Jul 31, 2007

He Gave His Life For Tourism

Tutankhamun & The Golden Age Of The Pharaohs
The Franklin Institute - Philadelphia, PA
My girlfriend is a history buff, and there's probably no place where she feels more at home than in a library or a museum, so we took a trip to Philly for her birthday to see the King Tut exhibit at The Franklin Institute.

The museum was pretty crowded, so I wasn't able to take too many photos, and most of the ones that I did manage to take came out a little blurry, but here they are along with captions for the things that I remember the names of.

Gilded Funerary Mask of Tijuya

(left) Statuette of Horus The Elder - (right) Statuette of Duamutef
(left) Ceremonial Shield
Ankh from the tomb of Tuthmosis IV 
Ankh-Shaped Mirror Case from the tomb of Tutankhamun
King Tutankhamun's Game Board
(left) Wooden Carving of Resi - (right) Shabti of Ptahmose

There were a lot more items in this exhibition, but this will give you a good idea of the kind of artifacts that are on display if you're thinking of heading down to the museum.  They'll be in Philadelphia through the end of September.

For an extra five dollars, you can see a pretty awesome IMAX movie called Mummies: Secrets Of The Pharaohs.  It's narrated by Christopher Lee and runs for about 40 minutes.  I haven't seen too many IMAX movies in my life.  In fact, the last one I got to see was probably when my Dad took me to Epcot Center when I was 11 years old (they had a ride called Horizons that this movie reminded me of a bit).  The technology completely blew my mind then, and it still does today.

We didn't get too much from the gift shop.  Angie got a couple of books, but I stuck to a postcard and a pressed penny.  They had plenty of stuff though, especially for children, so there's lots to choose from if you want to bring a souvenir home from the exhibition.

There's also a machine where you can got a printout of your name written in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.  The language doesn't really work that way where a symbol directly translates to an English letter, but it's still pretty fun and it makes a nice souvenir.  We got a combination of both of our names.

Jul 30, 2007

Friendly Neighborhood Spider Person

We found this book of 476 stickers, with "Various Size Lncluded" at a store called One Dollar Depot in Edison, New Jersey.  It wasn't the only interesting piece of Spider-Man merchandise available on their shelves.

They also had a little stationary set featuring our favorite webslinger popping out of a small church into a daisy and bubble filled sky.  It comes with markers, pencils, a notebook, and what appears to be two large moth or butterfly erasers... 'cause why the heck not?

Jul 29, 2007

Race To The Top

July 28, 2007Inman Sports Club - Edison, NJ
Since both shows in this tournament are within reasonable driving distance, we decided to make a weekend out of this.  We went to the Friday night show on Long Island, then drove back and spent the night in South Plainfield, which isn't far from the venue for the second half of the tournament in Edison, New Jersey.

Before I even get into the matches, there was an odd flyer taped to the back every chair at ringside for both of the shows from this past weekend.

There has been a lot of speculation online about what this could mean.  I'm thinking that it has something to do with an upcoming storyline, but every post on the ROH message board that has asked about these flyers have been deleted by the moderators.  Most people seem to believe that this is leading to an upcoming storyline involving either the return of Jimmy Jacobs, or Adam Pearce leading a stable similar to Raven's Nest from ECW.

The Abused Society website is pretty creepy, with images of a bleeding Statue of Liberty and a poem that reads:

Nothing Saves 
littered streets of the lost
the stench of pathetic, resigned to blood and rust
everything wasted
there is no honor  
you will soon discover 
Project 161 

The last line is a clickable link, which goes to another page a picture of a city sky with the following text:

one second to know
the city will fall
eyes wide open 
Project 161  

I am no good at all with riddles, but I can't help but to notice that the words "second city" appear in that last part, so if this does have something to do with a storyline, I'm guessing that it has something to do with Chicago.  The fact that ROH has an upcoming pay-per-view taping there on September 15th and that this will be the company's 161st show leads me to believe that whatever this is will be revealed at that time.

The first half of this tournament took place on Long Island in the hamlet of Deer Park, which is in the northeast corner of Babylon, NY (the hometown of Rodney Dangerfield).  The show was originally scheduled for the Sports Plus Entertainment Center in Lake Grove.  From what I read, it was sort of like a Dave & Busters, and it had a convention hall where ROH have held events in the past.  Unfortunately, Sports Plus has closed its doors, so they had to relocate this show to the Deer Park Community Center.  It is by far the smallest venue that I've ever seen an ROH show.  It reminded me of a high school gymnasium with no air conditioning.  I was roasting just sitting in the crowd, so I could only imagine how uncomfortable it must have felt for the wrestlers.

Night One Results:

The second half of the Race To The Top Tournament was at the familiar surroundings of the Inman Sports Club in Edison, New Jersey.  I think this is my favorite venue that Ring Of Honor uses.  It's a spacious building with plenty of parking, and because it's an ice rink, it's always kept nice and cool even in the summer.

I got to meet El Generico before the show, and he was kind enough to take a picture with me in which I'm making an absolutely ridiculous face.  Seriously, why do I look so angry?  The Simpson Movie wasn't that bad!  Also, props to the masked man who stayed completely in character the whole time.  When I asked if he would take a picture with me, he answered in a cartoon Spanish accent by saying "Foto?  Sí,!"

Night Two Results:

Jul 28, 2007

Springfield On The Big Screen: Too Little, Too Late

The Simpsons Movie
Regal Cinema - South Plainfield, NJ
We had some free time this morning during our indie wrestling road trip, so we had a chance to see The Simpsons Movie.

We have a Regal Cinema in my hometown, but it's not quite as colorful as the one in South Plainfield.  It looked like a cross between Taco Bell and a mall portrait studio from the 90's that's trying to look hip to attract the business of teenagers.  The audio during the movie wasn't too good either.  I'm glad the one back in Hazleton isn't like this.

The lobby had an incredible recreation of The Simpsons living room, complete with statues of the family sitting on their orange sofa, with room for one more at the end so that you can join them for a photo.

As far as the movie itself is concerned... it's alright.  I know this is going to come across sounding negative, but it just felt like a 90 minute long version of a Simpsons episode that you'd see on television, and not a particularly great episode either.  I'm not even sure if it would be in my top 25 list of Simpsons episodes over the years... maybe somewhere toward the back end of a top 50 list.

There's just nothing really special about The Simpsons Movie.  It pales in every way to a movie like South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut, which offered fresh, original content and was presented as a musical with quotable lines and hysterically funny songs that got stuck in your head.  The only real quotable line I can thing of from The Simpsons Movie is "Spider Pig, Spider Pig, does whatever a Spider Pig does", which was chanted by every kid in the theater who had memorized it from the trailer.  It's not really even all that funny of a line, particularly after the hundredth time.

Another way that this movie fails in comparison to the South Park movie is in its poor timing.  South Park premiered on August 13th, 1997 and they had a movie in theaters less than two years later while it was still fresh and new.  If this same Simpsons film was released around 1992 or 1993, it might have felt like something special, but if you're going to wait until 2007, you really have to come up with something that's better than this.  You're competing with almost two decades worth of Simpsons episodes, many of which are as good or better than this movie.

The Simpsons Movie isn't bad, but for even the most passionate of Simpsons fans, I can confidently say that you could go your whole life without seeing this movie and you really wouldn't have missed out on too much.  I'm sure it'll still be financially successful, but I'm equally sure that it'll be almost completely forgotten.

One part of this movie that I definitely give an enthusiastic thumbs up to is their cross-promotion with Burger KingThe Simpsons partnered with Burger King during the show's first season in 1990, so it's pretty cool to see them team up again for the release of the movie.

Jul 27, 2007

Dad in the Desert

Dad rode a camel through the Taklamakan Desert in Western China this summer.

Jul 21, 2007

Strange Laundry: Darren Daulton

Darren Daulton
Florida Marlins (1997)
Ten years ago today, the Phillies traded one of my favorite players of all time to the Florida Marlins.

The Philadelphia Inquirer  (July 22, 1997)

Dutch was drafted by the Phillies in the 25th round of the 1980 draft, and he signed with the club 23 days before I was born.  He made his MLB debut just over three years for the 1983 NL Champion Phillies.  He only appeared in two games in the big leagues that season, but he would go on to lead the Phillies to another pennant ten years later.
The Philadelphia Inquirer  (July 22, 1997)

The 1993 Phillies season was one of my happiest childhood memories.  I was living in South Florida with my dad, my stepmother and my stepsister at the time, and I attended my first two Phillies games when they came to town to face the Marlins in the inaugural season of the franchise.  The first was on May 19th, 1993 and the second was on August 6th, 1993José DeLeón started both of those games for the Phils, and he pitched to Darren Daulton.  It ended up being the only two times I ever got to see Dutch play in person.

1998 Topps - Card #218

I'm usually pretty bummed out to see a Phillies legend move on to play for another team, but this is one of the exceptions to that rule.  The Phillies were 30-70 after the first 100 games of the 1997 season.  Although they turned things around a bit toward the end, they still finished in last place in the division.  Meanwhile, the Marlins were a contender and this trade allowed Dutch to go out on a high note.

Daulton appeared 52 games for the Marlins during the second half of the regular season.  The vast majority of his time in Florida came at first base, but he played a few games in the outfield (his catching days were behind him).  He batted .262 with three home runs and was credited by his teammates as a key contributor that helped push the Marlins to finish the season with the NL Wild Card.  The team would go on to defeat the Giants in the NLDS and the Braves in the NLCS before defeating the Indians to win the first World Series Championship in the history of the Florida Marlins.

Dutch batted .389 in the 1997 World Series with a home run off of Charles Nagy in Game 3 of the series.  He won the only ring of his career and retired when the series was over.  There aren't too many players in the history of the game that have an end to their career that can top that, and there are even fewer who are as deserving of such a storybook ending.

Jul 15, 2007

The Phillies Found 10,000 Ways That Won't Work

With tonight's loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, the Philadelphia Phillies have become the first baseball team, and the first team in any American sport, to reach 10,000 losses throughout the life of the franchise.  On the positive side, the Phillies won the first two games of the series, so they remain over .500 on the season.

Jul 3, 2007

Dozens Of Unusual Luchadores Lurking Everywhere

Chikara Anniversario! DVD
Smart Mark Video (2007)
The DVD has been released for one of the Chikara shows that we went to earlier this year, and it has been done in the style of M.U.S.C.L.E. toys.

Jul 2, 2007

Greetings From China

Dad went on a trip to China with Penn State this summer.  He sent this postcard of Tiananmen Square home to my grandparents in June.  The postcard had a weird pashmina swatch embedded in the top right hand corner.

Jul 1, 2007

Happy Birthday To Me

My little buddy Sammy is spending my 27th birthday with me.