Author Archives: JT

Horror Fun Cards: 1974 Topps Leatherface

1974 Topps Custom Card Leatherface A Texas Chain Saw Massacre Jedidiah Sawyer Tobe Hooper

Purchase The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: 40th Anniversary Collector’s Edition!

Horror Fun Cards: 1984 Topps Freddy Krueger

A Nightmare on Elm Street Freddy Krueger Topps Horror Custom Card

Purchase A Nightmare on Elm Street Collection (All 7 Original Nightmare Films + Bonus Disc)!

It’s October…that means it’s time to watch horror movies until your eyes bleed!!! The plan is to have a different horror “fun card” every day this month. I don’t have them all made yet, but I have a good start and several other ideas rolling around in the noggin. Hopefully I’ll be able to create them all and post a new card every morning.

I don’t plan to write anything about the posts. This, being the first, is an exception, just for the simple fact of explaining. I love Halloween. It is my absolute favorite holiday, and I don’t even like to limit it to the month of October. I watch horror movies all year, and love reading about monsters and murderers and goblins and ghouls. It’s morbid, I know, but it’s who I am. So I hope you enjoy seeing the horror “fun cards” as much as I enjoy creating them.

Happy Halloween!

The deadline has passed, the votes are in…

BBBWARAOAAE

The winners of the 2014 Base Ball Blog Writers and Readers Association of America and Elsewhere are…
Read the rest of this entry

It’s Been Said Before by Orin Hargraves (2014)

Its Been Said Before Orin Hargraves cliche book

It’s Been Said Before
by Orin Hargraves
Oxford University Press, 2014
248 pages

An examination of clichés, It’s Been Said Before by author Orin Hargraves catalogs a large number of phrases that are sometimes overused or misused. He states in the introduction that the volume is not intended to be a dictionary of clichés, but the book reads like one.

Hargaves does not offer alternatives to the overused phrases, but simply groups them into categories: clichés that name things, adjectival and quantifying clichés, adverbial clichés, predicate clichés, framing devices, modifier fatigue, and clichés in tandem. It is dry and academic, but useful for writers that want to determine whether they are using common phrases effectively.

Learn more about Oxford University Press.

Purchase It’s Been Said Before by Orin Hargraves.

I missed the no-hitter yesterday

I was so caught up in self-pity over the awful Reds season that I totally missed the news that Jordan Zimmermann pitched a no-hitter for the first-place Washington Nationals. When I found out this afternoon, I did the proper thing and made a “highlights” card for him to post at TWJ cards on tumblr. But because I like you non-tumblr folks so much, I’m going to post it here as well…

Jordan  Zimmermann no-hitter

This isn’t Zim’s first appearance in the TWJ cards set, but his earlier card is an UER with the incorrect spelling of his last name, made way back when I was putting a black border around the cards (which involved an extra step and I just got too lazy to do it)…

Jordan  Zimmermann Zimmerman

Unless something extraordinary happens in the playoffs (such as a no-hitter or perfect game), I don’t plan to make any more 2014 TWJ cards until the Series is decided, and then when the awards are handed out.

Speaking of awards, you have less than 24 hours to get your picks in to me. There are some very tight races so far, and your votes could make the difference. Click here if you have no idea what I’m talking about.

Fun Cards Submission: 1961 Nu-Card Baseball Scoops Johnny Cueto

Johnny Cueto wins 20 games Cincinnati Reds 2014

The ace of the Reds staff, Johnny Cueto won his 20th game of the season yesterday, finishing with a spectacular 2.25 ERA. He is the first 20-game winner for Cincinnati since 1988, when Danny Jackson went 23-8 with a 2.73 ERA.

Another great “fun cards” submission from TWJ contributor Patrick.

New solo album from Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider set for 2015!

Dee Snider Twisted SisterThe iconic singer for shock rockers Twisted Sister is preparing a solo album for release in 2015. Dee Snider tweeted the news last Thursday, stating he was “smiling ear to ear” while listening to the demos.

Answering fans’ responses, Snider said the record will be new songs, not covers, and that touring will be limited to select shows. Despite Snider’s return to songwriting, there are no plans for new Twisted Sister material.

More information should be announced early next year.

In addition to his work with Twisted Sister, Snider fronted Widowmaker, Desperado, and Van Helsing’s Curse. He also wrote and starred in the 1998 horror film, Strangeland.

Be sure to follow @deesnider on Twitter to keep up with the latest from the rock legend.

Purchase Widowmaker – Blood & Bullets.

Fun Cards: 1988 Fleer All-Star Team Devin Mesoraco

All-Star catcher Devin Mesoraco Cincinnati Reds

Devin Mesoraco is a rising star. A first-time All-Star in 2014, he finished with 25 home runs for the Cincinnati Reds. The last Reds catcher to hit that many? It’s not that hard to guess: Johnny Bench in 1977. Bench hit 25 or more eight times in his career. I expect no less from the 2007 first-round draft pick Mesoraco.

Don’t forget to vote…baseball style!

I’m not talking about the November elections…that’s way too far away to think about. I’m talking about baseball awards. Forget the BBWAA, you can be a member of the BBBWARAOAAE and vote for the MVP, Cy Young Award, Rookie of the Year, and a couple of other awards! And it’s free!

BBBWARAOAAE

Click here for all the details and remember your ballots are due by Tuesday, September 30, at noon eastern!

Baseball season is almost over

It has been a disappointing year for Reds fans. After a late first-half surge that made it appear that the team would be contenders, they simply fell apart after the All-Star break. Between injuries, slumps, and season-long poor performances, the team struggled to even stay above the Cubs at the bottom of the division.

Outside of the Cincinnati world, two fine players are wrapping up their careers. Of course, nearly everyone is talking about Derek Jeter, the sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer (why even wait five years?), who is playing his final games at Fenway Park this weekend. But there is another, lower-profile player who is just as classy as Jeter even if his stats don’t reflect the same talents.

Konerko fun card

Paul Konerko will be playing his final games for the White Sox at home this weekend against the Royals. Paulie has had a solid career: 439 home runs, 1412 RBI, and a .279 batting average (at the time of this writing). Probably not a Hall of Fame career, but certainly one to be admired.

I’ll be wrapping things up over on TWJ cards on tumblr this weekend as well, at least as far as the “base set” goes. There may be a handful of postseason cards, and will likely be awards cards down the line, but as far as the “regular set” goes, it will end with card #260.

The final card is scheduled to appear around 8:30 tomorrow night, and then two more “highlights” cards will follow.

Want to see all the TWJ cards that have featured players from your favorite team? Just type in your browser’s address bar: http://twjcards.tumblr.com/tagged/los-angeles-dodgers, replacing los-angeles-dodgers with whatever your favorite team is. You will see everything that has appeared over the past three seasons.

Fun Cards Submission: 1961 Nu-Card Baseball Scoops Derek Jeter

Jeter Baseball Scoops

It was a fairy tale ending for Derek Jeter at Yankee Stadium as he drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning. TWJ contributor Patrick commemorated the event with one of his fantastic Nu-Card Baseball Scoops “fun cards.” Jeter was a class act, and even though I have never been a Yankees fan, I’ve always been a Jeter fan.

Cosby: His Life and Times by Mark Whitaker (2014)

Cosby Life and Times Bill Cosby Biography Mark Whitaker 2014

Cosby: His Life and Times
by Mark Whitaker
Simon & Schuster, 2014
544 pages

Bill Cosby is one of the most iconic comedians in American history, but his life behind the scenes has not been as rosy as the characters he portrays on television. Incidents from his early impoverished life in Philadelphia, his affair with Shawn Berkes, the murder of his son Ennis and attempted extortion by Berkes’ daughter Autumn Jackson, author Mark Whitaker shows how Cosby dealt with personal tragedies and came out stronger for it.

Cosby’s success can be attributed partly to luck, being in the right place at the right time, and partly to having people who were loyal and confident in his future. But there is another part of Cosby’s success that is overlooked by many: hard work. The legend did not expect anything to be given to him for free, and has rebuked those today who expect such. “I heard a prize fight manager say to his fellow who was losing badly, ‘David, listen to me, it’s not what he’s doing to you. It’s what you’re not doing.’”

The book also details Cosby’s relationships—and more importantly, friendships—with his co-stars, such as Robert Culp from I Spy and Phylicia Rashad from The Cosby Show, and showed how he helped other programs, from the spin-off A Different World to Everybody Loves Raymond, a show he fell in love with long before the rest of America noticed.

Cosby: His Life and Times is a quick read despite the large page count. Fans of Cosby and his various projects will love Whitaker’s examination of the comedian’s life.

Learn more about Simon & Schuster.

Purchase Cosby: His Life and Times by Mark Whitaker.

Base Ball Blog Writers and Readers Association of America and Elsewhere

2014 BBBWARAOAAE

Or BBBWARAOAAE for kinda not really shorter and honestly harder to remember.

A couple of years ago, I decided to collect votes on who you thought should win the various baseball awards. Last year I forgot. Sorry.

This year, I’m back at it.

Every year, the BBWAA honors the top players, pitchers, and rookies, by voting for the Most Valuable Player, Cy Young Award, and Rookie of the Year Award winners. Why should they all have the fun?

Announcing the second-ever (but not annual) BBBWARAOAAE awards! All you have to do is e-mail me your top five picks in any or all of the below categories, and we’ll see whether the BBWAA agrees with the common fan! Rank your picks; there will be no ties on individual ballots. Votes must be received by Tuesday, September 30, at noon eastern time.

The categories are:

  • National League Most Valuable Player
  • American League Most Valuable Player
  • National League Cy Young Award
  • American League Cy Young Award
  • National League Rookie of the Year
  • American League Rookie of the Year

And two “just for fun” categories:

  • Most deserving player not in the Hall of Fame
  • Greatest shortstop ever

Vote for any category or all, up to five players in each. Remember, rank your picks in each category from 1-5, with 1 being the best. Sound like fun? Send your lists to jasontcarter at gmail dot com by next Tuesday, noon eastern time.

(Feel free to share this link or repost this information to your own blog…the more participation we get, the better!)

In 2012, the BBBWARAOAAE picked the following players (BBWAA winner in parenthesis if different):

Random Awesomeness (part 171)

Random Awesomeness

Purchase Bob Dylan – Modern Times.

One-sentence review: Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

Hollow City Ransom Riggs book review

Not every story needs to be turned into a series.

Celebrate Halloween at Comic Book Shops!

Comic

What’s better that Free Comic Book Day? Halloween ComicFest! With some awesome free comics including Batman, Scooby-Doo, and Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars, the Halloween ComicFest is perfect for horror fans. Mark your calendars for October 25 and find a participating comic shop in your area!

Dave Kingman belongs in the Hall of Fame, obviously!

Dave Kingman belongs in the Hall of Fame obviously

Since the exposure of the inflated statistics of the steroid era, it is high time to re-examine the case of Dave Kingman for the Hall of Fame. The first 400-home run hitter to be denied entry into Cooperstown, Kingman shared his talents on the baseball diamond with fans in seven cities. Instead of writing several lengthy chapters to convince you of Kingman’s obvious worthiness, I’m going to go with simple bullet points. All of these could easily be expounded upon. Feel free to disagree. It’s your choice if you want to be wrong.

  • 442 home runs, 40th on the all-time list. But if you remove all the ‘roiders, he moves up to 31st, and if you remove all the guys that passed him after he retired, that puts him around 22nd at the time of his retirement. The 22nd-best clean home run hitter of all-time at the time of his retirement definitely deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.
  • He made the All-Star team in three different seasons. That’s more than Babe Ruth, and Babe Ruth is in the Hall of Fame. If you’ve done something more than Babe Ruth, you’ve really done something there.
  • He received MVP votes in five seasons, four times in the NL and once in the AL. If you will recall, Frank Robinson was the first player to ever win the MVP in both leagues. Frank Robinson is in the Hall of Fame. Do I need to go on? OK, I will.
  • Hit thirty or more home runs seven times in a sixteen-year career; five other times he topped twenty. In the pre-steroid era, that’s spectacular.
  • Some try to put a negative spin on Kingman’s status as a legend by pointing to his strikeouts. You know who had more strikeouts than Kingman? Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson.
  • He had a 1.167 OPS for the Yankees. 1.167!
  • He was a Diamond King in 1982. So were nine Hall of Famers, including Gary Carter, Rod Carew, Phil Niekro, Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, and Ivan De Jesus. Wait, forget that last one.
  • He was a Super Veteran in 1983. Not just a Regular Veteran, a Super Veteran.

Some solid bullet points, right? I thought so too. Let’s get Kingman in the Hall! Download the badge, resize it to your heart’s content, and display it proudly on your blog!

Fun Cards: 1990 Topps Joe Morgan

Joe Morgan 1990 Topps hall of fame happy birthday

Happy Birthday to Hall of Famer Joe Morgan! The second baseman was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990. Ten times an All-Star, twice the NL MVP, and a major part of Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine, Morgan also played for the Houston Colt .45s/Astros, San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies and Oakland A’s. He finished his career with 268 home runs, the most by any second baseman in history at the time. That record has since been broken by Ryne Sandberg and Jeff Kent.

Baltimore Baseball & Barbecue with Boog Powell by Rob Kasper and Boog Powell (2014)

Baltimore Baseball and Barbecue Boog Powell book

Baltimore Baseball & Barbecue with Boog Powell
by Rob Kasper and Boog Powell
American Palate/The History Press, 2014
160 pages

Short by baseball biography standards, the story of Boog Powell is still packed with entertaining stories and anecdotes of the slugger’s time with the Orioles. Baltimore Baseball & Barbecue with Boog Powell briefly visits the subject as a youngster, and only one chapter is devoted to the minors before digging into Powell’s major league career in Baltimore. Seventeen years are covered in a little over fifty pages, including his final tours with Cleveland and Los Angeles.

Then there is the second half of the book, and the second half of Boog’s passion: barbecue. The relationship that Powell still enjoys with Baltimore fans is made possible by his barbecue stand located at Camden Yards. Fans can feast on the food, and most nights can speak to the mastermind behind the menu. In addition to information about Boog’s Barbecue at the park, Kasper and Powell include ten pages worth of recipes in this book.

The final chapter is a collection of interviews with Powell’s former teammates, from Brooks Robinson and Frank Robinson to Jim Palmer and Merv Rettenmund. Black and white photos are scattered throughout the book’s 160 pages.

Baltimore fans will love this book, while barbecue connoisseurs will devour the recipes. Baltimore Baseball & Barbecue with Boog Powell is a home run.

Learn more about American Palate/The History Press.

Purchase Baltimore Baseball and Barbecue with Boog Powell by Rob Kasper and Boog Powell.

Fun Cards: 1951 Topps Robin Williams

Robin Williams 1951-2014

I’ve been semi-binge-watching a lot of Robin Williams material lately. From Mork & Mindy to Hook to Good Morning, Vietnam to One Hour Photo, the talent of Robin Williams shines through every time he is in front of the camera. I still find it difficult to believe that he left this world, and that he chose to leave.

Williams was not much of a baseball fan, but that didn’t stop him from putting on a show when he stopped by Shea Stadium in 1989 with Billy Crystal. The Mets were playing the Reds that day, and Kevin Elster fouled a Rick Mahler pitch back into the broadcast booth.

I decided to create a Robin Williams baseball card using the Topps design from his birth year, 1951, as a template. I changed a few things about the card, going with “Camera” (as in “Lights, Camera, Action!”) rather than “Double” or other baseball terms. I also removed the baseball player caricature in the upper right corner and replaced it with a movie camera. The limited space in the bottom left corner made for some hard decisions…which television shows and movies would I mention? The list of good Robin Williams movies is quite long, but I decided to go with TV’s Mork & Mindy, my favorite Williams film Dead Poets Society, and the critically-acclaimed Good Will Hunting.

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