Jul 31, 2009

Freakier Friday

Cinemark - Moosic, PA
I don't know if this technically qualifies as a horror flick, but it's definitely a freaky movie.  I figured out the twist about ten or fifteen minutes before the reveal, but it was still satisfying all the same.

Jul 30, 2009

Love Will Always Find You

The Wedding Singer: The Musical Comedy
Dutch Apple Dinner Theater - Lancaster, PA
When I was second grade, my elementary school brought my class on a bus trip to the Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre to see the Man of La Mancha musical performed by the Daedalus Productions touring group.  To the best of my recollection, it's my only exposure to theater until today.

It's Angie's birthday, so we got tickets to go to the Dutch Apple Dinner Theater in Lancaster to see the musical theater adaptation of the Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore romantic comedy, The Wedding Singer.

They don't allow photography inside of the theater, so I was only able to take pictures of the outside of the building.  Just to give you an idea of this place, I "borrowed" the above photo from the Dutch Apple website.  You can see the buffer area near the upper right corner.  The food was delicious, with turkey, fish, roast beef and plenty of veggies and other side dishes.  It was the kind of foods you'd typically find at a place like the Old Country Buffet, but it tasted much better.  Honestly, I would come here to eat even if it was just a restaurant.  There were also dozens of cakes and pies to choose from for dessert.  Everything was fresh and delicious.

The Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore roles were played by Michael and Jillian Zygo, who are a married couple that has been touring with this show all year.  I know absolutely nothing about musical theater, but I think that they, and the rest of the cast, did a great job.  As much as I love the movie, I think I might actually enjoy the musical even more.  The songs were catchy and funny, and it had just enough differences from the film to keep things fresh and interesting without changing the story that made the movie so special.

Jul 20, 2009

The Hunt For The Horcruxes

Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince (2009)
Regal Cinema - Laurel Mall - Hazleton, PA
No spoilers here for anyone who didn't read the book, but if you've been a fan up to this point, you're really going to want to see this.  This is, in many ways, the equivalent of The Empire Strikes Back in the Harry Potter universe.

Jul 13, 2009

Co-Starring Ron Paul

BrĂ¼no (2009)
Cinemark - Moosic, PA
Well, that was a movie.  I guess this one will fall under the category of "I laughed, I had a good time, I don't think I'm going to watch it again after today".

Jul 10, 2009

Crystal Pepsi Soda Machine

Crystal Pepsi soda machine
Greenville, OH
I'm remember seeing a few of these back in the day, but I haven't seen one in a long time.  This machine is still in operation dispensing modern beverages.  Shared by The Upstairs Room on Flickr.

Jul 9, 2009

Flyin' Hawaiian All-Star

Today is the last day to vote for Shane Victorino to make the National League All-Star Team.

Jul 8, 2009

Numerology Memories

A mathematical rarity will be taking place today.  For just a second in the afternoon, it will be 12:34:56 on 7/8/9.

I'll never forget how excited my grandfather was when something like this happened just after my tenth birthday.  He very happily told me "At 12:34 and 56 seconds today, the date will be 7/8/90".

Jul 7, 2009

Peanut Chews Goes Hollywood

Peanut Chews
Just Born (2009)
The reigning NLCS and World Series MVP can now be found on special packages of Peanut Chews.  If I ever bump into Cole Hamels at the ballpark with one of these in my pocket, I'll have to ask him if he wouldn't mind autographing one.

Jul 6, 2009

The Blue Comet Diner

Blue Comet Diner
Route 309 - Hazleton, PA
We stopped at Blue Comet for something to eat when we got back to Hazleton after the ballgame and fireworks on the 4th.  This is a place I used to go all the time in the 80's and 90's.  Grandma, Grandpa, Nana and I used to stop here after Grandma and Nana got out of church on Saturday when I was little.

Back in the 80's, you could get pretty much any dinner off of the menu for $5 or less including scallops, which was one of my favorites.  My grandfather usually ordered liver and onions.  One of the random memories always think of when I come here is my Nana rooting through her purse to find her bottle of saccharin tablets to use in her coffee.  She didn't like Sweet N' Low or Equal, which is what every restaurant had back then, so she carried her own supply with her.  They also had a great selection of cakes and pies for dessert.  To this day, I haven't found a coconut cream pie that's as good as the one I used to have here when I was a kid.

Before they remodeled, when you went in the front door, you were in a small lobby area that had a pay phone, a coat rack (I think), a Ms. Pac Man machine, and three video poker machines.  My grandfather always gave me a quarter or two to play Ms. Pac Man after dinner while he and my grandmother played the poker machines.  They were labeled "for entertainment only", but like pretty much every other video poker machine in town, they "paid off", so if my grandparents got to a certain score, they'd go get the cashier who would come out to verify, then give them money right out of the register.  That was Hazleton in the last days of Mob City.  I never thought it was unusual until I got older and left the area and realized that most places don't have mini casinos in their local restaurants.

These days, the Blue Comet is barely recognizable from the 80's.  It's gone through many different owners; one of whom had an addition built onto the building.  The outside and inside have been remodeled several times, so at this point, the only part of the restaurant that even looks vaguely similar is the neon sign out front.

The most recent change is that every booth now has a MegaTouch machine.  It's fun, and I understand that time marches on, but I really miss the way this place used to feel back in the days when they still had ash trays on every table.

Jul 5, 2009

Moyer Ties Hubbell

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Pitching: Fernando Nieve vs. Jamie Moyer
Results: Phillies defeated Mets, 4-1

I've been to a few minor league games before on the 4th of July, but this was my first time I've been able to get to a MLB game for Independence Day.  Unfortunately, yesterday's game had a 4:05 start time, so they didn't have fireworks at the ballpark, but we lucked out and got to see some on the drive home.

Yesterday was the 70th anniversary Lou Gehrig's speech at Yankee Stadium that he gave just a few weeks after his final game and the ALS diagnosis that he received on his 36th birthday.  In honor of Gehrig and everything that he meant to the game, Phillies backup catcher Chris Coste read his speech before the game.

They also had a very touching salute to veterans before the National Anthem.

Photos by Ronald Cortes

The Phillies loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the first after Shane Victorino singled, Chase Utley walked and Ryan Howard singled off of Fernando Nieve.  However, they were only able to score a single run on a Jayson Werth sacrifice fly.  Greg Dobbs struck out to end the inning.

They struck again in the bottom of the fourth.  Pedro Feliz singled and Paul Bako drew a walk.  Jamie Moyer laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners, and Jimmy Rollins doubled to right field to score two runs and put the Phillies up 3-0.  The Phillies tacked on their fourth and final run in the bottom of the 6th.  Nieve was pulled from the game with two outs after giving up a walk to Bako and Rollins.  He was replaced by Pat Misch, who gave up an RBI single to Victorino before striking out Utley to end the inning.

On the other side, Jamie Moyer was masterful.  At 46 years old, the lefty lasted 6 ⅓ innings, giving up only one run on five hits and a walk.  The only damage the Mets did off of him was in the top of the fifth.  After retiring Fernando Tatis and Ryan ChurchMoyer gave up back to back singles to Nick Evans and Omir Santos.  His opposition on the mound, Fernando Nieve, hit a third single in a row to score Evans from second.  It was the only run the Mets would score in the game.

The Phillies bullpen had even more success against the Mets.  Chad Durbin came on in relief of Moyer in the the 7th, followed by JC RomeroRyan Madson and Brad Lidge.  The Mets only got one hit off of Phillies relief pitching when Romero gave up a single in the top of the 8th to shortstop Alex Cora.  Cora had a good night going 3-4, but the rest of the Mets lineup was largely kept silent for the rest of the night.  David WrightGary SheffieldLuis CastilloRyan Church and Fernando Tatis each went 0-4.

Brad Lidge is having a rough year, especially in light of his perfect 2008, but he looked like his old self in the 9th last night with a 1-2-3 inning and two strikeouts for his 15th save of the season.  Jamie Moyer was the winning pitcher to improve his record to 7-6.  It was his 253rd career win, which ties him with Hall of Famer Carl Hubbell for 42nd on MLB's all-time wins list.

The drive from Philly back to Hazleton took us through Jim Thorpe, and with all the traffic on the Schuylkill Expressway, we didn't get off of the turnpike until after dark.  As luck would have it, they were having a fireworks show in Memorial Park in Jim Thorpe, and we got there about 15 minutes before the first firework went off.  I didn't even know this was happening when we left the house, but we couldn't have timed it better if we planned it.