Wednesday, August 12, 2020

13 Hours - The Movie and Book


13 Hours is the book by Mitchell Zuckoff and the movie documenting the attacks in Benghazi that killed four Americans including the U.S. ambassador, an information officer and two security contractors.  Both the book and movie do a good job staying away from politics in the account of what happened that night.  Using personal accounts the book does a good job of setting the scene and taking you through what happens from start to finish.  I happened to be in the middle of reading the book when the movie came on TV so I watched it.  As always some liberties are taken but it does a decent job of sticking to what happened.  Just jazzed up a bit as is done with any movie adaption.  I highly suggest both the book and movie.  The book is an easy read and provides plenty of background on the main players as well as details from the attack.  The movie is gripping and does its job of making you want to know what happens next.   I, too, will stay away from the political side of this but do want to highly recommend both of these.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

2004 Upper Deck Football

2004 Upper Deck Football:  A part of that eBay purchase a while back this was a pretty cool pack.  I wasn't collecting during this time frame so they look vaguely familiar but not sure I've ever seen them in hand before.  I really like this photo of Peyton Manning.  Looks like he is in a bit of trouble but I can imagine he still has his eyes downfield looking for a way out this jam.  And I wouldn't doubt he did just that.
The designs are fairly simple but I like them.  The name can be a bit tough to read but that's not uncommon with foil.  Another great photo on that Tedy Bruschi.  The photo on the Star Rookie is pretty cool as well.  Darling may not have had a good career but he'll always have a cool photo on this card.
The backs are simple.  I like the big logo and color but dislike the small stats.  The amount of stats isn't an issue but the fact that the font size is so small is.
I really like how the team logo is a smaller version on top of a muted bigger version of the same logo.  Nice touch. This was a fun pack and a win in my book.  I've already looked at the possibility of picking up more to rip.  Love seeing Drew Brees in his Chargers uni. 

8 – Total Cards
1 – Star Rookie


Friday, August 7, 2020

2020 Donruss Racing Hobby Box w/Auto and Relics

2020 Donruss Racing:  Working from home means I don't get to a Target so I don't get to find these in the wild.  NASCAR was the first sport to return and it really has been fun.  It now has to compete with the other sports but I'll still tune in each week.  This box came from Blowout Cards.  The last NASCAR hobby box I picked up was in 2017.  I felt that box was a bit repetitive and boring.  This box didn't have those problems.  There was plenty of variety, good designs and fun cards.  This Hailie Deegan was the best card in the box.  #/99 this green parallel can pay for 2/3 the cost of a hobby box.  She is extremely popular and there's hope she can someday star at the Cup level.
 The base design is good for me.  There are 75 cards that look like this.  The photos are good shots of the drivers.  Nothing too special but fit the bill.
 Retired greats are a big part of this set.  With the list of active drivers being small adding these guys is needed and fun.  NASCAR trading cards weren't a thing back in the day so many of these guys would never had been on a card had it not been for the Panini Donruss sets.
 The base set is 200 cards but 125 of those are parts of subsets.  These Retro 1987 cards are a design I like. I can't say it was my favorite back in the day but I like it here. 
 More retired greats included.
 Each design also has photos of the driver's cars.  As this is what you see 95% of the time on race day this is how fans identify with drivers and they are great inclusions.  Some of the NASCAR sets included "action shots" of pit stops which is a good idea and would have been nice to see here.
 There are plenty of parallels to be had in the set and it felt like I pulled a ton.  These are part of the 25 or so I pulled.  There is also one Optic in each pack.  
 Bubba Wallace and Chase Elliott are both favorite drivers of mine so these two relics were great pulls for me.  Gray Gaulding is a young driver who really hasn't done much but there's still time for him to do something.
 Terry Labonte and Jeff Burton are two retired greats whom I'm a fan of.  Terry is a former champion and NASCAR Hall of Famer.  Another Hailie Deegan card which is a good thing nowadays. 
 I like both of these inserts as we get to see the cars again.  I think the Aero Package is my favorite. 
 I'm a Contenders brand guy so I really like that insert and the Top Tier is a nice insert too.  Pulling Danica is always fun.  The Elite Series insert is OK but seems a bit bland.
 I love the "Kings" cards across the Donruss sports brands and Race Kings is no different.  Bubba Wallace was a great pull for me.  The Retro Series gives us a look at drivers from their past.  I like that and like the 80's Miami Vice vibe.  I enjoyed the heck out of this box.  Tons of variety and good designs really made this a win.  We'll finish it all off with The King Richard Petty.  
 192 – Total Cards
12 – Silver Parallel
10 Race Kings
5 – Rated Rookie
5 – Red Parallel #/299
3 - Classics
3 – Top Tier
3 – Elite Series
3 – Retro Series
3 – Contenders
3 – Aero Packages
3 – Blue Parallel #/199
2 – New Age
2 - Dominators
2 – Action Packed
2 – Green Parallel #/99
2 – Holographic Parallel #/199
1 – Signature Series
1 – Race Day Relic
1 - Retro 1987 Relic
1 – Pink Parallel #/25
1 – Purple Parallel #/49
-24 – Total Optic-
7 – Retro 1987
3 – Illusions
2 – Race Kings
1 – Rated Rookie

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

1990-1991 Hoops Basketball Pack

 1990-1991 Hoops Basketball: This was part of an Amazon basketball pack lot purchase.  The season is flying high so no better way to celebrate than Nique right?  Like what I did there?  Dominique is my all-time favorite basketball player and this is one my favorite cards of his.  Maybe even my favorite.  It's a great photo and he is framed by "Atlanta" and "Hawks" in the background while a teammate celebrates the dunk.  Only thing that could make it better would have been those great road jerseys from this era.  
 A couple of all-time great coaches and player.  Love all-star subsets like this one too with actual game photos.  Definitely happy with my pull.  A bunch of hall of famers and players I remember well.
 The design of this set is one I like and I busted a ton of it back in the day.  The backs were really good too with full stats, an additional photo, and decent design.  Love these old packs, and this set, and will probably go back for more at some point. 
Parish was never a guy that did much for me but he was good no doubt.  Definitely something deceptive about his look but he had skills.

15 – Total Cards
4 – Coaches
1 – All-Star
1 – Checklist

Sunday, August 2, 2020

2014 Panini Country Music (24 Pack Retail Box) - Darius Rucker Auto

 2014 Panini Country Music: I got turned on to this set by the Blowout Buzz Blog.  Then I happened to see a retail box on sale on Blowout Cards for the price of a blaster.  To say this box over delivered is an understatement.  This Silhouette Signature Materials is a green parallel #/10 of former Hootie and the Blowfish lead singer Darius Rucker is my best pull ever!  After a good career with the Blowfish he has done very well as a country singer.  I've always liked Darius Rucker so this was such a fun pull.  I'd already pulled a relic so this was very unexpected and there was an audible cheer sounding like a school girl when I saw what it was.  In retail packs nothing is guaranteed and odds are tough so this was a major surprise.  I still don't know what I'll do with this card.  While it is so freaking cool it could also pay for my entire Blowout order.  We'll see.
 I pulled a complete set.  The set doesn't have all the big names of the time but has a good sampling of country artists and Rucker must be one of the top three or four artists in the set.
 The set design is simple but I like it.  The bronze'ish foil can make it a bit tough to read but it looks good in hand.  The variety among the photos is good and I don't get bored going through the set.   The backs are simple with a truncated black and white version of the front shot and a decent write-up. 
 Wynonna is a country legend while this finds Florida Georgia Line in the early part of their career.  
 Hard to tell but these are Instrumental and Award Winner inserts.  I'm a big fan of LeAnn Rimes.  Montgomery Gentry is a duo I like, with She Couldn't Change Me, being one of my favorite country songs.  Unfortunately Troy Gentry lost his life in a helicopter accident two years ago.  
The inserts offer some nice variety.
Joe Diffie is another star we lost too soon.  That Bob Carpenter is a purple parallel #/99.  
This Pick Collection relic was actually my first hit of the box.  Johnson is the lead singer of Cadillac Three and a song writer.  I like Trick Pony and their self titled album had many songs I'm a fan of - Pour Me, Just What I Do,  and On a Night Like This.  This last card of Darius Rucker is a good concert photo.  

This was a great box.  I pulled a complete base set, I enjoyed the designs and cards themselves, the inserts were nice and of course my hit was crazy good.  I know Blowout Buzz is a self serving blog but they do a good job showcasing different products in different ways. Give them a read.

192 – Total Cards
24 – Green Parallel
8 – Fresh Faces
8 – Instrumental
8 – Backstage Pass
8 – Top of the Charts
7 – Award Winners
1 – Purple Parallel #/99
1 – Pick Collection Relic
1 – Complete Base Set (100)
1 - Silhouette Signature Materials #/10

Friday, July 31, 2020

Mail Day from Bump and Run Football Card Blog

 Trevor over at the Bump and Run Football Card Blog sent me some cool cards after I commented on one he was showing off on his blog.  These aren't all the cards but some of my favorites.  This Andre Rison is my favorite of the lot.  It has a cool design and photo.  Rison averaged 90 receptions and 1100 yards per season in his five seasons with Atlanta.  He was also good for a little drama here and there but was always entertaining.  
 I always like Bobby Hebert though his years in Atlanta weren't fruitful. One of my favorites in Devonta Freeman.  Injuries shortened his peak but he was fun as a Falcon.
 These guys were all big reasons their teams went to the Super Bowl.

 Those Coca-Cola Monsters of the Gridiron cards is one of my favorite sets.
 Finding a good Quarterback has been a tough road for the Bills after the Jim Kelly days.  
 I didn't know these Bowman Road to the Super Bowl cards existed.  I'm excited and will have to track these down.  
The aforementioned card I liked on his blog was this diecut Chuck Finley.  I like Finley and this is a nice design.  Thanks to Trevor for the great cards and hope I can return his generosity soon.  

Thursday, July 30, 2020

2019 Panini Toronto Raptors NBA Champions Basketball Cards

2018-2019 NBA Champions Toronto Raptors Set:   The blasters for these contain a complete 30 card set of the 2018-2019 NBA Champs Toronto Raptors.  I've always been curious about these and being a Kawhi Leonard fan I grabbed this box when I did a Dave & Adams purchase recently.  I think the 2017-2018 Warriors were the first team Panini did this with.  Speaking of the man this photo has him with the Championship Trophy as well as the trophy he took home for being the NBA Finals MVP.
  Most of the photos were taken just after the series ended though there are a few in game photos as well.  While static photos aren't usually a preference seeing players with the trophy after winning the Championship is pretty cool.
The design is basic but I like it.  The basketball texture look at the bottom is pretty cool.  

This was a fun series.  I didn't have a dog in the fight but it was hard not to root for Toronto who had never won a Championship.  Aside from Kawhi Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam were huge factors in them winning a championship and really stepped up their games. 
Fred VanVleet, Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka and Danny Green also were key to Toronto taking home the Gold.  The backs had write-ups specific to each player and showed these were "limited" sets.  How they came up with 49,286 I'll never know.  These are pretty affordable and I'm really glad I picked one up. Maybe I'll track down one of the Warriors sets.  I love the NBA and have no issues being excited for players I like or different teams when they win it all.

30 – Total Cards
15 - Player Cards (with Trophy)
8 - Highlight Cards
3 - Celebration Shots Cards
1 - Raptors Team Logo Card
1 - Raptors Team Card
1 - Nick Nurse Head Coach Card
1 - Kawhi Leonard MVP Card