Jul 15, 2019

My New Favorite Tea

Cold Brewed Iced Tea
Twinings of London
I love unsweetened mint iced tea, and I cannot express how happy I am that this product exists.  Mint iced tea isn't easy to find, and finding it unsweetened has been damn near impossible.  Not only does this make a delicious glass of mint tea, but you don't need a kettle because these tea bags brew in cold water.

Jul 12, 2019

Porking In The Car

Pulled Pork King
Burger King - Hazleton, PA
First of all, I love that this is product includes the words "Pork King".  I'm picturing an ad campaign where a car is in the parking lot.  It's rocking and the windows are all steamed up.  The manager knocks on the window and it rolls down to reveal the King eating this sandwich, followed by the tag line "Pork King in the car... have it your way."

As for the food itself, my opinion is a bit torn.  It was a good sandwich and I'm glad I got to try it, but something is missing.  Maybe it would be better with cheese or bacon?  I don't know.  I just know that I wished I had gotten a Rodeo King instead.

Jul 11, 2019

Really Dude?

For the discerning gentleman who wants a clean ass, but is scared to death that touching it might make him gay.

Jul 10, 2019

Pop Ink

A friend of mine recently got to meet Tiffany and Debbie Gibson backstage at a concert.  The ladies signed his arm, and he had the autographs tattooed.  Timmi posted it on Twitter, and it was re-tweeted by Tiffany.

Jul 9, 2019

The 2019 All-Star Phillies

During Spring Training, there was a lot of speculation over how many Phillies would be All-Stars by mid season.  The general consensus among fans and podcasters was that Harper and Realmuto would definitely get voted in, and there was potential for Rhys Hoskins, Aaron Nola and Jean Seugra as well.  It wasn't an outlandish prediction.  The Phillies added four players over the winter who were All-Stars in 2018.  As it turned out, the Phillies won't have any starters on the 2019 All-Star Team, and we'll have our third consecutive season of only one All-Star representative who will ride the bench to start the game (Realmuto), but two of my favorite Coffee Cup Phillies from the past have experienced a career resurgence and have been voted to start for the American League this year.

The Phillies signed Carlos Santana to a three year contract prior to the 2018 season.  He was a productive bat in the lineup (and to televisions in the clubhouse), but it's fair to say that it wasn't his best season.  While I would have loved to see him stay with the Phillies, his signing caused a problem because it forced Rhys Hoskins to left field - a position he should never play again under any circumstance.  Santana was traded with J.P. Crawford to the Mariners for Jean Segura and Juan Nicasio.  Ten days later, the Mariners flipped Santana to the Indians for Edwin Encarnaci├│n, and Santana has been having a fantastic season in his return to Cleveland.  He will be the starting first baseman for the 2019 AL All-Star Team today.

Hunter Pence was acquired by the Phillies in 2011 after a mid-season trade with the Astros.  He wasted no time endearing himself to the city after scoring the winning run in extra innings shortly.  In the post-game interview that night, he was asked what was going through his mind as he rounded third base, and he responded with "Great game.  Let's go eat."  The phrase became to the 2011 NL East Champion Phillies what Brad Miller's Bamboo briefly became to the team this year.  Sadly, the good times didn't last into 2012.  The team fell into a tailspin and began trading away all of the star players for prospects.  Pence was traded to the Giants for Tommy Joseph, Nate Schierholtz and Seth Rosin.  None of the players that we received in that deal did much for the Phillies, while Pence helped lead the Giants to win the 2012 World Series.  Prior to the 2019 season, most of the baseball world had assumed that this was the end of Pence's career.  He was a 36 year old free agent coming off of several seasons of sharply declining production, and there weren't very many rumors of teams that were interested in signing him.  In fact, he didn't sign with the Texas Rangers until the first week in February, and it was a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training.  However, Pence has been on fire and has already hit more home runs in half of 2019 than he had in each of the previous four seasons.  From a minor league contract that didn't guarantee a roster spot, Pence was voted to be the AL All-Star Team's starting designated hitter.  Unfortunately a strained groin will keep him from playing, but it's an impressive comeback story nonetheless.

Congratulations to Carlos Santana and Hunter Pence.

Jul 8, 2019

Orange You Glad They're Not Banana

Orange Cream Pop Snack Balls
Herr's (2019)
The Hometown Farmers Market is the place to find all of the bizarre snack foods that no stores carry.  These are basically cheese balls that are Creamsicle flavored instead of being covered in cheese powder.  They're surprisingly very good with a flavor very similar to sugary breakfast cereal, but with a more light and airy texture.

Jul 7, 2019

Swahili Conservation Message

Lehigh Valley Zoo
Schnecksville, PA
It's been a nice, sunny weekend - perfect to spend a little time with some animals.

Jul 6, 2019

Happy National Fried Chicken Day

Today is National Fried Chicken Day.

I want to see Hallmark come out with a greeting card for this.  I want to see communities get together on the local high school football field and do the chicken dance.  I want to see eight herbs and spices strapped to the leftover fireworks from Thursday and shot into the sky, sprinkling the crowd with Kentucky fried deliciousness.  I want to see a birth announcement today for a child named Colonel Popeye.

Make it happen.

Jul 5, 2019

Jul 4, 2019

A Return To Hawkins

Stranger Things
Season 3 (2019)
After months of anticipation complete with New Coke, Upside Down Whoppers and David Harbour throwing out the first pitch at Citizens Bank Park, the third season of Stranger Things is on Netflix today.

Jul 3, 2019

Two Milestones, One Swing

Tonight in Atlanta, with one swing of the bat, Bryce Harper recorded career hit #1,000 on his 200th career home run.  He's the first person to ever reach both milestones at the same time.  As of tonight, 20% of Harper's career hits have been home runs.

Jul 2, 2019

Cody Rhodes Makes Pudding With Unicorns

All I can picture is a kitchen where Ultimo Dragon casts spells on a Snack Pack treasure chest and Stardust sitting on the back of a unicorn while stirring a massive pot of pudding.

Jul 1, 2019

Four First Round Future Phils

Monday, July 1, 2019
New Hampshire Fisher Cats @ Reading Fightin Phils
First Energy Stadium - Reading, PA

Pitching: Jon Harris vs. Mauricio Llovera
Results: Fisher Cats defeated Fightin' Phils, 7-5
Photo Gallery

For a brief time last week, the Double A team had four first round draft picks on the team at the same time:
Since then, Haseley's rehab assignment has taken him to Triple A.  Also, Moniak was removed from the 6th inning of the game last night after tweaking his hamstring, so he sat out of tonight's game to heal up.  However, Alec Bohm and Cornelius Randolph both played and had a great game.  Randolph went 2-4 and Bohm went 2-5 with a stand-up triple to right center.  First baseman Darick Hall also had a great game, going 2-3 with a home run and two walks.  It looked like the Phils were cruising to a victory, but the Fisher Cats tied the score at 5-5 in the 7th and pulled ahead in the 9th when Josh Palacios hit a triple to score Nash Knight.  He then scored on a Christian Williams double.

It was a bummer that the Fightin's lost, but the game was a lot of fun.  Bohm is the real deal.  The talk is that he may be the starting 3B in Philadelphia next season.  The highlight of the night for me happened in the 8th inning when they put me on the big screen for one of the trivia games.  The way it worked is that I represented the guys in attendance, and the trivia question was "what percentage of the Fightin' Phils players have shaved their legs at some point in their life".  I had to give a number, and then the woman who was selected to represent all of the gals in attendance had to guess if the correct answer was higher or lower.  I guessed 25%, and the female contestant guessed that the correct answer would be lower.  Mickey Moniak then came on the big screen to say that the right answer was 33%, so I won four tickets to a game later this month, which was a pretty awesome and unexpected birthday present.  The dude who asked me the trivia question mentioned that it was my birthday, so as we were leaving the stadium, a bunch of people who recognized me from the big screen wished me a happy birthday.  I'm not always super comfortable with attention, but honestly, it made my night.

Jun 30, 2019

AEW Is The Real Deal

AEW Fyter Fest
Ocean Center - Daytona Beach, FL
If you are a fan of professional wrestling and you didn't watch All Elite WrestlingFyter Fest, please do yourself a favor and go stream it now.  This show was held in conjunction with the CEO Gaming and it was streamed live for free on B/R Live in the United States and Canada, and on the Fite Network elsewhere around the world.

I don't want to spoil any of the matches or label anything with star ratings, but I will say this: I have never heard of 22 year old Darby Allin prior to this show, but he is an absolutely incredible pro wrestler.  I cannot overstate how excellent his match with Cody Rhodes was, and how much command over his character and his performance that Allin has.  I highly recommend watching the entire show, including the "Buy In" pre-show, but if you only have time for one, Cody vs. Allin is the one to watch.

Jun 29, 2019

The Heyman/Bischoff Era

On Thursday, Sports Illustrated reported that Paul Heyman has been named the Executive Director of Monday Night Raw while Eric Bischoff will take on the same role on Smackdown.  According to the article, the roles are legitimate and not part of a scripted storyline, like the "general manager" role that WWE rolls out from time to time, but the advertisements sent to potential ticket buyers for next week's Raw and Smackdown seem to indicate that the roles will be acknowledged on the show.

Paul Heyman has a reputation of being one of the most creative and effective bookers in the history of the industry, taking ECW from an unknown brand operating out of bingo halls to a worldwide brand.  Meanwhile, Eric Bischoff took WCW from a runner-up brand in a dying industry in the early 90's to the premier brand of professional wrestling, and is largely responsible for the renaissance of the industry in the mid to late 90's.

While both promoters have strengths and weaknesses, both have created pro wrestling characters and storylines that are far superior to the disastrous writing that has plagued WWE television for nearly 20 years.  The success of this move depends entirely on one person - Vince McMahon.  If he can stay out of the way and let Paul and Eric work with their creative teams, this has the potential to greatly improve WWE programming.  If he continues to meddle in the creative process, this will be just the latest in an ever growing list of professional wrestling that could have been great if not for the influence of a man who is several decades out of touch with the audience.

Jun 28, 2019

They're Very Refreshing

They're giving away a free download of the Junior Mints episode of Seinfeld from 1993 when you buy a box of the candy.  It's the perfect snack for having your spleen removed.

Jun 27, 2019

The Mets Are Bamboo-zled

Since Brad Miller brought that bamboo plant into the clubhouse, the Phillies have broken a 7 game losing streak by sweeping the Mets in a four game series.  They capped off the sweep by hitting two home runs off of Mets closer Edwin Diaz in the bottom of the 9th.  In each game of the series, the Phillies came from behind to beat the Mets, including two walk off victories (their first two of the season).  This is the first time the Phillies swept the Mets in a four game series since 2007.

The latest walk off home run by Jean Segura earlier today inspired Mets radio personality Mike Francesa to launch into a tirade and suggest that the team head south down the turnpike and allow the '69 Mets to suit up and take on the Braves in their upcoming series.

Meanwhile in Philadelphia, bamboo has become the hottest selling item in Chinatown.  Also, Brad Miller's Bamboo has its own profile on Twitter, and the souvenir shops at Citizens Bank Park have gotten on board with their own collection of lucky plants for sale.

The Phillies are flying down to Miami this evening for a three game series with the Marlins that starts tomorrow.  John Clark of NBC Sports bumped in to Phillies reliever J.D. Hammer, who is making sure that Brad Miller's lucky bamboo makes the trip with the team.

Jun 26, 2019

Whoops There Goes Another Bamboo Plant

Tuesday, June 25, 2019
New York Mets @ Philadelphia Phillies
Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

Pitching: Walker Lockett vs. Jake Arrieta
Results: Phillies defeated Mets, 7-5
Photo Gallery

Someone that my dad works with gave him tickets to last night's game, so we had an unexpected Tuesday night at the ballpark.  Because of this, I spent most of the day in a Rockstar and coffee-fueled haze as I tried to get through a day of work without collapsing into a coma, but it was well worth the lack of sleep.

Prior to the game, the Phillies honored The Sounds of Philadelphia as a part of African American Heritage Celebration Night.  The highlight of the celebration was Russell Thompkins Jr (lead singer of 70's soul icons The Stylistics) singing You Make Me Feel Brand New before the start of the game.  He also sang Take Me Out To The Ballgame during the 7th inning stretch.

Actor David Harbour threw out the first pitch of the game.  He plays police chief Jim Hopper on Stranger Things, and he showed up to the ballpark without New Coke or an Upside Down Whopper.  On the plus side, it looked like he threw a strike.

It didn't look like it was going to be a good night for the Fightins for the first few innings.  Jake Arrieta didn't have his best stuff.  He gave up a base hit on the first pitch of the game, and the Mets scored in each of the first three innings, including home runs to Amed Rosario and Dominic Smith. The Phillies hit a pair of solo home runs - Scott Kingery in the 1st and Rhys Hoskins in the 4th.  By the middle of the 6th, the Mets were leading 5 - 2, but the Phillies fought back in the bottom of the 6th.  Bryce Harper drew a walk and J.T. Realmuto hit a double to put runners on 2nd and 3rd with 1 out. Jay Bruce scored Harper from third on a groundout to bring the score to 5-3. Caesar Hernandez then singled to drive home Realmuto, and Maikel Franco hot a two run homer to give the Phillies their first lead of the game. Brad Miller (inspired by his lucky bamboo) came up to bat next and hit his first home run as a member of the Phillies to take a 7-5 lead that the Phillies would hold for the rest of the game.

After giving up home runs in consecutive at bats to Franco and Miller, Mets pitcher Wilmer Font proved himself to be a real piece of garbage by throwing at Scott Kingery's head. He ended up catching Kingery in the shoulder, and instead of ejecting the pitcher, home plate umpire "Cowboy" Joe West issued a warning to both teams. Gabe Kapler came out to argue the ridiculous call and was thrown out of the game. West has been the biggest horses ass in all of baseball for many years, so this is just another line on his long resume of asinine decisions. It's safe to say that absolutely no one in the game will miss Joe West when he's gone.

The Phillies bullpen didn't make it easy, but they managed to get through the rest of the game without giving up a run.  This is the first game in Philadelphia that I've been to with my Dad that the Phillies won.  Whoops, there goes another rubber tree bamboo plant.

Jun 25, 2019

Health Food At The Ballpark

Donut Burger
Boardwalk Eats
Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA
My dinner at the game tonight consists of a thick hamburger topped with applewood smoked bacon bacon, American cheese and cherry pepper jam in a glazed donut bun.

Jun 24, 2019

Brad's Bamboo

This horribly pieced-together collection of screenshots from an NBC Sports video shows Phillies utility infielder Brad Miller holding his lucky bamboo.  Brad is confident that this plant will end the Phillies losing streak, which is currently at 7 straight games after being swept by the Nationals and the Marlins.

As I write this, the Mets just took a 6-5 lead in the top of the 5th inning.

Jun 23, 2019

Four Birds In Five Hours

A certain 22 pound schnoodle is having a field day chasing birds.  This little fellow is the fourth one that he's caught or cornered in the past five hours.  He has also managed to chase a baby bunny into a bush, and he's kept a close watch on it in the hopes that it will hop out.

My Sunday afternoon has been spent chasing after the wildlife in the yard and relocating Harvey's new feathered friends to my neighbors yard where they will be safe, and hopefully smart enough to not come back and get caught again.

Jun 22, 2019

The Moon Is Made Of Marshmallows

Oreo Marshmallow Moon cookies
Mondel─ôz (2019)
If ever there was a product marketed specifically to me, this is it.  Limited edition snack food?  Check.  Glow-in-the-dark packages?  Check.  Free stickers?  Check.  NASA and rocketships?  Check.  Delicious cookies with creme that tastes like Lucky Charms marshmallows?  Check.

Someone wake me out of my sugar coma before work on Monday.

Jun 21, 2019

Drugstores Of The Past

Rea and Derick
American Stores Company (1980)
My grandmother worked at the Rea and Derick drugstore in the Hazleton Shopping Center on Broad Street for about 30 years.  This photo probably wasn't taken at that specific store, but it looked like this when I was a kid.

Jun 20, 2019

The Warehouse In The Woods

Dave Matthews Band
Summer 2019 Tour
Bethel Woods Center For The Arts - Bethel, NY
When I was in my early teens, my favorite store to visit was Gallery Of Sound.  Not only did they have tapes and CDs at decent prices, but they also had imports that no other store had, and they would tear the cover off of the previous month's Guitar World magazines that had gone unsold and put them at the front of the store to take for free.  Next to this pile of free rock magazines were a line of cardboard boxes in front of signs, with a pencil and little scraps of paper nearby.  If you filled one out with your name and phone number and put it in the box, you were entered for a chance to win a prize.  I never won the grand prize, but I did end up with some pretty cool things, like an autographed Deep Purple CD box set.  This was also how I was introduced to the music of what would become one of my favorite bands after I won a copy of Under The Table And Dreaming along with a t-shirt and a hat.

These tickets were an early birthday present, and it was a very good show.  I didn't get to see much of the stage due to the two massively tall hippies dry humping each other directly in my field of vision, but Bethel Woods had recently installed screens on the lawn, so I still got to see the show.  The acoustics of the venue are fantastic, and Dave sounded as amazing as usual.

Jun 19, 2019

Standing Guard Outside The Hippie Mecca

ZacMax Monster
Bethel, New York
I passed this awesome statue of a metal cyclops holding a ray gun on the way to see the Dave Matthews Band.  He's on County Road 117 just a little bit before you get to the entrance of The Museum at Bethel Woods in Bethel, New York.

This was the best picture I could get of it while I was driving past, but there are better photos of it on his Instagram.  He has a ton of pictures of his rad art there, and on ZacMax.com.