Tuesday, November 30, 2010

MOvember 2010 -- Final Update

Today is the final day of MOvember, which meant that I finally shaved off my mustache.  Moments later, the month-long kiss-embargo which had been imposed by The Wife was rescinded, which was nice.  Very nice indeed.

Before I shaved off the 'stache, I had the wife snap a couple of pics.  And I'm not sure which is tougher, growing a mustache or trying to get a decent photo of the damn thing.

I call this one "Winter Guy."

On a side note, I got both the hat and coat at Old Navy recently.  Both were on uber-sale.  The hat has a Hamm's Premium Beer patch on the front (which I love) and the coat is the warmest coat I've ever owned (the combination of down-feathers and synthetic fabric work wonders in the frigid Nebraska winter air).

This next picture is titled "If I could grow a mustache as well as I can grow a nose, I'd be Tom Selleck".

I also thought of naming the above picture "Pointing at a $350 Mustache."  That's right, my family and friends love me enough (or feel enough pity on me) that they donated $350 toward prostate and testicular cancer research because I grew a lousy mustache.  What I lack in mustache-growing ability, I make up with the greatest family and friends on earth.

This next picture is probably my favorite.  I call it "Puzzled in Black & White".

Everyone who was kind enough to make a donation this MOvember will be receiving their own copy of this wonderful picture (unless they would prefer one of the others, which I'll gladly send their way) along with a thank you note as my way of saying thanks for donating.

The Wife and I spent the past month trying to think of a way to top last year's end-of-MOvember photo shoot, but we realized that we'd never be able to do so, so the above pictures are what we settled upon.  I'm a little disappointed that we were less creative this year, but I'm still very pleased that all of this year's photos of my MO were enhancement-free (i.e. I used no mascara or mustache dye.  It's all natural, baby.).

Thanks again to all who donated.  And if you've been waiting to see the final results of my mustache growing adventure before you donating, I'm sure the MOvember people would be happy to accept your money.  Please GO HERE to make a donation.

Once again, this year I raised $350.00, which exceeded my personal goal by $50.00.

Team MOrthern Colorado raised $492.00 which helped contribute to the $5 million plus that MOvember participants in the US collected.  Who knew that something as simple as a mustache could raise so much awareness and money?

Thanks again for your support this past month and the countdown to MOvember 2011 has officially begun.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

MOvember 2010 -- Week 3 Update

Does anyone know if the FBI ever got around to catching this fella?

If not, I may want to choose my outfits very, very, VERY wisely from here on out.

Thus far, I've raised $300 for prostate and testicular cancer research this MOvember, and Team MOrthern Colorado has raised $422. 

But worry not, there is still plenty of time to donate if you would care to do so.  Just go HERE. Thanks for your support.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Autograph Pickups

I'm a bit behind on posts about my Luke Hochevar collection, so here are some recently (which means I got them anytime within the past 7 months) acquired autograph cards.

First up is a 2008 SP Legendary Cuts Future Legends Signature card which is serial numbered 69/99.  I really like this card because it is one of the few on-card autographs I have.  Most of the others are sticker autos.

Next is a 2008 UD Premier Rookie Signature card serial numbered 206/299.  This autograph is on a sticker (the outline of which you can see on the card).  It's not the biggest problem in the world, but on-card autographs just look so much crisper and cleaner. 
Next we have a 2009 Topps Career Best Autograph.  This is one of the handful of autograph cards that I have which isn't serial numbered. 

This 2008 SPx Rookie Signatures is another of the non-serial numbered autograph cards in my collection.

This may be one of my favorite autograph cards in my collection.  This is a 2008 Upper Deck Masterpieces Stroke of Genius card.  Here are some of the great aspects of this card:
  • On-card autograph
  • Eye-pleasing card design.  I like the "Stroke of Genius" logo and font.
  • The picture is an "action" picture.
  • This card has great texture.  It has a "canvas" feel to it, because the "Masterpiece" series of cards is supposed to remind the collector of a masterpiece painting.
All in all, a well designed and executed card.

The final card is a 2009 Triple Threads Emerald card, serial numbered 9/10.  The Triple Thread series catches a lot of flack in the card collecting community, but I don't hate the design as much as other people.  One of my favorite aspects of this particular card is the multi-colored jersey section.  More often than not, the jerseys are all the same color.  But not mine.  Mine has a white jersey swatch, a red jersey swatch (although I'm at a loss as to where on a KC Royals jersey there is red material), and the "CK" section appears to be the jersey label.  Pretty sweet, in my humble opinion.

Recently, my Hochevar collection hit the 150-card mark.  Not too bad considering I've only been actively collecting his cards for the past seven or eight months.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Joey Pos

Before I get to the reason for this post, I want to make a couple of admissions. 

First, I am not a very good writer.  (The fact that I've rewritten this post about a dozen times would be proof enough of this fact, at least in my mind.)  It's not that I don't enjoy writing, I do.  But when I sit down at my computer to compose a blog post, I get often get frustrated that the thoughts bouncing around in my skull do not end up coming out as I want them when I attempt to put them to paper (or in a blog post).  And that bugs me and often keeps me from posting as often as I'd like to my blog.

Second, of the nearly 4000 songs in my iTunes library, I do not own one single Bruce Springsteen song.  I love classic rock, but have never found Bruce's music to be enjoyable. 

So when I read an essay such as this, by my favorite blogger, Joe Posnanski, I am both inspired and depressed.  Reading this post makes me wish I had one-tenth the writing ability of Joe, but knowing I never will write this well is quite depressing.  At the same time, I am inspired to keep trying to reach the bar that Joe has set so very high. 

Joe is a guy who can take a topic with which I have no interest and keep me interested.  I am jealous of his gift, yet am so very glad that he shares it with his readers.  I have no idea how the guy can make me cry with a topic as simple as a Bruce Springsteen song, but I am so very thankful that he did.

(And I may have to give Bruce another chance and buy one of his cds.)

SONG:  "The Promise" by Bruce Springsteen

CARD:  2010 Allen and Ginter Mini Luke Hochevar Yellow Printing Plate, serial numbered 1/1

Monday, November 15, 2010

MOvember Update: Mustaches That Inspire Me

Week Two of MOvember is in the books, and I'm pleased as punch with the results.

Team MOrthern Colorado has raised over $400 for prostate and testicular cancer research.  We are almost half-way to our goal of $1000 for our team, which is good.  Hopefully, as the mustaches are beginning to take shape, many people will become inspired to donate.  If you would like to help our team reach our goal by making a donation, please go HERE.  Every dollar counts and every dollar is important.

Relatively speaking, my MO is coming in quite nicely.  When I first participated in MOvember four years ago, I didn't have this much growth for the entire month.  In fact, back then, most people couldn't see the mustache until Thanksgiving.  Not so this year.  This year it has some nice color and texture.  See for yourself.

Which brings me to this week's Update Topic:  Mustaches That Inspire Me.

These are the men and mustaches that have inspired me to take up this quest to grow a soup strainer. 

  • Charlie Chaplin 
  • Ron Burgundy 
  • Freddie Mercury 
  • Helen Thomas 
  • Giraldo Rivera 
  • Craig "The Walrus" Stadler
  • Mike Ditka 
  • Borat
  • SNL's "Super Fans" (you know, "Da Bears!") 
  • Graucho Marx 
  • Tom Sellek 
  • Rollie Fingers 
  • Gene Shallot 
  • Mike "Fluff" Cowan
  • Hulk Hogan 
  • Alex Trebek
10)  Cowboy, poet, and humorist Baxter Black

9)  Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band era Beatles

8)  Consumer reporter, investigative journalist, author, libertarian columnist, and television news-magazine anchor John Stossel

7)  Theoretical physicist, philosopher, and author Albert Einstein

6)  Gunfighter, lawman, and gambler Wild Bill Hickok

5)  Late 80s and early 90s baseball players.
(Picture borrowed from my favorite baseball card blog Night Owl's Cards). 

4) Radio personality Bob Kevoian  (Incidentally, Bob's mustache was born on June 18, 1969)

3) Detective Dan Stark from television's "The Good Guys"

2)  From the Pawnee Parks and Recreation Department, Ron Swanson

1)  Postal worker, former volunteer fire department Chief, mechanic and handyman, woodworker and carpenter, youth basketball and baseball coach, church leader, hunter and fisherman, outdoorsman, golfer, photographer, and, most importantly, my Dad.

I hope to one day be able to grow half the mustaches that these men have grown.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Two videos and a card.

My brain has been in a bit of a funk and I haven't been able to finish a written blog post for over a week.  I have a half dozen unfinished rough drafts sitting on my blog-desktop that remain unposted because I can't seem to find the motivation or passion to finish them.

So, I thought I would get up a post that is less wordy and more picturey and soundy.

First, a cat video.

Second, a music video.

And, finally, a picture of a recent trading card purchase.

This card is a 2007 Bowman Sterling Duel Autograph of Luke Hochevar and David Price, serial numbered 83/275.

Monday, November 8, 2010

MOvember Monday Update: Week 1

I've been growing my 'stache for a little over a week and I've got to say that I'm relatively pleased with the results thus far.  I can remember the first year I participated in MOvember, back in 2007, and most people didn't know I was growing a mustache until the third week.  Pretty lame. 

But this year, I've had a few coworkers comment on my growth within the first week of growth, which I will consider a small victory.


 Another victory is that the above picture was taken without the performance-enhancing techniques (i.e. mascara on the lip whiskers). 

And, probably the biggest victory of all, I reached my personal fund-raising goal of $300 within the first week of MOvember.  I have the most generous group of friends and family.  I would like to thank my Wife, my Mom, my Mother-in-Law, my cousin Darcey, and my aunt Linda for their donations.  You guys are the greatest. 

If you would like to donate to my mustache (and to prostate and testicular cancer research), please go HERE.  My team, MOrthern Colorado, has a goal to raise $1000, so while I've reached my personal goal, I'd still like to get my team to our goal. 

Thank you for your continued support in this journey to raise awareness for men's health.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Using words to prey on people's ignorance is fun.

I saw this video over at Althouse's blog.


SONG:  "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby.  I didn't go out today, but we are now in November, which everyone knows is the start of the Christmas Season, so I'm assuming they have started playing Christmas music in stores to get shoppers in the holiday mood.  I thought I'd get in on the fun. 


CARD:  2006 Just Minors Duel Signature Luke Hochevar/Dexter Fowler, serial numbered 2/2.

I was able to use some of the money from the sale of my Strasburg Printing Plate to fund the purchase of this card.  I was super excited to find this card on eBay, since it has the autograph of the two players that I'm currently collecting.  I was also glad that the seller accepted an offer that was 1/3 less than their listed asking price.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Gonna try to win me some cards

I stumbled into this "contest" at one of the card collecting blogs I read.  I love when bloggers offer up free cards as incentive to get more people reading their blog.  In this case Georgia Mindset has offered a free hobby box for anyone who will follow their blog and will give a shout out about the contest. 

Well, Georgia Mindset, your plan has worked perfectly.  I am now following your blog and have added you to my daily-read list.  Thanks for the contest and I hope to be the lucky winner.

And the nice thing is, any other bloggers who are interested can enter the contest as well.  Just head over to the Georgia Mindset website for more details.


CARD OF THE DAY:  2010 Topps T206 "3-Card Mini". 
I love the ToppsVault store on eBay.  They put out unique (and often times, 1/1) trading card memorabilia on a daily basis and their starting bid prices are quite reasonable.  I've picked up three unique Luke Hochevar cards for my collection from them.   Two of them are labeled 1/1 and all of them have "blank backs".  This particular card is of three T206 mini cards, but they haven't been cut apart.  Also, this card has a "blank back" which makes it interesting and unique (at least to me).

Thursday, October 28, 2010

1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner

When I was a kid, I strictly collected basketball cards.  Every once in a while I'd buy a pack or two of baseball or football cards, but my true passion was collecting basketball cards.  And, more specifically, I collected the cards of current players.  

This was for a few reasons.  First, I lived 90+ minutes away from the nearest card shop, which meant that I had little to no access to previously released cards.  Second, it was cheaper and more fun to try to pull my favorite player's card from a pack.  Also, by constantly buying packs of cards, I had a nice stockpile of cards to use as trade-bait with my friends.  Third, vintage cards were too expensive for a kid to try and collect.  The best I could hope for was to find some old cards in my grandparent's basement, and that never happened, unfortunately.  In all the years I collected as a kid, I cannot remember ever buying an individual card.  I always felt that I could get more bang for my buck by playing the lottery of ripping packs of cards.

Yet, as a modern-day basketball card collecting kid, I still knew of the legend of the 1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner baseball card.  This card was the first "short-printed" card of importance.  For one reason or another, very few Honus Wagner cards were printed for this series, with some estimating that as few as 200 cards were produced.

Fast forward 80 years to when I was a kid, and these rare cards of a famous and important baseball player were the most highly coveted cards in the industry.  Whenever I was thumbing through a Beckett Magazine for updates on the value of my modern cards, I would always check out the vintage cards to see how valuable they were, and this card always took the cake. 

Today the news spread like wild-fire throughout the card collecting world that another one of these cards had surfaced and was up for auction.  Apparently a man had one of these cards in his safety deposit box since the 1930s and left it to his sister, a nun living in Virginia, after he died.  Current bidding for the card is currently at $180,000, even though the card is in less than mint condition. 

Sadly, I was born many years too late to have my card collection increase in value like past generations have enjoyed (damn "Junk Card" era).  But it's cards like the 1909-11 Honus Wagner T206 that make this hobby so much fun. 

And cards like the Honus Wagner are one of the main reasons why I love tracking down cards that are serial numbered 1/1.  I love knowing that I am the only person in the entire universe with that particular card.  If I can't own a piece of history by shelling out thousands of dollars for a vintage card, then I'll make my own history by owning a unique modern-day card (like the one below), which makes me very happy indeed.

SONG:  "Hometown Glory" by Adele

CARD:  2010 Topps T206 Bronze "Blank Back" Luke Hochevar, serial numbered 1/1

MOVEMBER:  In the past two days I've received $150.00 in donations, which means that I'm halfway to meeting my personal goal of $300, and MOvember hasn't even started yet.  I couldn't be happier.  Thanks to my wife, my mom, and my cousin Darcey for their donations.  You guys are the greatest!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

MOvember 2010 Slogan Pitch

It is almost November, which can only mean one thing:  MOVEMBER!!!  That's right.  Everyone's favorite mustache-growing charity is about to kick off.  For the uninitiated, here is a quick explanation of MOvember from the MOvember website:

The Mo, slang for moustache, and November come together each year for Movember. 

Movember challenges men to change their appearance and the face of men’s health by growing a moustache. The rules are simple, start Movember 1st  clean-shaven and then grow a moustache for the entire month.  The moustache becomes the ribbon for men’s health, the means by which awareness and funds are raised for cancers that affect men.  Much like the commitment to run or walk for charity, the men of Movember commit to growing a moustache for 30 days. 
Yes, I will once again be growing a mustache for 30 days (although I usually start early, since my facial hair growing skills are less than stellar).  You may ask yourself why I would put myself through such an ordeal?  To raise money.  "How will the money be used?" you ask.  Great question.
The funds raised through Movember’s US campaign benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) and LIVESTRONG, the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

The PCF uses the money raised by Movember to fund research that is accelerating the discovery of better treatments and ultimately finding a cure for prostate cancer.  One such program is the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center’s research, which has recently made a significant breakthrough.  They identified 24 different kinds of prostate cancer and how aggressive each is.  This should enable scientists to soon be able to answer the agonizing question facing men with prostate cancer: does their cancer need immediate treatment, and if so what is the best treatment, or can it be left alone?

LIVESTRONG uses the money raised by Movember to fund important programs to support young adults and their families battling and surviving cancer.  These programs include:

•     Fertile Hope, an initiative dedicated to providing reproductive information, support and hope to cancer patients and survivors whose medical treatments present the risk of infertility.

•      My Planet, an online community of peer support that allows young adults to find and communicate with other young adults whose lives have been affected by cancer.

•      Continuing Nursing Education program on Young Adult Cancer Survivorship. LIVESTRONG encourage nurses to know the warning signs of cancer, understand what types of cancer for which young adults may be at risk, and learn about cancer screening.

The success of Movember can be directly attributed to the more than 627,000 Mo Bros and Mo Sistas who have supported our cause since 2003.  Movember is sincerely grateful for their efforts and appreciates all they do.

For those of you new to Movember, we challenge you to join us in changing the face of men's health.
 This is my favorite charity to support.  It's a serious issue being addressed in a fun and unique way.  In addition to growing a really creepy and lame mustache, I thought I'd help the MOvember people out by coming up with some catchy slogans that they may or may not want to use in the future.
  • MOvember, because every man looks better wearing a lip sweater.
  • MOvember, because the 5K-fundraiser idea was already taken.
  • MOvember, because it's not like there is anything better to do in November.
  • MOvember, because no politician approved this mustache.
  • MOvember, invented by drunk Australians.
  • MOvember, because Justin Bieber can't.
  • MOvember, a trending topic on Twitter since 1987.
  • MOvember, the only holiday that Hallmark hasn't bastardized.
  • MOvember, because a month with a mustache is easier than being stuck in a Chilean mine with 32 other dudes.
  • MOvember, at least it's not "Merkin-vember".
  • MOvember, because a month with a mustache beats receiving text message pictures from Brett Favre.
  • MOvember, recommended by 1 out of 2 members of Hall and Oates.
  • MOvember, because your nose hairs need a friend.
  • MOvember, if it's good enough for Tom Sellak, it damn well had better be good enough for you.
Hopefully the fine folks running MOvember will take these into consideration.

If you or someone you know would like to join our team, "MOrthern Colorado," go here and sign up:

Last year Team MOrthern Colorado raised over $700.  This year our goal is to raise over $1000.  

If you or someone you know would care to donate to me and my Mo, go here:   

Last year I raised $266 for the cause.  This year my personal goal is to raise at least $300.
Thank you in advance for your support, whether you choose to donate or grow a Mo.   Every dollar counts and every dollar is important in the fight against prostate and testicular cancer. 


SONG:  "Feeling Alright" by the Black Crowes

Monday, October 25, 2010

Honesty is the Best Policy

Let the record show that I do not enjoy nightly walks with my wife and my dog.  It's not the wife and dog part I do not like (indeed, I like them very much), it's the walking part.  I am a 29 year-old man who does not enjoy walks.  I know I had previously posted on this blog that I enjoy evening walks.  That was not true then and it is not true now.  I said those things in an attempt to make myself look good.  Thank you for your time and I will work harder to be at all times honest within my blog posts in the future.


The Writing Staff of 87 Murphy Squirrels


SONG:  "Grey Street" by the Dave Matthews Band

CARDS:   my recently completed 2010 Topps Chrome Luke Hochevar "rainbow."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Treasures from my Grandma Eva

A few years ago, my Grandma Eva began asking what items from her house we would like to have once she had died.  While none of us were looking forward to that inevitable day, I believe it gave her comfort to know that some of her worldly possessions would be in the homes of her family.

The only item I asked my Grandma to give me was her dinning room table.  Of all of her possessions, this one carried with it some of my fondest memories.  In my mind, if I could no longer enjoy a home-cooked meal from my Grandma (man, that's a tough set of words to type out), then I want to forever be able to sit at the table where those meals were presented.

After Grandma passed away back in July, my wife and I stayed in Grandma's house the nights before and after her memorial service.  It was a bittersweet night.  It was tough because she was no longer there with us, but it was a very important way for me to cope with her death.

After Grandma's memorial service, my parents mentioned that my wife and I should take a few items home with us if we wanted.  That night before bed we took a moment to look through the house and picked out a few items to take home with us.

First we selected a set of blue canisters.  For as long as I can remember these four canisters sat on Grandma's kitchen counter holding her flour, sugar, and other cooking items.

We would later find out that these canisters were made by L.E. Smith and are quite the collector's items.  Since we found these canisters, the wife and I have tracked down a few other L.E. Smith items, including these:

Another item I picked out that day was the candy jar that always sat upon Grandma and Grandpa's refrigerator.  I always loved sticking my little arm deep inside this jar and pulling out a treat.

As you can see from this picture, this jar will continue to house my favorite candy treats.

When I went back to Colorado for Grandma's memorial service after her remains were cremated, the family spent a few hours at her house digging deep into her closets and cabinets and I discovered some other gems that I brought back to Nebraska to enjoy.

I added a few more glass items to our collection.

I also laid claim to this glass container that Grandma always kept vinegar in for use at the dinner table.  Whenever Grandma made "California Blend" for dinner, I would douse the veggies in vinegar using this jar.

While digging through Grandma's bedroom closet, I stumbled upon this picture of her and her parents and siblings.  I love this picture and will display it proudly.  Grandma Eva is in the center of the back row. 

I also found this electric football game in her basement.  I found out that my father and his brothers would spend hours playing this game when they were kids.  My Dad said that the only thing missing from the game was the piece of metal that was used to kick field goals.  It will look so cool in my "man cave".

Finally, my sister and I found this notebook in Grandma's kitchen.  Inside it were pages and pages of hand-written recipes.  What an amazing piece of family history.  I can't wait to recreate some of the foods for which Grandma was so famous.

Grandma Eva was not a wealthy person, but being able to have some of her possessions in my house is more than priceless.  These items would be worthless to anyone who was unfortunate enough to have known her, but to me they contain a lifetime's worth of memories.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

For My Sister

These are songs you might like.


Edwin McCain, "Walk with You"

Stephen Curtis Chapman, "Cinderella"

Carrie Underwood, "Mama's Song" (kinda works)

Darius Rucker, "It Won't Be Like This For Long"

Tim McGraw, "My Little Girl"

Sheryl Crow, "Sweet Child O' Mine"

Loudon Wainwright, "Daughter"

Rodney Atkins, "Cleaning This Gun"  (for a good laugh)

Ingrid Michaelson, "Maybe"


Stevie Wonder, "Isn't She Lovely"

Bob Carlisle, "Butterfly Kisses"

Joe Cocker, "You Are So Beautiful"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

To be or not to be

This week "My Wife Asks..."

Based on your love of theater in high school, did you ever consider doing something professionally in that area?
When I was in elementary school, I was certain I was going to be in the NBA.  I spent hours at the basketball court across from my house practicing to become the next John Stockton.  My friends and I would spend hours having dunk contests on their back yard basketball hoops.  Our junior high basketball team was pretty good.

Then came my freshman year of high school and everyone around me got taller while I remained short and skinny.  Everyone became faster, stronger, and better than me in sports.  This was a very unwelcome wake-up call to me that my dream of playing professional basketball would remain just that, a dream.

During my sophomore year, on a whim, I auditioned for the school drama club Fall production of M*A*S*H.  I had no illusions of getting a role.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that I hoped that I was rooting that I wouldn't get a role.  I am pretty sure that I only auditioned because my cousin Brian was trying out and I was with him at the time.  Yet, for some reason, the drama teacher cast me in one of the lead roles as Hawkeye Pierce.

And somehow I was good.  And I loved being on stage.  I loved getting laughs.  I loved the costumes and learning lines and rehearsing with my friends.  I especially loved being able to escape and hide behind all of the characters I played on stage.   

As high school progressed and I still wasn't growing as quickly as my peers, I found that in drama, my size and speed and strength were irrelevant.  I found that I had a previously undiscovered knack for theater.  And my insecurities were dulled with this success.  On stage, my wise-ass, theatrical, do-anything-for-a-laugh personality was not only encouraged, but I received praise and accolades.  It was a win-win situation.

The summer before my senior year of high school, my friend Brad and I put together an improv/variety show with members of our community.  As much as I loved scripted drama and comedy, I really found my wheel-house with improvisational comedy.  I loved thinking quickly on my feet.  I loved being able to showcase my wit and sense of humor without being restricted by a script (even though I would often go off script during drama productions just for fun and to see how my co-actors would react).  We continued our improv acting in college when we put together a show with some fellow thespians.  It was great fun and my love for getting a laugh never waned, even though it would end up being my last stage performance.

Yet in all of those years, it never occurred to me that I might be a wise decision to try to earn a living in theater after college.  As with sports, acting was always just something fun for me to do.  So while I still enjoy comedy, going to the theater for the occasional performance, and might dabble in community theater sometime down the road, I am certain that I'll never have the drive or ambition necessary to do it professionally. 


SONG:  "This" by Darius Rucker from his newly release album, Charleston, SC 1966.  A great song from a great sophomore solo country album from Darius.

CARD:  Luke Hochevar 2008 Bowman Chrome Magenta Printing Plate, serial numbered 1/1.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Card Chase, the Dexter Fowler Edition

Last month, while The Wife and I were busting boxes of 2010 Topps T206 baseball cards, she noticed that one card was really cool.  It was a Dexter Fowler Piedmont Mini card.  Here is the card:

One aspect of the T206 series of cards is that they put the player's last name followed by the location that the player plays.  In this case, it was "Fowler, Colorado" which, oddly enough, is the name of my hometown.  At that moment, I knew I must start collecting Dexter Fowler baseball cards.

I liked the idea because Dexter is a relatively young player (which means he doesn't have a ton of cards already out, which means it should be easier to get caught up), he's not a big name player (which means his cards aren't out of my price range), and he plays for the team I rooted for as a kid, the Colorado Rockies.

I looked through some of my older cards and found that I already had one of his cards, a 2009 Topps T206 Piedmont mini.

I then found a handful of his cards on eBay, which I quickly bought using some of the money I made with the sale of my Stephen Strasburg printing plate card.

While browsing through eBay, I noticed that Dexter is one of the players who have Autographed Patch Letters in production, which I've always wanted to collect, but have never had a reason to do so.  So far, I have three of the letters of his last name.  I can't wait to have his whole name.  It will look great on my card collection wall.

I'm very glad to have a new player to collect, thanks to my wife's eagle eyes.

Monday, October 11, 2010

What I Like and Dislike

Things I really dislike a lot at this moment:

Public Service Announcement commercials;
Jillian Michaels;
press conferences;
flavored iced tea;
sweet tea;
Allison Krauss;
the phrase "on a scale of 1 to 10";
my alarm clock;
national holidays that fall on a Monday;
carrier pigeons;
the word "whom";
GoDaddy.com commercials (especially ones that star Danika Patrick);
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (especially Ty Pennington);
picking up Brodie's boom-booms;
one-word text messages;
ball-point pens;
Yoko Ono;
people who don't hate cancer enough;
60 Minutes;
diet soda;
every other person in the grocery store;
the "Green" movement;
Sean Hannity;
Keith Olberman;
facebook memes;
John Lennon's song "Imagine".

Things I really like a lot at this moment:

Chick McGee;
Dirty jokes;
Calvin and Hobbes comics;
Gold Bond Medicated Powder;
Justin Timberlake on SNL;
buying polo shirts at thrift stores;
Chris Turkelton and Johnny Dorian;
Brodie eating watermelon;
iced tea;
home-made fruit pies;
pulled pork;
my snowblower;
free golf;
Stana Katic;
shredding junk mail;
Modern Family;
Rob Huebel on Twitter;
Charlie Day;
comedy club names;
podcasts on my iPod;
Amazon.com's MP3 Daily Deal;
Tootsie Rolls;
when you go to a Hall and Oates Tribute Band concert and it turns out to actually be Hall and Oates;
President Obama hasn't quit smoking;
YouTube videos of puppies;
1980s Bobcat Goldthwait;
KC Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop;
former NBA player Mitch Kupchak;
Dr. Pepper;
Yakity Sax;
the wagon my wife's draggin';
"Love the Way You Lie" by Eminem w/ Rhianna;
Phil Dunphy quotes.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Gay Marriage and Me

This week "My Wife Asks..."
It seems to me your views about gay marriage may be changing. Is that true? If so, what’s up with that?
 Hmmmm, how to tackle this one?

Let me first tell you where I sit, before I tell you where I stand.  I am a small "L" libertarian, which means that I am a fiscal conservative and a social liberal (the former more so than the latter).  My first principle is to support and promote fiscal responsibility in government: balanced budgets, low deficits, low tax rates, low spending, etc.  Notice I didn't say "no" deficits, tax rates, spending, etc.  I said "low" because I believe in small/limited government (I'm not an anarchist), and even a small/limited government needs money.

My second principle is to support and promote independence, liberty, and freedom, both in society and economically.  I believe that I know how best to live my life and spend my money.  I am a Federalist, which means that I believe that our Founders intentionally created a government where power is SHARED between national and state governments.  I believe that the federal government has enumerated powers expressly laid out in the Constitution (and that they long ago overstepped on those powers).  I believe that our Constitution was created to limit government, not as a tool to limit it's citizenry.  As Edmund Opitz once said, "No one can read our Constitution without concluding that the people who wrote it wanted their government severely limited; the words “no” and “not” employed in restraint of government power occur 24 times in the first seven articles of the Constitution and 22 more times in the Bill of Rights."

Finally, I wish that the Founders would have put the 10th Amendment first (Pop Quiz:  Without looking online, say aloud the 10th Amendment).  If you don't remember, the 10th Amendment states
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
 With all that said, I have come to the belief that there are many, many, MANY issues that are better left in the hands of state governments to handle, and gay marriage should be one of those issues.

In my world view, marriage would be seen by the federal government as a contract between two consenting adults.  In the government's eyes, all marriages would be civil unions. 

I would first eliminate the federal Defense of Marriage Act, as I believe it is an example of the federal government meddling in an issue that is not theirs to decide.

This would then leave it up to each individual state government and their citizenry to define which consenting adults could enter into the marriage contract.  States would decide how old both parties would need to be.  Some states would allow two 16 year olds to marry.  Others would set the age higher.  But it would be up to each state to decide.

In the same way, some (and, I would hope, eventually all) states would recognize all marriages, regardless of the gender of the parties involved (and, hopefully, they would do so legislatively, as Vermont and New Hampshire have done, and not rely upon judicial fiat to decide the issue in their state).  Some states might never recognize same-sex marriage.  My remedy to those gay couples who live in such a state would be for them to convince their fellow citizens to change their mind or, as a last resort, move to a state that does recognize same-sex marriages.  (Similar to how some people leave a state that has too high of a tax rate and move to a state that has a lower tax rate.)

Also, I would like the federal government to switch from an income tax to a consumption tax as a way to eliminate the need for the federal government to get involved in the matter.  This would eliminate tax breaks and incentives for married couples, thereby eliminating the current bias in favor of hetero marriages.

Is my solution perfect?  No.  Are there flaws within my proposed solution?  Yes there are (probably more then I can currently see).  But my solution would be wholly consistent with my libertarian and Federalist principles.

Thoughts, comments, and critiques are welcome in the comment section below.  And feel free to leave your comments anonymously if you would like.


ALBUMBoston by Boston -- with such hits as "More Than a Feeling," "Long Time," "Rock and Roll Band," "Let Me Take You Home Tonight," and "Peace of Mind," it's no wonder that this is the second-best selling debut album of all time.

NETFLIXThe Ultimate Fighter: Season 11  -- I just finished the first disc of this season, and it was fantastic.  Thanks, in large part, to UFC President Dana White, this series gets better and better with each season.

BOOK"Are You Kidding Me?:  The Story of Rocco Mediate's Extraordinary Battle with Tiger Woods at the US Open" by John Feinstein and Rocco Mediate  -- I recently purchased this book on eBay.  I am excited to read the story from Rocco's perspective and compare that to my memories from watching the event on television.

SPOILER ALERT!!!!:  With regard to the television show "Castle," I've discovered that a vast majority of the time, the murderer is the character (who isn't one a regular on the show) who speaks first.  Feel free to try out my theory the next time you watch an episode. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Gibson.com's Top 50 Guitar Solos

I heard about this list on the Bob and Tom Show last week.  I'm not too sure I agree with most of the list.

As best as I can tell, the Gibson.com Top 50 Guitar Solos list was put together by "musicians Bart Walsh (David Lee Roth) and Jeff Cease (Black Crowes), and Gibson.com’s entire editing and writing staff."

Here is their list.

1. “Stairway to Heaven,” Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page)
2. “Eruption,” Van Halen (Eddie Van Halen)
3. “All Along the Watchtower,” The Jimi Hendrix Experience
4. “Hotel California,” Eagles (Don Felder, Joe Walsh)
5. “Comfortably Numb,” Pink Floyd (David Gilmour)
6. “Free Bird,” Lynyrd Skynyrd (Gary Rossington, Allen Collins)
7. “Layla,” Derek and the Dominos (Eric Clapton, Duane Allman)
8. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” The Beatles (Eric Clapton)
9. “Johnny B. Goode,” Chuck Berry
10. “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Queen (Brian May)
11. “Crazy Train,” Ozzy Osbourne (Randy Rhoads)
12. “Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers,” Jeff Beck
13. “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” Guns N’ Roses (Slash)
14. “Hot for Teacher,” Van Halen (Eddie Van Halen)
15. “Since I’ve Been Loving You,” Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page)
16. “November Rain,” Guns N’ Roses (Slash)
17. “Mr Crowley,” Ozzy Osbourne (Randy Rhoads)
18. “Whole Lotta Rosie,” AC/DC (Angus Young)
19. “Like a Hurricane,” Neil Young and Crazy Horse
20. “Sultans of Swing,” Dire Straits (Mark Knopfler)
21. “Texas Flood,” Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble
22. “One,” Metallica (Kirk Hammett)
23. “Cortez the Killer,” Neil Young and Crazy Horse
24. “Rock Around the Clock,” Bill Haley and His Comets (Danny Cedrone)
25. “Sweet Jane” (live), Lou Reed (Steve Hunter, Dick Wagner)
26. “Purple Rain,” Prince and the Revolution (Prince)
27. “Heartbreaker,” Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page)
28. “Jessica,” Allman Brothers Band (Dickey Betts)
29. “Machine Gun,” Jimi Hendrix
30. “Crossroads,” Cream (Eric Clapton)
31. “Time,” Pink Floyd (David Gilmour)
32. “Are You Experienced,” The Jimi Hendrix Experience
33. “Race with the Devil,” Gene Vincent (Cliff Gallup)
34. “Don’t Believe a Word,” Thin Lizzy (Brian Robertson)
35. “Purple Haze,” The Jimi Hendrix Experience
36. “Besame Mucho,” Wes Montgomery
37. “Sympathy for the Devil,” The Rolling Stones (Keith Richards)
38. “Blue Sky,” Allman Brothers Band (Duane Allman, Dickey Betts)
39. “My Sharona,” The Knack (Berton Averre)
40. “Marquee Moon,” Television (Tom Verlaine)
41. “Hitch a Ride,” Boston (Tom Scholz)
42. “The End,” The Beatles (Paul McCartney, George Harrison, John Lennon)
43. “Whole Lotta Love,” Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page)
44. “Train Kept A Rollin’” (live), Aerosmith (Joe Perry)
45. “Highway Star,” Deep Purple (Ritchie Blackmore)
46. “Dirt,” The Stooges (Ron Asheton)
47. “Off the Handle,” Rory Gallagher
48. “The Great Curve,” Talking Heads (Adrian Belew)
49. “The Messiah Will Come Again,” Roy Buchanan
50. “Beat It,” Michael Jackson (Eddie Van Halen)

They also had their readers create a Top 25 list.  Here are their selections.

1. “Stairway to Heaven,” Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page)
2. “Free Bird,” Lynyrd Skynyrd (Allen Collins, Gary Rossington)
3. “Blue Sky,” Allman Brothers Band (Duane Allman, Dickey Betts)
4. “Layla,” Derek and the Dominos (Eric Clapton, Duane Allman)
5. “Eruption,” Van Halen (Eddie Van Halen)
6. “Whole Lotta Rosie,” AC/DC (Angus Young)
7. “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed,” Allman Brothers Band (Duane Allman, Dickey Betts)
8. “20th Century Boy,” T. Rex (Marc Bolan)
9. “Sweet Child o’ Mine,” Guns N’ Roses (Slash)
10. “Rude Mood,” Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble
11. “Hotel California,” Eagles (Don Felder, Joe Walsh)
12. “Comfortably Numb,” Pink Floyd (David Gilmour)
13. “November Rain,” Guns N’ Roses (Slash)
14. “Back in Black,” AC/DC (Angus Young)
15. “Whipping Post,” Allman Brothers Band (Dickey Betts, Duane Allman)
16. “Since I’ve Been Loving You,” Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page)
17. “Machine Gun,” Jimi Hendrix
18. “Crossroads,” Cream (Eric Clapton)
19. “Let There Be Rock,” AC/DC (Angus Young)
20. “Statesboro Blues,” The Allman Brothers Band (Duane Allman, Dickey Betts)
21. “Keep Yourself Alive,” Queen (Brian May)
22. “25 or 6 to 4,” Chicago (Terry Kath)
23. “All Along the Watchtower,” The Jimi Hendrix Experience
24. “Heartbreaker,” Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page)
25. “Landslide,” Fleetwood Mac (Lindsey Buckingham) and “Dreams,” Allman Brothers Band (Duane Allman) (tie)

I liked some of choices on both lists, but there were also some they left off.  Here is my list of the Top 25 Guitar Solos. 

1.  "Free Bird," Lynyrd Skynyrd (Allen Collins, Gary Rossington) 

2. "Eruption," Van Halen (Eddie Van Halen) 

3.  "Have A Drink On Me," AC/DC  (Angus Young) 

4. "Hotel California," The Eagles (Don Felder, Joe Walsh)

5.  "Wish You Were Here,"  Pink Floyd (David Gilmore) 

6.  "Stairway to Heaven," Led Zeppelin (Jimmy Page) 

7.  "Bridge to Better Days," Joe Bonamassa 

8.  "Sweet Child O' Mine," Guns N' Roses (Slash) 

9.  "La Grange," ZZ Top (Billy Gibbons)

10.  "Jessica," The Allman Brothers Band (Dickey Betts)

11.  "Soap on a Rope," Chickenfoot (Joe Satriani) 

12. "All Along the Watchtower," The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Jimi Hendrix)

13.  "Long Time," Boston (Tom Scholz)

14.  "Won't Get Fooled Again," The Who (Pete Townshend)

15.  "Who Did You Think I Was"  John Mayer Trio (John Mayer) 

16.  "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" Creedence Clearwater Revival (John Fogerty)

17.   "You Really Got Me," The Kinks (Dave Davies)

18.  "Purple Haze," The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Jimi Hendrix)

19.  "Black Magic Woman," Santana (Carlos Santana)

20.  "Right Now," Van Halen (Eddie Van Halen)

21.  "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo,"  Rick Derringer

22.  "Thunderstruck," AC/DC (Angus Young)

23.  "Crush," Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds

24. "Rocky Mountain Way," Joe Walsh

25.  "The Lumberjack," Jackyl (Jesse James Dupree)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day in the Life

This week "My Wife Asks"...
What does a day in the life of Eric look like?
6:45am  -- My first alarm goes off.

6:47 - 6:49 -- I finally awaken enough to get up and hit the snooze button.  (Which means that the alarm has been repeatedly beeping for a solid 3+ minutes, which gives my wife an interesting soundtrack while she is getting ready for the day in her bathroom.  If she ever gets around to murdering me, this will be one of the top reasons for doing so.)

6:50 - 7:10 -- repeatedly hit the snooze button, with the hope that the Rapture will occur during this time so I can skip work.

7:10 -- drag my lazy butt to the shower.  During the shower, it is my hope that the Rapture will occur so that I can skip work.

7:20 - 7:40 -- eat breakfast, let the dog outside to do his business, stop the dog from eating students from the nearby high school, check my email/eBay/Facebook/Twitter, sync my iPod, all the while hoping for the Rapture.

7:40 -- fight rush hour traffic to work, flipping between AM radio stations hoping that one will announce the impending Rapture.

7:59 -- arrive at work.  Resign myself to the fact that another Rapture-free day is upon me.

8:00 -- arrive at my desk.  Spend the next five minutes shuffling papers, checking that my stapler is full, emptying my two-hole punch, etc.

8:05 - 10:59 -- wander around the office asking coworkers for work, especially work that is VERY time consuming and menial.  Such work includes breaking down old files, shredding old paperwork, stuffing envelopes, making copies, putting together new file folders, and preparing mortgage files to be sent out via UPS.  Occasionally I'll be sent downstairs to the bank to get cashier's checks and to pick up the mail.  During this time I listen to the previous day's Dan Patrick Show podcast.

11:00 - 12:00 -- drive home for lunch.  Let out the dog to do his business.  Yell at him to stop sniffing the grass and to come inside.  Listen to the Jim Rome Show.  Eat lunch, check my email/eBay/Facebook/Twitter/blogs, sync my iPod, get the recently delivered mail, open any recently delivered packages containing baseball cards, log said cards into my Excel spreadsheet, talk to my friend Burt Near Denver about the Jim Rome Show via Twitter, grab a couple of sodas, and drive back to work.

12:00 - 5:00 -- repeat the morning routine, but this time I listen to today's podcast of the Bob and Tom Show and the previous day's Mike Rosen Show podcast.

5:00  -- fight rush hour traffic home.

5:15 -9:00ish -- make and eat dinner with the wife.  Watch any newly arrived Netflix.  Take an evening walk with the wife and the dog.  Watch more Netflix and/or television.

9:00ish -- tuck the wife in as she goes to bed.

9:00ish - 11:00ish -- surf the web, monitor my email/eBay/Facebook/Twitter.  Also, during this time I'll go outside and check for a blue moon.  If I see one, I'll head back inside and write up a blog post.

11:00ish -- crash into the bedroom.  Startle my wife out of her deep slumber.  Assure her I'm not a killer.  Let her curse at me for a minute or two.  Fall asleep immediately.

Thus completes a day in my life.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Favorite Nonfiction Books

At the Category Thirteen blog, my friend Joe listed the best nonfiction books he'd personally read.  I love lists, and his list had no mention of Tom Wolfe, so I thought I'd throw in my two cents on the subject. 

13)  Give Me a Break -- John Stossel -- this book was my written introduction to "classical liberalism".

12)  The Greatest Generation Speaks: Letters and Reflections -- Tom Brokaw  -- really powerful collection of letters from WWII

11)  The Life of Reilly  -- Rick Reilly -- a great collection of Reilly's Sports Illustrated articles. 

10)  Tales from Q School -- John Feinstein --  Making this list reminded me of how many golf books by Feinstein I still need to read.  The man is a machine, churning out at least one riveting sports book each year.

9)  Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court -- John Wooden and Steve Jamison  -- this book taught me more about being an effective teacher then I learned in five years of college.

8) Freakonomics -- Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt  -- interesting book that challenges conventional wisdom.

7)  Blind Side -- Michael Lewis -- much better than the movie (but aren't they all?).

6)  Everything is Wrong with Me: A Memoir of an American Childhood Gone, Well, Wrong -- Jason Mulgrew  -- funny memoir written by one of my favorite bloggers.

5)  Electric Kool-Aide Acid Test -- Tom Wolfe -- the second best book I was assigned to read in college.

4)  The New New Thing -- Michael Lewis -- the best book I was assigned to read in college

3)  Who's Your Caddy -- Rick Reilly -- the funniest sports book I've ever read.

2) Friday Night Lights -- H.G. Bissinger -- hands down, the best sports book I've ever read.

1)  Mere Christianity -- C.S. Lewis -- my favorite book by my favorite author.

While surfing through Amazon as I was trying to jog my memory as to which books I've actually read in the past decade, I stumbled into tons of books that I really need to read.  I think I'll order a few with the little bit of money I have leftover in my Amazon account from my birthday.  I'll probably grab one of John Feinstein's many golf books that I've yet to read and I'll pick one from Joe's list.  If I do so, I'll surpass my personal goal to read five books this year.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


This week "My Wife Asks..." 
Summer, Fall, Spring, or Winter: Pick one season and tell us why.
For the first half of my life, the answer would have been Winter, hands down.  During that time, the main draw of winter was the snow.  I loved skiing.  I loved sledding behind my dad's motorcycle.  I loved building snowmen.  I loved building snow forts and throwing snowballs.  I loved eating handfuls of snow and writing my name in the snow.  I loved staying home from school because of a snow day.  I loved pulling the emergency brake and cranking the steering wheel for a perfectly executed "Batman" in a snow/ice covered parking lot.  Heck, I even loved shoveling sidewalks, since back then, a cleared sidewalk equaled money in my pocket. 

For the first half of my life, I experienced winter only as the holiday season.  Winter meant Christmas presents, Christmas decorations, Christmas lights and trees, Christmas dinner, and Christmas vacation.  What's not to love?

But over the past dozen plus years, I have experienced winter as the season of work.  I no longer get the luxury of experiencing everything great winter has to offer, I actually have to work for winter.  Winter now means scraping ice off a windshield, shoveling a sidewalk and a driveway, and applying proper brake pressure when trying to slow down my passenger vehicle so as to not lose traction with the road.  Winter now costs money:  snow tires, coats and gloves, shovels and snowblowers and sledding equipment all cost money from my pocket. 

Winter now takes planning.  What's the best route home so I don't get my car stuck in the snow?  What presents am I going to buy?  At what speed can I ski that will be slow enough to prevent personal injury, yet fast enough to not be considered an old man by my sister?  Do we get a real or fake Christmas tree?  Or do we forgo a tree all together since it takes so much care and maintenance to ensure the tree doesn't create a fire hazard?  Do we save up all of our vacation time for a long Christmas break or split it up throughout the year? 

Finally, as a younger man, I would relish the cold of winter.  Not any longer.  You may remember a winter poem I published on this very blog a few months ago.  It went something like this:

By Abigail Elizabeth McIntyre
Shit it's Cold.
The End

Truer words were never spoken.  So, all of these factors have contributed to the waning of my love of winter.  But, I believe I would still love winter, despite these new nuisances, were it not for one word:  GOLF.
Winter makes it really difficult to golf, especially in Omaha.  So, I would say that at this time, I prefer spring, summer, and fall, or as I like to call them -- Golf Season.


Today, as I was eating a lunch of leftover spaghetti and meatballs, I started pondering which I preferred more: meatballs or meatloaf.  Which made me think of the singer Meat Loaf.  To which I wrote the following Tweet:   
Can't decide which I like more: meatloaf (the food, not the singer) or meatballs (the food, not the movie).
Which I then modified a bit to come up with the following Facebook status:
Can't decide which I like more:  meatloaf (the food, not the singer famous for the "Bat out of Hell" trilogy of albums) or meatballs (the food, not the 1979 movie directed by Ivan Reitman and staring Bill Murray).  Discuss.
Which then reminded me that I should see if any Meat Loaf songs are worth buying since my sister sent me an Amazon gift card that I wanted to use to buy new music.  The "I Will Do Anything For Love" song was my favorite, especially for the overriding riddle of what in fact it was that Mr. Loaf wouldn't do for love. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

2010 Topps T206 Stephen Strasburg Mini 1:1 Printing Plate

One of the best part about being a kid who collects trading cards was cracking open a new pack of cards.  It was basically the lottery for children.  You throw down a couple of bucks (back then) and roll the dice.  Occasionally, the pack would yield a bunch of junk cards.  But more often then not, the pack would give you enough cards off a want/need list to keep you coming back for more.  There is nothing better then ripping open a pack of cards and finding your favorite player or a rare insert card.  Today, my wife and I recreated a little piece of my youth by ripping open a box of 2010 Topps T206 cards.

When I started noticing a bevy of T206 Hochevar cards popping up on eBay, I decided to forgo the easy route of buying up the cards that other people had pulled and instead try and pull my own Hochevar cards.  And I was very pleased with the results.

The box contained 20 packs of cards, with 9 cards in each pack.  My wife and I each opened 10 packs.  At about pack 5 for me, I pulled the one of the cards I was hoping to get, my first Hochevar pull.  While it was a base card, after finding it, I considered the box a success.

Each box also contains one autograph card and one relic card.  As luck would have it, my wife ended up finding both of these cards.  It should be noted that she found both of these cards before I pulled the Hochevar card.  I'm not going to lie, I was a little bummed that she was the one to find the "hits" of the box.  She ended up finding a Grady Sizemore Game Used Bat relic card and a Gregor Blanco Autograph card.  Both cards are quite nice, but neither would be considered huge "hits" within the baseball card community.

We ended up getting about 120 base cards, which have whetted my appetite to attempt completing the base card set.  Along with the Hochevar base card, my wife ended up finding a Stephen Strasburg rookie card.

We also got 6 "short print" cards, which are different from the regular base cards because the players are wearing baseball caps (the base cards are unique due to all the players being hat-less) and the backs only contain the player's name (where as the base cards have a little blurb about the player).  Here are the short print cards.

The box also contained 20 or so mini cards.  The fun thing about the minis in this set is that there are five different styles of backs.  I ended up getting at least one of each back style.  Here are the five different styles.

The "Cycle" card is serial numbered 21/99.  Too bad it wasn't of a more well known player.

At around our 18th pack, and the ninth pack that I opened, I was under the impression that we'd found all of the "hits" that the box would contain, with which I was content, and I was just hoping to score a Hochevar mini card with the remaining packs.  Imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon this gem.

As the back of the card explains, it's a Stephen Strasburg 1:1 Magenta Mini Printing Plate card.  When I saw this card, I was overcome with joy.  This has to be one of the most coveted cards that can be pulled from a pack.  One might think that a Strasburg autograph card would be a bigger pull, but they didn't put any of his autographs in the packs.  Instead, a person would find a "redemption" card in the pack, which you then have to mail off to be redeemed by the company, and then they mail you the actual card.  So, in actuality, I ended up pulling one of the rarest cards of one of the biggest names in baseball card collecting today.

I hate to imagine how much this card would fetch on eBay if Stephen was not hurt at this time (and his future in question).  With that said, I'm still going to try to flip it for as much money as I can get to help fund my future card purchases.

As much as it probably scares my wife, because of this box of cards, I may have been bitten by the pack-ripping bug.  What a fun box to open and what a nice set of cards Topps has put out.  If my Strasburg card brings enough money, I'll definitely be opening another box of the T206 cards and I'll be chasing more Hochevar cards for my personal collection.