Monday, October 19, 2015

Trivial Pursuits: Trade with Bubba's Bangin' Batch of Baseball Bits

I have mentioned before here that I play trivia on a website called Learned League that is known for having a bunch of very smart trivia players on it. The LL website has normal leagues complete with promotion and relegation among levels ranging from E up to A that run for a six-week period. After the six-week regular ends, the next six weeks are populated by special competitions called mini leagues that run for three-week periods.  

This fall, two of the three mini leagues were totally in my wheelhouse of trivia.  The first was college football.  I did not do as well as I would have liked, finishing fourth in my group despite having the second-most correct answers in the group. Still, it was great fun and totally enjoyable.  If you'd like to try your hand at the questions, go here and click through the questions on the right hand side.

The second one has been just as enjoyable -- perhaps more so for me. It is '80s Music. As anyone who has read my blog knows, I love music and often use music for topics to write about with the cards I get. Add in the fact that I graduated high school in 1990 and pretty much listened more to music than any other activity available to me during the 1980s, and you would guess that I am doing pretty well on the questions.

So, I thought I'd combine the trivia from the Mini League with the cards that I received recently from Bubba's Bangin' Batch of Baseball Bits, the excellent Allen & Ginter-focused blog owned and operated by Matt Stupienski. If you have any questions about any of the Ginter insert sets, Matt is the man to ask.  He's also the man when it comes to sending me some great cards...setting a high bar for me for my return package.  What did he send?

I'm glad you asked.  But first, answer this question, from match day 1:
What song, which sat atop both Swedish and German charts on this day in 1987, had a video directed by Simon West (Con Air), which featured (as a bartender!) Clive Clarke, famed member of Top of the Pops' dance troupe, Zoo? Click here.
I promise, that is the only time I won't put up the video here.

Everyone back?  Good.

That was a cruel way to start out our trivia game.  It was not cruel of Matt, however, to send me a couple of great cards from this year's 10th anniversary Allen & Ginter online special set:

Topps sold this set online only -- a move which I didn't even notice until the boxes had sold out. The black A&G cards look very sharp to me -- I love the black borders and the black background makes the art look a ton better than the white background, which seems to bleach out the color.  So, putting the cards online and selling them there only like these A&G X cards are like the bastard child of Topps minis and Turkey Red was just annoying.  

Sort of like getting Rickrolled on your first trivia question with "Never Gonna Give You Up".

Question 2

In November 1987, a cover of a Tommy James and the Shondells song was replaced at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 by a cover of a different Tommy James and the Shondells song.Name both cover artists, whose versions were later lampooned on Weird Al Yankovic's Even Worse (as "I Think I'm a Clone Now" and "Alimony", respectively). Two answers required.

Here's the Weird Al video for "I think I'm a Clone Now".

It's a fitting song for these mini parallels:

From here on in my collecting life, I'm going to start humming that song whenever I start hitting this mini parallels. We have 2011 well represented, along with one each from 2010 and 2012.  All of these were needed for the various player collections.

Your answers from above? The artists were Tiffany for her cover of "I Think We're Alone Now" and Billy Idol for his cover of Mony Mony:

Next Question:

What R.E.M. song, which featured a wah-wah-pedal guitar solo and two modulations, did singer Michael Stipe refer to as a "fruitloop song" while guitarist Peter Buck called it "the stupidest song we've ever written"? (It quickly became the band's biggest hit of the 1980s.)

Accompanying the question was this photo:

Being someone who spent three-plus years of my life in Athens and loving every minute of being in that city even today, I had to get this one right.

Criticizing parallels as overdone is a common thread for me, to be fair. In large part, it's because Topps overdoes the parallels.  But many times, those cards end up looking pretty good.  This is especially true of some of the Gold parallels:

Perhaps it is because I bought a case of the 2013 Topps Series 2 and broke it last year, but that Segura card looks about 800 times better than its white bordered base card equivalent. On the other hand, the Braun Bowman does not look at all better than its black bordered base card equivalent.  

So, which song did Michael Stipe call the "Fruitloop song"?

There are several live concert versions of this song available on YouTube, which raises the question: if they hate the song so damn much, why do they still play it live?

Now face North!

Two more questions.  Here's the second to last one:

Pictured here are stills from the videos for all four singles from what 1989 album?

What could possible go with this nostalgia fest? How about a couple of inserts from the 2008 Topps insert set called Trading Card History?

Yes, that's it.

I couldn't imagine either Ryan Braun or Prince Fielder listening to the album that is the subject of this question. Braun's more of a hip-hop guy -- his Miami roots showing, I'd guess...his at-bat music last year was one of two song: "Dreams and Nightmares" by Meek Mill and "A Dream" by Jay Z.  

Fielder has broader tastes -- using "Moments in Love" by Art of Noise, "Man of the Year" by Schoolboy Q, "Down for My Niggaz" by C-Murder featuring Snoop Dogg and Magic, and "Requiem: Lacrimosa" by notorious gangster rapper Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

But neither of them are repping "Deadbeat Club," or "Channel Z" or "Roam" or "Love Shack" from the B-52s big hit in 1989, Cosmic Thing.  I love "Deadbeat Club" because it name checks a few great Athens places like the since-departed Allen's and its 25-cent beers. "Love Shack" brings up the Atlanta Highway too.  Basically, it's one big paean to Athens. 

Final question

Five-word phrases regarding Milli Vanilli:
  • "Girl You Know It's True"
  • [What telephonically themed Billboard chart-topper?]
  • "Blame It on the Rain"
  • Best New Artist Grammy rescission
  • Fraud-related lawsuits by the dozens

Let's be clear. I don't equate this fantastic card with the frauds that were Milli Vanilli. But this card goes with a great story about Milli Vanilli:

This 2015 Allen & Ginter card has the 10th Anniversary Issue foil on it. It didn't make a big first impression on me until I turned the card over...and lo and behold, there it was -- the card is serial numbered as #4 of 10 total.  That is awesome.

Okay, now Milli Vanilli.  I told my story in the past about buying the "you sing the hits of Milli Vanilli."  I really remember "Blame it on the Rain" because we sang it with thick hick accents. I also remember "Girl You Know It's True" because we sang the bass lines repetitively during the song.  But, we also sang the song that the question sought:

Matt, thank you very much for the great cards. I just hope I haven't besmirched your good name by including a Milli Vanilli reference here!


  1. Looks like you got your chops back. Those black A&G's are amazing

  2. My weakness in trivia was always science questions. Every so often I play team trivia, but the good thing is my team has a scientist on it!

  3. Fun post. I got almost all of those right.. and I'm pretty sure I've got all those songs in my iTunes! And yeah, I like "Stand" and the Weird Al version, "Spam."

  4. Seeing as I've probably listened to Milli Vanilli a grand total of once in my life, I'm pretty sure I can't be "besmirched" by the reference. I also happened to not even have a clue about any of these questions... oh well. Glad you appreciated the cards!

  5. Also of note, those boxes have actually not yet sold out from Topps as far as I can tell. You can find them here.

    1. That's weird. When I looked shortly after release, it said "Sold Out" or "Out of Stock". I guess I just assumed that they were not going to sell any more.