Sunday, July 21, 2019

Phase 2 is complete!

It was a lot of work, but Phase 2 is now complete on the Cardboard History Gallery! I finished Phase 2 at 11:41 AM today. Now, all the cards I've scanned* are posted in albums by set, both front and back, on the Cardboard History Gallery.

This was the final scan to go up to complete the phase: Car & Driver Cadillac #58 reverse

As you can see from the screenshot of the Stats page, I've now uploaded more than 314 thousand scans...wow! This is going to be more than I ever thought. And some of them were lost...

* = in 2016, my first remote hard drive crashed and {proverbially} burned. It took a lot with it, including pretty much every back scan I had made for a year. I don't have a number on how many that was, but it was a lot. After it crashed, I now keep a record on Excel listing everything scanned, which I store a copy of in three places, so even if I lose my files I'll know what I need to do to recover. Let's hope that I don't have to do that.

Phase 1 was by team, where applicable. I started with that first, and it's still one of my favorite things to go in and look at. At some point I will do NASCAR by team but that's a ways away. Basketball, hockey, baseball and football are all posted by team.

Phase 2, which I finished today, is by set, which I began working on back on January 1st. It is the only place where I store my front and back scans together. Eventually, I will go through each album and actually read all my card backs...who knows when that will be though?

Phase 3, which I started before Phase 2, but put on hold to work on Phase 2, is by person. That's next. I've got a bit of a head start, in that I've already posted all of Non-Sports people and all other sports. I still have basketball, which has the largest number of people, hockey, which might pass basketball by the end of the year for different people, as well as most of auto racing, but I've already done letter A and B in full. Baseball and football bring up the rear. They won't be a lot of fun to do because most of the people in my collection from those two sports have 1 card, maybe 2 or 3. I don't know if there are any baseball or football people to even clear ten cards. Since my main goal for this project is to track history, be it of the person, team or whatever, larger uploads are more interesting.

There is no Phase 4! Once I get everyone up by person, I will just have to maintain it with whatever I scan in each month. That's a long way away....I don't expect to finish Phase 3 in 2019. I am also going to run into space concerns again as well. Although I'm at 61% of capacity I should be able to fit them all in, as they stand now...but I scan every day, or darn close to it, and each front scan gets posted in at least two places, most in three. So that will add up. I'll have to do one more upgrade at some point, but I'm not sure when.

I do have two surprises coming soon...one should be ready to talk about by the end of the week, and both might be. One I'm building in secret and will reveal when it's fully formed. The other will be built publicly and anyone will be able to watch me upload in real time, if they so choose. I suspect Surprise #1 may end up being one of the most-viewed sections of the entire site. I will put up a post when I'm ready to reveal it, which could be as soon as tomorrow or Monday...stay tuned.

Back to work...

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Sets in my Collection #35: 1969 Topps Man on the Moon

50 years ago today- right this very minute, thanks to the Blogger scheduling function- man landed on the Moon for the very first time. To me, this is probably THE crowning achievement in human history. It's just so amazing to contemplate, and I really hope to see more moon missions occur during my lifetime. I was promised a moon base by 1999, and I'm highly disappointed that didn't come to pass. But with all the advances in modern technology, I figure it's only a matter of time. Consider, when  I was a kid, getting an answering machine was a huge technology event. Now, I have a handheld computer that I can see and talk with people around the world at any time. Basically, the Jetsons without a flying car...and even that has been invented, it's just too cost prohibitive to actually produce and operate.

I am jumping ahead in the Sets in My Collection project for this very special anniversary. In 1969, after we had actually put a man onto the Moon, Topps released a set called, appropriately, Man on the Moon. The front design- and possibly some of the images themselves- come from the 1963 Topps Astronaut Pictures set, which chronicles the early days of NASA. Unfortunately, I don't have of them in my collection. The 1969 set has new photos- a mixture of actual photos and drawings- and the backs are puzzles. In the 1963 set, they were 3D drawings. The Man on the Moon set is 55 cards, and surprisingly enough, has no actual photos from the moon. It was created after the landing happened, because it talks about it in the captions, but no photos taken on the Moon. I do not know if the photos were classified or if they just tried to get it out as quickly as possible- it was 15 years before I was born- but it is a little disappointing.

Of the 55 cards, all of which carry either an A (#1-35) or B (36-55) suffix, for reasons I do not know, I have 30 of them, or 54.5%.

Here are some highlights:
#30A

#42B

#51B

#52B
#23A
Here is the back of #23A. All but two of my back scans were lost when my first remote hard drive died.

You can see all the scans I do have- and I have not scanned all of the cards in my collection yet- on my Cardboard History Gallery listing for it. 1969 Topps Man on the Moon

There's a lot of idiots who think this whole thing was fake...if you are one of them. please don't say anything, because I'll never be able to take you seriously again. Nor will I ever send you any cards again.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Chronicles Blaster Review, an overview of the largest NBA sets ever

I'm actually excited about a Panini set. I'm still going to criticize them in this post, but the new Chronicles set is actually a really interesting concept, and one that has me excited for a Panini set for the first time since...2013-14?

First off. the new Chronicles set now holds the record for the largest NBA set ever, at 699 cards! The previous record for largest NBA set was 659 cards, and the record has stood since 1991-92 Skybox!

Here's a quick breakdown of the record throughout history:
72 cards 1948-57 (1948-49 Bowman)
80 cards 1957-69 (1957-58 Topps)
99 cards 1969-70 Topps. This record stood for one season and would begin a period of expansion in the hobby
175 cards 1970-71  Topps
233 cards 1971-72 Topps (First standard sized NBA set since 1961-62)
264 cards 1972-75 Topps' sets for the 1972-73 through 1974-75 season were all 264 cards
330 cards 1975-1989 The 1975-76 Topps set was the largest vintage set, and would continue to be the largest set ever for the rest of the decade and the entire 1980s.
353 cards 1989-90 Hoops. The Hoops brand debuted in the 1989-90 season and was the first to have more than one series. However, the record would be short lived.
440 cards 1990-91 Hoops. Hoops outdid itself in it's second year but would reach it's peak in the following year, with the 1990-91 set topping the brand history at 590 cards. However, that would not be the record because...
659 cards, 1991-92 Skybox. The former record holder for the largest set in NBA history, the 1991-92 season actually saw three of the largest sets ever issued, and for that one year, the top three largest sets were all from that same season. Aside from the 659 card Skybox and 590 card Hoops. Upper Deck debuted with a 500 card set. (I've completed all three, too!). UD broke up the 1991-92 monopoly on largest sets from one year with a 520 card set in 1992-93.
699 cards, 2018-19 Chronicles. After a lengthy run for 1991-92 Skybox, the newly released Chronicles set goes 40 cards over the old record! Panini has gotten a couple sets into the top 10 already, with two 500+ card sets, but this is the first to clear 600.

Now...the problem that I'm going to complain about. There are only 135 different players represented in the set. The veteran players have only one card each (not counting inserts and parallels) while the rookies appear on at least 20 different card designs, which pads their numbers significantly. I decided to do a search on the checklist for Trae Young, and it came back with 22 results...although I suspect one of them may be a parallel that got listed as a base card. In a 525 man league, that's an embarrassingly sad number of players represented.

See, what Panini has done is to cancel most of their NBA sets, and put them all as subsets in the Chronicles set. This surprised me- I had seen the sell sheet and had guessed that each different design would be it's own insert, and the base set would be the usual typical Panini 200 or less card set.

In truth, each and every one of the subsets SHOULD be it's own release. But it's not. Basically it comes down to Panini getting rid of almost all their real sets to make room for more memorabilia delivery systems where it's average $400 for 4 to 7 cards. True sets, actually covering the NBA players, are getting rarer and rarer, and instead of actually producing them as they should be, we get Chronicles instead. But, I do love the concept. If they had given each of the veterans and rookies a card from each design, I would probably consider this in the running for best set ever...not just best Panini set.

While it's not anywhere near that, it's still a very fun set, and every pack was an odyssey through the Panini brand history- some of the brands used for the various rookie subsets have not appeared in the NBA in years, others are making their first NBA appearance. My first pack opened with a Marquee brand card (not seen in the NBA since 2012-13), followed by a Crusade (last seen as an insert three years ago), followed by Luminance, a set making it's NBA debut but previously seen in football, and finally two base veterans. And there was more to come...in fact, some of them that are available didn't even appear in my blaster at all! (not even counting the hobby exclusive designs). You never knew what was going to come next, and that was exciting!

One thing I noticed, and I do not know if this is something Panini specifically set out to do or just turned out to be a happy accident, but many of the cards show players wearing alternate jerseys, some of which are quite rare. Since Nike took over the NBA jersey license, they have instituted lots of alternate jerseys, most of which are exclusive for one year...the teams that made the playoffs in 2017-18 "earned" a special 5th jersey that was worn during the season. Getting alternate jerseys on cards is a treat, especially for me and my dormant but hopefully not much longer Uniform History series. Like I said,  I don't know if it was planned or not, but I enjoyed that aspect of the cards. 16 of the cards in my blaster showed an alternate jersey. One other thing I notice is that the photos in the set are very new. I got one of the Oklahoma City Thunder cards, and the Love's Travel Stops ad is present on the jersey. The Love's jersey sponsorship only began in mid-March, so that's a remarkably fast turnaround for Panini- they usually are very slow in getting updated photos. This is one of only two sets issued on the year that reflect the trade-deadline moves that occurred in early February, for example.

This is a base veteran card. They are bright and colorful, which makes up mostly for the fact that it's just a player in front of a computer generated background. This is one of the alternate jerseys, also.
The backs include the player's hometown! WOW! Panini has never bothered to include this, since they got the exclusive NBA license in 2009...I believe this is the first time home towns have appeared! International players only list country, but this is a huge thing, really. (as an aside, the Grizzlies waived Bradley and he joined the Lakers last week. This may be my only card of him as a Grizzly, ever)

 This was my first card from the set. It's hard to tell from the scan, but this is holofoil. This is an earlier photo as the Love's is not present on the jersey here.
 The very second card out of the box was this Pink Crusade parallel of Omari Spellman. It was the only SN card in the box, and looks much nicer in hand. It uses the Prizm technology, aka, Refractor.
My third card from the set is also my third card of this past season's #1 draft pick. The Luminance cards are my least favorite of the myriad designs used. The fronts have a black film-type affect over them...I guess the current term would be a filter. It really is this washed out looking in hand.

 The Playoff brand has a long history in sports...but not the NBA. There were a couple of sets with the Playoff name, but never just playoff. It was Playoff followed by something else. This is a great design and should have been used as a full set. Since Chronicles is set up the way it is, only rookies ever get to be on this design. This is actually a pink parallel, which is hard to tell. His name is in pink foil, which is blaster exclusive, I believe. I wish we got this as a full set instead of Status.
The pink on this card is much more obvious...and it's awesome! I've never been a huge fan of the color pink, (even though the first Edsel I ever saw was pink) but this is great. I really like it. Double bonus- both the Clippers, who Robinson plays for, and his opponents the Kings, are wearing 4th alternate jerseys here. Honestly, this card is so nice in hand that it's one of my favorites from the entire blaster.
 Essentials saw just a single release as a standalone set, in 2017-18.
 You'd think Panini would publish a Panini branded set as their flagship, but they don't. In fact, since they got the NBA license in 2009-10, they have only issued three Panini sets, the most recent in 2013-14. I really like this design and wish we got a full set out of it. This is only my third card of this year's Rookie of the Year, and my first in action shot.
 Studio saw one NBA release, a couple of years ago. It's holofoil.
 Elite was last seen as a standalone set in 2013-14. This card is partially holofoil. The part covering Spencer Dinwiddie, who, despite being a key figure on the Nets, did not get a card in the set.
Rookies & Stars is a Blaster exclusive, and was last seen as a standalone set all the way back in 2010-11, Panini's second season in the NBA!
One of the things that surprised me the most was the mix of technologies in the base set. Panini basically usually sticks to one and that's it- and they aren't the only one. I am thinking on it and I can't remember any sets that mix base, holofoil and chrome technology. There are some with inserts or parallels, but this is a base card. This set has all three, and for all I know may have mirror foil in one of the subsets that I didn't get as well! (although, I hope not- it's my least favorite technology...but the card companies love it, so they keep using it, even though I don't know anyone who actually likes it...I digress). They call this one Phoenix. I'm not familiar with that brand, but a quick check of the Trading Card Database shows that Phoenix has been produced in Football for the past three years and this card mimics the 2018 design for football exactly. It appears that the football set uses the Prizm (Refractor) technology whereas this is very clearly Chrome, or as Panini calls it, Optic, technology.

I did not get two of the rookie subsets from my blaster, Chronicles Rookies and Obsidian. There are several subsets that were not put into blasters, so I had no chance to get them. Looking at the sell sheets on the Database, it appears that other options for different packaging configurations include Gold Standard, Vanguard (an old Pacific brand making it's NBA debut), Timeless Treasures, Origins, Gala, Titanium and more are out there. With 48 cards in a hobby box, I'll be keeping my eye on Dave & Adam's to see if it goes down in price...I would definitely like to do a hobby box at some point. It's currently at $160 so that's an easy no, but last year's set was originally $180 and is now down to $75...still more than I want to pay, but hopefully once the Zion Williamson cards come out and people forget about chasing anything but the newest rookies the price will drop and I will spring into action. Last year's Chronicles set was a hobby only product, so I only have two cards from it- I picked the cheapest SN card I could find on COMC just to have it represented in my collection, and then I added a Jayson Tatum SN parallel at one of the card shows I went to in the winter. Based on what I've seen on the Database and for sale on COMC, the 2018-19 set is much better design wise and variety wise than it was in 2017-18.

Since this set is all about the rookies, I want to add in a bonus card...(you may have noticed I chose one of each design to post)...I managed to pull both of the key rookies from the set.
Trae Young really came on strong at the end of the year. After a slow start, he made a very strong case for the Rookie of the Year award...if I had a vote, I am not sure where it would have gone. Co-Rookie of the Year would have been very fitting. Young has the scoring touch of Allen Iverson and the passing and court vision of Jason Kidd...he's going to be the Hawks icon for a long while. He's also been known to randomly hug people he sees walking down the street wearing his jersey!

Although I did complain a lot in this post, I really DO like what they are doing with this set...I can just see so much untapped potential that was missed, but that is Panini's trademark, so I'm not really surprised by it...saddened by it is more accurate. Even so, this has instantly become one of my favorite Panini sets...possibly #2, after 2012-13 Hoops. That set was essential in getting me back into the NBA, so it's going to be very, very hard to top that one. This one is going to make a run at it. I'm really glad to have received this blaster as a gift...since I no longer chase new cards for myself, I would have totally missed the set otherwise. And that would have been the saddest thing of all!

You can see every card I got in this blaster, both front and back, on my Cardboard History Gallery HERE.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Holy Blueshirts, Batman!

I had to make a trip to the local vintage dealer to try and find some stuff to fulfill some trades...and I am not sure yet how successful that was, waiting to hear back from a potential trade partner, and I forgot to look for what I specifically went to look for to send off to Bo Rosny...blame it on sleep deprivation or just stupidity, or maybe I was distracted by the 9 classic cars I saw, highlighted by a 1952 Studebaker. I am very sure, however, that I found some great stuff for me.

These three 1966 Batman cards were right on the front counter when I got there...I only had one card from the Black Bat set before, so these are my first two Red Bat cards, and my second black bat! These cards were on my radar for quite a long time and I was thrilled to finally find one a couple years ago...I'm sure I posted about it. Now I've quadrupled my collection. As you may recall, I had my first DC Comic read to me at 5 days old, and I've been in the hobby ever since. So these are right up my alley...None are in perfect shape but they are good enough for me, I am happy and won't need to look for an upgrade.

What I really didn't expect to do today was buy these Rangers cards. This is the same dealer I visited on my first day collecting the sport, where I got the really high quality 1957-58 card I've shown a few times. He always had more vintage Rangers but I never wanted to pony up the money and pay for them.
The 1960-61 Harry Howell is in a bit of rough shape, but the Langlois and McKenney from 1963-64 are pretty much pack fresh! I've been putting off buying these now since 2017, and I couldn't do it any longer. I have not bought any cards for myself in person since March, but I couldn't not get these. The dealer is a friend but he's also in business and was talking about selling them to a guy who comes in looking for Rangers stuff...he had noticeably gotten binders of Rangers ranging from 1972-73 to the mid-90s out, before I got there, so I decided that I would be unhappy at myself if I let them get away...so I didn't. I just mentioned last week that the 1965-66 set is my favorite from the 1960s and that I didn't have any...well, he had one. But it had tape residue on the front, so I left that one behind, and another from the 1966-67 set that had some discoloration I couldn't identify. I may lose out on getting the complete Rangers team sets of the 1970s and early/mid 80s, but I won't lose out on the 60s and even 50s cards!

Every 60s hockey card in my collection has come from this same dealer, although I've added 50s from a card show. The Howell is my first card from the 1960-61 set.

I had to add a comic, as well. Once I saw the cover, how could I not?
I have not read it yet but I know this is going to be great...of course there is a pretty high odds of this image not appearing anywhere in the book, too. I don't care. Charlton comics have their own certain charm to them. This is only the third classic comic I've added in 2019. I'm not building up my old car fund like I had hoped, but at least it's easy to keep up with new additions, lol.

While I missed getting pictures of most of the old cars I saw, I did manage to find this 1981 Ford LTD in the parking lot where I went.
Although I've never been in an LTD sedan, we had several LTD wagons when I was a little kid, so I have good memories of the LTD model.

And, edit to add- I heard back from my trade partner while I was composing this post, and he's happy with what I picked up, so the trip was mostly successful...if only I had remembered to grab something for Bo. I guess I'll have to go back next week.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

NBA Encyclopedia #7: all Andersons

2 Andersons down in the last installment, 12 more to go...10 of whom you'll see in this post.

#61 Greg "Cadillac" Anderson
1991-92 Upper Deck #314
 Greg Anderson's nickname of Cadillac is not due to the car- rather, it comes from the bicycle he used to ride in college, which his classmates referred to as his Cadillac- and the name stuck. Originally from Houston, he began his NBA career in 1987-88 with the San Antonio Spurs, and was traded to Milwaukee before the 1989-90 season. During the middle of the 1990-91 season, he was traded from the Bucks to the Nets, where he played exactly 1 game. After that single game, he was involved in a blockbuster three-team trade that saw him end up in Denver, where he played until the conclusion of 1991-92. He spent 1992-93 in Italy, then returned to the NBA with the Pistons, where he played one year. He then moved to the Hawks, where he played one more year, then returned to the Spurs for 2 seasons. His final NBA action came with the Hawks in 1997-98. His NBA career came to an abrupt end when he pleaded guilty of possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute. A final year in Argentina in 1999-00 was the end of his career. I do not know what he has done post career, nor if he ever actually purchased/drove a Cadillac.

#62 James Anderson
2012-13 Past & Present #150
 Hailing from El Dorado, Arkansas (cool city name) James Anderson played 247 NBA games between 2010-11 and 2015-16. He played with the Spurs, Rockets, 76ers and Kings, with the majority of his career coming in his first two and a half seasons with San Antonio. He played in Lithuania in 2014-15, and then returned to Europe in 2016-17, with Turkey, Russia, and back to Turkey. He currently plays for Anadolu Efes of the Turkish Super League.

#63 Justin Anderson
2016-17 Hoops #81
 A currently active player, Justin Anderson, of Montrose, Virginia, is currently with the Atlanta Hawks, His career began in 2015-16 with the Mavs, and was traded mid-2016-17 to the 76ers. Between the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons he was traded to the Hawks. So far, he has appeared in 216 games, and scored 1154 points.

#64 Kenny Anderson
1995-96 Upper Deck Electric Court #115
 Quite probably the most successful Anderson in NBA history, Kenny hails from Queens, NY. The 2nd pick of the 1991 draft, he would become an All-Star playing for the Nets, not an easy feat. After 4 and a half seasons in New Jersey, he was traded to the Charlotte Hornets, where he played only for the conclusion of the 1995-96 season. He signed with the Portland Trail Blazers, and after a year was promptly traded to Toronto, which he refused to report to. A further trade led him to Boston, where he would play from mid-1997-98 through 2001-02. After that, he was traded to Seattle, where he played for half a season before being traded back to the Hornets, now in New Orleans. He joined the Pacers for 2003-04, then played a half season with the Harks, who waived him. The Clippers claimed him on waivers and his final four NBA games came with the Clippers in 2004-05. A final professional season was spent in Lithuania. In total, he appeared in 858 games, starting 693 of them, and scored 10789 points. After his career he got into coaching, and is currently recovering from a stroke suffered in February of this year. He has 8 children, one of whom is hip-hop musician Jazz Anderson.

#65 Kyle Anderson
2017-18 Panini Instant NBA Playoffs #183
A currently active player, Kyle Anderson is currently a member of the Memphis Grizzlies. His first four seasons were spent with the Spurs, but they declined to match his offer sheet with the Grizzlies. He suffered a serious injury during the season and only played 43 games for his new team. (Thoratic Compression). Currently, he has appeared in exactly 300 games, starting 140 of them, and has scored 1601 points.

#66 Mitchell Anderson
1984-85 Star #226
 Mitchell Anderson is a hard player to track down- for some reason I cannot figure out, he is listed as J.J. Anderson on Wikipedia and Basketball Reference. He had only 3 years in the NBA, 1984-85 was the last. He began with the 76ers, and was waived during his rookie season. The Jazz claimed him and the rest of his career was with the Jazz. He played only 157 games in his career and scored only 751 points. After his NBA career, he played in Italy, Spain and Greece, and played until 1999.

#67 Nick Anderson
1996-97 Collector's Choice #107
 One of the cornerstones of the early history of the Orlando Magic, Nick Anderson was the first player drafted by the club, and played in Orlando for 10 years. When his time with the club was done, he left as the all-time leading scorer, steals, and minutes played in franchise history, and he still holds the mark for most steals. He ranks second still in points, minutes, and three-pointers made. After those ten years with the Magic, he played two with the Kings and one with the Grizzlies. He currently works for the Magic, and appears on their TV broadcasts. His final career totals are 800 games played, 636 as a starter, with 11529 points scored.

#68 Ron Anderson
1992-93 Fleer #166
 Ron Anderson's NBA career lasted 10 seasons, beginning in 1984-85, but he played in Europe until 2010! He started out with a year and a half with the Cavs, then 2 and a half with Indiana. A move to the 76ers saw the best years of his NBA career, and he played with them from 1988-89 through 1992-93. His final NBA season, in 1993-94, was split between the Nets and Bullets with some time in the CBA as well.  After that, he went to Europe, spending many years in France. He also played in Israel and the USBL, finishing his career in 2010 in the French 2nd Division, which is sort of the equivalent of our D-League. His son Ron Jr. played in the D-League and France as well, and is still playing in France, but has no cards issued.

#69 Ryan Anderson
2015-16 Complete Silver #255
A currently active player, Ryan Anderson is a member of the Miami Heat. He has been in the NBA since 2008-09, first with the Nets, then the Magic. He spent 4 years with New Orleans- one as the Hornets, three as the Pelicans, and then 2 years with Houston. He was traded to the Suns before the beginning of the 2018-19 season, and was traded at the deadline to the Heat. Currently, he has appeared in 647 games, starting 289, and scoring 7996 points. He is a former winner of the NBA's Most Improved Player award, which he won after the 2011-12 season.

#70 Shandon Anderson
2002-03 Fleer Tradition Crystal #107
Shandon Anderson is one of only two players in history to wear #49. Part of the talented 1996 draft class, he would play 10 NBA seasons- 3 with Utah, 2 with Houston, 3 with the Knicks, (plus one game in a 4th year) and one last year with the Heat. While never a star, he was always a very dependable player. He won a championship with the Heat in his final season. In total, he played 719 games, starting 226 of them, with 5327 points scored. He is the younger brother of Willie Anderson, who will appear in the next post.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

A few of my favorite things

Last week, Chris from The Collector started the latest Blog Bat-A-Round, listing his Favorite Things-movie, song and baseball set from each decade from the 50s to today. This is something I knew I could take part in...but the decisions would be tough. I knew I wouldn't talk about baseball, and I've already chronicled my favorite basketball and non-sports sets... so I decided hockey would be the topic I cover in this post. Movies was easy, I'm not a big movie fan so I don't have a lot of hard choices there. But music? Oh, that was the hardest to choose from. I have not talked all that much about music on Cardboard History, but it's an integral part of my life, and I've recently found my music collection and have been listening to it a lot lately.

The 1950s is a time long before I was born. I consider it the best decade for automobile design, and I'm still learning about it's music. Back in the 1990s, I listened to the local Oldies station, which was a mixture of 50s and 60s music. At the time, I didn't like the 50s music...I've always considered the 60s the best decade for music. Then, they retooled, and it became mostly 70s music, with some 60s thrown in. I got tired of hearing Elton John and the Beatles every 20 minutes, and eventually stopped listening to the station. But I realized that I missed the 50s music. However, a lot of what I considered 50s music was actually early 1960s music. The music trends seem to change about the 4 of every decade, so the 1960-64 music sounds a lot like the 50s music. My first thought turned out to be from 1962, and my second from 1961. (Duke of Earl and Blue Moon, respectively). So, I struck out there. Thinking about my favorite music, I took a chance to research one that I thought was from the 1960s, and instead find out it was indeed a 1950s song, released in 1957.

The Ballad of Thunder Road by Robert Mitchum, has been a favorite song of mine since I first heard it in the summer of 1998. We had gone to Lake George, and I had just gotten my first CD player that spring. While at the Wall music store in the Aviation Mall in Glens Falls, NY, my brother found a CD called Shut Down: The Legendary Hot Rod Hits. That would become my all-time favorite CD, and two of the songs on this list would be heard by me on that CD for the first time. Ironically, the theme song from the movie does not actually appear in the movie, which was released in 1958, which I have seen. The music plays but the words are not heard. Also...how often do you hear the starring actor singing a theme song?

I have not seen too many 1950s movies. Luckily, I have a fairly complete listing of all the movies I've ever seen on my IMDB watchlist. My brother is a big movie fan, much more so than me, and he has an incredible memory for movies- he can remember things down to line by line dialog of TV movies that aired only once, for example. I would not have been able to make my list without his help, and in fact I made the majority of it by going through his list with him and picking off the ones we've seen together, then filling in the rest. According to my chart, I've seen 13 movies released in the 1950s, 6 of them from Disney. However, my favorite is easily 1954's Godzilla. I've been a fan of the Godzilla franchise since I was a little kid, watching them on tv with my dad, and eventually by myself. I know I have not seen all of them (there's a ton!) but I have seen the original.

For 1950s hockey, I think I have to go with 1957-58 Topps. The designs, well, I don't actually know all of them yet. I only have 4 cards from the entire decade, total. But my very first day actively buying the sport, I luck into an excellent example of the 1957-58 set at a local dealer. The design may not be spectacular, but finding this card on my very first day...it's got the sentimental value building up already.
It's my only card from the set, in fact, the only one I've actually seen in person- at least since I got into hockey. Who knows what I saw back in the days of weekly card shows?

The 1960s is by far my favorite decade for music. There's really no competition...if I'm listening to music, there's a roughly 85% chance it's 60s music. In fact, since we got our new car last July, it's been stuck on the 60s channel so much that I feel like I should be exploring the other channels, but I can't bring myself to change it because there's always something good on it. (although I have been trying to listen to the 50s more lately). Choosing a favorite 1960s song is simply impossible. It would be like choosing which breath of air during a day is your favorite. It can't be done. I could list 100 songs and not be able to cover them all but I have to pick one for this post...so it's Dead Man's Curve by Jan & Dean. I first heard this song on Shut Down, right next to Ballad of Thunder Road (Seriously, they are back to back on the playlist) and it has stuck with me through all these years. For a while, I had stopped listening to music. I had lost my CDs, and didn't have access to them. (The oldies station was gone, replaced by 80s and 90s soft rock...not even good stuff) Then we got the Music Choice channels on TV, and I was able to listen to the 1960s music again. The first time I heard Dead Man's Curve in about 10 years, I literally stopped what I was doing, shut my eyes and just listened...even sent shivers up my spine, something very few songs will do.
 Dead Man's Curve is from 1964, by the way. It feels a little weird not choosing the Beach Boys-tied for my favorite group- and my tied for other favorite group, which will be my choice for the 1970s.

My favorite 60s movie, is really not a hard choice at all. Herbie the Love Bug, from 1968, is one of my all time favorite movies...it has cemented the Volkswagen Beetle in daily life a special thing..so much so in fact that most all Volkswagen Beetles, including the new ones, are referred to as Herbies. Although I could just as easily have chosen the 1966 Batman movie as well. According to the IMDB watchlist, I've seen 22 1960s movies.

For favorite hockey cards...my favorite design is actually the 1965-66 set...but I don't have a single one in my collection!

The 1970s music is a kind of a lost decade for me. I like the early 70s stuff, and I don't dislike the later 70s, (not even disco) but I don't really listen to them often, they were too new for the Oldies station, but not new enough for the popular stations I grew up with, so I don't have much access to them. We have a 70s station in the car, but as noted above, I can't pull myself away from the 60s and 50s stations to actually listen to it. I was drawing a bit of a blank on what to choose, then I though to look at the discography for my other favorite music group, the Grass Roots, and was quite happy to see that they spanned the late 60s AND early 70s. Problem solved!
It was really a tossup between Sooner or Later (which I chose) or Temptation Eyes, both from 1971. But I just like Sooner or Later a little bit more.

For the 1970s movies, there should be zero question what that is. Yep, it's Star Wars. Listing the movies by number of times I've seen them, 4 of the top 5 would be Star Wars movies. All three of the original trilogy and Attack of the Clones would be in my top 5, as would my movie choice for the 2000s, which you'll see below. As you may recall, my first ever cards were Star Wars cards, so this website would not exist without that franchise. I have seen 19 1970s movies.

Fun fact- I was so engrossed in writing about music, I forgot to write about a 70s hockey set, and had to go back and edit it in!
While most people seem to give 71-72 the nod, for me it's 74-75. I like the stick design, and you get some action photos, like this one. The 1971-72 set is all posed photos in front of a color cutout- no real photos. I have less than 10 cards from the set.

Moving to the 1980s, the music choices get a lot harder for me. I was born in 1984, so some of the earlier music is a little hazy for me. The later stuff, I have fond memories of but it blurs together with early 90s music, and sadly, I've forgotten a lot of it. I remember listening to the radio regularly in those times, up until about 1998, but I can't remember the songs, the artists, or when they are from. It's actually quite frustrating, because I generally remember things well up to 1998, and post-1998 is a blur to me. With music, it's the opposite. I remember almost nothing. Well, not opposite, because I don't remember post-1998. Basically, I only remember the 60s music, which I really began listening to regularly in 1998, anything I listened to before that is out of my head. What I do know, however, is the 1980s is the debut decade of my all-time favorite single musician (as opposed to group) and that's Weird Al Yankovic. There's only two music groups/people that I've heard most of their library, and that's Weird Al and the Beach Boys. Statistically, I'm pretty sure that Weird Al actually has the higher percentage, as I've heard everything he's released with the exception of the two newest albums.
I had to choose between two Weird Al songs, and in the end I chose Yoda.
Sorry for the sub-par recording. There was never an official video or single release for this song. The other song that I could have chosen, and probably should have because it's pretty much my theme song- Fat, a parody of Michael Jackson's Bad.

With that choice, is there any doubt that my favorite 80s movie is Empire Strikes Back? The second movie of the Star Wars series, it's actually my favorite Star Wars movie. The Battle of Hoth is one of, if not THE favorite, cinematic moments in history for me. I've seen 54 movies released during the 1980s.

My favorite 80s hockey card design, would be 1984-85.
You get a large picture, you get a secondary picture, and a team colored border. What's not to like? I have exactly 10 cards from the entire season, combined between Topps and OPC.

The 1990s is my favorite decade. Not just in my life, in history. Keep in mind, I am a history nut. I've read about the entire 5000+ year documented history of humankind. In my opinion, the 1990s were the best time. (The 1580s were the worst decade, in my opinion, in case you're wondering). It was the best decade for cards, by a mile. Movies, too. I've seen more 1990s movies than any other decade, and 1997 will probably forever hold my record for most movies seen in a year- 22. 1990s music, however, is not as good as the 1960s, but, I do have some favorites. My favorite 90s song is a song I didn't actually hear in the 1990s, though. As I mentioned above, I listened to whatever was on the radio from when I was born until roughly 1998. I switched to classic music in 1998- and listened to that until I was no longer able to, since the local Oldies station retooled into crappy stuff. (I derivatively call it elevator music). I switched back to the popular music around then- never having fully left it, but with no other options, listening full time again. In 2006, we got a much better tv package, which included CMT, which, at that time, actually played music. I started listening to country music, and became a big fan. To this day, if I'm listening to modern music, it's country, 100% of the time. I have not listened to K104- THE popular music station of the Hudson Valley, the same station I listened to from the 80s to mid-2000s, for many years now. Although I'm not a very big fan of most modern country music, the stuff from the mid-2000s and older is quite good. I don't know when or where I first heard it exactly, but my favorite song is 1992's Neon Moon by Brooks & Dunn. Brooks & Dunn became my favorite country artist/group/whatever you want to call them. I like almost everything they have done, but this is actually my favorite.
Interestingly, Neon Moon never got a video, which is unusual for the 1990s to be released as a single without a video.

I've seen 82 movies from the 1990s, which is a ton for me, as I stated, I'm not a big movie person. There are some really good ones to choose from, but in the end, I have to come back to Star Wars. The lead up to the new trilogy was amazing. I remember it well, it's sort of one of those things which defines my generation. A lot of people dislike the prequals, but I am not one of them. I like the first two Prequals, and watched them regularly up until 2015. Of all 1990s movies, the one I've seen the most is The Phantom Menace, from 1999. What Disney did to Star Wars killed my love for the franchise, so I have not watched any of them since 2015. I probably will someday, but the motivation is not there right now. After three decades in a row, the next decade will not be a Star Wars movie, even though 2002's Attack of the Clones is my favorite of the Prequals and to be honest, I like it more than Return of the Jedi.

My favorite 90s hockey card set is 1990-91 Pro Set. It's a huge set, over 700 cards. It includes the all-stars, coaches, and even the history of the teams gets a card. if it had had a highlights/recap of the previous season, it would have been structurally perfect. And it's color coded to each team, leading to a bright, colorful set, which I appreciate. Unlike the previous sets on this list, I have a lot of them- according to the Trading Card Database, I have 531 of 751 possible cards, or 70.7%. Luckily, they probably made more copies of each card from this set than any others in the history of the sport.
 I'm in a little bit of trouble picking a song from the 2000s- the one I had originally chosen was actually from 1999. There's no question it will be country music- that's the only music I really remember from the decade. One that speaks to me on many levels- my historian nature, my love of photography, etc., is Jamey Johnson's 2009 "In Color". It's a little bit sad but it really resonates with me. With that said, there's a lot of songs from this time I really like and the answer might change at any time.

I've seen 49 movies from the 2000s, and this is the hardest choice of all to make: Is it Big Momma's House 2 or The Simpsons Movie? I love both. I will watch both every time they are on. However, I think I will give the nod to the Simpsons Movie, since the Simpsons play a daily role in my life, and have for the last almost 30 years. It's my all-time favorite TV show, I've seen every episode, all except the current season multiple times, it's just an integral part of my life. There is not a day that goes by without a Simpsons quote in my life.

For hockey cards, I went with 2009-10 O-Pee-Chee. It's a big set, at 800 cards. It's very colorful, team color coded, something you may have noticed that I'm a fan of. The one thing that I dislike about it is that the player's name is so small.
I have 52 of 800, or 6.5%.

Moving to our current decade- for the next 6 months anyway- the music is probably my least favorite. I do not like the popular music at all, and the country music has mostly lost it's identity. However, there is one song that is a perfect country song. By an all-star cast of country music's greats, (some of whom had been retired so long I didn't know they were still alive!) THIS is the song I would tell anyone to listen to if they wanted to know what country music is really all about. If you've never listened to a country song before, this should be your first. You'll understand a little bit of what it's all about.

My favorite movie from this decade is 2011's Captain America, The First Avenger. I grew up reading DC Comics, and not liking Marvel. But the Marvel movies? Wow, they are great. The Avengers series has actually supplanted Star Wars as my favorite movie series, and this is my favorite movie of the Avengers series (although I have not seen Endgame yet...going to the theatre make me sick so I have to wait for DVDs to come out)
this is actually card #1 in the card set
I've seen 53 movies from the current decade, with 21 of them being part of the Avengers series.

The hockey card part of this post was actually the easiest. I had known my top two favorite sets would be here, and this is #2. (1990-91 Pro set is my favorite set for the sport). This set is large, team color coded, and documents the previous season. It's almost perfect...which is surprising, because Panini produced it. What's interesting about this set is that the card back design is rather fluid. It changes to fit each player's career length, and full statistics are included.
I have 183 of 548 cards, or 33.4%. An added bonus for this set is that many of the players in it are still active, so once I began watching the sport regularly, I knew many of the names, largely from this set. It's possible that my first ever card of Henrik Lundqvist, my favorite player, came from this set, although I have not looked that up yet.

And that's my favorites...I wrote this all today, July 4th. It's too hot to have a cookout on this holiday, (high 90s) so I spent it watching music videos, writing about cards, and watching NASCAR- it doesn't get much better than that.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Winning

Kind of in shock right now...NBA free agency opened yesterday at 6PM, and NHL free agency at 11 AM today...and my favorite teams won...both! That has never happened! Kevin Durant came to the Nets, the first time EVER a top level player has chosen my team. And he's bringing along Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan as well. When the Nets traded for Jason Kidd in 2001, it got us to the Finals instantly that season and the next, the greatest NBA success the franchise has had. Lack of defense doomed their chances. Now, when KD is healthy, I think we might actually win one. Durant and Irving are both scorers, Jordan is one of the best rebounders in the game, and Jarrett Allen, who has been with the Nets for a few seasons now, is developing into the best shotblocker in the game. Although, with his injury, he's not expected to play at all in 2019-20, which is a bit of a downer. (and, although I'm just guessing, is the reason he left Golden State...there are many people who believe they rushed him back from a previous injury and caused the devastating injuries he and Klay Thompson suffered during the finals)

Now, today, the Rangers get Artemi Panarin! The marquee free agents in both my sports chose my favorite teams...and Panarin is healthy, so will be able to contribute right away! I don't know if he is enough to shift the balance of power in the entire sport like Durant is, but the Rangers, with Panarin, Kappo Kakko and Vitaly Kravtsov joining the team next year, I think we might have a shot.
I don't know as much about Panarin as I do about Durant. KD has been one of my favorite active players since I returned to the NBA in 2012. I'm still learning hockey, and I'm certainly familiar with what he can do on the ice, I don't know much about him yet...although now that he's here...I will!

I'm disappointed they didn't bring Mats Zuccarello back, but I guess I was silly to expect them to after they traded him for magic beans at the trade deadline. I guess I'll be supporting the Wild for the next 5 years too.

I am looking forward to getting my first cards of all these guys with their new teams, although it will likely be a while. Panini usually gets them out first, while Upper Deck usually waits until series 2. Of course, an action photo of the NBA players with their new teams usually has to wait until late in the year, and generally then even only one or two sets with current season photos if you're lucky. I've cut back significantly on new card purchases, so it might take me even longer. But it's going to be a great day when it finally does happen!