Monthly Archives: June 2010

Spookymilk Survivor Challenge #4: What Was That You Asked?

Week Four of the Spookymilk’s WGOM writer’s challenge was another team challenge, and The Winner Group took it head-on. The goal: like Jeopardy, provide the questions to these 16 questions:

  1. For the third time, no!
  2. I’m going to have to go ahead and give that one an unconditional ‘maybe.’
  3. Four dollars! For both of us!
  4. It didn’t work at first, but some lube did the job.
  5. Oh, this? Nah, I got hit by a car.
  6. It looked like something edible from far away, but now I want to vomit.
  7. I swear I’m a vegan — I just had this one misstep.
  8. Four cigars, a hooker, and a copy of Sense and Sensibility.
  9. It started as a hobby, but I never imagined the pile would get this big.
  10. The best…is yet to come.
  11. It was supposed to be at noon, but we switched it to…oh! Right now!
  12. It smells like a wet bison.
  13. I agree; it’s really just about equal rights.
  14. Juicy fruit!
  15. Yeah, kind of like Kevin Costner in The Big Chill.
  16. Spicy, with a hint of lemon.

This time around, though, we had a second place finish (results), good enough to stave off elimination, but still a bit unsatisfying. The Winner Group earned only 5 out of 16 pts, with the other two teams earning 7 and 4 pts. I feel bad that none of my submissions were picked, although I made a few major contributions based on other teammates’ initial ideas. Here are some of the answers that I initially contributed whose brilliance was ignored by the judges:

1. For the third time, no!
Ullger has already had two baserunners thrown out at the plate today; will this one finally score?

Pretty good idea to play off the excapades of the Twins’ third base coach; just wasn’t as good as the winning submission.

3. Four dollars! For both of us!
There once was a bad girl named Candace
Who’d “do” boys in the back of the bus.
How much does it cost
For virginity lost?

The novelty of making the answer the last line of a limerick wasn’t enough to sway the judges.

12. It smells like a wet bison.
“We call this fragrance Eau de NDSU. Do you like it?”

This one stands on its own.

13. I agree; it’s really just about equal rights.
Kelly Ripa: “There are some really ignorant people out there that keep trying to find meaning in the movie Hope Floats, don’t you think, Regis?”

After toying with ideas that played off of “rights” (like boxing right jabs) and “equal” (something with equal signs), this one just goes after the opinion directly. I thought it especially nice that Kelly refers to those looking for deep meaning as ignorant, and then Regis falls right into the pit.

15. Yeah, kind of like Kevin Costner in The Big Chill.
Brendan Harris had a pretty limited role on the Twins, didn’t he?

Amusingly, the winning submission was also about Brendan Harris.

Again this week there were only 2 or 3 answers by the other teams that I would have taken over ours, so I wasn’t unhappy with our answers. We’ll see if we can’t right the ship this next week. The best…is yet to come.


A Trade By Any Other Name Would Still Be A HOF Trade

Some trades just seem to fall together well, and this recent one with Spastikmooss at The Great Sports Name HOF is a great example.  It started with this plea to take a Paul Molitor Screenplay tin off his hands, and after skimming through each other’s wantlists and throwing a few prospective cards at each other via email, we both ended up pleased with our booty.

clockwise, from top left: 2003 Topps Bowman Draft Picks #BDP148 Joe Mauer; 1997 Topps Screenplays Paul Molitor; 2002 Topp Bowman Draft Picks #BDP20 Denard Span; 2008 Topps Chrome Xfractor #9 Joe Mauer

There were a handful of base cards I needed, an O-Pee-Chee stickerback, and what’s now my first Chrome Xfractor card. I didn’t really need to scan the Molitor Screenplay again, but I wanted to see if I could do it better than the GSNHOF scan 😉 (the action on that card is awesome!)
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eBay Cards, et. al.

Thought I’d post a few odds and ends here to clear things out. First, here’s a link to Phungo’s blog, where I participated in his entertaining “Phungo 5” series, since the Twins were playing the Phillies at the time.

I successfully bid on a couple inexpensive Twins cards off of eBay recently when skimming through the “free shipping” list. One was an Upper Deck short print, and the other a Bowman blue border.

While I was at it, I thought I’d scan a couple non-Twins cards that I have so I could post them here, too: one is an Enduring Freedom card of the B-2 Stealth Bomber (I used to work on the B-2 radar program in a different life), and the other is a Rockcards card of Rick Wakeman, one of my favorite musicians. I stumbled across both of these at various times while browsing at the local card shop.

clockwise, from top left: 2009 Upper Deck Goudy Heads Up SP #299 Justin Morneau, 2010 Bowman Blue Border #169 Joe Mauer [#375/520]; 1991 Brockum Rockcards #153 Rick Wakeman; 2001 Topps Enduring Freedom #48 B-2 Spirit Bomber

And lastly, Mo and K treated me to a very nice Father’s Day. I had some delicious bangers and mash at Llywelyn’s in Old St. Charles, and K gave me this as a gift (it will be very appreciated on the plane during business trips to Omaha). Thanks!

Spookymilk Survivor Challenge #3: Letter of Resignation

No, I’m not resigning from Spookymilk’s WGOM writer’s challenge — that IS the challenge: write a letter of resignation for a public figure, either real or fictional. And once more, The Winner Group comes out very well — results.

Several ideas came to me initially: the designer/manufacturer of Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl wardrobe, a young Adolph Hitler resigning as secretary of the Jewish Appreciation League, etc. I wanted to write something a bit dated, so I could play with a different writing style, and eventually I picked one I wanted to try: Nostradamus.

First order of the day was to hit Wikipedia for some basics. Since this was an “ancient” letter, and especially since it was written by Nostradamus, I thought it would be appropriate to include a scholarly header with a few notations to set things up. The letter itself consists of three quatrains; quatrain #1-35T is based on real quatrain #1-35 (btw, note the suffixes on the three quatrain numbers).

“Letter of Resignation” from Michel de Nostredame, to Catherine de Médicis, queen consort of King Henri II, dated 1558 – English translation by Garencières in 1672

Nostradamus’ resignation from his position as Counselor and Physician-in-Ordinary to future King Charles IX, most scholars agree, was due to his prediction of catastrophe befalling France and specifically the reign of King Henri II, while others see it as nothing more than a “cash grab” and an excuse to return to the apothecary trade. In reality, it was probably a combination of the two reasons.

Since the quatrains within this letter lie outside those of his published book “The Prophecies”, they have been designated as Quatrain #1-32W, #1-35T, and #1-52F. The meaning of the last quatrain remains a mystery to all researchers to this day.

Catherine de Médicis

With darkness overhead a Seer’s quill writes,
Only a fortnight hence until a departure.
No longer dispensing assistance most needed in Gaul,
Future Monarch and Mother search for a time a new servant.

The grand empire will be quickly reduced,
A tiny area, this will very soon expend;
In the middle of which he will come to lay down his scepter.
The Prophet escapes with little hesitation lest he suffer.

A young horse will be received through barter by the Smithy.
For a season the moaning of the populace will be heard;
In the targeted arena an unexpected improvement made,
Returns triumphantly a D and O to the given name.

  x   Michel de Nostredame  

For the meat of the letter, I decided on three quatrains: 1) Nostradamus gives his two-week notice, which I thought is a bit humorous, 2) dire predictions for the kingdom, and Nostradamus leaving while the leaving is good, and 3) Delmon!

No Nostradamus writing is complete without some mystery, so I composed a Nostradamus-like quatrain about Delmon Young with the Twins, especially considering his improved play this year has been brought up more than once at WGOM. It also makes reference to the inside joke of spelling his name _elm_n (he has no “D” and no “O”), which considering his offense and defense are much improved this season, the joke doesn’t really apply any more. And yes, I know he had more than one season of Teh Suck in Minnesota before turning it around, but “a season” sounded better, and can’t you cut poor Nostradamus a break here?

A Lot from The Sandlot

When making blind trades over the internet, sometimes you can end up getting less in return, and sometimes you get more.  While this wasn’t a blind trade, Joe from over at The Sandlot definitely sent me over-and-above what I have (so far) sent to him.  Joe staged a shotgun multi-box break, and I was lucky enough to snag the Twins team slot.  

Besides all the cards from the break (a good portion of which I needed), Joe rousted up several junk wax Twins and some really nice stuff, including the minor league Radke card below.

clockwise, from top left: 1998 Upper Deck SPx #204 Eric Milton [1047/2500]; 1994 Classic Minors #88 Brad Radke; 2006 Fleer #357 Brad Radke; 2003 Topps Chrome Refractor #270 Brad Radke [486/699]

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Pandora Friday Random 10

Another Friday, another 10 random tracks off of Pandora

  1. (The System of) Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether” – Alan Parsons Project, Tales of Mystery and Imagination
  2. “Beyond This Day” – Phil Keaggy, 220
  3. “Secret of My Success” – Night Ranger, The Best of Night Ranger
  4. “Elevator Love” – Stars, Heart
  5. “Don’t Stop Believin'” – Journey, Escape
  6. “The Pass” – Rush, Presto
  7. “Mother” – Pink Floyd, The Wall
  8. “10 Days Late” – Third Eye Blind, A Collection
  9. “Do It Again” – Steely Dan, A Decade of Steely Dan
  10. “My Romance” – David Grisman & Martin Taylor, Tone Poems II


Spookymilk Survivor Challenge #2: Twenty Questions

Round two of Spookymilk Survivor writer’s challenge was a group effort, which makes for some logistical nightmares, but also means condensing the efforts of seven awesome contributors into a single submission. This round’s challenge basically was: Give the most entertaining answers to the following twenty “questions”

  1. If there was a battle royale to the death that featured every female singer ever, who would be the last woman standing and why?
  2. If Prince Fielder was a rapper, what would his alias be?
  3. You are publishing a book titled “Nick Punto’s Fury.” What’s the subtitle?
  4. While walking down the street, a Jehovah’s Witness asks you, “Do you love life?” How do you respond?
  5. The right fielder is never mentioned in “Who’s on First.” What’s his name?
  6. What’s the best reason to avoid women that smoke?
  7. Worst way to begin your speech as best man
  8. What Nathan Hale really said before being hanged
  9. Provide the tagline for a Hope Floats sequel.
  10. Kurt Cobain comes back to life and Nirvana reunites. Name the next album.
  11. What Lady Gaga would tell us if she popped by the WGOM
  12. Best excuse for not having your homework done
  13. Write a line that could open both a porn novel and a children’s book.
  14. E-6 and Milt on Tilt form a professional wrestling tag team. Name it.
  15. The headline we never saw the day after Dewey did not defeat Truman
  16. What Rhett’s final words to Scarlett would have been had Gone With The Wind been made in 2009.
  17. If you had a pet penguin, what would you name him?
  18. Provide the basic plot for a zombie movie that actually sounds original.
  19. Who Spooky will thank when he wins an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
  20. How to succeed in business without really trying.

Like last week, The Winner Group once more ruled with 10 pts, to 5 pts apiece for the other two teams. Results. As you can probably tell, a lot of these questions have inside connotations to the good folks at WGOM. I’ll share some of the winning answers that I initially contributed, with any minor tweaking by the rest of the team.

7. Worst way to begin your speech as best man
Turn to the bride, say “Last night was alright — I’ve had better,” and then immediately throw up on her.

No matter what was suggested, it can be easily made worse by throwing up on the bride. It’s a basic tenet of wedding receptions.

9. Provide the tagline for a Hope Floats sequel.
A Quentin Tarantino film

Hope Floats represents the Worst Film Ever to more than one WGOM Citizen (myself included), so the thought of a sequel is…well, pretty repugnant. Designating the sequel a Tarantino film seemed like a way of making it somewhat palatable to at least some viewers, and takes the answer in a surprise direction. One of my rejected answers was, “First he won her heart – now he must solve her grisly murder.”

16. What Rhett’s final words to Scarlett would have been had Gone With The Wind been made in 2009.
Scartlett would have seen Rhett’s Facebook status as “no longer in a relationship.”

Using Facebook to represent 2009 seemed like a good move; the doctored up image came later, and we revised it several times, eventually into the gem shown above. If we’d have known for sure that graphics were acceptable, we wouldn’t have even sent the text answer.

18. Provide the basic plot for a zombie movie that actually sounds original.
A midwestern Major League baseball team, desperate to solve years of little-to-no production from its third basemen, re-animates the remains of “Home Run” Baker. Hilarity ensues as team management and players learn to deal with their unusual teammate, and initial bad feelings are erased as quickly as you can say, “145 OPS+”. Tentative title: Dead at Third

I considered working on the well-known lament of Twins fans regarding the lack of any stable, good third basemen since Cory Koskie departed back in the previous millenium (Wait, 2004 you say? Well, it seems like a lot longer). “Home Run” Baker was the highest-ranking third basemen in history who has been dead for some time. Not sure how well he would play in zombie form, but it has to be better than what we’ve had. Oh, and we all love stats: OPS+

Well, I’m awfully proud of the guys in The Winner Group. We had a couple winner answers that came out of no where when most of us were at an impass (I’m looking at you, New Guy and Andrew) and everyone’s suggestions molded our final answers into winners. There were only 2 or 3 answers by the other team that I would have taken over ours, which says a lot about the quality of our answers. Way to go, guys — good luck next week!

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B-B-B-Benny and the Twins

What sort of connection is there between the Twins and the Mets? Well, the Twins used to play in Metropolitan Stadium (I’d been to two games at “The Met” as a kid, sort of a trick when you live a 5-hour drive away). The Twins have dealt star pitchers to the Mets in the past in trades: Frank Viola in 1989, and Johan Santana in 2008. And speaking of Santana, Twins and Mets have also been great baseball card trading partners, specifically between BA Benny’s Baseball Card Buffet and yours truly.

Mike baited the hook with a this 2010 Heritage Mauer SP, and I ran with it. I was able to pick up from the local card shop most of the 2010 ToppsTown inserts he needed, and in exchange besides the SP Mauer, he sent several other neat Twins cards, including some Topps Chrome from my wantlists (one a refractor), and one of the 2009 EnterPlay Fan Pak cards.

clockwise, from top left: 2006 Topps Bowman Chrome Refractor #63 Johan Santana; 2010 Topps Heritage #493 Joe Mauer; 2009 EnterPlay Fan Pak Standee #46 Justin Morneau; 2009 Topps 206 #281 Joe Mauer

Hopefully the Twins and the Mets can make some more mutually beneficial trades in the future — thanks again, dude!