Thursday, December 21, 2017

Not Too Many Cards

     I haven't had many baseball cards coming in or going out of late.  Trades are down, and I think it's just that time of year. Euklid at The Trading Card Database sent some 1989 Topps and 1989 Upper Deck White Sox cards my way last week. It was a good feeling pulling that envelope out of the mailbox. Thanks Euklid!

My favorite 1989 card from Euklid- 

    I dropped the Geology class I was moocing. It's the first time I've gotten halfway through a course and then left it, unfinished. The class was not what I expected. I was looking more towards studying geological formations and less of what materials are used in the making of cell phones.

     A bit of awesome news in the world of music. The Moody Blues are being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! Yes! Those fellas deserve it!


    I ordered some comic books from a friend in the stamp community. I'll be posting about those books in my next blog post. Good stuff!

  Have a fabulous evening!

Monday, December 4, 2017

SABR's Conlon Project

    The Baseball Cards Committee of the Society for American Baseball Research has posted Part I of The Conlon Project essays, and I'm grateful to have been afforded the opportunity to be a part of this project. Please click the card below, to be transported to SABR's blog post containing my write-up, and those of the other four authors being presented in Part I of The Conlon Project.

Have a wonderful day! 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

My Pizza Passion

   This pizza picture is different from any of the other pizza photos I've ever posted. Why? Because it is a gluten free pizza. I have not had GF pizza before, but if I ever want to eat pizza again (Oh God I do!), it will have to be of the gluten free variety.

    Pizza makes the world a better place! I wish good health to you all...    ..and pizza!

My Postcard Collection: It Lives!

    So, I have previously mentioned that I was delving back into my postcard collecting ways. After going through the boxes of postcards, and pulling out all of the postcards that are no longer of interest to me, I ended up with a lot of cards to put up for trade. After a bit of searching, I was fortunate enough to find an active Yahoo group for exchanging postcards. This group has a lot of the same members from another group where I had been actively trading in years past. A big YAY for catching up with old friends!

   I had a trade agreement in the works the first evening after I joined up.  I wasn't sure what I would be getting for my end of the deal, but I did know they would all be baseball themed. I received a postcard of Boston's Fenway, one of San Diego's Petco, and a St. Louis postcard picturing a bat and ball on the grass, but my favorite postcard from the trade is this Babe right here.

    Yeah, I like that postcard a lot.  It's nice getting back into a favorite hobby.

    Have a wonderful day, and thanks for reading!

Monday, November 20, 2017

2018 Dun Dun Dunnnn!

  I'm looking forward to seeing this upcoming new season of The X-Files.  I could not find the NYCC video trailer I watched on social media, which was uber cool. The bottom video sounds like it's narrated by an AI. Speaking of videos, I watched Kris Bryant interview people on the streets in Austria. -Funny stuff sponsored by Red Bull. It should be easy to find the Bryant video on Red Bull's YouTube channel. AND in case you've yet to hear, Andre Dawson is returning to the North Side! My Ichiro dream does not look so impossible now.

Have a fabulous day!

The Earth in My Pocket: an Introduction to Geology

The Earth in My Pocket: an Introduction to Geology
The Open University at FutureLearn
MOOC Course
Dr. Anne Jay
Dr. Marcus Badger

20 NOV 2017


Rock  -An aggregate or combination of minerals. These smaller parts are 'grains'.

The three types of rock:

Igneous- Rocks that are formed from a molten state.  Grains of crystals that interlock and grow together. (ex. Gabbro)

Sedimentary- Rocks that are formed from clasts (bits of material) that have cemented together.  (ex. Conglomerate)

Metamorphic- rocks that are formed from heat and pressure, but not molten. May be formed from igneous, sedimentary or metamorphic rock.  Crystals are often aligned because of the pressure during formation.  (ex. Gneiss)


The Rock Cycle 

The probable route through the cycle:
Igneous rock is weathered and eroded, the bits are transported somewhere where they build up to form sediments. The sediments undergo burial and are compacted to form a sedimentary rock.
The sedimentary rock is heated during deep burial. The heat and pressure may form metamorphic rock, which may (or may not) be melted to form a magma.
The magma rises up and cools, forming a new igneous rock and the cycle starts repeats.

    "Few of the rocks on the surface of the Earth are anywhere near as old as the Earth is. In fact, it’s really difficult to get an idea of how old the Earth is from dating Earth rocks, as rocks that are old enough are so incredibly hard to find (like the ~4 billion year old Acasta gneiss, pictured). To get an idea of the age of the Earth, we date specific meteorites, which are left over from the formation of the solar system."   © The Open University 

Plate Tectonics 

    Switches in the Earth’s magnetic field are called ‘magnetic reversals’. They happen around every million years in areas termed 'mid-ocean ridges'. This process causes continental drift. Continental drift and sea floor spreading create plate tectonics.

    At the meeting points of these plates one of three things can happen. Plates are either being created 'constructive', or destroyed 'destructive', or they just slide past each other 'conservative'.


Elements of a Smartphone at Compound Interest

Ore- Rock from which metal can be extracted easily enough to make money.
        Copper and gold are found in their ‘native’ form, meaning that they aren’t combined with other elements. Most metals are combined with other elements in minerals.

Hoba: The World's Largest Meteorite

    Pegmatites are igneous rocks with very large crystals. Most of the crystals will be greater than 1 cm long. Igneous rock containing large minerals means that the rock cooled very slowly from their molten state to what we see today. The slow cooling is because they form deep within the crust where heat escapes ever so slowly.  There is a large pegmatite source in Western Australia. (Greenbushes) It is mined for Lithium. There also a large pegmatite source in Manitoba, Canada. (Tanco) It is mined for Tantalum and Niobium.

Bauxite is an Aluminium ore which forms from the weathering of rocks.

The Three Types of Weathering:

Physical - wind, water, falling rocks etc...
Chemical - a slow dissolve by say rain (rain is mildly acidic)
Biological - when attacked in any way by a form of life

Ranking of elements in the earth's crust: 

1.) Oxygen
2.) Silicon
3.) Aluminium 8.4%, commonest metal. Feldspar forms Kaolinite, which is clay-like. When Aluminium is found with Feldspar in a tropical climate (where the clay is washed away by nature), the Aluminum is easily mined.

Alumina Refining at

    Energy consumption to create Alumina is 20%-40% of production costs. Whereas recycled aluminum the cost is only 5%.

Silicon Dioxide - Quartz – Very hard - A common, grey/translucent rock-forming mineral found in igneous and metamorphic rocks.

From sandy beach to Kaby Lake: How sand becomes silicon TechRadar 

Porphyry ore- low grade, massive pit mining - not mine prior to 1905, i.e. Utah's Bingham Canyon Open Pit Copper Mine. Ref. Ring of Fire. 

Submarine Sulfide ore- formed by subsea volcanoes. Copper, Iron, Zinc, Silver and Gold are heated and drawn out from hydrothermal vents. Flowing to cooler water and solidifying. 

⚙ Granite - Shap Virtual Microscope 


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

2018 - The One Thing

    I'm not big on New Year's Resolutions. I'm more of a either I do or I don't, and a new calendar year has nothing to do with it. However, there are collection wants that roll back and forth across my mind, and if I had to whittle those wants down to just one thing, what would it be? There are many cards I would like to add to my collection, and Cubs relics are at the top of the list, but I have a player collection that is so small that if I had to choose just one goal for 2018 as far as collecting is concerned, I would choose.... greatly expand my Ichiro collection.  

I have six Ichiro cards, and three of them are 2012 Panini Triple Play. Yeah, I hope 2018 is my Ichiro year. 


    The Double Header card came my way via Julie from A Cracked Bat: Baseball Cards and a Hot Dog.   I find it ideal for Ichiro to cover up Sammy Sosa. I don't think there are two players with a bigger difference in their philosophy for how to attack from the batter's box. I prefer Ichiro's take on batting. That being said, Sammy had WAY too many Cubs cards issued bearing his likeness, so did Frank Thomas for the South Side for that matter. Way too many cards. 

Ah, one of my favorite card pulls from a Topps 2017 Opening Day hobby box.  

    Ichiro's 1,000th hit. I like this card. I pulled it from a repack box that I picked up at Walgreens back in 2016. This was my very first Ichiro card. What one thing, would you like to work on in your collection? 

Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Baseball Videos & Winter Hobbies


    I'm already going through baseball season withdrawals. It's a good thing YouTube is there when we need it! I usually watch compilations when mixing YouTube and baseball, but this gem of a video is of Ichiro pitching an entire inning in 2015. What a treat!

    I've just about finished sorting the boxes of postcards containing my collections. I want to run through them one more time, and maybe take a count of some of the topics. I'm pretty sure lighthouses are going to be the largest theme.

    Below are a few more samples of the postcards of have in my collection. Formerly, I had started collecting tea cards as well, with the exception of the Zeppelin card, I have listed them for trade at the Trading Card Database.

Observatories and Telescopes 
(From Hubble to tourist view-scopes)



 Gold Mines, Ghost Towns, Gold Mining Camps etc... 

  Cryptids and Hoax Creatures 

    Jackalopes are probably found on postcards more than any other hoax creature. There are even postcards of cowboys riding giant rabbits while herding cattle. I'm not sure why giant rabbits are scary. When I was a kid I watched Night of the Lepus, and it scared the snot out of me. Food of the Gods did too. I still love monster movies.


Everyone have a great day!

Friday, November 10, 2017

First Snow and the Happenings

    It's more cold than anything, but today marks the first snow of the season for us folks in Chicago.  There's not much snow out there, but the flakes are growing larger, and the density is beginning to look like a blizzard.

     Earlier this week, I watched one of the best documentaries that I have seen in a long while. (Netflix) First Contact: Lost Tribe of the Amazon.  

    I think what makes this documentary stand out from other first contact documentaries is that the Sapanawa tribe speak a dialect that is closely related to known tribal languages in the region. Because of the ability to use translators to communicate so early in the contact, we get very raw information that isn't diluted by narrator commentary. The exchanges are absolutely fascinating. To hear natives saying that the anthropologist's singing sounds like 'shit', or that they love clothes and were embarrassed to be naked was surprising! This doc does not disappoint. The hardships they endured are things that all of us can relate to, so if you have never watched First Contact: Lost Tribe of the Amazon, take the time to do so. You won't regret it.

    Speaking of Netflix, The Battered Bastards of Baseball got a thumbs up from me, and now I find myself missing Big League Chew! Loved it as a kid! I've looked in all of the neighborhood stores, and no one carries it. What a travesty! Oh well. Hey, Netflix has recently added the Jackie Robinson biopic film '42'. I haven't watched it yet, but it is on my to-do list.

    Yesterday, I pulled out the boxes containing my postcard collection. I am enjoying going through them, sorting and reorganizing. It's nice finding gems that I haven't thought about in a while. With all the snow fall, I think today will be a good day to play with postcards.

    A few of the topics I collect on postcards:



Northern and Southern Lights 

    (I'll share more postcard themes in the near future.) Ah... the melody of snow blowers blasting cars with snow missiles. Time to grab another handful of postcards and party like an old lady. Peace Y'All!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Congratulations Houston!

   Congratulations to the Houston Astros, the 2017 World Series Champions!  

Now comes the long winter of no baseball, tempered by the warmth of trade rumor fires.  I can't wait to start over next year.  

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Connecting Collections


    This morning, after reading a few blogs that I follow, I found myself wondering what reasons other collectors have for collecting players that are not based solely on their athletic prowess, but for other obscure connections.

    I know some PCs are chosen because of where or when they were born, or their alma mater etc.. I don't have anyone that I am collecting because of a connection that does not play into their talent. I collect Melky Cabrera because he is a joy to watch play, but it just so happens that he and Zipper share a birthday. That's cool. If I knew of ball players that have earned degrees in anthropology or archaeology, I'd enjoy putting together a collection of them.  Yeah... I would like that very much.

    Then there is Tetsuharu Kawakami the Zen hitter. I don't think I would seek to collect him if he was just another great batter, so his Zen practice plays a role in wanting to collect him.

    I believe Ichiro also possesses a Zen mastery at the plate, but I don't know that to be a fact. I do keep an eye out to add his cards my collection, and I am certainly thankful that his cards are easier to come by than Kawakami's cards.

    Who or what do you collect that has little to do with a team or player skills? If you answer on your blog, please post a link here in the comments. I'd love to read your answers.

Have a great day!

Friday, October 27, 2017

What Gives?


    Does anyone know why the Followers widget is no longer working? Temporary? Permanent? It is not working on anyone's blog today.

Freebie Fun!

Good morning everyone! 

    I'm posting two images here that my fellow bloggers may download, annotate, decorate and use on their blogs. Emily, who is usually seen only in her wedding day attire has donned the gear of both the North Side and South Side teams. -Sorry to the blogging fans of the other MLB teams, but we have only Chicago jerseys and jackets. Although Zip does have a Padres (blue & silver cap), and possibly other MLB travel caps under the hat stack, we have no torso garments to match.

    If you ever post one of these in a brilliantly altered fashion, please post a link here. I'd love to see what you've done.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Hey Theo!

     Ichiro. He is the lead off man you are looking for. One season. He can do it better than anyone else, and he is worth whatever the cost. Do it dude!


Monday, October 23, 2017

A Cracked Bat, the Wows! part II

    Good afternoon everyone! I'm going to jump right into this post by starting with the Ernie Banks cards that Julie, from A Cracked Bat: Baseball cards and a Hot Dog, sent to me earlier this month.

Heeeere's Ernie! 

And a pair of Ozzies! I 💖 Ozzie!

A couple more Home Town Heroes. I like this simple but fun design.

My first White Sox Action Packed card. Yay! I don't have many cards showing this red accented uniform, so this is a nice timeline marker in the evolution of White Sox uniforms.

My first Schick Kellogg's 3-D Super Stars card.

    Ooh, there are three more FIRSTS for my collection coming up! I'm thinking firsts are just as fun as lasts, when it comes to card collecting.  

My 1st Goudey 

My 1st Turkey Red

My first A.J. Pierzynski card, and it's a Topps Chrome at that! -I can't believe how slow it has been to get A.J. cards. He's been on my want list almost as long as I've been collecting baseball cards.

I had not known about the Upper Deck Decade set. Near as I can tell, there is only a set for the 1970s. I'll have to look into this further because these are nice!

Thank you Julie!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like... AAHHH!

A Cracked Bat Wows! Again!

    Earlier this month, I received a box, stuffed with baseball goodness from Julie of the A Cracked Bat: Baseball Cards and a Hot Dog blog. This is the second time she has wowed me with  SUPER SHINEY baseball cards that celebrate Chicago's place in MLB.  Baseball bloggers are the best!

    I won't be posting images of all the cards Julie sent, but I've set a few aside to share here. There are several awesome chrome cards in the mix, both Topps and Bowman. There are even a few new Ernie Banks beauties, but the first card I'm going to share is a 2011 Topps 60 material relic. I have developed a strong fondness for relic and memorabilia cards. In fact, 'Textiles & Timber' is the descriptive title of a new project that I am working on. This project and the awesome mooc (Antiquities Trafficking and Art Crime) I am currently taking are the reasons my blog has been relatively silent of late. I had intended to not write about this card here at Now and Zen, but to reserve it for the project. However, when A Cracked Bat sends a relic card of Tyler Colvin, one must include it in a blog write-up. Back in 2010, Tyler Colvin had a projectile shard from a broken bat puncture his lung while running to home plate. It was a rather horrific injury, and although it put an end to Colvin's late season play, he recovered and was able play a few more years in MLB. Odds are that this material relic is from Colvin's fateful 2010 season. The Cubs were away and wearing their blue jerseys when Colvin took the hit to his chest, so this relic is not from the jersey he was wearing that day. Check it out.-

A Shattered Bat Memory from A Cracked Bat

   The early Diamond Kings art cards don't do anything for me, although they now possess a retro vibe that I enjoy, but the recent Diamond Kings art cards are fabulous in my book. Here are some of the new ones Julie included that loaded box.

Showing a little love to the White Sox.

And some Cubs. 


  I have only a few Hendricks cards, but I'd say this Diamond Kings card is my favorite Hendricks.

This next card is a Legendary Cut, and it is gorgeous! Billy Williams, very nice! 

     Billy's scan doesn't show it, but that is gold foil over black marble, Upper Deck nailed classic majesty with this design.

    Next up, some Bowman Platinum cards. These are my first cards from this brand, and boy are they sweet!

  Julie found room to fit this Addison Russell Triple Thread into the mix. Cards that stand on end- brilliant!

Of course this Russell card is another example of a card whose glory refuses to come to life on a scanner. 

    I'm going to divide the spoils between two posts, but I want to fit three more cards into this first post. Up next are the Tristar Obak cards. I had neither heard of them, nor noticed them before these three cards arrived. Now and Zen LIKES these cards! They are deliciously quirky! When awesome people like Julie randomly send cards to me, I relish finding new cards to add to my want list. In general, I go into The Trading Card Database, add the new cards to my collection, then add all of the missing Cubs cards to my want list. This Obak set is the first set that I've added every missing card in the set to my want list. Gotta Catch 'Em All!

   Fabulous cards Julie! Thank you!