Looking Ahead

Went to Genuardi’s yesterday to buy some apple juice for the kids.  At check out the teenage girl asked if I needed help out to my car with the bottle of apple juice.  I asked her if it was a requirement to offer that service, she said yes.  Here’s my take, asking someone if they need help out to their car is like asking someone if they are mentally retarded.  No, I am a capable human being, I can manage to get the juice out to my car.  Do you need help counting my change?  My advice, don’t make this a mandatory requirement that staff offer this service, even though it is well intentioned. 

Heading down to North Carolina’s Outer Banks tomorrow for a fishing trip, can’t wait to go out into the gulf stream and try to get tangled up with a monster from the deep.  I’ll try to take some photos and post my bounty on the web.

Quick Escape To Beach – Point Pleasant, NJ


Jac needed a good nights rest, so when the kids woke up at 6:30 AM on Saturday morning, I decided to take the kids on a little adventure.  We hopped into the car and found ourselves at the beach about an hour later.  Point Pleasant, New Jersey, was the closest beach I could find on the map and they have a boardwalk that could add some flavor to our adventure. 

Here’s a video of Winston enjoying the waves of icy water:

We spent the entire day at the beach, Winston and Dalia loved digging in the sand, enjoying the boardwalk food and candy.  We also rode some rides at the amusement park, one of most favorite spur of the moment trips.  The kids and I came home wiped out around 5 PM.




Bucks County Recommendations


Recently we hired a new employee at the company I work at, he asked if I could pass along some local advice as he had to relocate to take the position. I figured I’d post it for anyone else who Googles the same question.. If you have any other recommendations I missed, please post in the comments section.

Here are my favorite places of Bucks County & beyond:

Hidden Gem – Hamilton’s Grill Room
Located just on the other side of the Delaware River in the quaint town of Lambertville (NJ) is an outstanding restaurant hidden down an alley called Hamilton’s Grill Room. Locals will know where it is, otherwise, you’ll probably need a GPS. Even when you get there, you might not know you’re there. You have to park on the street and then walk down a path between two buildings in what is known as the Porkyard. The meal will set you back about $50 a person, but at least you can bring your own bottle of wine. Before or after your meal, be sure to stop and have a drink at the Boathouse, an even tinier hideaway in the same courtyard that serves potent cocktails in an jazzy eclectic setting.
http://www.hamiltonsgrillroom.com/hamiltonsgrillroom.html

Best Church Food – Marsha Brown’s
Outstanding restaurant with a lean towards Louisiana’s Creole flavor situated smack in the middle of New Hope, PA. Everything about Marsha Brown’s leaves an impression on you, the portions are large, the flavors are bold, and the ambiance is a strange mixture of being inside a former church with high ceilings, stained glass, and the class and sophistication of an upscale restaurant. A unique experience and there’s plenty to do in New Hope afterwards if you’re with friends or on a date.
http://www.marshabrownrestaurant.com/index.asp

Weekend In Doylestown – Bars To Hit Up
Here’s how to navigate the bar scene in Doylestown. First off, watch out for the First Friday of every month, they hold a big town festival every First Friday and it gets packed and makes finding a parking spot difficult. The only other consideration is you should try to go when the weather is nice, lots of excellent outdoor seating and people watching. Here’s how I’d approach a weekend night in Doylestown: I’d start off at Puck ( http://www.pucklive.com/ ) which has great outdoor seating and usually has live music. You want to go on a nice day because you’ll want to sit outside and watch the Phillies being shown on their outside brick wall with a projector, excellent beer selection with my favorite being the Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale. Next you can head over to Bobby Simones (http://www.ilovebobbys.com/) for more outdoor dining & drinking. Bobby Simones occasionally hosts the best local band, The Raggamuffins, they are incredible. If you’re ready to head inside, hit up The Other Side or Stephanie’s. Avoid Finney’s, The Amber Inn, and Mugg’s On Main Street. Once the bar’s begin to shut down, it is imperative that you walk down to the Steak & Hoagie Factory and have a Buffalo Chicken Cheesesteak at 2AM.

Cheap, But Good Eats – Rey Azteca
This is the cheapest Mexican Food in Bucks County, but it is excellent and the portions are usually huge. One other bonus is that you can bring your own beer, wine, or liquor. Located in the Warminster area. http://www.yelp.com/biz/rey-azteca-warminster

Heading To Philly – Anything Stephen Starr (Buddakan, El Vez, The Continental, Continental Midtown, Parc, Jones, etc.)
Go to this website and check out any of his restaurants, they are all top-notch, packed with customers, stylish, excellent food, diverse menus, and a terrific cocktail selection. http://www.starr-restaurant.com/

Local Summer Recreation – Tubing
In the summer, almost everyone takes one tubing trip down the Delaware River. The water is crystal clear, mostly cruises along at a lazy pace, and a very relaxing way to pass 4 or 7 hours. There’s a couple companies out there that will provide you with a tube, drive you up the river in a school bus, and when you float down the river back to their place, you just hand them back your tube, get into your car and drive home. You can also rent rafts and kayaks, if you’re into fishing, there’s tons of bass that are fairly easy to catch.
http://www.rivercountry.net/
http://www.delawarerivertubing.com/

Softball League
Here’s the website of the local league I play in. You can post yourself as a free agent and you’ll probably get some emails from interested teams.. They post stats on the web site and it is very organized.
http://www.cuttingedgesports.net/sbahome/index.html

Fireworks!
Fireworks in New Hope every Friday night. Probably a cool thing to watch from the big bridge that you can walk across.
http://www.newhopelambertvillefireworks.com/faqs.php

Hope this helps turn you into a local in no time flat. If you need anything else, let me know!

Cheers To Charlie

I attended an event last night called Cheers To Charlie.  The event was to celebrate the great Charlie Manuel, Philadelphia Phillies Manager, and was held at the top of the Wanamaker Building in a big ballroom called the Crystal Tea Room.  The event was awesome and I managed to get the autograph of Charlie Manuel which I’ve been trying to do for several months now. 

For those of you who don’t know much about Charlie, please read the excerpt below from Wikipedia, he really is an amazing guy who’s overcome a lot and accomplished great things:

DISCLAIMER:  The italicized section below is 100% from Wikipedia

He became a four-sport star at Parry McCluer High School in Buena Vista, playing baseball, American football, basketball and track and field and captaining the baseball and basketball teams. His first love was basketball and he had received scholarship offers in that sport, but his plans and his life would dramatically change just before his high school graduation.

In April 1963, his father, who had been ill with diabetes and heart problems, committed suicide, leaving behind a suicide note asking that Charlie, who was already married with a child, take care of his mother and siblings.[1][2] He turned down his basketball scholarship offers, including one to the University of Pennsylvania[3], to consider offers from the Pittsburgh Pirates, Detroit Tigers, Minnesota Twins, and New York Yankees, ultimately signing with the Twins out of high school in 1963 for $30,000.

Major league career

Manuel played from 1969 to 1972 with the Minnesota Twins and in 1974 and 1975 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, primarily as a pinch-hitter and left fielder.

Japanese Baseball

Manuel’s baseball career took off when he left the United States to play in Japan. Wildly popular for his tenacious style of play and his power-hitting abilities, Manuel was dubbed “Aka-Oni” (The Red Devil) by fans and teammates.

In 1977, he hit .316 with 42 home runs and 97 runs batted in, helping the Central League‘s Yakult Swallows reach second place for the first time in franchise history. In 1978, he hit .312 with 39 homers and 103 RBI, powering the Swallows to their first pennant and the Japan Championship Series.

Playing for the Pacific League‘s Kintetsu Buffaloes Manuel hit 25 home runs in the first 8 weeks of the 1979 season.[4] He was on pace to break the Japanese record of 16 home runs in a month.[5] Most Japanese felt it would be an insult for a foreigner to hold that record.

At a game against the Lotte Orions on June 19, 1979, he was beaned by a pitch from Soroku Yagisawa, effectively stopping Manuel from taking that record.[5] The pitch broke Manuel’s jaw in six places. He wore a dental bridge as a result of an earlier accident in the minor leagues. There was nothing for doctors to wire together, so they inserted 3 metal plates in his head and removed nerves from his face.[6]

Manuel was discharged from the hospital after 6 weeks and immediately began playing baseball again, against the advice of doctors and worried family. The Buffaloes were struggling to stay in the lead of the Pacific League and had never won a pennant before. To protect his mangled jaw, Manuel wore a helmet equipped with an American football facemask. He wore the helmet for the fist few games back but stopped using it because it obscured his vision at the plate.[7]

He finished the 1979 season with 37 home runs to win the home run title. He lead Kinetsu to its first pennant win. He also won the admiration of the Japanese and was voted MVP, the first American to receive the honor since 1964 hitting .324 with 37 home runs and 94 RBI.

A year later, Manuel shocked Japanese baseball by leaving for a week to attend his son’s high school graduation in Virginia. His contract allowed it but team officials were incredulus that Manuel would leave the team 2 games back of first with only 3 weeks to play in the first half of the season.[8] Manuel returned to lead the team to the second half championship and the pennant. He finished the season hitting .324, 48 home runs, and 129 RBI. It was the best season for an American player in Japan to that point. Manuel won no awards that year. Apparently, the Japanese could not forgive the week in which Manuel put family before baseball.[9]

In 1981, he returned to the Yakult Swallows after being released by Kintetsu over contract negotiations.

Manuel finished his successful run in Japan with a .303 career average, 189 home runs and 491 RBI. He was considered one of the best imported baseball players to Japan in those days, along with brothers Leron and Leon Lee and Randy Bass.

During his time in Japan, Manuel learned to speak Japanese. The language skill and experience in Japan was useful in managing players such as So Taguchi and Tadahito Iguchi.

I’m going to start calling Dalia Aka-Oni!

Mini Jackets


Okay, one more vent on strange things women do…mini jackets!  First of all, who the heck came up with the idea that a super small jacket would be a good idea?  Mini Jackets are the inverse to MC Hammer’s humongous pants.  Yesterday I saw a tall skinny woman wearing a mini jacket, even mini-er than the jacket pictured above.  It would have been too small for my 1 year old daughter, Dalia.  My first thought was that it was a weird style choice, but then I thought about the logistics, is it tough for women to get their arms into those little jackets?  I know if I wore a jacket suitable for Winston, I would have difficulty getting my arms into it.  Anyways, RKDeem has officially outlawed mini jackets starting this Friday.  If you wish to wear a mini jacket, you only have 4 more days, after Friday, I will take a picture of you in your mini jacket, post to my blog, and you up for insurance coverage with Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Enough Already With Pictures Of Cakes


Had a lot of fun at Jaclyn’s birthday party. She mentioned that not a enough pictures were taken of her at the event, so if you have any pictures of her, please pass along. I am not much of a photographer, I’m just not that into documented stuff. Women take pictures of everything, keep Hallmark cards for years, and cherish strange momentos like baby teeth and hair clippings from their children. I’ve been seeing a lot of women take pictures of birthday cakes recently and I think that is just about the most useless waste of digital space imaginable, really, who looks back at a picture of a cake and gets excited? If that picture could somehow come to life and I could taste the cake again, then I’d be all for it. I was at a wedding and Jaclyn took pictures of the centerpiece, a picture of flowers, my mind just can’t put it together, but I guess I do things that make no sense to her.

Recently, I’ve begun collecting baseball cards again. Nothing expensive, just weird cards that I’ve always wanted of some of the unusual characters in baseball. I picked up Bob Uecker’s rookie card, an autographed Charlie Manuel card from when he played with the Japanese team called the kintetsu Buffaloes, and Michael Jordan’s only major league baseball card from his brief stint with the Chicago Whitesox. In the future, I plan on obtaining an autographed baseball from Yogi Berra with his famous quote of “Winning is 90 percent mental and the other half is physical.” Baseball card collecting is to Jaclyn what cake photos are to me.

Can’t get a good night’s rest, kids are always piling into our bed and waking me up a 100 times. I’d love to sleep in my car tonight, I’m thoroughly exhausted.




Mother’s Day Train Adventure

This weekend we had the idea to take Winston and Dalia on the SEPTA train to Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market.  Winston loves trains and Dalia is always up for adventure, so we packed our bags, rushed to the Warminster train station and ran through the parking lot to catch our train. 

To really understand how challenging this train ride was with these two kids, I need you to imagine going deep into a rain forest, capturing two wild monkies and putting them in a locked crate.  You then board a train to head back into civilization and the crates break and the monkies escape.  Imagine the pandimonium, imagine the monkies running all over the train, climbing over seats, licking windows, screaming, and throwing food.  That is what it was like with my two kids. 

Having two insane kids on the train isn’t so bad if everyone is happy and in good spirits.  Unfortunately, all the other passengers on the train aren’t on for a fun adventure into Philadelphia, everyone else is on the train because they have to be.  They sit with their heads down, motionless, expressionless, void of energy, and not the most kid friendly people.  We did our best to contain the wild monkies, we wrestled with them, tried to restrain them, but we were no match. 

We made it to the Reading Terminal Market and enjoyed superb cuisine.  I had a pizza steak sandwich, Jaclyn had some greek food, and the kids had mac and cheese and chicken nuggets.  We also came home with chocolates and an outstanding cookie from the 4th Street Deli.  We also wondered around the Gallery Mall and eventually found our way back to the Market East Station to home back home. 

We all slept very hard on Sunday night, but I think it was a good Mother’s Day for Jaclyn. 

Saturday is Jaclyn’s Birthday, so wish her a happy birthday if you see her.