Tag Archives: Philadelphia

A great morning and a fun, creative evening ahead

Greetings, readers. This morning I decided to go back to a church which my mom, dad and I attended when I was young. I left my apartment at 9:45 AM for the 10:30 service. The moment I walked into Grace Lutheran church, I felt as though I had traveled back in time. I was amazed at how little the inner church had stayed the same. I last went to a service there in 1982, so there were bound to be a few changes, but overall it was still the church I remembered and loved.

A beautiful moment happened about five minutes before the service was set to begin. The snow showers ceased and the sun shone through. It was like a sign that everything was right in the universe, and I was home. Now, I’m a Roman Catholic, but my church is too far away from me. I don’t have a car, and taking a taxi or Uber would drain my bank account quickly. I know that’s a terrible reason not to go to my church, but for now anyway, I am seeking one within walking distance of my apartment.

I must be honest, readers. I have not had much religion in my life for many years. As I believe I said in the last blog entry, that’s about to change. Last evening, I tried to read some of the Bible. Yes, I did say tried, because even with my reading glasses, the print was very difficult to bring into focus. It was frustrating, but I read for about 45 minutes. It’s a start.

Now on to the fun evening ahead. As almost all my readers know by now, I love sports simulation games. And Out of the Park Baseball 19, the best baseball simulation I’ve ever seen, provides me an opportunity to set up my own fictitious league. I’m going to do that this evening. I don’t know which cities, which team names or how many divisions, but I do know it’s going to be wonderfully fun setting it all up. The one league I have going, the United States Baseball League is currently in its off-season. I am mirroring it with the real world major league baseball. I’m going to create another league to fill in during MLB’s off-season. I think about 100 games should do it. It’s going to be a blast.

Now here’s a question for you all. Please leave comments here in the comments section below, or on my Facebook page. I have a YouTube channel all set up to record and post gaming videos. If I end up creating a Pittsburgh or Philadelphia team [very highly likely] would anyone be interested in watching these videos with my commentary in the background. I will have to share the commentary booth with the game’s play-by-play announcer, who I call, Com Puter. Mr. Puter is a bit dry, but he does call a good game. I think it would be real fun to make videos and link the URL to Facebook. I hope to get many positive responses.

That’s all for this blog entry. Rebecca and I will be back on Wednesday to type two entries, for I believe that the second one will be number 800! So until then, have a great weekend, pray for all who need it, take care and happy reading.

Review of Out of the Park Baseball 19

Greetings, readers. Today the full version of the updated game Out of the Park Baseball 19 was to come out but early this morning, to my disappointment, not much on the game had changed since the other day when I downloaded it and it still said bata on the screen. That means it is still in the test phase, for those of you who don’t know. Though the game is almost identical to last year’s version, the changes that were made are awesome. Ready? Let’s review.

First of all, my favorite new goodie is the preloaded fictitious league to which you can give any name. They called it the U.S. Baseball League. It is a 24 team league set in the United States, with a history and back stories starting from 1977! I could spend hours just reading through the history and the almanac. I don’t know how long it took to set all this up, but to the developers … bravo! I immediately took control of the Philadelphia Blackhawks. Only one of the team names made no sense, so I changed the Detroit Honu to the Detroit Black Knights, and that team now plays in Black Knight Stadium. I am going to have so much fun with baseball this year.

Another big improvement is the look of the players. As I mentioned briefly in yesterday’s blog entry, in Out of the Park 18 they look like little Weebles instead of people. So unrealistic. In Out of the Park Baseball 19, I feel more like I am watching more realistic looking baseball players. Even though all the players are fictitious in this league, you can have the program generate a fictitious picture. It adds to the whole team experience. I now have a face to put to a name. You can also create a team photo.

One thing that Out of the Park Baseball 19 has not done yet is given me the ability to download the historic stadiums which was so prominent and useful in last year’s version. I thought I could be sneaky by copying and pasting the stadiums from the older game’s directory into the new game, and it almost worked. It seems like one set of files which were quite needed didn’t come over. Hopefully in a day or two, this year’s version of the game will have its own download of stadiums to use.

A new feature in the game is something called Perfect Team. However, it still says on the game’s front page it is coming soon. When I find out exactly what it is and how it plays, I’ll let you know. It sounds most interesting, but at this point I am only guessing that it means using classic real-life players to build the ultimate team.

My old play-by-play buddy, the digitally enhanced voice whom I call Com Puter – lol – works his magic to keep us entertained with the game’s text to speech feature. Believe it or not, he’s not as monotone as you would think. I played the new game with the voice on and with it off, and it definitely adds to the experience to have this play-by-play feature on.

Let’s tally.

Game play and presentation: 9.5 out of 10.

Graphics: Improved to a 9 out of 10.

Fun factor: A perfect score of 10.

Ability to download stadiums: Well, so far a failing grade of 5 out of 10 since I was able to achieve part of the stadium downloading process. Once the game goes out of beta, I hope the problem will be corrected and this game will get a higher score.

True final score is pending, but for now: 8.4 out of 10.

Even though the game scored lower than a 9 this year, I would recommend this game to any baseball fan. I would also recommend two things. Play a season in major league baseball mode, and go ahead and create your own league. That is where the real fun is. So put on your batting helmet, and swing for the fences.

Until next Wednesday, I bid you a great weekend, take care, and as always, happy reading.

Top ten list of my favorite TV shows

Greetings, readers. Over my lifetime I have enjoyed many television programs from the 1970s right through the 90s. Though I have watched a few episodes of Friends, The Big Bang Theory, and Mike and Molly, I just don’t get into network programing nearly as much as I used to. I have much more to do, and outlets such as Netflix streaming and YouTube give me all the entertainment I need. TV shows, movies, and even concerts are there on offer. Here’s a top ten list of my favorite TV shows. I’ll try to put them in order.

#10. Family Matters. [A very nice family show with the geeky boy next door whose wonderful catch phrase was, “Did I do that?” You got to love Steve Urkel.]

#9. Fresh Prince of Bel Air. [I’ve been a big fan of Will Smith, mostly from his movies, but this show was exceptional. The young boy from Philly who got sent to Bel Air to live with the rich aunt and uncle. Wouldn’t that be nice. As a side note, this is also one of my girlfriend’s favorites.]

#8. Maude. [This was Bea Arthur and Rue McClanahan’s first TV venture together. I laughed with them in Maude, as well as in their later series The Golden Girls with Betty White and Estelle Getty.]

#7. The Love Boat. [All aboard on Captain Stubing’s love boat. I watched it each and every week for years. The first few seasons were from the port of L.A. down to Mexico and back. A whole cruise shown in an hour. In later seasons, guest stars got to fall in love while traveling to exotic and rare destinations.]

#6. Full House. Fuller House. [Now we are starting to get to my really favorite shows. I watched every episode of Full House and taped them all when they were on reruns. Danny, Uncle Jesse and Joey helped guide the three girls through topics such as sharing a room, their first loves, and in a very poignant episode, where was their daddy during the San Francisco earthquake. It’s spin-off, Fuller House, which premiered last year on Netflix, picks up with D.J. Fuller widowed with three boys. The whole cast, except the Olsen twins, took part. As far as I know, there will be a second season. I can’t wait.]

#5. Charlie’s Angels. [When this show aired in 1976, I was 11 going on 12. Young, beautiful women in skimpy outfits or bikinis. Yes, I’m going to like it, shoot me. For any real Charlie’s Angels fan, I’m sure you’ll agree that most of their stories were good ones and well written. And let’s not forget David Doyle as Bosley and John Forsythe as the voice of Charlie. Two excellent actors.]

#4. Star Trek. ST: The Next Generation. ST: Deep Space Nine. ST: Voyager. ST: Enterprise. [Well, the secret is out; I am a Trekkie. I love the whole idea of the almost perfect future universe. I adore holodeck episodes; the idea that you can walk into a room and it becomes anything you wish fascinates me to no end. To be honest, I did not watch every episode of Enterprise, but most Trek fans did like it.]

#3. Cagney and Lacey. [A wonderful police drama in the 1980s about two women police detectives dealing with not only their jobs but their home lives. Mary Beth’s husband Harvey was a wonderful character and magnificently played by John Karlen. On a down note, midway through the series, Christine Cagney got a love interest, but for some unknown reason the writers made him an almost exact duplicate of Harvey. This did not go down well with me. This series dealt not only with police issues, but with Christine’s loss of her father and her own alcoholism, as well as the brilliantly written two-part episode dealing with Mary Beth’s breast cancer. If there was a down side to this series, it was the lackluster series finale. Apparently CBS didn’t know if it was being renewed or not, so the women were instructed by LT. Samuels to paint the ladies’ room. If they didn’t get promoted to the major cases squad, they would have a, “freshly painted bathroom to come back to.”]

#2. Reba. [This is a series I watched with my girlfriend Traci in reruns. I had heard about it but never watched it when it had its first run. The show deals with a divorced woman devotedly religious, played by Reba McEntire, as she struggles to make ends meet, fights with her ex-husband and his new wife, and loves and cares for her kids. The show is set in Houston, Texas, and in the early years, son-in-law Van plays high school and then college football. For a brief period, he turns pro, but an injury ends his career. That allows Reba and Van to partner up in a real-estate venture. Actress Scarlett Pomers dealt with an eating disorder fairly late in the series and missed a season. She triumphantly returned in the final season.]

#1. M.A.S.H. [The is quite possibly my favorite show of all time. I watched it religiously in prime time and in reruns as a teenager. For a half hour each night, I would picture myself there in Korea with all my friends; Hawkeye, Trapper, B.J. and all the rest. My favorite episode, which according to Loretta Swit changed the series, was called Comrades in Arms. Hawkeye and Margaret were sent to another M.A.S.H. unit, their jeep breaks down and they have to hide. When shelling of the hut they are hiding in starts near the end of part one, they embrace and seem to fall in love, though that is a misunderstanding. At the end of part two, they are not a couple, but the dynamics of the characters changed for the rest of the series.]

Well, there is my list. As usual, please chime in with your top ten list in the comments if you wish. Have a great Friday and weekend, take care, and happy reading.

Traci was a big hit with the family

Greetings, readers. Here is a follow-up to the blog that posted on Thanksgiving day; successfully, I might add. I will admit I was a little bit worried having Traci meet all 50-plus members of Dave and Geri’s extended family at once. But she fit right in. She decided that she wasn’t going to be nervous, and everyone loved her. It made me so happy to see her talking to people and getting to know them.

A week ago today, Wednesday, Traci and I left for New Jersey and enjoyed a gorgeous drive down to our destination, 30 minutes past Philadelphia. I couldn’t believe that for the full three days of the visit it was sunny and warmer. We actually had cool air on in the car.

I’m not going to say it is scary, but I found out that my night vision isn’t quite what it used to be. Driving on the roads at night in an area I’m not familiar with, was a wee bit stressful even with the GPS. Once we found Dave and Geri’s house, all was right with the world.

Thanksgiving morning was wonderful. I slept in a little bit but came down for morning coffee and quiche before the parade started. We watched most of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but had to leave for the church hall before Santa Claus rolled around. First time I’ve missed him in I can’t tell you how long.

The holiday dinner itself was exquisite. I’m not going to call it a delay, but most of the folks wanted to see the Philadelphia Eagles football game before they ate dinner, so serving was put off for three hours. I had asked Geri if I could say Grace, because I also wanted to make a little speech as I do at gatherings from time to time. She happily agreed. Once everyone was seated, and my Grace and speech had been said, we partook of a wonderful soup made by Shannon Merkhofer, followed by turkey, ham and every trimming you could think of. What an amazing meal. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, the delectable desserts were placed in the serving area. I had the pumpkin pie because I am a traditionalist. The sun had already gone down when the party began to wind down, and it did take a while to put all the folding chairs away and clean up all the pots and pans. When we arrived back at Dave and Geri’s house, Traci immediately went to bed. Geri decided to take the dogs for a walk, and Dave and I collapsed on the couch with the Green Bay Packers game on in the background.

On Friday morning, I was up early to have coffee with my brother and buddy before he left for work. Later on, Traci came downstairs, followed by Geri. We had breakfast and then we packed up, because Traci wanted to go to a hobby store nearby to get a stuffed animal as a souvenir. We had seen The Happy Hippo Toys store while we were parking the car the day before.

As we got on the highway to head home, I was happy and proud that everything had gone so well. I was driving in the big city, or at least on the interstate nearby, and Traci was enjoying all the sights. She loved the skyline of Philadelphia, just coming off of the Ben Franklin bridge.

We got home about 3:30 Friday afternoon, and I will admit to you I was exhausted. It’s always strange but true, no matter how much you look forward to going somewhere and how much fun you’ve had, it is a nice feeling to come home to familiar surroundings. I was happy to see my kitty cat Keekee and she was happy to see me.

If I had to rate this trip, I would give it A+, 10 out of 10.

Until Friday, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, do take care, and as always, happy reading.

Thanksgiving plans coming together nicely

Greetings, readers. I’m very happy to say that my Thanksgiving holiday travel plans are falling in to place. I’ll be taking my girlfriend Traci to New Jersey to meet Dave and his family. They are all very eager to meet her and I am very pleased about that.

We had two options to get there. A three-day rental car or the Megabus. Both Traci and I preferred the car, that would allow us to stop for bathroom and stretch breaks when we need to. About an hour ago I called Enterprise Rent-a-Car and in no time at all I had a vehicle reserved, for way less money than I thought it would be. It made this option possible. I know I will be driving on the busiest day of the year, but I’m not too worried about it. We’ll just take our time and get there when we get there.

The journey is rather simple. Down to Philly, cross over into New Jersey, and we’re almost there. In case the vehicle does not have a GPS, I will print out directions from a map website. Both Traci and I are really looking forward to this trip.

For a brief time, I was thinking of leaving early Thursday morning. But I’ve almost never missed the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade and if I can be there late Wednesday afternoon, that’s what I’d like to do.

The family will be gathering at a church hall nearby for the dinner. I’m going to bring a hoodie or a jacket in case it is cool in there. I can always take off layers that I don’t need. I hate to be cold. After dinner, there will probably be an evening football game to watch as well as many sleepy people. I expect bedtime will be early and Traci and I should be back on the road heading home by 11:00 Friday morning.

I’m very thankful for my friend and accountant, Mr. Updegraff for helping me procure the car. It’s really going to make things a lot easier, and give Traci and me a sense of independence. I don’t mind the bus, but you’re always traveling on their schedule.

I’m going to end this blog entry here, because I’m working on maybe three hours of sleep, due to a night of insomnia. We’ll have another entry on Friday, so until then, take care, have a great couple of days, and happy reading.