1. I know this probably isn't going to be the popular opinion, especially since this is a sports blog but, is it just me or does this whole bin Laden thing reek of shenanigans? I know I can't be the only one that is looking in the direction of a desperate political ploy to inject a positive note into a re-election campaign that has the potential of falling flat on it's face before breaking out of the gates. Don't get me wrong, I am extremely grateful to all the men and women involved in the operation to take that S.O.B. out. But, doesn't anyone think it's fishy that all of a sudden after not really hearing word one about operations to track him down (although there was admittedly an ongoing operation) for at least a half dozen years, we have him? Then we turn around and dump the body before an autopsy or possibly a public dismemberment ceremony could take place? I realize that within the Muslim religion, bodies must be buried quickly but, come on. This was the most wanted, most hated, most vilified man since Adolf Hitler. The least we could have done was paraded his rotting corpse through the streets of New York.
Plus, now as the days are beginning to pass, we are starting to get conflicting reports, shallow story lines, and shaky information, coupled with supposed photos of the beat up and bloodied face of bin Laden that swept across the internet, only to find out they were fakes. John Brennan, the top counter-terrorism adviser to the President, has spoken out already saying that while they feel that American's are entitled to information, they are still leery about releasing anything at this time. If you ask me, there needs to be some kind of DNA test done. In today's day and age of Photoshop, you can make anything seem real. I'm sure there is video. Get that stuff out there to debunk the doubters like me. The problem is, I think that evidence may not exist. Even in the speech Obama gave, he made no mention of any evidence even existing. When we got Saddam, there was video, pictures, the whole 9 yards. Until I see something substantial, I'm holding back. Again, I am excited...just not all the way excited.
2. Enough political mumbo-jumbo...This is straight out of the "I'm crazy and have too much money" camp. Did anyone else catch this one the other day. SCP Auctions put up a 1979-80 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky rookie in their last auction. If you haven't already seen it, take a guess.
That is now the record for all sales of "modern" hockey cards (modern being the operative word). Obviously we have seen other crazy people/groups/organizations, etc. put up record cash to obtain some rare cardboard. For instance, the T206 Honus Wagner went for over $2 Million a few years ago. Even a 1911 Georges Vezina went for about $100,000. But this one was different. PSA graded this one a Gem Mint 10. Are you freaking kidding me? A 10!!!??? I'm sorry but even I, the untrained, mechanically inept individual that I am can plainly see that this card isn't a 10. But since it is probably in the best condition of any of the Great One's rookies to be submitted for grading, it wins the prize. Don't believe me? Check this out for yourself. Pay close attention to the right edge of the card. This is just another in a long line of issues that the hobby community has with grading cards.
3. I've started to notice a trend in this hobby. It almost seems like when the economy is in a downward spiral, card collecting has the reciprocal affect. Let me explain. Disposable income is less available when the economy takes a dump. Everyone knows that. But for every "The Hobby Is Dead" claim and every "Collecting Is Too Expensive" remark, I hear two dozen positive comments about the growth and stability of the hobby. The larger shows I have been to over the past year have all been pretty well attended considering the cost of admission, parking, etc. The dealers I talk to have few to no complaints about the state of their businesses. The two shop owners I still know have been doing as good, if not better, than they did 10 years ago. I see more and more people willing to stand in lines a mile long and pay big ticket prices for autographs and memorabilia. Online sales on sites like Ebay and COMC have gone above and beyond what anyone could have imagined. And best of all, the card collecting community that populates the blogosphere is by far and away the most active, thought provoking, vigilant (and vigilante), and generous group of people on the planet. Feel free to disagree with my observations because this may just be me only observing the isolated island that I live in. But know this, I'm proud to be part of a hobby that just won't die no matter how hard anyone tries to kill it.
4. Since I didn't want to give him his own post, I thought I would mention my newest autograph that I added to my collection. Although I highly consider him my arch-nemesis and would rather light myself on fire than to hear one of his self-aggrandizing diatribes spewed forth nightly on ESPN, "the worldwide leader in sports [except hockey]", I saw this and had to have it. Don't ask me why. Just gaze into the mullet. It may hypnotize you into believing you are a good coach and it's the players fault you were fired.
So basically I just wasted the better portion of 20 minutes of your time (10 if you read fast) just to show off a card of Barry Melrose. Ain't I a stink'a?