Dec 23, 2011

Have A Smurfy Christmas

Christmas Boulevard
Berwick, PA

Dec 15, 2011

Phillies Sign Dontrelle Willis

The Phillies made an interesting move today by signing Dontrelle Willis to a non-guaranteed contract for 1 year at 1 million dollars.  The plan is to use the former Marlins ace and 2003 Rookie of the Year out of the bullpen, much like they've done with Jose Contreras.

It's a savvy move.  Dontrelle won't turn 30 until next month.  He's a two time All-Star, a 22 game winner in 2005, and a World Series champion.  He's had a rough few seasons for the Tigers followed by a brief time with the Diamondbacks and Reds, but he was used as a starter.  He wouldn't be the first pitcher to reinvent himself in the bullpen.  He wouldn't even be the first Phillie on the current roster to do so if he makes the team.  I always liked Dontrelle, and I'm excited to see how this season goes.

Nov 1, 2011

He Must Like Sausages

Noel Gallagher interview
by Ryan Dombal
5-10-15-20 series
Since 2009, Pitchfork has published a series of interviews with artists talking about their favorite albums starting when they were five years old and every five years after that.  Noel Gallagher of Oasis talked about Led Zeppelin, The Sex Pistols, The Jam, The Smiths and Nirvana (among others).  It's a brilliant interview, but the best bit was when he reflected on what he was thinking at 20 years old when he listened to Meat Is Murder.

Oct 17, 2011

Giving Up The Ghost

Casper Ghosts
Pioneer League (2001 - 2011)
The Colorado Rockies Rookie Advanced minor league team has made their home in Casper, Wyoming since the start of the 2001 season.  Prior to the start of the 2008 season, the franchise took advantage of its hometown and rebranded the team as the Casper Ghosts.  The new uniforms included a cap with glow-in-the-dark stitching around the team logo.  Sadly, the Ghosts will not return as the team has been sold and will relocate to Grand Junction, Colorado for the start of the 2012 season.

Oct 3, 2011

Cliff and The Mad Dog

Sports Illustrated
October 3rd issue
The Phillies finished with the best record in baseball for the second consecutive season.  Sports Illustrated have put Cliff Lee and Ryan Madson on the cover of this month's issue to commemorate the Fightin's playoff run.

While Mad Dog pitched a scoreless 9th last night, Lee didn't have the greatest showing in Game 2 of the NLDS, but some of the blame goes to Charlie Manuel who has a habit of leaving his starter in until he gives up the lead.

Oct 1, 2011

Turbo Turns 30

Sega (1981)
Years before they dominated the arcade racing scene with Hang On, OutRun, Virtua Racing and the siren song of Daytona USA, Sega published one of my favorite racing games of all time - Turbo.

That's me in the photo above.  It was taken in the summer of 1985 at an arcade on the boardwalk in Wildwood, NJ.  Going to these arcades and playing games like Turbo are some of my happiest childhood memories.  Turbo was released thirty years ago this month.  Time to fire up Mame and play a few games in honor of a true arcade classic.

Sep 24, 2011

Bloomsburg Fair In The 80's

Bloomsburg Fair (1980s)
This aerial shot of the Bloomsburg Fair was taken by Ralph E. Menne in the 80's.  Since that time, the fairgrounds have expanded well into the parking lot.  I'm pretty sure that the entrance to the Fair today is where the bus parking ends in this photo.

Unfortunately, due to flooding from Tropical Storm Lee, photos like these are the only way to experience the Bloomsburg Fair this year.  It's only the sixth time since 1854 that the Fair has been cancelled.  The previous cancellations were due to World War I (1917-1918) and World War II (1942-1944).

Sep 18, 2011

Sep 9, 2011

Gamer Next Door

Jo Garcia 
Playboy's Gamer Next Door
Photos by Jared Ryder - Illustrations by Nigel Dennis
Last month, shared a photo of model Jo Garcia posing with a massive collection of vintage video games, and a photo shoot where she wore cutoff t-shirts of video game shirts.  She has followed these up in September with three wallpapers that reflect her love of vintage video games - specifically Space Invaders, Duck Hunt and Mario Kart 64.

Sep 4, 2011

Batman The Lion Tamer

Batman backpack
Pocono Market Fair - Hazleton, PA
Hey kids, remember when the Dark Knight took that side job at the circus?

Aug 31, 2011

Jo Garcia Nerds Out

Jo Garcia 
Playboy's Gamer Next Door
Photos by Jared Ryder - Illustrations by Nigel Dennis
Jo Garcia is at it again, sharing her love of classic video games in this adorably nerdy photo shoot.  Between these and her photo in the pile of classic gaming consoles and controllers from earlier this month, she seems like she'd be a pretty awesome gaming buddy.

Aug 24, 2011

Wrapped Up In Games

Jo Garcia
Playboy's Gamer Next Door
Photos by Jared Ryder - Illustrations by Nigel Dennis
If you can pry your eyes away from the beautiful woman wearing the Power Glove, count how many vintage video games and consoles are in this photo.  You have to admire the level of detail in this shoot.

Aug 22, 2011

Rosie Does Dishes

Rosie Tin
Electrasol (2004)
Over the summer, we came across this limited edition Jetsons tin at a yard sale in Wilkes-Barre.  I bought it for a quarter in the hopes that we would one day be able to buy a house with a dishwasher, and this could be used to store the pods.  I never thought I'd be able to use it so quickly.

Aug 12, 2011

Missed Opportunities: The Big Unit on Macho Row

Randy Johnson
Mariners Magazine: Volume 4, Issue 2 (1993)
In an interview with the Philadelphia Daily News, Phillies legend John Kruk reminded fans that the Phillies almost acquired the best left handed pitcher of his generation at the 1993 trade deadline.

I remember the buzz about this very well.  I had just turned 13, and the rumors circulating in late July were centered around Randy Johnson and the Seattle Mariners.  The newspapers at the time had narrowed down the Mariners most likely trade partners to be the Yankees and the Phillies.  The Yankees were reported to have offered pitcher Bob Wickman and a prospect, and the Mariners were said to have been asking for Curt Schilling from the Phillies.

If the Mariners really were demanding Curt Schilling, I can understand the Phillies not making the trade.  The Phillies ace was 26 years old (three years younger than Randy Johnson) and in the middle of a dominant season that would lead the Phillies to the World Series.  Meanwhile, Randy Johnson was getting roughed up before the trade deadline with a record of 0-3 and a 7.36 ERA in five starts in July 1993.  In hindsight, Johnson is unquestionably the better pitcher and had a better 1993 season than Schilling, but in the context of the moment, it's understandable that the Phillies would pass on the opportunity to trade one ace for another.

Source: Philadelphia Daily News - August 11, 2011
If John Kruk's recollection is correct, the Phillies could have had The Big Unit for Mike Lieberthal and/or Tyler Green, but Phillies GM Lee Thomas wouldn't part with them to make the deal.  If this is true, it's heartbreaking news.  A Phillies rotation of Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling and Terry Mulholland would have mowed down the Blue Jays in the '93 World Series to give the Phillies their second World Championship season.  However, the Associated Press reported a different side to the story in August 1993.  According to Mariners manager Lou Piniella, the team had trade offers on the table from both the Yankees and the Phillies, but the Mariners chose not to make the deal.  Piniella didn't mention names, so it's possible that the Phillies were unwilling to offer up their young pitching and catching prospect, or it's possible that they were offered, but the Mariners didn't bite.  The fact that Seattle didn't come to an arrangement with either club, and that they didn't end up trading him until five years later, leads me to believe that it was the Mariners, not the Phillies, who decided not to pull the trigger on a trade and chose to hang on to their ace.

Source: The Spokesman Review (Spokane, WA) - August 2, 1993
We'll probably never know for sure what offer the Phillies made for Randy Johnson in the summer of '93, or what it would have taken for the trade to happen, but the dream of having Johnson and Schilling hoisting up the World Series trophy for the '93 Phillies will be talked about in Philadelphia for generations to come.

Aug 1, 2011

Praise The Imperium

Blaine The Mono
The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands (1991)
My favorite book of The Dark Tower series was first published twenty years ago

Jul 28, 2011

Flying Home From Vegas

Heading back to Pennsylvania after our wedding / honeymoon.

Jul 25, 2011

Chihuly At City Center

Dale Chihuly Exhibition At CityCenter
3730 Las Vegas Blvd S - Las Vegas, NV
Photo Gallery
There is an incredible gallery of Dale Chihuly's glass art on display in his gallery at CityCenter on the Las Vegas Strip.  It's just outside of the Aria Casino.

Click here to see scans of the visitors guide and a few of the photos from our visit.

Jul 21, 2011

Rest In Peace: Waldenbooks

"A bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking."
- Jerry Seinfeld

Jul 19, 2011

Hollywood And Punk

Cole Hamels and CM Punk
Wrigley Field - Chicago, IL (July 18, 2011)
The WWE World Heavyweight Champion skipped Monday Night Raw to take in last night's game between the Cubs and Phillies.  He even brought the title belt out of the refrigerator and posed for a pregame photo with 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels.

The Chicago native picked a good night to go out and support his team.  Ex-Phillie Rodrigo López outdueled Roy Halladay to give the Cubs a 6-1 victory.  The Phillies only run came from a Jimmy Rollins homer to lead off the top of the 4th inning.

Jul 18, 2011

Cold Storage

Last night at the Money In The Bank pay-per-view, CM Punk defeated John Cena to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.  He then ran out of the arena and quit the company, but he was kind enough to send this tweet to the WWE Universe to let them know that he's keeping the title belt safe and sound.  I have a few questions:

  • Who stores peanut butter in the refrigerator?
  • Is that a Tim Lincecum cup on the shelf with the belt?

Jul 4, 2011

Is This An Omen For Another World Series?

Philadelphia Phillies Instant Lottery Ticket
Pennsylvania Lottery (2011)
My grandma gave a Phillies scratch-off ticket in my birthday card this year.  The Pennsylvania Lottery issued Phillies instant lottery tickets three years ago and they went on to win the World Series.  Maybe they're good luck!

Jul 3, 2011

Old Man River

Sunbury Airport Campground
Packer Island - Sunbury, PA
My grandfather staring off into the Susquehanna River from my Uncle Kuuipo's campsite.

Jul 1, 2011

The 4th Highest Paid Mets Outfielder Of 2011

Bobby Bonilla
New York Mets (1992 - 1995, 1999)
Starting today, the New York Mets will pay six time All-Star Bobby Bonilla $1.19 million dollars every year on this date for the next 25 years.  That's enough to make him the 4th highest paid outfielder and the 12th highest paid player on the Mets payroll this season.

The Mets owed Bonilla $5.9 millions dollars for the 2000 season, but they ended up releasing him before Spring Training.  As part of the terms of his release, Bonilla's contract was restructured to defer his payments until 2011 with interest that compounds at an 8% annual rate.  He ended up finishing the last two years of his career playing for the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals before retiring at the end of the 2011 season..

When it's all said and done, he will have earned $29,831,205 from 2011 to 2035 for the money the Mets owed him for the 2000 season.  Not too shabby for a guy who didn't play a single game for the Mets that year.

Jun 26, 2011

My First Ballgame

Wednesday, June 26, 1991
Sarasota White Sox @ West Palm Beach Expos
Municipal Stadium - West Palm Beach, FL

Pitching: Rodney Bolton vs. Doug Bochtler
Results: Expos defeat White Sox, 6 - 5
Photo Gallery - Scrapbook

Notes: My dad brought me to my first ballgame a few days before my 11th birthday.  It was 20 years ago today, and it was a Florida State League game (class A) between the West Palm Beach Expos and the Sarasota White Sox.

Pete Rose Jr. played 3B for Sarasota at this game, and his father was in the crowd to watch the game.  He was a great dude; he took a photo with me and gave me an autographed card.  Regrettably, the photo was out of focus, but I'll always remember meeting him at my first ballgame.

May 22, 2011

Happy Post-Apocalypse

Family Radio RV
Bloomsburg, PA
I saw these vehicles at the Bloomsburg Fair last year and they gave me a chuckle.  I could just picture these folks peeling and sticking all of the decals and ruining a perfectly nice RV by making it look like a ransom note on wheels.  It was also pretty odd that they blacked out the Harley Davidson logo on the spare tire.  I suppose that crazy people like eagles, but they're not cool with motorcycles.

So, I had a nice apocalypse yesterday.  I got my bachelors degree and had a nice celebratory dinner with my family.  As an added bonus, I managed to miss out on the Earth burning up and the worldwide earthquakes, and I didn't bump into the Killer Lord referenced in foot tall red letters.  As for the world ending, I'm sure that more than a few of my middle and high school teachers would have told you that would happen before I ever graduated from college, but as it turned out, they were just as wrong as these lovely folks.  To those of you who drove these asshole-mobiles, I hope y'all kept the receipt on those donations to "Family Radio".

It's the end of the world as they know it, and I feel fine.  😇

May 21, 2011

May 18, 2011

The Kindest Killer In History

Harmon Killebrew
June 29, 1936 - May 17, 2011
One of the greatest home run hitters of all time passed away yesterday at age 74.  Harmon Killebrew spent almost his entire career with the Washington Senators, and later the Minnesota Twins when the franchise moved west.  When he retired in 1975 after playing a single season for the Kansas City Royals, he was fifth all-time in career home runs (behind Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Willie Mays and Frank Robinson).  He was the 1969 American League MVP, a 13 time All-Star, and was a Class of 1984 inductee into the Hall of Fame.

In addition to being one of the all-time greats of the game, everyone who has any connection to Mr. Killebrew will tell you what a remarkably kind and considerate human being he was.  Among them are Phillies manager Charlie Manuel (pictured above with Mr. Killebrew), whose first career home run in the Major Leagues came when White Sox lefty Don Secrist intentionally walked Harmon to face Charlie.  When asked, Charlie said "If I told you all my memories of Killebrew, we'd be here until this time next year" before sharing a few stories about his time playing with the future Hall of Famer from 1969 to 1972.

Rest in peace, Killer, and thank you for being an example of all that is good in the game.

May 17, 2011

This Ryno Is An Iron Pig

Earlier today, I got to meet Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg at PNC Field.  He's managing the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (the Phillies Triple A team), and they were in town playing the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees.  I usually don't ask for autographs from players, but he was already there signing for fans, so I asked him to sign my ticket.

May 14, 2011

I'm Not Fat... I'm Fluffy

Gabriel Iglesias
I'm Not Fat... I'm Fluffy
This man is a breath of fresh air in stand-up comedy.  Truly one of the funniest and most genuine performers I have ever seen.  I was lucky enough to see him a few years ago in Atlantic City and to chat with him after the show.  If you have the opportunity to go to his show, do it!

May 12, 2011

Austin 3:16 Says Judgment Day Ended After 2009

Family Radio billboard
Rt. 309 - Wilkes Barre, PA
Well, golly, with a guarantee like that, I guess I had better start crying mightily.  I suspect the people who solicited the donations that paid for asinine billboards like this will be the ones doing the crying when the flock comes looking for the money they wasted on this nonsense.

Maybe the folks at Family Radio got their bibles confused with professional wrestling again.  The second WWF Judgment Day pay per view took place on May 21st, 2000.  They had another one on that date in 2006.  The bible guarantees that we've got another one to look forward to very soon.

Jesus vs. Kane in a steel cage in 9 days?  Cry mightily unto McMahon.

May 9, 2011

Rubik's Cubewich

The Rubik's Cubewich

May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Sale

Endless Ink Tattoo
Lehighton, PA

Apr 18, 2011

I'll Miss You

Grandpa passed away in his home earlier today.  He was 74 years old.

My Grandpa is the greatest man I have ever known or will ever know.  Anything good in me is a direct result of having such a wonderful, loving and positive influence as he was in my life.

Thank you for being my Grandpa.  I miss you.

Apr 15, 2011

The Ramones at The Tropicana Motel

It's hard to believe that it's been ten years since Joey Ramone died.

Apr 4, 2011

The Aces

Sports Illustrated
April 4, 2011
Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt, Joe Blanton - potentially one of the greatest pitching rotations of all time.  This is going to be an interesting season.