One last snow fall for 2009

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Woke up this morning and realized that it was snowing. I guess we can handle one more snowfall this year, right?


5 must have accessories for new Wii owners

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I noticed that many people I know have joined the Wii community of video gamers. Having been a member of the Nintendo Wii club for two years now, and having been a long standing member of the Nintendo fan boy club, I feel it is my duty to offer my advice on some accessories that every Wii owner should invest in.

What better way to spend some holiday cash and gift cards?

1. Wii Sports Resort
Not only does Wii Sports Resort take Wii Sports to the next level, but it includes the latest accessory, the Wii MotionPlus. The Wii MotionPlus is designed to take the Wii Remote motion to a more realistic level. Having played around with it a bit so far I can say that the difference is extremely noticeable and the possibilities for the accessory look promising.

I would expect that future Wii releases will utilize the Wii MotionPlus's capabilities in exciting ways. I envision future sports games making the most of the technology, such as more realistic passes in Madden or NCAA Football, better control of pitches in baseball games, more accurate free throw shooting in basketball games and precision passing in hockey games.

2. Wii Nunchuk Controller
The add-on to the Wii Remote is almost a requirement for the majority of Wii titles, and for under $20 there is no reason to not pick one up. The Nunchuk was one of the primary features of the Wii system and if you do not have one you will miss out on some fantastic games and experiences.

For those looking for something with a little more edge than the standard white Nunchuk, you can now get the accessory in jet black. Controllers are also available in black.

The black looks cool, but unless you have a matching Wii, it looks kind of silly. Or is it just me? I'm waiting for the day when Nintendo undoubtedly releases multi-colored versions of the Wii to match these third party nunchuks.

3. Wii Remote Battery Charger
There are a number of options available that you can choose from, but you have to have one. Playing the Wii will take a toll on your wireless Wii Remotes so unless you have an endless supply of double A batteries, or use rechargeable double A batteries, then a recharging station of some sort is a must.

4. Wii Classic Controller
Part of the allure of the Nintendo Wii is the growing virtual console library. Selected classic games once only playable (legally) on systems of yester-year like the Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Master System, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Nintendo 64, NEO GEO and even the Commodore 64 are available for download via the Nintendo online store. Grab some Wii points and pick your game of choice, then hook up a classic controller to your Wii Remote to play the game the way it was intended.

The Classic controller is designed in similar fashion to previous Nintendo console controllers, with the Super Nintendo controller being the heaviest influence. The controller presents the traditional style button layout and adds analog control sticks for Nintendo 64 features primarily.

5. Wii Fit Plus with Balance Board
It is the number one selling game on the Wii, it's new and improved. While the fitness game may not be your total athletic club replacement (more like a supplement) the accessory that comes packaged with the original Wii Fit and many version of the new Wii Fit Plus may be something that sees some expanded game play in the future in other games.

The Wii Fit balance board is the great grandchild of the old Power Pad. It's primary use may be for exercise but it is finding use in games like Wii Music
(used to play drums) and Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games (snow boarding). As time goes by expect more games to incorporate the Wii balance board for enhanced game play.


My EagleBank Bowl experience

Yesterday I attended my first bowl game and I was fortunate enough to take part in covering my first game from behind the scenes up in the frigid open-air press box on behalf of Examiner. I attended the EagleBank Bowl in Washington D.C.'s RFK Stadium. Temple played in their first bowl game since 1979 and they took on the UCLA Bruins.

It was a tremendous learning experience for me and I made sure to take many mental notes so I can better plan out my next press box worthy event. Being among many writers from the Philadelphia region who I have respected for a while I was sure to observe how they go about their business so I could better prepare myself for the next time.

When I was not chowing down on the delicious food being served to the media (the cookies took top prize in my mind) or looking over the luggage of reading material offered to me, I took some time to take some photos from the festivities surrounding the game. Below you can view my entire photo album from the EagleBank Bowl.


Today in Big Five history - Saint Joseph's wins Quaker City Classic

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

From my Page-A-Day calendar...

December 29, 1964
The St. Joseph’s Hawks upend nationally ranked Wichita State, 76-69, in the championship game of the Quaker City Classic at the Palestra in Philadelphia. Marty Ford scores 27 points, Billy Oakes has 21 and Cliff Anderson adds 14 for St. Joe’s, coached by Dr. Jack Ramsay. All-American forward Dave “the Rave” Stallworth leads the Wheatshockers with 25 points and is named MVP of the tournament, even in defeat. Not thrilled with the officiating or the rabid Philly fans in the close confines of the hallowed gymnasium, WSU head coach Gary Thompson vows never to return.


Sixers pick up road victory in Portland

Allen Iverson returned to the court and brought the team a win. Getty Images

Iverson returns, Sixers win - Kate Fagan,
Welcome back: Iverson returns, Sixers beat Blazers - AP report via

I don't have much time to dive into the recaps of this game (I didn't watch it at all last night). Apparently Iverson played alright last night. Should I start him on my fantasy team soon? What did you think of the game?


Who is this Urban Myer guy?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Over the weekend Florida's head football coach, Urban Meyer, announced he would step down from his duties, citing health concerns as the reason. Needless to say, the announcement shook the college football world. The head coach of the defending national champions, just about a week before his team was to play in the Sugar Bowl had said he was through coaching (he later turned around and said he would just take an indefinite leave of absence instead).

I provided my thoughts on the situation on Examiner the following day and as expected it was a very good day for me in terms of web traffic coming my way. With Examiner I get my detailed statistics the following day in my e-mail box. I try to keep up with as much as possible so I can see where my readers are coming from and what they are reading. It is invaluable information that every web writer should pay close attention too. It can also be somewhat humorous.

For instance, take a look at my top ten referrers for December 27, 2009 (the day after Meyer resigned)...

Click image to view larger

If you don't know what you are looking at this information may look confusing to you, so allow me to break it down for you. The above list is the ten outlets that sent me the most traffic on Sunday. Most, if not all, have come through Google searches. Below is a simplified listing of the Google searches that sent people my way.
  1. urban myer
  2. urban myer
  3. Urban Meyer
  4. urban meyer
  5. urban meyer
  6. urban myer
  7. urban myer
  8. urban meyers
  9. urban meyer
  10. urban myer
Notice anything?

Only four of the top ten Google searches that came my way had the name of the coach spelled correctly! And only one used proper capitalization. I don't know who Urban Myer or Urban Meyers is but if you want to talk about Urban Myer I am all yours!


Eagles win in B-Dawk's return to the Linc

Donovan McNabb and Brian Dawkins greet each other after the Eagles victory. Getty Images

Holding on: Eagles blow lead but top Denver 30-27 - Andy Scwartz,
Snagging a victory - Bob Brookover,
Eagles' Maclin stays inbounds to set up Akers' game-winner - Les Bowen,
Broncos' Dawkins still a fan favorite with Eagles fans - Sam Donnellon,

I missed most of this game this weekend as I was visiting family, but I did watch the fourth quarter so I have a few thoughts. For the third time this season Donovan McNabb has lead the team to victory in the fourth quarter. He did it against Chicago and Washington in back-to-back weeks and when the team needed to score points near the end of the game, McNabb did what he could to carry the team on his back.

On third and 20 in their own end of the field CBS commentator Phil Simms was saying he would just go ahead and punt the ball on the third down. So what did McNabb do? Run for a first down.

That play changed the entire outcome of the game because even though the Eagles failed to go any further in the possession they were able to punt the ball deep in the Broncos zone and change the entire field position battle. The Eagles defense came up big with a three-and-out and got the ball back before the end of the fourth quarter. Once again McNabb was the one coming up with the big plays as he found rookie wide receiver Jeremy Maclin open, who made a fantastic catch.

If anyone is going to criticize McNabb, which I am sure they will, I will not stop them. But McNabb has come up with fourth quarter rallies three times this season, something that he has widely been criticized for. Yes, he still needs to finish the deal off in a big playoff game, but what we are seeing is that with play makers surrounding him McNabb really can be effective.

As for Brian Dawkins, I was glad to see him back in Lincoln Financial Field. He was and still is one of my favorite Eagles of all time. Nobody can match the emotion he pours into every game in every situation. What he did last season was phenomenal and I still believe the team was wrong to let him leave town. But what's done is done. Dawkins is a Denver Bronco and as much as I hate seeing him in another team's colors you have to respect the player that he still is.

Dawkins is a Hall of Fame caliber player and he should have retired as an Eagle (maybe he still will with a symbolic one day contract), but as long as he is involved in the NFL, the game of pro football will be better for it.


Christmas in the LEGO Village

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The LEGO Christmas village residents all gathered for the ceremonial lighting of the Christmas tree.

The LEGO town citizens watch the carolers sing some classics,
such as "LEGO Wonderland" and "Jingle Bricks"

The presents are placed under the tree.

The A-List section was full of stars, including Harry Potter,
the Skywalker family, and "Captain" Jack Sparrow.

The entire space academy joined in the festivities, including the elder
space cadet (blue), the M-Tron and Blacktron fraternities.

Sure to be keeping a close eye on the troublemakers from the Blacktron,
the entire Space Police fleet was on hand.

The real heroes in the LEGO village salute the lighting of the tree.

An aerial shot of the village as the train travels by in the distance.


Sportscaster George Michael dies

George Michael
March 24, 1939 - December 24, 2009

One of the most famous and influential sportscasters in the industry passed away this morning. George Michael, out of Washington D.C. lost a battle with cancer at the age of 70. I may not know too much about Michael from a personal angle but I do feel a bit saddened by his loss. I stayed up late Sunday nights to watch Michael's nationally syndicated sports highlight show on NBC 10 in Philadelphia for a long time, even though it was on at 11:30 at night. Philadelphia sports fans may know that local sports radio host Howard Eskin had a featured segment on the George Michale Sports Machine in which he discussed various rumors in the sports world.

Little did I know how ground breaking Michael was in the sports media world. Michael was one of the first to use clips from around the nation in his sports show and he paved the way for shows like Sportscenter and Comcast SportsNite.

I imagine that I can relate to loyal D.C. sports fans who may have grown up with Michael in their lives through the television airwaves. Earlier this year we in the Philadelphia area said good-bye to beloved local sports anchor Gary Papa, who lost a battle with cancer. To those who mourn the loss of Michael I send my sincere apologies for your loss.

George Michael, famed D.C. sportscaster, dies - Adam Bernstein, Washington Post


Flyers score three in third to beat Tampa Bay

Flyers show some guys in win over Tampa Bay - Frank Seravalli,
Betts, Richards, Leighton key win - Sam Carchidi,
Jump start: Flyers top Lightning to open road trip - Sarah Baicker,

The Flyers entered the third period tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning last night but used a dominating third period to pull away with a 5-2 win, snapping a four game losing streak that saw goals hard to come by.

Captain Mike Richards had two goals and an assist but the story of the night was the two goals by Blair Betts. Betts just rejoined the team after recovering from a shoulder injury a few games ago and finally found a bit of a scoring touch last night. The veteran center's career high for goals in a season is nine, which he scored with the Rangers in 2006-2007. He now has three goals in 17 games this season for the orange and black.

(AP Photo)


Gee Wiz! Sixers can't beat anybody!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My good Twitter buddy Lou Williams is back on the court. Getty Images

Arenas and Wizards subdue Sixers - Kate Fagan, Philadelphia Inquirer
Road block: Sixers open trip with loss to Wizards - Dei Lynam,
Williams doesn't start game, does start second half - Bob Cooney, Sixerville (

Remember when the Sixers beat the Boston Celtics over the weekend? I sure wish I had posted something about that game because it seems like all I ever really do here is post links and photos and thoughts from another loss in Philadelphia. I kick myself for not having posted anything about the Villanova FCS championship or the Penn State women's volleyball team or even the Eagles' victory on Sunday. the moment has passed.

I try not to sound spoiled as a Philadelphia sports fan because it just is not in the chemical balance of a Philadelphia sports fan to act that way. When the Phillies won the World Series last year I promised myself I would not carried away with wins and losses in the regular season no matter the sport. I feel like I am doing a good job of that right now.

With the Flyers among the NHL's cellar dwellers and the Sixers now 7-21 I am starting to wonder how much more losing is going to happen in this city before spring training opens up down in Clearwater. And by the looks of's sports page I am not the only one. Hang in there Philly sports fan. Roy Halladay is a Phillie and the Eagles are heading back to the playoffs, possibly as NFC East division champions.

As for the winter teams? It can't get much worse, can it?


Gravy makes everything better

More gravy? Yes please!

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Club House. All opinions are 100% mine.

Christmas is just days away and many of you may be helping to cook some of the big family dinner. What kind of dishes will you be preparing? Some families do a surf and turf with a rich steak and shrimp or crab cakes. Maybe you stuff your face with some lasagna or a Christmas ham.

But the more traditional Christmas dinner is probably still a turkey, even though Thanksgiving is associated with the poultry meal. One thing is for sure though, if you are going to have turkey you must make sure to have a good gravy to go with it. Really, nothing can mess up a Christmas dinner than gravy with the same thickness as tap water. You could make your gravy from scratch or you could go to the grocery store and pick up a jar of pre-made gravy and stick it in the microwave to heat up.

One way you could go is with Club House Gravy. I have actually taken some time to look up some reviews for gravy because I do not want my mom to mess up the most important ingredient our dinner will have. After doing my research it seems that Club House Gravy s a safe bet with its dependable and consistent way of delivering a delicious flavor that I know I will enjoy. Surely everyone else will too.

Don't believe me? then watch this gravy tips video and see just how simple it can be! When you are finished watching that video go ahead and check out the newsletter sign-up and contest entry for your chance to win a gravy gift pack (that's right - a gravy gift pack!) and start organizing your recipes online.

My mouth is watering just thinking about all that gravy and the feast I am set to enjoy on Christmas day.

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I won the football pool

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It finally happened. I won the football pool. I generally win at least one week every season and with the football season winding down I was getting nervous. With my overall weekly victory in the pool I also close the gap between my dad and I a little bit more, making the head-to-head point comparison slightly more manageable, but I still need some luck in the final two weeks of the season.

My dad, as represented by the orange shaded bar in the graph to the right leads the way with 1,308 total points this season. My total, as indicated by the blue bar, is now 1,273 points. My total has been boosted by two straight weeks of 107 weekly points while my dad has recorded fewer than 90 points each of the last two weeks.

We could cut him some slack for going away on a cruise vacation, but he was still able to make his picks prior to leaving and apparently was able to check them while away, which would lead me to think he could have just as easily made any changes at any time, so there goes that excuse.

My dad's down fall each of the past two weeks has been seemingly forgetting about Thursday Night Football. He failed to record a pick in either week. I will take every advantage I can get!

Finally, here is an updated look at the weekly progression in the pool comparing my results with my dad and the weekly winning total compared to the winning differential between me and the winner.


Make it stop! Flyers lose again

The Flyers lost to the Florida Panthers at home. Getty Images

Panthers rough up flat Flyers - Sam Carchidi,
Easy prey: Panthers all over Flyers in 4-1 win - Tim Panaccio,
Powerless: In physical game, power play fails Flyers - Bill Clement,
Boucher hurt as Flyers lose again - Travis Hughes,
You solve the Flyers offense - Chris Shafer,

I think Sam Carchidi sums it up best...
Once upon a time, opponents used to fear facing the Flyers in South Philadelphia.
Not anymore.
They don't push teams around with any physicality. They don't score many goals. They don't win the special-teams battles.
Other than that, they look like Stanley Cup contenders.

Don't look now but the Flyers are the next to worst team in the Easter Conference. Scratch that. they are the next to worst team in the entire NHL. When will the organization realize that it is not the coach but the players?

But hey, at least they brought their fighting gloves last night, right?


Christmas carolers in the snow

Once the recent snow storm died down we had some carolers stop by to serenade us with some songs of the season. But watch out for that troublemaker by the bench!

Previously: The snow plow arrives 12.21.2009 | What snow storm? 12.19.2009


The snow plow arrives

Monday, December 21, 2009

We finally did get some snow over the weekend. And we were snowed in until this guy showed up.

Previously: What snow storm? 12.19.2009


Happy birthday Joe Paterno!

Examiner | Nittany White Out


Mario Monday - Merry Christmas!

Mario Monday returns in 2009!


What snow storm?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The picture below was taken at 8:35am looking right outside my front door.

This next photo was taken three hours later, at 11:33 pm...

...I realize that some of you may be getting buried in some white stuff, but as for me? I find it hard to believe I am supposed to be getting up to a foot of snow before all is said and done. If you can not tell in the second photo, it is not even snowing here right now.

UPDATE (2:08pm): Here is the latest picture, taken just moments ago...

UPDATE (4:01pm): Looks like the snow is finally picking up a little bit...

Previously: Snow Pumpkin 12.7.2009 | First snow of the season 12.5.2009


Linus & Lucy

Who doesn't know and love the "Linus and Lucy Theme"? It is a piano classic and should be in every jazz pianist's repertoire. To many the song is associated with Christmas, as it should be. the song was made famous with the release of the original Peanuts Christmas special...

However I will always associate the song first and foremost with the classic Halloween special. "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" opens with the Van Pelt siblings bringing home a gigantic pumpkin, which Lucy ultimately scars brother Linus with by "killing it." the song played of course is the "Linus and Lucy Theme".

The entire opening is classic and to me is on par with any spot in the original Christmas special. But growing up I watched a VHS that was full of Peanuts cartoons and I would watch them at any time of the year. I have watched the Halloween special countless times and have grown to associate the "Linus and Lucy Theme" with this scene in the Halloween special.

I know I am in the minority when it comes to linking the song to Halloween, and I am fine with it. Which holiday do you associate the song with? I imagine the answer is Christmas.


Free Blockbuster coupons

Friday, December 18, 2009

I got these for responding to a survey from Blockbuster but the chances of me using them are extremely unlikely. And be warned, I am not sure if these are one time use coupons or not. But I figured that if there is somebody who can use them then it would be better than letting them go to waste.

So if they are one time use, consider these first come first serve and take your chances at the Blockbuster counter. If they are not one time use, then consider it a holiday gift from me.


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