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(Truly) Random Baseball Card Of The Day: 1989 Fleer Rick Sutcliffe October 13, 2012

Posted by Jim Berkin in 1980s, Baseball, Baseball Cards, Books.
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The true randomness comes from where this card turned up – face up, next to my car as I got out in a Trader Joe’s parking lot.

For a moment, I wondered how it got there. Did someone drop it out of their car after visiting some yardsales? Did the wind, or magical cardboard messenger birds or some other mysterious force of nature carry it to that spot after lifting it out of someone’s collection put to the trash curb by mom?

It’s funny how I find interesting things in grocery store parking lots. Some years back, I headed back to my car and discovered a brand new pair of Ray-Bans sitting next to it.

On another occasion, I found a near-mint copy of the paperback photonovel of “The City On The Edge of Forever” from Star Trek after nearly running it over when I pulled into the space.

And yet another time, I found a brand new Ferrari that someone left behind. I hung around for a little while to see if they’d return to get it, but then I gave up, hotwired it, and drove it home. Finders keepers!

Today, the magical forces of fate brought me to Rick Sutcliffe. I guess if I really did believe in synchronicities like my alter-ego in Cut To Wagstaff, I’d have found some sort of significant thing about Sutcliffe in 1989 that would have determined my actions for the rest of the day & I would have found myself on some sort of off-the-wall mysterious adventure. But my life really doesn’t work that way. I put the cheap wine & TJ’s knock-off cereals into my car, drove home, played with the cat, and watched the Yankees tragedy unfold.

Sutcliffe certainly had an up and down career. There’s really no other way to describe a guy who wins the comeback player of the year award TWICE, once in each league, after winning Rookie of the Year and a Cy Young. Sutcliffe has been a mainstay at ESPN for the past several years, as well as MLB network.

I’m still not sure why a 23 year old card, beat up pretty badly, should be waiting for me while I ran some weekend errands. I had even made a small detour to a yardsale earlier – and it was being run by a couple of toy collectors cleaning out their stash. They had some old board games and tons of Barbies and Hot Wheels, all e-bay priced which made it nearly a total waste of time – I was saved by finding this compendium cookbook of chicken recipes for only a dollar.

But no baseball cards. I guess you have to troll Trader Joe’s parking lot for that, although the other day I coughed up serious thrift store bucks (meaning more than singles) to get the 40th Anniversary Topps Baseball Card picture book.  Granted, having the actual cards is always better, but the book has been fun to browse through, and I can even see all the ones that got away.


It Only Takes One Good Yardsale May 17, 2008

Posted by Jim Berkin in Movies, Television.
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Before the temperature climbed too high this morning and my car melted, I made the rounds of a dozen or so yardsales and mostly kept coming up empty, but all it takes is one good sale where I find a pile of crap to add to the ever-growing Wagstaff archives to make it all worthwhile. Today at a huge charity sale, I found some swell DVDs for five bucks a pop – the first two volumes of Space Ghost: Coast To Coast, a show I miss seeing on Adult Swim since they’ve moved on to different material. Space Ghost was most often funny, sometimes surreal and always just plain bizarre. I also got the second volume of another Adult Swim favorite of mine, Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law, to add to Volume 1 which I had gotten as a gift a couple of years back.

And to add to the still-mostly-unwatched pile of Hitchcock-a-palooza I had snagged months back, I got one Hitch movie I have seen & enjoyed, Dial M For Murder, along with one I’ve never seen, I Confess.

Then I went to an estate sale in a rather well-kept house. I found a bunch of books in the television den, but they were mostly mass market mysteries and a couple of books on golf. Around the corner, however, was a bookshelf that at first caught my attention since it was mostly cookbooks, but it turned out that pretty much all the ones worth having are ones I already have (this happens to me a lot now that I’ve scoured the locals at these sales for so many years.).

But then I noticed the one non-cookbook among all of them, in a rather strange juxtaposition – there was a copy of Mein Kampf sitting next to The Mike Douglas Cookbook. I don’t ever remember Hitler going on Mike Douglas to demonstrate recipes. “Guten tag, Mike! First I’ll demonstrate some vegetarian dishes that are wunderbar, and then I will have you shot.” And then at the next sale I stopped at, I spotted a copy of a book by noted self-hating Jew/no-longer tenured (HaHa!) antisemetic asshat Norman Finkelstein. I figured it was God’s way of telling me it was time to go home.

(The people selling it had no idea what it was about since it was in a box of books someone gave them to unload. So, I don’t have to go back there and burn their house down.)

It’s too hot to go back outside today anyway. 😉

Cookbook Saturday November 17, 2007

Posted by Jim Berkin in Books, Cooking, Food.
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Despite a very short list of yardsales in the area this morning, I managed to do pretty well at a rummage sale held to benefit the cheerleading squad of one of the local high schools. Unfortunately, this sale was run by the advisors and parents rather than the cheerleaders themselves, denying eye-candy to this old perv (Remember that PBS show? Where they remodeled a different perv every week? Don’t know about you, but I learned a lot.) but someone’s mother had donated a dozen boxes of books that were either crafts/needlework, dogs, or cooking.

So after a thorough search and evaluation, I got the following for fifty cents a pop: A wonderful collection of easy traditional American recipes are found in Christopher Kimball’s The Yellow Farm House Cookbook which will go nicely with his other general-themed The Cook’s Bible which I picked up some months back. Kimball runs what I think is the best cooking magazine out there. Cook’s Illustrated, which dedicates itself to perfecting recipes that you’d actually cook at home on a regular basis. What a concept!

While most of this woman’s taste in cooking was blander than mine, I also found two nice French cookbooks (now that they’ve elected Sarkozy, I suppose I can cook French again): The Provence Cookbook by Patricia Wells, which offers an abundance of easy seafood and herb-y soup type stuff from my first skimming of it, as well as a TON of wine in every recipe, which means there’ll be plenty to look forward to. And there was also Cuisine Rapide by Pierre Freney, from a late ’80s PBS cooking show I vaguely remember. The recipes here are also of the quick ‘n’ simple variety, though from my quick examination, will be pretty tasty.

Tastiest of all, however, might be the material from Wok Every Day, a beautifully designed book of assorted fusion recipes, mixing Chinese with Indian with European with damn near anything, all stir-fried, steamed and even baked in a wok. I randomly found recipes for Indian-spiced potato pancakes and Thai-seasoned angel hair pasta with seafood in my first flip-through, and then discovered a recipe for a steamed chocolate cake that I’ll have to try, since even if it comes out “Gooey Chocolate Disaster Mess” it’ll still be worth eating.

The other highlight was petting a 22 year old cat at another sale. The little gray tiger cat was skin and bones – I could feel every vertebrae in its back when petting him – but he moved around just fine and was a happy guy. The owner told me he ate six times a day and was deaf, and maybe nearly blind (though he clearly saw me call him over by my kneeling down, and trotted over for some big-time petting action). If this calculator is to be believed, he was the equivalent of a 91 year old man. So, we have a lot in common. We BOTH need a nap.