Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bell rung

If your memory is still strong and you are musically inclined, then you know how important the music of the day was to you when you were 12, 13, 14 years old.

I have a daughter of that age to help me remember. But even if I didn't, I would still get nostalgic when a song released from 1978-80 emerged from my subconscious. The early teen years are the years of sudden realization of and devotion to popular music. For me, I would not enter my bedroom without first turning on the radio or the stereo. For my daughter, whatever contraption she has that plays music clicks on as soon as the homework's finished.

Don't ask me the titles of the songs she likes. I try to stay current just to stay aware, but it's not as easy as it was when I was her age.

When I was a young teen, two things dominated the airwaves -- arena rock and disco. I was not old enough to adopt the stereotypical young, white, heterosexual male viewpoint -- rock "good"; disco "bad" -- so it all sounded great to me. And, to this day, hearing a song from Boston or Styx or Kiss or Foreigner evokes certain feelings just as a song by Donna Summer or Chic or the Bee Gees or Taste of Honey does. I can't help it. These songs came out when I embraced everything that was new and seemingly "adult."

There is one song for which I have a specific attachment. Weirdly, it's "Ring My Bell," by Anita Ward (don't come at me with that D.J. Jazzy Jeff version). I don't even know why. I just really liked it when it first arrived on the radio. Still like it. And, to this day, if a phrase with "ring" or "bell" pops up in conversation or on TV or somewhere else, more often than not, Anita will start singing in my ear. The song just magically appears in my head.

I suppose if I grew up on a ranch in the midwest in the '60s, it would be Johnny Cash and "Ring of Fire," but these are the cards that I was dealt.

And speaking of cards, that was a long way to go to get to this:

This is one of those "Retired Rings" cards that appear in 2012 Topps -- probably only in hobby boxes or some such nonsense. As far as I'm concerned this is the best of these "cards," and, yes, "Ring My Bell" has been going off ever since the card was delivered to me by Community Gum.

As anyone who has pulled/purchased one of these cards has said on one blog or another, these cards are super thick. I actually measured and the card is exactly as thick as a stack of a dozen regular cards.

The metal "ring" is definitely a hunk of metal. Of course, it's not really a ring -- just a representation of what the top half of a ring of this nature would look like.

It's still cool.

To me, Topps has finally gotten these manufactured things right.

These ring cards are far nicer than those manufactured fake glove items that appeared in last year's Topps set. And they are far more masculine than all of those manupatch -- granny made me this fancy little logo out of yarn that I can pin on my blazer -- pieces of thread. Cards should be masculine, right? OK, not all collectors are men, but as a dude, I like these a lot better than those Yarn Barn cards.

By the way, what do we call these ring cards. Manuring cards? Oops, better put a hyphen in there or else it looks like something a farmer does in the fields.

This card was the prize of the 2012 Dodgers crop that I received from Jon and Andy, but there were a lot of other goodies, too.

Those are the two other Koufax's that arrived in the package. Two more Golden Greats. With three of these cards, I need only two more to complete the Koufax set. And I'm totally resentful of having to complete a set of five cards of the same player with a sucky design and faded photos. We'll see if this set ever makes it on my want list.

Two more Robinson Golden Greats, too. We've seen both of these images on previous cards multiple times.

A trio of Kershaws for the cause. Ignore all those non-Kershaws on the cards.

I know this is a regular Matt Kemp base card, but it took a long time for me to receive one. Everyone is holding on to the Real N.L. MVP.

But with these two Kemp cards I went over the 200-card milestone for my Matt Kemp collection. Yay!!!

A few more inserts and parallels. I still don't have the Ted Lilly base card. He gets the honor of the last base Dodger I need from Series 1. But don't you worry, it's on its way to me as I write this.

This is my first Dodger relic from 2012 Topps. A nice light blue variety of potentially the Dodgers' second baseman of the future, Ivan DeJesus Jr.

Of course the back contains the usual "relic contained on this card is not from any specific game, event or season," disclaimer, which automatically makes me think a Topps executive had a blue tie he didn't like and they snipped scraps from the tie and inserted them in cards.

In less cynical times, I think it's actually a piece of jersey from those old-style Brooklyn 1940s jerseys that the Dodgers wore last year and then I really, really hope that DeJesus played in one of those games.

I know these cards aren't from this year, but CG was nice enough to check my want list and find for me an early SP card and a card from one of the 4,000 sets Pacific issued in 1998.

All in all, a really great package -- especially for someone who isn't going to the store and buying packs of 2012 Topps in any appreciable way.

Let's take a look at that ring again.

(*Ring it, ring it, ring it, ring it owww!*)


  1. Disco's alright with me. And as Miss Kubelik in "The Apartment" would say,
    "Ring out the old year, ring in the new, ring-a-ding-ding."

  2. Good, now I have 'Ring My Bell' stuck in my head.

  3. I was lucky enough to be 3 years old the day disco died, so I missed out on all the Travolta fun. I do have a soft spot for hair metal of the 80s though, so I do agree with the point of your post, just not the era.

    Congrats on getting over 200 Matt Kemps. I am over 200 on only two Rockies, Helton (over 400) and Larry Walker (a shade over 200). I should be there with Tulo shortly though.

  4. VERY nice cards, but my first song was more like Little Duece Coupe and Shutdown.The hot rod songs of The Beach Boys and Jan and Dean got me into music.

  5. I kind of miss the days when music mattered to me as much as it did as a young teen. Discovering new tunes was such a joy.

    Also, that ring card will be in my collection someday. Well, not yours, of course but somebody different than you.

  6. I still haven't seen a ring card in person. I'm sure this is an example of "the scan doesn't do it justice".


  7. 200 Kemps? Impressive.

    Love the Koufax ring. I need to get one of those.