Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Ranking Tom Cruise Movie Love Interests

A few years ago I listed out my 42 favorite male actors of the last 42 years, coinciding with the 42 years I had been alive.  Sitting at #2 on that list was Tom Cruise.  He has had his share of movie flops, but considering Top Gun, Mission Impossible, Minority Report, A Few Good Men, The Firm and Risky Business, he has had his share of blockbusters.

Based on 50 career movies, I thought that the next logical list would be to rank his love interests.  These would be females in which he is married to, was married to, or has a physical encounter, such as a kiss.  Note that he has acted with some amazing females such as Demi Moore and Julianne Hough, but they were simply leading ladies and not his specific love interest.

As always, the best part about my list, is that it is my list. That is because each person has their own movie watching history, and while you may appreciate what I have assembled, you will likely disagree somewhere along the way.  The uniqueness of each person in this world is one of the many things that fascinates me. It's what makes lists of this nature, so much fun.

19. Mia Sara, 1985 - Legend

18. Cameron Diaz, 2010 - Knight and Day

17. Penelope Cruz, 2001 - Vanilla Sky

16. Olga Kurylenko, 2013 - Oblivion

15. Thandie Newton, 2000 - Mission: Impossible II

14. Malin Akerman, 2012 - Rock of Ages

13. Lea Thompson, 1983 - All the Right Moves

12. Elizabeth Shue, 1988 - Cocktail

11. Emily Blunt, 2014 - Edge of Tomorrow

10. Michelle Monaghan, 2018 - Mission: Impossible Fallout

9. Rebecca Demornay, 1983 - Risky Business

8. Rosamund Pike, 2012 - Jack Reacher

7. Nicole Kidman, 1990 - Days of Thunder

6. Kathryn Morris, 2002 - Minority Report

5. Sarah Wright, 2017 - American Made

4. Jeanne Tripplehorn, 1993 - The Firm

3. Renee Zellweger, 1996 - Jerry Maguire

2. Rebecca Ferguson, 2015 - Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation

1. Kelly McGillis, 1986 - Top Gun

Friday, June 12, 2020

A letter to our dearest Lyla Jane

From the first time I laid eyes on you, I knew that you were the most gentle, loving dog ever.  Not long after that, you came to live with us in Huntsville and you joined the beagles to become part of our family, permanently.

I remember the early days when you were having trouble getting used to your new surroundings.  You would sneak off and go upstairs and do your business in the spare bedroom.  Fortunately you realized soon enough that Siri and Fiina loved you very much and along with Rachel, we were your family.  You didn't have to try to run away anymore -- you were home.  

We have walked probably a thousand miles together.  I smile just thinking of all the times that I probably yelled at you because you would stop to pee ten times every mile!  When you were two tired or not strong enough to walk, we would just sit and put your head on the couch.  You loved it when I would pet your face the most, and rub your ears.  It would always end with you shaking your Yoda ears our, and coming in for more pets.  

For your mom's birthday a few years ago, we got your DNA tested.  Your results came back saying you were 25% German Shepherd, 25% Labrador Retriever, 12.5% Chow Chow, 12.5% Siberian Husky and 25% a mix of a few other things.  I had a t-shirt made for your mom with the results on the front and your picture on the back with the caption "100% loved."  

We had our share of scares with your health over the years with you.  There was the time that you had a tumor growing in your belly and we feared the worst, but it turned out to be benign and you had a lot of good, healthy years after that.  Eventually your hearing deteriorated but you still managed to recognize your name when we called you.  

For the last couple of years your life has been winding down.  A few more naps, a few less miles on the walk and a little more medication in your breakfast kibble.  We have watched you closely to make sure that you were living your best life, and in as little old age pain as possible.  More recently we have noticed that you are struggling to get up, maintain your balance and your constant panting is telling us that you are in pain, even if you are trying your best to hide it.  We suspect that you have a tumor on your brain based on the symptoms, but it doesn't stop you from wagging your tail and always making us happy.  Sadly, even though you can speak, we know that you are ready to go.  

When your sister Siri died, it was a very sharp pain as she was told that it could be three to six months and she died that night.  That still hurts.  But with you, it has been a slow and dull pain where it is difficult to watch you deteriorate and not be living your best life.

I know that you don't understand any of this.  I know that you just want to be petted and eat your food and go on walks.  You don't understand the pain that your mom and I are in watching you in this condition, knowing that soon we will have to let you go.  We will try to be strong to the end so you don't worry about us, but just know that the tears are because of the vast amount of love we have for you.  

Remember when we recently loaded you and Fiina up into the car and drove to Michigan,  We know how much you love being at Grandpa and Grandpas where you can run around freely and chase deer.  We went on several long pontoon boat rides and you sat up on the front of the boat, with the wind blowing in your face.  You were in absolute heaven.  We were so happy that you got to make that trip one more time. 

This family is not going to be the same without you.  Just know that someday we may get another "big dog" but that we will never be trying to replace you.  You are one of a kind.  We promise to honor your memory always telling tales of your fluffiness, how you never met a stranger who did not want to pet you and how everyone you met said that you were the most wonderful dog in the world.  

I hope that as your dad for these 9 years, that I have given you the grandest of grand lives.  That you know how much I love you, and how letting you go is one of the hardest things we have ever had to do.  Please find Siri in doggie Heaven and chase bunnies together until someday we can be together again.  

Sunday, May 10, 2020

How much did Ferris Bueller's Day Off Cost Him?

On June 5, 1985 Ferris Bueller took the day off.

We all got to live vicariously through him as he fakes a stomach cramp, licks his palms and fools his parents into letting him stay home from school.  Since it is his 9th sick day of the semester, he knows that he has to make this one count. This includes a tour of the city with his best friend Cameron Frye and his girlfriend Sloane Peterson.

They manage to take in nearly every Chicago landmark during the course of the day.  There have been numerous research projects that have documented the feasibility of this day, documented routes that they took and real life filming locations.  But no one has ever calculated the COST of Ferris' day off.

So let's take the day off with Ferris and determine the cost!

31 Flavors

Planning for his day off actually begins the night before.  When Simone Adamley responds to the Economics Professor as the status of an absent Ferris, she notes that he's sick.  She specifically says that "her best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with a girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it's pretty serious."  We have to assume that the Ferris sighting was factual and that he did in fact have ice cream at 31 Flavors.  According to this website, a double scoop at Baskin Robbins at Illinois locations is $4.55.  We assume that he was there with friends, so he had no transportation costs since he does not own a car..

A Lost Bet

Cameron truly is sick and wants no part in Ferris' day off plans.  But Ferris continues to hound him with repetitive phone calls and even tells him to "Be a man!  Take some Pepto Bismol, get dressed and come on over here!"  Apparent;y Ferris has been threatening Cameron to unfriend him since they were in the 5th grade.  After they hang up the phone, Ferris says that he will bet (the audience) $20 that he (Cameron) is sitting in his car debating on whether or not he should go out.  Eventually Cameron buckles, after swearing and beating the passenger side seat of his 1978 Alfa Romeo Sport Sedan.   In theory, this move costs Ferris twenty dollars,

Collection to Save Ferris

Ferris is beloved by all.  Over the course of the day we see that the town of Northbrook has painted their water tower with the phrase Save Ferris.  When Katie Bueller picks up Jeanie from the police station, the officer says that they are all pulling for Ferris.  Well this love extends to his classmates at school.  One young man has even taken up a collection by walking the halls with an empty Pepsi can.  He goal is to raise 50 G's for Ferris to get a new kidney because that is what they run apparently.  It will be an uphill battle to reach that goal by collecting loose change in the halls of a high school between classes and on lunch.  We see 6 students drop coins into the can.  Let's assume those were all quarters which would total $1.50.  But then an angry Jeannie slaps the can out of his hand.  It sounds like more than 6 coins in the can when it hits the ground, so we will assume that there were 12 total, all of which he was able to retrieve, making it an even three dollars in the Save Ferris fund.

Parking Garage in the Loop

After convincing Cameron to let him take his father's 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California to pick up Sloane from school, they drive into the city and pull into  A-1 EZ OK Park, a parking ramp on the west side of the Loop.  Dennis Juarez, the attendant, tells them to "Relax.  (laughs) Ah you fells have nothing to worry about.  I'm a professional" as he drives the car away.  Given in a later scene we see the parking attendant and friend peel away from near a parking garage  located near the corner of Madison Street and Wells Street, we will assume the parking location was The Poetry Parking Garage.  Weekday rates for 81 mins - 12 hrs is $49.  However, later in the day when they retrieve the car, you can see a partially obscured rate sign over Cameron's left shoulder.  The sign reads that the rate for over 3, but under 24 hours is $9.  Lastly, Ferris asks the attendant to take extra special care of this vehicle and hands him a bill.  As the attendant drives away,  Ferris tells Cameron "see what a finski can do to a person's attitude?"  When they pick up the car, Ferris hands the attendant the cash as payment.  It is difficult to tell if he pays exactly $9, which would be 5 bills (a $5 and four $1s) but since he doesn't mention a tip, we will assume they paid the amount due and nothing more.

Sears (Willis) Tower Observation Deck

From the parking garage to the Willis Tower is just 4 city blocks of walking.  In 1985, the Sears Tower was the worlds tallest building at 1,353'.  For those who have been to the former Sears Tower, you know that the line (inside and out) results in at least an hour wait before getting on the elevator.  Since the weather was beautiful on Ferris' day off and we never see them waiting, we have to assume that they purchased expedited entry admission tickets which feature VIP access with express entry to Skydeck elevators at a price of $75 each.

Chicago Board of Trade Tour

Ferris, Sloane and Cameron leave the Sears Tower and head 2 blocks east to the Chicago Board of Trade building.  As the tallest building in Chicago until 1965, the building was designed as a Chicago Landmark in 1977 and is located at 141 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago.  In 2004 the historic 1930 trading floor of the Chicago Board of Trade was demolished after trading closed two years earlier.  The building is still in use but tours of the trading floor are no longer possible.  But for comparison purposes, individual tickets for a private tour of the New York Stock Exchange are $350 according to this source.

Lunch at Chez Quis

Pretending to be Abe Froman, the sausage king of Chicago, Ferris is able to hustle the maĆ®tre d' and get a table at this upscale restaurant.  Chez Quis is a fictitious restaurant in Chicago and filming was actually held at L'Orangerie in West Hollywood, which is now closed.  When Ferris first introduces himself, he shakes hands with the maitre d' and slyly hands him several wadded up bills.  There apparently is some miscommunication because Ferris has to ask if there is a problem/  It is difficult to determine the denomination of the bills, but on freeze frame they look like three $1 bills.  However, when Ferris pretends to the call the cops, the bills are mysteriously gone!  Let's assume that Ferris recovers the bills before the maitre d' goes to find another phone.  The restaurant is definitely expensive based on the clientele, so for comparison purposes, Prime & Provisions in the loop was used for pricing. We find out later when they are sitting in a cab stuck in traffic that they ate pancreas, which is not cheap.  Assuming only two courses for a lunch menu, the total bill with tip would have been $248.84.  Before leaving, Ferris uses the restroom.  After a brief monologue comparing Cameron's house to a museum, he tips the bathroom attendant likely with a five dollar bill.

Cab ride to Wrigley Field

After finishing lunch, Ferris, Cameron and Sloane exit the front door of the restaurant,  While standing on the steps, they realize that of the 4,000 restaurants in the downtown area, they have picked the one Tom Bueller goes to.  Not wanting to get pinched, they somehow are able to get into a cab just a few feet behind Ferris' dad.  Meanwhile, another cab pulls up in the exact spot and Tom gets in, proving his overall aloofness.  The cab takes them to Wrigley Field.  According to this website, the price would be between $15-$19 for the 5 mile trip plus a $3 tip.

Cubs Game at Wrigley Field

Finding tickets for a Cubs day game is possible through a number of scalpers in Wrigleyville given the 1:20 start time on a weekday.  For 4 tickets together in section 103, Ferris likely spent $85 each, cash.  There is an open seat to the left of Sloane, where she has placed her jacket.  It is unlikely that you would set your jacket on the seat of someone else who has merely gotten up to use the restroom, so we assume that they bought an extra ticket to make more room for Sloane while she apparently does homework,  Cameron is holding a flat of nachos and Ferris is caught licking his fingers, proving he was also partaking in the yellow cheese.  Nachos at the stadium run about $9. We never see them drinking any sodas, so we will not factor that into what they paid for a few innings of baseball.  Lastly, Ferris catches a foul ball that will prove valuable later in his cover up but in the process, thinks that he has broken his thumb.  We are never told if he sought out medical attention for the thumb, but if it was broken, that his parents insurance would cover the costs, minus the deductible.

Parking ticket(s) and towing costs 

Principal Edward Rooney is bound and determined to bust Ferris for skipping school.  He even checks out a local pizza place / video arcade looking for him and eventually drives to his house.  In the process, he parks his Plymouth Reliant next to a fire hydrant before walking up to the house.   We don't actually see the officer issuing the ticket until Jeanie arrives home later in the movie.  Standing or parking a vehicle, whether occupied or not, is prohibited within 15 feet of a fire hydrant in the State of Illinois and carries a fine of $100 if paid on time.  We later see that 4 additional ticket have been written, which feels a bit obsessive for less than an hours time.  Finally, the car is towed by Volbeck's Wrecker Service for excessive parking tickets .  In Illinois, the tow fee is $150 for vehicles under 8,000 pounds, plus storage fees, which are $20 per day (first 5 days) and $35 per day (beginning on the 6th day).  To get a car out of impound, a bond fee needs to be paid at the Department of Revenue.

Cab ride to the Art Institute of Chicago

We never see the mode of transportation that the group takes from Wrigley Field to the Art Institute, but since they took a cab ride to get to the game, it is reasonable to assume they take a cab back into the city.   According to this website, the price in 2020 dollars for this ride would be between $19-$23 plus $3 tip.

Art Institute of Chicago Admission

Cameron, Ferris and Sloane head back into the city to spend time contemplating sculptures and fine art at the Art Institute of Chicago.  Fortunately, the Institute has a policy where teens age 14-17 who are residents of Chicago attend for free!  We assume that since Sloane is a junior, that she is not yet 18 years old.  However, Ferris and Cameron are attending college in the fall and since it is late spring, it is assumed that they are likely already 18 years old and had to pay the adult fare.  The Institute offers special pricing for students and for residents of Chicago.  Cameron lives at 370 Beech Street in Highland Park, Illinois which is outside of the Chicago city limits so he would only qualify for the student rate.  We don't know Ferris' address but when he runs through the house in the closing scenes, the house is located at 2105 Butternut Lane, Northbrook courtesy of this site. And the group does attend Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, Illinois.  So if we assume Ferris too lives north of the city to be considered a Chicago resident, he would only qualify for the student rate of Illinois residents which is $16 each.

Cab ride to Parade

When the misfits leave the Art Institute, they take a cab to their next destination which is a parade.  When Ferris is singing twist and shout, it is in front of 33 North Dearborn and later we see Sloane and Cameron walking near the Federal Center located at 230 S. Dearborn Street.  So this is all very confusing as to why they would take a cab from the Art Institute, which is in Grant Park, to a parade just a few short blocks away.  Then they nearly get busted again when the cab they are in, is stuck in traffic next to a cab with Tom Bueller! Fortunately Cameron and Ferris hit the deck and Sloane puts on her sunglasses as a disguise.  One would think that Tom would recognize his son's girlfriend, even in glasses, but possibly he is too distracted by his Chicago Sun Times newsaper.  She makes a few obscene gestures toward him, which cause additional confusion.  Regardless, the cab ride for a couple of blocks could not have been more than a few dollars but still adds to the total for the day.  There is an article below the fold on the front page of the paper about the community rallying around a sick youth.  We are lead to believe that this is in regard to Ferris but that is not confirmed.  Still, this is not a paid ad, so we assume no cost for the article.

Flower Delivery

Comedian Louis Anderson actually makes two deliveries to the Bueller household.  Not only is he part of the singing telegram later on, but he also delivers flowers for a sick Ferris. On the Chicago Flower website, they offer a Teleflora's Exotic Grace floral arrangement for get well occasions.  It comes in three sizes, but the deluxe runs $85.95.  Since no one knew that Ferris would be sick until he took the day off, we have to assume that there was a $44.95 same day delivery charge also.  The card notes "All the best for a speedy recovery" and is signed by the English Department and Staff.

Singing Telegram

While Jeanne is home, a knock at the door reveals a singing telegram has been sent to cheer up a sick Ferris.  The nurse sings I heard that you were feeling ill / Headache, fever, and a chill / I came to help restore your pluck / 'Cause I'm the nurse who likes to..." and is cut off by a disgusted Jeanie slamming the door.  We never know who paid for the telegram, but these are not free.  According to this website, a signing telegram from the top rated company in Chicago will run about an estimated $150.

Glencoe Beach Admission

After the gang retrieves the car, Ferris asks Cameron how many miles there were (126.35) when they left, to Cameron says "126 and halfway between three and four tenths."  Then they flash to the odometer which now reads 301.7 and Ferris notes, "Here's where Cameron goes berserk."  Then they flash forward to Cameron in a catatonic state, laying on a rock ledge.  The beach in the background is Glencoe Beach, located just east of Glenbrook.  While Glencoe Beach does offer season passes, let's assume that Ferris just gains entry with single day passes. Daily admission from 10am - 7pm for a resident is $7 according to their website.  We are still not sure why they take Cameron to the beach to blog a microchip but at least they did not have to pay for parking.

Pool Snacks

Ferris and Sloane take a catatonic Cameron from Glencoe Beach to a pool where they can further relax.  While Cameron sits on a folding chair positioned on the diving board, Ferris and Sloane are in the hot tub.  Sloane tries to bring Cameron back to the living but letting him know that everyone goes to the zoo.  Behind them on the patio, we see a can of Pepsi and a bag of Oreo Sandwich Cookies.  We are lead to believe that this is Sloane's home, but since we can't verify that, let's assume they had to purchase these snack items.  When Cameron falls into the pool, Ferris is forced to save him from drowning.  Of course Cameron was faking, but this is how we find out that Ferris is Cameron's hero.

Jeanie Gets Arrested

When Principal Rooney is in the Bueller house, Jeanie calls the police.  The police tell her that they hope Ferris is feeling better and it is implied that they don't believe her report of an intruder in the house.  This eventually leads to her arrest by the  Illinois State Police for making a phony phone call.  For serious offenses, Jeanie would have to post 10% of the entire bail amount to be released.  But this is just a minor offense so we will assume that she was released on her own recognizance.  Since the police favor Ferris, we will also assume that the charges are later dropped and that she faces no fines or jail time.

Repairing Cameron's Dad's Car

The car that the group has been driving around all day is a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider, of which only 56 were ever made, despite Cameron being less specific saying "less than 100 were made."  In Cameron's pent up rage over telling his father, he decides to take a stand against his old man pushing him around.  Then he repetitively kicks the front bumper, then the hood and even kicks in the headlight glass.  As he puts his foot on the hood, the car falls off the jack and fly out the window.  The car is not totaled, but we have to assume a reasonable amount of damage, along with the costs to get the car back on level ground.  In 2016, one of these cars was sold in auction for $17,160,000.  We are left in the dark as to response from Cameron's father as daylight is expiring and Ferris needs to get home, but according to Cameron, "My father loves this car more than life."  So we have to assume that he wants to restore at any cost.  Without knowing actual damages, it is difficult to determine labor and parts cost but let's assume 10% of the vehicle value.  The replacement price for a small pane of glass can run up to $500, but this was a floor to ceiling pane, about 6' wide.  This would likely cost around $10,000 for parts and labor.

Speeding Ticket(s)

For some reason, after Katie Bueller picks up her daughter from jail, she lets her drive the LeBaron home.  When Jeanie nearly hits Ferris, she starts racing home to try to bust him one last time.  In the process, she gets pulled over.  According to Nerdwallet, a speeding conviction in Illinois could mean at least $164 in fines and fees.  But she must not have learned her lesson, because Katie actually tells Tom "She got a speeding ticket, another speeding ticket..."  Since the fines are not actually levied at the time the citation is issued, we have to assume that the Northbrook police have time to collaborate and determine that she was ticketed for speeding twice within an hour.  This might result in a fine of double the single violation.  But apparently the bigger cost impact here, is that of the Bueller's family insurance.  Nerdwallet estimates that a single ticket will increase an  extra $320 a year for a driver in Illinois caught driving 16 mph over the speed limit.  Let's also assume that the insurance increase also doubles for a 2nd speeding ticket.  And though it is not mentioned, we actually see her failing to stop at a stop sign which can include up to a $120 fine in Illinois.  But since this is immediately after Jeanie sees Ferris, the police did not see this traffic offense. However, when we do see the police car, Jeanie is racing through an intersection and does not stop at the stop sign when turning right.  Then minutes later when Tom Buller is stopped at a stop sign and goes to the glove box for a mint, Jeanie races past and fails to stop at the stop sign.  We therefore assume that she is also charged with failure to stop twice for stop signs.  In reality these may all be rolled into a single reckless driving ticket, costing her 6 points on her driving record.

Losing the Damn Vermont Deal

Ferris has loving and hard working parents.  Tom Bueller is a white-collared businessman who can afford to take clients to expensive lunch meetings at Chez Quis and Katie Bueller is a realtor.  After picking up Jeanie from the police station and arriving home, she informs Tom that she was "about to close the deal
with the Vermont people."  Apparently she was going to take her commission and buy Ferris a car.  We don't know if she was eventually was able to close the deal, but for our purposes we have to assume it was lost and it was (indirectly) Ferris' fault.  Tom drives a red 1985 Audi 5000 S Turbo C3 and Katie drives a  1985 Chrysler LeBaron towncar, both of which are current model year.  Since they bought Jeanie a  new 1985 Pontiac Fiero SE with a sticker price of $10,315, we have to assume that they would also buy Ferris a new car.   We have to assume that since they bought Jeanie a car first and Ferris only got a computer, that they would spend a little less on Ferris' car.  The best selling car of 1985 was the Chevrolet Cavaliers, which sold 383,752 that year.  The Type 10 Hatchback sold for $6,839.  For Katie to make this money, she would have sold a house for $227,968 and earn a standard 3% commission.

So what does this day cost Ferris?  I have painstakingly conducted the research on this iconic 80's film to produce this piece which outlines the impact that Ferris has on the world by taking the day off.  Documented sources are included where known.  Costs are listed in 1985 dollars where they are specifically known, otherwise current day prices are used.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index, the U.S. dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 2.53% per year from 1985 to present day.  In other words, $1 in 1985 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $2.40 today.  In addition, we have added 5% sales tax, which was adopted by the state of Illinois in 1984.  So where only current day prices are known, we have moved that into 1985 dollars and then added sales tax.

1985 Cost
2020 Cost
Sales Tax
Total Cost
Running Cost
31 Flavors
A Lost Bet
Collection to Save Ferris
Parking Garage in the Loop
Sears Tower Observation Deck
Chicago Board of Trade Tour
Lunch at Chez Quis
Cab ride to Wrigley Field
Cubs Game at Wrigley Field
Parking ticket(s) and towing costs
Cab ride to the Art Institute of Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago Admission
Cab ride to Parade
Flower Delivery
Singing Telegram
Glencoe Beach Admission
Pool Snacks
Jeanie Gets Arrested
Repairing Cameron's Dad's Car
Speeding Ticket(s)
Losing the Damn Vermont Deal

So there it is!  $763,823.81 was the total cost in 1985 (dollars) of Ferris; day off.  And now you know.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Ranking the Star Wars Saga Movies

Star Wars is one of the few (pop culture) things that has spanned my entire lifetime.  Having been born in 1975, I did not see the first two movies in the theater, but do remember vividly watching A New Hope on HBO as a young child. Of course back then we just called it Star Wars.  Specifically, my mom and I would turn down the volume and speak all the parts, which drove my Dad crazy.

So to celebrate May the 4th (be with you) I decided to take a trip down memory lane.

The first movie I saw in the theater was Return of the Jedi.  I remember that I had a soccer game at Payant field in East Kingsford at 5:15pm and then we went to the Braumart Theater afterward.  Showing my age, I think the Braumart closed for films when they built the new complex on US-2 in Quinnesec in the early 90's and there may be a building where that soccer field once was.  Starting with the prequels, I have seen every movie since, on opening night.  Even when I had knee surgery last year, I was at the theater with Rachel the next day on crutches, for the opening of The Rise of Skywalker.  I smiled when I saw Han and Chewie make a comeback in The Force Awakens, and cried when an Ewok died.  I suffered through Jar Jar Binks, knowing that there was better to come and cheered every time Luke turns off his targeting computer.

I had Star Wars action figures as a child.  They were my favorite toy before G.I. Joe launched.  I had the Tauntaun with the open belly that you could stuff Luke into, the Degobah playset and a battle damaged X-Wing.  My next door neighbor Jamie had the AT-AT and the Millennium Falcon which were the jewels of the collection and that fueled some jealousy.  As an adult I have started to recollect some of the figures I had as a kid, focusing at first on things from Empire Strikes Back.  There is an AT-AT and snowspeeder on my desk right now.

I had the original baby blue Star Wars bed sheets as a kid (pictured above), that ultimately met their demise in college when I wore them to a toga party.  We even had a dog growing up that was named Chewbacca Wookie (Chewie for short).

So needless to say, I have been living and breathing Star Wars all of my life.  So having gone back and watched all the moves as an adult, I have them ranked in order of my favorite.  Going in, I really thought that Return of the Jedi would have come out higher, but I think the fondness of my memories around seeing it had clouded my Jedi vision and looking back, it is ranked properly.
  1. A New Hope
  2. Empire Strikes Back
  3. The Force Awakens
  4. Return of the Jedi
  5. The Rise of Skywalker
  6. Revenge of the Sith
  7. Rogue One
  8. Attack of the Clones
  9. The Last Jedi
  10. The Phantom Menace
  11. Solo: A Star Wars Story
What are your favorite of the saga and how do you rank them?

Friday, April 10, 2020

My Mark Grace Rookie Card Collection

I started playing baseball when I was 9 years old with a single year of tee-ball before moving into 3 years of little league.  The ball field was less than a mile from our house in Kingsford, MI and I would ride my bike there just about every day.  LoDal Field would be my summer home not only for the three years I played for First National Bank (FNB) but then graduating up to Babe Ruth in 1989.

Other than being right handed, I was built to play first base.  I was tall and had a long reach, could hit for average and power, but had no speed.  I almost always batted cleanup in the lineup and my later years I was hitting well over 400.  So naturally as a Cubs fan, Mark Grace quickly took over the role of my favorite player, while Ryne Sandberg remained close behind.  I could watch Grace and his sweet swing all day long!

At age 13 in 1988. I was in the prime of my baseball card collecting ages which started in 1986 and extended to 1991.  I loved the 1988 Donruss rated rookies and I was buying wax packs almost every day on the way home from school at Billy's corner store.  So now as an adult getting back into card collecting, I am glad to announce that I plan to build a PSA 10 set of these Mark Grace cards.  This will likely take me the rest of the year, but it will be a fun adventure!

Major League Card Checklist
✓1988 Topps Traded #42T
1988 Topps Traded Tiffany #42T

✓1988 Fleer #641
✓1988 Fleer Glossy #641
✓1988 Fleer Update #U77
✓1988 Fleer Update Glossy #U77
1988 Fleer Mini #68

✓1988 Score Traded #80T
1988 Score Traded Glossy #80T

1988 Donruss #40
✓1988 Donruss Baseball Best #4
1988 Donruss The Rookies #1
1988 Leaf #40

✓1988 David Berg Chicago Cubs NNO

Minor League Card Checklist
1986 ProCards Peoria Chiefs #8 
1987 ProCards Pittsfield Cubs #332
✓1988 CMC (TCMA) Iowa Cubs #14 
1988 Procards Iowa #539
1988 Peoria Chiefs Team Issue #11

My Collecton

1988 Donruss #40 - PSA pop 253

1988 Donruss Baseball Best #4 - PSA pop 63

1988 Score Traded #80T - PSA pop 376

1988 Fleer  #641 - PSA pop 146

1988 Fleer Glossy #641 - PSA pop 95

1988 Fleer Update Glossy #U77 - PSA pop 148

1988 Fleer Update #U77 - PSA pop 109

1988 Topps Traded - PSA pop 239

1988 CMC (TCMA) Iowa Cubs - PSA pop 15

1988 Procards Iowa #539 - PSA pop 16

1988 David Berg Chicago Cubs NNO PSA pop 10