or just tell someone you know (hell, tell strangers about it too, if you want).  The number of hits here is growing, so thank you very much for your readership.

One thing I’m really enjoying now that I’m finally on Facebook, I have reconnected with many of my old friends from Vetovo.  Using the “Find Friends” feature got me thinking of all the people back in Bulgaria I would like to send my regards to, unfortunately many do not have profiles.  One guy in particular sticks out in my mind as having the best insights into what life was like under the Steel Curtain, oh wait, I mean the Iron Curtain (I don’t think L. C. Greenwood ever made it back to the old country).  I never knew this guys name, but he lived a few doors down from me, worked at the limestone mine outside of town, and I could pick him easily out of a line-up.  His insights come to mind also because after the fucking painfully expensive ($1.6 BBBillion!!!) election, my mind started wandering onto other types of government and how they role.  So I thought I would just share a couple of conversations and situations a found interesting.

One of my last days in town, I was at the local restaurant and saw my neighbor.  He invited me to sit down for a drink and shortly after, the owner of the place sat down as well.   As happens from time to time over there, I started hearing about “the old days” and what life was like under Communism. I heard both sides of the argument at the same time.  Lemonade soda was 15 cents. Everyone had work and a good pension.  There was no Orange Fanta or Jack Daniels.  We had to wait for three hours for bananas on New Year’s Eve.  What was so notable about this discussion was that the restaurant owner was the one telling me how great communism was, and the guy that worked in the mine was telling me how terrible it was.  Where does an entrepreneur get the idea that redistribution of wealth is the way it should be? Or, why does someone who believes all people are entitled to cheap soda get into the restaurant business?  Shouldn’t the laborer think everyone should make the same amount of money?  Where rich and poor all drink from the same, Fanta-less refrigerator?  Where in their lives did these two (and I’m sure they’re not alone) get information helping them form ideas that sort of contradicted their actions / places in life?  These are the types of questions that made my two years over there both difficult and fascinating.

I saw my neighbor on the street once, and we got to talking about the Balkan Peninsula and its history (as ya do) and invariably the “problems” in the former Yugoslav republics.  While there have been many conflicts in the past century throughout the region, Bulgaria has remained relatively peaceful.  To this, he simply said, “I don’t know if we’re smarter or lazier than everyone else, but whichever one it is, at least we’re all still here.”

The third story from this guy (I really wish I knew his name, but I really didn’t ever know it, so I can’t say “I wish I could ‘remember’ it” because I heard it once when I barley understood the language, and never had the nerve to ask him again.) is something we’ve all definitely read about or heard or seen in movies, but it was just wild to here it told by someone who actually lived it.  Years and years ago, his mother used to work at the cafeteria of mine that he works in now.  He can remember every month, one case of Coca Cola would be delivered and she was in charge of setting it aside for the bosses.  No workers were allowed to have any, and she was not to mention the existence of this case.  Every once and a while, there would be a night where the bosses would have drinks in the office, and over indulge a bit.  This would open the door for this woman to swipe a bottle or two of Coke and literally smuggle it home.  She gave it to her son (the guy telling the story) and he would have to be super hush hush about it.  He said he would have to be very careful about who he invited over to share the booty with, but they would break out their best cognac, prepare a big dinner, and enjoy the sweet stolen beverage.  Like I said, we all have seen this type of scenario in movies, or read about it in history class, but to hear someone retelling their own personal experiences was something memorable…

I’m not sure why this guy and these stories jumped out at me when they did.  It’s not like I’m hoping we go Communist or anything.  I think mostly it’s this:  Our election process is painful and wasteful, but at least I can fill my tub with Coke or Orange Fanta, submerge myself in it, and eat 7 bunches of bananas… that is if I was into that sort of thing.

Want to buy Fanta, a case of Coke to hide from your minions, or pretty much anything else?  Go to amazon.com by clicking through the link on the left when doing your online shopping.  Help support Firecat Central.  Thanks.

We have our ads back!!!

The elections are finally over, and that means NO MORE ADS!!!!  We can finally get back to seeing large groups of hipply dressed dudes and dudettes rock out on the tops of buildings, on the beach, even at the mall, if we only just by the right product.  So I thought it would be nice to just watch some classic commercials to celebrate the end of attack ad season.

Note:  Because I’m kinda new to this like blogging thing, I couldn’t figure out how to get all the videos on one post, so each one has it’s own post.  Now that I write it, I guess it won’t really affect your viewing pleasure at all, but if anyone knows how to do it, let me know through the comment section or Facebook, or email, or phone.

Also:  Just a reminder to click through the link that says “AMAZON HOMEPAGE” on the left if you are buying something on Amazon.com.  It only takes 5 extra seconds of your time, and would help us out here at Firecat Central.  Thanks.

THE KING!!!

This commercial gave me the idea for this post. I drove by a BK the other day, and just randomly started humming this song. Then I started laughing out loud to my self. Then I saw the mental image of those last couple of staggering steps before paydirt, and thought, “I have to watch this ASAP.”

WOW

This shit always fascinates me. The most popular cartoon is sponsored by a cigarette company. It just blows my mind, and I can’t even think of a modern day equivalent. Would it be like Thomas the Engine selling those “cigar” papers behind the counter at Store 24? Is Yo Gabba Gabba going to start promoting whatever they’re into after the recent law changes in Colorado and Washington? How could this have ever happened? It’s just amazing.