Thursday, December 31, 2020

Auld Lang Syne

 Life is odd.  This year has been tragic beyond comprehension.  We have seen, and suffered, such loss.  Yet only now, on the last day of the year, with the prospect of relief and normalcy on the horizon, do I feel the weight of the times.  I've struggled with a feeling of melancholy all day.  I hope, and believe, the turn of the calendar in a few hours, will usher in a year, not of forbearance, but hopefulness.

Please accept my best wishes for a happy and fruitful 2021.

Friday, December 25, 2020

An Appropriate Christmas Gift

I am, by my own admission, a difficult to person to buy gifts for.  My wife doesn't understand my collection and has wisely chosen to steer clear of it at gift giving times.  Beyond that, my life is uncomplicated.  I like to cook and eat, and take care of our farm.  I mostly have what I need for both and will generally buy what I need if there is something I don't have. 

This year, the main thing I wanted for Christmas was a new refrigerator.  We had our current one for 16 years and the thermostat would occasionally flake out and freeze the produce.  So, with 2020 being the way it was, we saved money by not eating out much at all and finally bit the bullet and got a nice new fridge.

But, beyond that, what was my poor beleaguered spouse to do?  

Befitting of any couple that has been together 30 years, we share a common language. Not so much a verbal language, though it is expressed in words. It is a language that really references shared experiences (think of the Star Trek: Next Generation episode "Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra."

(Non-relevant) example #1: Like most long term couples, we understand each other so thoroughly we can finish each other's sentences.  When we do that our comment is "Lobsters!" This is a reference to a scene in the sitcom "Friends."

(Relevant) example #2:  When she asks me for gift ideas, I generally don't have much of an idea. So, I borrow a line from a movie we both love "A Christmas Story" and say "I don't know, maybe just some Tinkertoys."

When my wife was back in Ohio helping care for her mother, she visited a thrift store in her hometown that resells donations in order to raise money for charity.  This store always has high quality goods and clothes for sale and she usually ends up buying stuff every time we are back.  Her trip last month was no exception, other than she found a gift for me.  And, now that you have read this far, what was that gift?

I am just tickled to death with this gift. I had these as a wee boy. I'm not going to start collecting vintage Tinkertoys, but i am going to find a prominent place to display it as I reorganize my home office next week.  

Here is hoping that you are having a joyous holiday season and please accept my best wishes for a normal New Year.

What I am listening to: Ronin by Sturgill Simpson

Thursday, December 24, 2020

So, This is Embarassing


The packages I thought were stolen, were actually misdelivered on Alameda Street, which I can see from my house on Alameda Drive.  I feel kinda stupid now about getting upset.  I shouldn't be surprised, as I've had UPS shipments also get misdelivered in this way and Sunday mail deliveries likely involve mail carriers working outside their normal route. 

Anyways, I'm off work until January 4. I'm going to use the time to clean up more ice storm damage from my pastures and organize my home office, including my collection. With my collection I have a couple of things I want to do. First, I want to catalog my two player collections. I believe I know all the cards I have, but since many of them use identical images, I'm going to make sure I have a binder index so I know exactly where to find a specific card.  I also intend to update my Trading Card Database (TCDB) so I have my main collection cataloged and to create some want lists.

In closing, I wish each and everyone a Merry Christmas and a Normal New Year!

What I am listening to: Derailed by 16 Horsepower

Monday, December 21, 2020

Have You Seen Me?

The news is full of stories as to how, with huge volumes due to pandemic online ordering and administrative neglect (if not sabotage) the Post Office is way behind on package delivery.  The local post office operations are really good. The Oklahoma City sort facility generally turns packages around to locl offices in a matter of hours.  And if they arrive at my local office by 5:30 AM, they are out for delivery by 7:00.  But, I know the situation and have been patient while two card packages have taken two weeks to work their way into my zip code.

They finally arrived at the main office Saturday afternoon and I was pleasantly surprised to see the carriers were out delivering packages on Sunday.

I was out clearing (still) downed limbs from the late October ice storm.  I saw the mail carrier stop at my box and drop the mail off. I finished the tree I was working on and, about a half hour later, walked to the box to get my cards. was empty.  A quick post on the city ward Facebook page confirmed that mail theft is rampant right now and other people have either had packages stolen or found empty boxes in the bar ditch.  For the most part, the cards were mostly commons for my 1960 and 1965 set.  I'm not happy they were stolen, but we aren't talking a huge sum of money. Maybe $40 at best.  I'll get over it eventually.  But, my winnings from a recent group break were also to be delivered and that included the card above: 1960 Topps All Star Rivals (Mantle/Boyer.)  It is one of three Mick cards in the 1960 set and I was happy to get it out of the way. So much for that, eh?

As I said, the mail service is pretty darn good around here and this is the one thing that has gone wrong in the 18 years I've lived out here.  So, I am fortunate overall.

Just not today.

Friday, December 18, 2020

A Decade of Fun

 I'm trying to cut down on the amount of time I use social media.  In addition to being a major time suck, social media is, in my opinion, a somewhat pernicious influence on society as it seems to amplify and spread negativity. Mind you, it is not all bad, as it has allowed me to reconnect with old friends and I have managed to find several trade partners on Twitter. But, overall, I find my days more enjoyable the less time I spend on social media.

I don't tend to use Facebook anymore except for posting dog pictures, but I do check my Memories tab to see what I was up to on that day in years past.  A couple days ago, before I settled in to work, I discovered that 10 years ago to the day (December 16, 2010) I attended my very first card show to pick up the very first card in my collection.  What was it?

As a newbie to the hobby, I did the typical thing: I tried to collect everything! I spent a good part of the first year collecting modern cards. However, I slowly drifted away: not collecting flagship after 2011 and dropping Heritage after 2012. By the two year anniversary, I had found my niche: mostly vintage, with a few modern sets that caught my fancy.  As time moved foward, I began to expand again and now my collection is very broad again.  

I thought this would be a good time to do an admittedly brief recap of what I collect and show a few things I like from that part of my collection.  Now, understand going in that I am not a meticulous researcher like some of y'all.   I just have too many demands on my time for that. So, this will mainly re-use images already on the blog, so be forewarned.

But, since I showed the first card ever in my collection, let me show you the most recent.

I just got a shipment from Gregory Morris Cards yesterday of my eBay auction winnings from a earlier in the month.   This was one of five 1960 commons in the package.  Random observation: I've been bidding on cards from both 1960 and 1965 on Greg Morris auctions and using the same rules for my maximum bid.  I will bid on between 30-40 cards in each of their set breaks for those two years. Invariably, I will pick up a half dozen cards from 1960, give or take one or two.  Same rules, same number of individual bids, I usually win exactly zero in each 1965 set break.  I have probably bid in 6 or 7 1965 set breaks in recent months and I have won a grand total of 3 cards.  Is 1965 that much more popular than 1960?

Anyways, let me give you the nickel tour of my collection

Paul Blair Player Collection - This, of course, was the start of my collecting again. I now have 144 unique Paul Blair items in my collection.

Johnny Antonelli Player Collection - I started this player collection in September of 2011. I need to organize my records better, but I count 62 unique Antonelli items.

Vintage (1979 and earlier) Sets - So far, I have completed 1956 Topps and the complete Topps run from 1970 through 1979.  And I am within striking distance of finishing 1955, 1960, 1965, and 1968, though I have some painfully expensive cards still left to go in each set.

Other Vintage Sports sets - Here I have completed the 1960 through 1963 Fleer baseball sets, 1978 TCMA, and the Renata Galasso sets.  I am working on 1959 Fleer Ted Williams, 1961 Golden Press, 1972-73 Topps basketball, 1973 Topps football.

Vintage Sticker Sets - This is just the 1972 Sunoco Football stamps and the 1974-1975 Loblaws/Acme hockey stamps.  I've completed one Loblaws and one Acme album and have another Loblaws mostly complete.  The Sunoco stamps are surprisingly expensive, so I am probably only half complete with that album, with no serious interest in working on it.

Various Modern Sets - Here it is just sets that capture my fancy.  There really is no rhyme or reason.  I've completed the Fleer Greats of the Game base set for 2000 through 2004  (and all the insert sets for 2004), 2010 and 2011 Tristar Obak baseball (and just a few SP short on 2009), 1991 through 1993 Conlon, and the 2004 Upper Deck Yankees Classic set.

1960 to 1963 Fleer Autographed Sets - This all started in July of 2012 with a mail-in signing at the now defunct Chris Potter Sports.  I've made quite a bit of progress on this over the years. I now have signed versions of 15 out of a possible 40 from the 1960 set, 24 out of a possible 95 from 1961, and 63 out of 66 from the 1963 set.

19th Century Tobacco Cards - This started with my horse themed collection that I initiated just a week shy of two years ago.  The first additions were cards from the three horse racing themed Kinney Brothers sets issues between 1887 and 1889, but expanded to include the Allen & Ginter sets The World's Racers (N32), Fans of the Period (N7), and Parasol Drill (N18.)  I have one T206 card in my collection, but have no intention of collecting them given how expensive they are. These non-sports sets are much more affordable.  

Early 20th Century British Tobacco Cards - This was part of my horse themed collection, but expanded to include other sets that captured my interest. And what captured my interest is best described as random.  I haven't done much with this in almost a year.  I still like these cards and may pick it up again in the future.  But right now I have too many open sets in my main collection and I have been focusing my resources there.

Miscellaneous Vintage Cards - I will occasionally pick up vintage cards that are not parts of sets I intend to build. Sometimes it is at a show, but other times I may enter a group break. This isn't really a serious collection.  It is just randomness.  I haven't really added many cards in this category this year and that is probably a good thing.

Miscellaneous Modern Cards - This also isn't a serious thing.  Sometimes, when I have a few bucks left in my pocket at a show, I'll look through the dime and quarter boxes just to entertain myself and I'll grab a few things that interest me.  

So, there you are.  Way too much and I probably need to narrow my focus in 2021.  I'll think and, maybe, post about it.  

What I am listening to: Sleigh Ride by The Ronettes