Archive for category Life and Leisure

Season Ending Diamond Daytrips

The Phillies, their championship hopes dashed almost at the outset of the season, honored their up and coming prospects before tonight’s game. Meanwhile, our sentimental American league favorites, The Baltimore O’s saw their post season opportunity dangle by a thread after dropping another home game to the Red Sox.

The weekend start of an eleven game home stand began with high hopes and pleasant weather, however. Top picture is a room view of game day approximately ninety minutes before game time.

     
  ballpark view  
  fan entrance  
  outfield  
  Click the picture above for game clip!  

Friday’s game was a real thriller with the O’s overcoming a 4-0 deficit that concluded with the final out occurring on a relay throw from left field and tag at home plate (click bottom photo for video clip).

As for our pre-game side trip, consider Geppi’s Entertainment Museum among Baltimore’s many smaller scale museums worthy of a visit.

       
  music poster pop art  
  vintage TVs  
   

This very colorful museum has an impressive collection of film and music posters, vintage comic strip panels and comic super hero art and even a room devoted to vintage TVs (way before the days of cable subscription fees and smart remotes).  Exhibits include a variety of materials pertaining to American cowboy films and serials. An exhibit including some of the actual toys mentioned in the wonderful holiday film A Christmas Story is particularly interesting.

It’s very close to the stadiums, and so is definitely worth a visit after some food and drink at the various eatery’s in and around Fell’s Point. 

The O’s still have a shot at post-season but it remains to be seen who can step up big as their superhero!

Captain America

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Eye Opener, Or, More Fun With Funky Labels For Fun Wines

Our last college baseball road trip of the year took us to the White Plains area of New York State. No matter what the score, the Renaissance Hotel bar and restaurant there does not disappoint. I started out with a buffalo cauliflower appetizer and later an un-vegan sirloin salad over crispy flatbreads and mixed greens in a tangy vinaigrette, both outstanding.

Beverage choice was an Australian blended red (mostly shiraz). As I’ve previously mentioned, delicious wines are even more fun when presented with a fun, funny, funky label.

red wine bottle

I have to admit, though, that I was part way through my second (Ok, maybe third glass) before it suddenly dawned on me that what I thought was minimalist no frills labeling is actually meant to resemble a doctor’s office eye chart. Pretty clever.

baseball field

Returning from NY state to Doylestown PA for the home field Sunday doubleheader.

 

restaurant bar

The hotel is located close to Yonkers Raceway, so we most likely will return to this area for harness racing and fine wining and dining.

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Diamond Daytrip Diversions

Baseball fan travel differs from other sport tours because there exists greater opportunity for interesting side trips. Games play almost every day, with every third day or so occurring during the afternoon. So if you arrive downtown later in the day, you can decide to skip a game and enjoy other things and then grab tickets for next day’s game.

Of course, the stadium view rooms at the Baltimore Hilton made things even easier, allowing us to view the game versus the Seattle Mariners from our room on Wednesday night after spending the afternoon at the Walters Art Museum. It’s a relatively small four story building in light of the size and variety of its impressive collection, ranging from Impressionists paintings of Delacroix to artifacts of the ancient world of Rome, Greece, and Egypt.

pub menu

The museum has no cafe to speak of so we found this nice Irish pub close by. Need to check out the shepherd’s pie the next time around. It’s best to start your tour on the topmost fourth floor, where you will see exhibits and information related to the founding Walters family. Then work your way down. Free admission, so a donation is strongly encouraged.

vault door cat god

“Walk Like An Egyptian”

egyptian artifact

Wonder if he could hit a curve ball?

medieval armor

The Assumption

The Assumption

The current feature exhibit was the art of Italian Renaissance painter Carlo Crivelli.

Crucifixion

A perhaps lesser known depiction of the Last Supper by the featured painter. Those halos seem pretty crazy.

The Last Supper

Griffin. Is it the head of a lion, body of an eagle, body of a lion, wings of an eagle…?

griffin

Carved Roman sarcophagi were a big highlight. Amazing, dramatic detail.

sarcophagus

Grecian vase or urn. If you’d like to compose an ode or something to anything you enjoy about this particular post or blog in general, please do so in the comments, or by way of one of my social media accounts.

vase

The O’s dropped two out of three to the Mariners during this midweek three game series, including this one on a cloudy but pleasant Thursday afternoon. We should be back soon, hopefully for the the playoffs. Grab a nice crab-filled soft pretzel at one of the establishments surrounding the ballpark before you head home.

ballpark

Pre-game walk through.

Moving down behind home plate near the end of the game. The O’s and “Team Trumbo” fall short on this day.

home plate

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Pre-season, In Season

I’ve enjoyed visiting both, and lately, I’ve been thinking that Florida supplants Texas as the state that’s “like a whole ‘nother country”.  The tropical climate and exotic flora and fauna not often experienced elsewhere in the USA almost transport the mind to another place and time.

palm tree

But like they say in real estate, it’s all about location, location, location! And the same is true of vacation travel. Heading down again this year to the Fort Pierce/Port St. Lucie area for a Division III NCAA college baseball tournament, we opted this time to stay near the water on Hutchinson Island, a few miles away from the baseball diamonds.

balcony room

Last year, being totally unfamiliar with the area, we holed up the first few days in a small corporate chain hotel right off the highway on the mainland near a truckstop. But for the palm trees, and that gecko crawling up the wall of a gas station, we might have thought we were still near Rt. 295 in South Jersey. Although an hour or so drive up the road in Vero Beach afforded us the opportunity to see the big lizards via airboat ride.

airboat

gator in the grass

gator face

That hour drive in any give direction might take you to an ocean, a river, a lake, a swamp, or a casino or luxury resort. In fact, a number of places can offer you the whole gamut ranging from breakfast with grits and a case of beer to bait and tackle and firearms and ammunition. Even before Trump-mania hit the Palm Beach area, the state has long been a hotbed of often bizarre political activity (as evidenced by this gas station signage from last year’s trip):

bumper sticker

Several cities in the region host spring training for Major League Baseball teams. The Mets are close by, but the LA Dodgers left for Arizona a few years ago, even though historic Dodgertown remains as yet another multi-field facility for tournaments and such. However, our favorite college games count in the standings, although many of them involve out of conference opponents. Northeast college teams need to start the season in warmer climates to get a whole season in before the end of the spring term.

bleachers

So this year’s trip to Florida was fun, funky, and filled with exquisite views of land and seas.

cypress trees and Spanish moss

Cypress Trees Covered in Spanish Moss

osprey

Osprey Nesting

You could say we came for the baseball but stayed to savor the flavors of food and drink (especially seafood) and to take in the sights of early spring on Florida’s beautiful coastline. And Delaware Valley University won another MAC Freedom Conference game today!

close up

GO AGGIES!

coaches

Coaches Exchange Lineup Cards At Home Plate

sunset

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Fun, Funky Labels For Fine Wines

To take advantage of  one or more of the vast variety of online wine clubs affords an opportunity to try some marvelous beverage from little know corners of the world. There are many unique grape varieties to choose from as well as some unique combinations created by innovative vintners from all over the globe. It’s even more fun when winemakers get creative with their label designs.

wine label front

If you paid attention in high school Spanish class, you’d remember that Cuatro Vacas Gordas translates as “four fat cows”. Quite appropriate, as the 60/40 malbec and cabernet sauvignon Argentine blend pairs well with grilled skirt steak. Maybe grab a bottle to celebrate the current US tour of the first Argentine Pope!

But where, you might ask, is the “fourth” cow? Was it a labelling mistake or have you drank so much from the tasty bottle that you’re missing something? Re-cork, turn the bottle around and read on ye oenophilic vaquero...

wine label back

¡Está aquí!   

 

Oh, and check out their equally charming and beautiful website as well: http://www.caligiore.com.ar/

¡Salud, mis amigos!

 

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Sleep On It!

Americans, generally speaking, have trouble getting enough sleep. Some reasons for this seem obvious, such as long hours required for maintaining a lucrative career, the long distance commute to work on backed-up highways, emotional tensions, etc. A  brief Business Insider video from a couple months ago further explores this growing social health problem. In the clip, a  UCLA psychiatrist explains how our growing dependence on mobile electronic devices exacerbates chronic sleeplessness. Basically, the blinking, popping lights of our cellphones overstimulate the brain and lead to toxins saturating the highways of our cerebral network.

In addition to citing electronically-based sleep deprivation as a prime culprit of “brain pollution”, Dr. Siegel also briefly refers to the modern cultural based workaholic mindset that glamorizes a lifestyle bereft of adequate sleep. Heck, rock star Bon Jovi once even released a song paying homage to the great “dirt nap” entitled “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead”!

Interestingly, Siegel concedes that a small minority, say, five percent, possess differently wired brains that allow for getting through the days successfully with but a scant few hours and minutes of shut eye. One would think this then begs the question of what happens if our captains of industry, educators/school administrators, entertainers, service providers, etc. are the ones who form this select minority of “alpha-hyper-insomniacs”? How do the rest of us keep up?

This notion particularly impacts our nation’s school children, many of whom must catch buses to school during pre-dawn hours to start homeroom well before 7:30 am. It becomes a rather fascinating kind of “chicken or the egg” argument as regards how the classroom environment can best prepare young people for the workplace. Shouldn’t we restructure the world of  the classroom so that young people with fresh, well-rested minds can set their sights toward a work culture more in harmony with human nature? Or do we settle for an educational system that toughens kids up for the 9 to 5 grinding climb up the corporate ladder?

Ideas to sleep on!

ZZZZZZZZZZ

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The Pitfalls of Sitting Pretty

When someone asked the departing US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall about his retirement plans, he succinctly  replied, “Sit on my rear end.” Many of us dream of someday living out the rest of our days in some warm weather clime, free to do as we please, or perhaps, nothing at all for as long as humanly possible; hours free of work drudgery, tense office drama, and, especially of late, the all too commonplace need to shovel snow from the sidewalk and driveway.

The concept of sedentary idle time as a means of relaxation and/or reflection has transformed into a much less benign notion. Sitting around too much is bad for you and can even kill you? Medical experts have been saying it for a while now, and even the CEO of Apple, Inc. recently likened prolonged sitting to a serious life threatening condition every bit as bad as cancer! A cynic could surmise that Tim Cook knows full well people have pretty much maxed out their waking hours doing whatever it is they do all day in front of their computer screens and iPads, so now he wants us to get up and move about with shiny, pricy new smart watches that measure our heart rate, caloric intake, sleep habits, laps in the pool and paces around the gym. Technology does play a significant role in our overly sedentary lives.  People no longer even remember walking over to change the channel or flip over a record album or cassette tape, so it’s nice to see new tech gadgets actually help improve our daily health regimen.

As we navigate a path for our increasingly chaotic 21st century lives, it’s important to remember that quite often, the best solutions to many of our problems can be some of the simplest. The forthcoming newsletter of The Spina Bifida Resource Network devoted a full page “how-to”  (suitable for printing and framing) describing the various steps involved in “chair yoga”. Many of us who have reached advanced age, or move about wheelchair-enabled, or encounter any sort of troublesome mobility impairment  find a traditional gym workout lacking as far as fulfilling our need to stay active, trim, and fit. These chair yoga activities provide a fun, relaxing, low impact break from a typical work desk routine, encourage better body awareness and greater attention to more naturally rhythmic breathing. I myself and some of my friends had tried most of these at a session provided by another great organization in the New Jersey/New York Metro area, Alliance Center for Independence, in Edison, NJ.

I have shared a printable copy of the exercises below. With the weather as nasty as it has been lately, now is a good time to use these moves to position yourself within a better situation!

Reprinted from: http://www.livingwordsofwisdom.com/chair-yoga.html

 

 

 

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