Knowing is Half the Battle

Friday, July 31, 2009

For you G.I. Joe fans, a pie chart sure to satisfy!

Available in t-shirt form here. A tip of the hat to BagofNothing.


Gone Campin'

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Today I embark on something I have never truly done before. I am going to spend the next few days camping.

I won't be camping in a tent in the mountains but in a camper by the beaches of Delaware, but still it is something I have never done before. So no blogging activity from me until I return, and I'm sure I will have a bunch of things to update you on and share with you.

So have a good weekend everybody!


Penn State Day on Big Ten Network and Ramblings

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Today is Penn State day on the Big Ten Network as the conference's home network will air some classic Penn State games (not just football) as the bulk of their schedule today. Here is a quick preview for today's lineup, courtesy of [link];

- 9:00 a.m. - Penn State's 13-6 win at Ohio State during the 2008 football season;

- 3:00 p.m. - The Nittany Lions' win over No. 1 Georgia in the 1983 Sugar Bowl to capture their first national championship;

- 7:00 p.m. - The Nittany Lion basketball team's thrilling 65-63 win over No. 2 Michigan State in the 2001 Big Ten Tournament;

- 10:00 p.m. - Penn State's 37-30 gridiron victory over Boston College and quarterback Doug Flutie in 1984.

That's nice but if you were fortunate enough to have caught the previous Penn State day of programming, which I believe was on Father's Day, then you already saw these great moments. So to vary the viewing options a little bit I am going to have my own Penn State day here and over at Nittany White Out.


2006 Orange Bowl: Penn State vs. Florida State

1981: #9 Penn State at #1 Pitt

For more Penn State YouTubery, check out today's quick post over at


Phillies and Penn State Atlanta

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I saw the highlights this morning of the Atlanta Braves beat down of the San Francisco Giants. As a Phillies fan I naturally had an interest in this game because the Braves are now in second place behind the Phillies and the Giants look like they could be a possible NLDS opponent for the Phillies in October.

I also like checking up on former Phillie Aaron Rowand, who plays center field for the Giants now. Last night Rowand came close to robbing Chipper Jones of a third inning home run but came up just short. It was a valiant effort of course, but I had to do a double take when I saw the highlight.

No, not to see how close Rowand was, but to check out this random fan who also tried to grab the home run ball...

Do you see what I see? Perhaps a closer look...

Yep, the fan who tried to grab the home run was sporting a Phillies hat and a Happy Valley t-shirt, which I would assume would be because he is a Penn State fan (or according to EA Sports' NCAA Football 2010, a Pitt fan).

Kudos to this fan for representing my two favorite teams at a ball game that has nothing to do with either. Full disclosure time. I tend to criticize fans that wear hats or jerseys of teams that have nothing to do with the game they are attending, even Jack Nicholson who last night wore a Yankees hat to the Phillies-Cubs game.

Still, both examples above are better than wearing a Phillies World Series championship t-shirt AND a Cubs hat to last night's Phillies-Cubs game, which a fan behind the Cubs dug-out did.


Mario Monday - Super Mario All Stars

Monday, July 20, 2009

Today Mario Monday sort of takes a moment to reflect in essence as the featured game is Super Mario All Stars for the Super Nintendo.

When Super Mario All Stars is a compilation cartridge of the original Super Mario games on the NES. Each classic had been given a face lift for their 16-bit debut but the basic game play was faithfully restored. All of the game physics, characters and abilities, enemies and secrets were the same, but the enhanced visuals and sound track gave the games a fresh feel.

The games included are:

Why else would somebody who had mastered Super Mario Brothers 3 want to pick up and play All Stars? For North America the answer was easy; to get their hands on the real Super Mario Brothers 2.

Until the release of Super Mario All Stars gamers in North America had only read about the controversy behind Super Mario Brothers 2, and only a small handful of images from the game had been shown on this side of the Pacific Ocean. Finally though Nintendo fans could dive into the one player Super Mario Brothers: The Lost Levels, given that name on the All Stars pack.

But even without the Lost Levels many Mario experts would have picked up this game. While the games were essentially the same the SNES upgrades also featured a battery back up, allowing gamers to save their progress in the middle of a game. This came in handy when playing such a large game like Super Mario Brothers 3. If you were like me you would typically leave the NES on while you had to go eat dinner, or you had to go run errands with your parents, and would pick up where you left off when you returned home. Not anymore! With the battery saving technique you could save your progress at any time, including your saved warp whistles and hammer brothers suits, turn the system off and avoid fire hazards and increased electricity bills. You could say Super Mario All Stars was an investment for the bill payer!

Let's take a look at the comparison between the original NES versions of the games and their SNES upgrades.

Super Mario Brothers

Super Mario Brothers 2

Super Mario Brothers 3

While most of the general game play in these games was true to its original games, many glitches were removed. Most notable among the bug fixes was the removal of the Minus level in the original Super Mario Brothers.

If you are looking for this game on the Wii's Virtual Console, you can likely forget about it. Nintendo has no plans to release this game as each game, in its original form, is already available for download on the service.


Continental Midtown

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Last weekend Stef and I met up with Sarah and a group of people to celebrate Sarah's birthday and to properly celebrate her leaving for California for a year. For the occasion we all gathered at Continental Midtown in Philadelphia.

Located at the corner of Chestnut and 18th Street Continental offers both a relaxing open roof top bar atmosphere and a family style dining experience below. For dinner you are treated to a community style meal as each person can pick something off the menu and everyone picks from the plate what they want to eat, similar to Buco Di Beppo.

The food is not priced too badly but the variety of the food could be better. I recommend the Grilled Thai Chicken Skewers and the shoe string fries.

As for drinks be sure to ask the bar tender or the waitress for the beer of the month. That's what I did and I wound up sipping down a Victory Beer Golden Monkey (pictured). I chose the Victory brew because earlier that day Victory did a Follow Friday of me earlier in the day. I figured I owed them. In the end I came away with a fond appreciation for the Golden Monkey.

For dessert I recommend the peanut butter cake, but you may get a kick out of the cotton candy.

Use the map below to get directions to Continental. If you get lost just look for the building with the big olive on the corner. You can't miss it.

View Larger Map


Healthy Cereal?

On a recent grocery shopping trip Stef noticed this new box for Cocoa Krispies. We both thought it was humorous how big the yellow banner proclaimed that Cocoa Krispies, essentially Rice Krispies made with chocolate, really helps build your child's immunity.

There is just something funny about a chocolate cereal advertising their healthy side that makes me smile. What do you think?


Triumph Brewing Company

Saturday, July 18, 2009

On July 4th Sarah, Stef and I ate dinner at Triumph Brewing Company in Philadelphia. Located on Chestnut Street Triumph is within walking distance of Penn's Landing. We sat outside and had a very enjoyable experience. There was no wait time and we didn't wait too long for our food.

The food was delicious. I ordered the Cuban sandwich (pictured above with fries on the side) and I feel it was the best Cuban sandwich I have ever set my taste buds on. The food was fairly priced as well.

Click here for the Philadelphia dinner menu.

Of course Triumph is a brewing company so expect the bar to be well stocked. Triumph has a variety of beers on hand and they also have their own home brew available. I did not partake in that option though so if anybody has feel free to leave your feedback in the comments section.

Triumph has three locations, with one in Princeton, New Jersey and another in New Hope, Pennsylvania. Use the map below to find the Philadelphia location.


Vandolizm FAIL

If you do, for whatever reason, feel a need to vandalize a sign in the bathroom of a store, at least go about it by spelling correctly, would you? I already think you are stupid. Now I think you can't spell too.

Vandalism is not cool!


My #followfriday Recap

Friday, July 17, 2009

For those of you following me on Twitter you may (or may not have!) noticed that I flooded your stream with a number of suggestions for Follow Friday (#followfriday). I want to apologize but also want to provide you with a master list of sorts of my Follow Friday activity, in case you missed any today.

For those of you not familiar with Follow Friday on Twitter allow me to explain. Many Twitter users have started to designate a different topic for each day of the week. The most famous is Follow Friday, when users share their recommendations for who others should be following. Another example is Music Monday, when users share their favorite songs or artists with others.

Rather than just share Twitter handles for everyone to look up themselves, I like to try and personalize my Follow Friday tweets. I prefer to give people my reasoning for following somebody. For example, I like to tell people that these people are great Phillies bloggers, or these people make funny videos, or this person is my favorite comedian. Many people are more lazy than I am for Follow Friday and will send out a generic tweet that looks like this. Even worse is when somebody just re-tweets a Follow Friday, like this.

I believe that proper Twitter etiquette requires more information. To recap my tweets from Follow Friday I have broken them down by category.

Phillies Blogs

Phillies beat reporters
Philadelphia Athletes (Current and Former)
Penn State Bloggers
Official Penn State football related
Unofficial, and funny, Penn State football related
Video Game Related
And one random Follow Friday (I pick someone I follow at random)
  • @flocker - Official Twitter for my personal browser of choice, Flock

That pretty much sums up my Follow Friday activity from this morning. Stay tuned next week for my next edition of Follow Friday! Who knows, maybe I'll even mention you! Of course, you can follow me on Twitter as well.


Emmy Nominations Announced

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Want to know why I love Twitter? It gets me my news in the most convenient way for me. Had it not been for Twitter I likely would have had to wait until I watched the six 0'clock news to learn that the nominations for the Emmys were announced today. Instead the nominees were placed right in front of me (because I follow the right people I suppose). And guess what; I didn't even know they were being unveiled today!

My personal favorite television blogger, Caitlin Heaney of The Evening Sun (full disclosure: also a personal friend) has your entire list of the nominees, but I wanted to touch on a couple of my favorites and make some early predictions.

Drama Series: Mad Men

Mad Men is a show that everyone should be watching on AMC. Do yourself a favor and rent season one of the show on Netflix or at Blockbuster and get caught up (season two was just released this week as well). Jon Hamm plays the role Don Draper, a master of the advertising business who battles the ability to combine his business success with having a healthy family relationship. Mad Men won the Emmy for this category a year ago and should be a favorite to win it again.

AMC strikes gold though by having another high quality drama series that is up for the nomination.

Breaking Bad is a drama on AMC about a high school science teacher who has learned he only has so long to live and has a child on the way and a teenage son with a handicap. Desperate not to leave his family behind in a poor economic situation he teams up with a former student to make and sell crystal meth in secret. Sometimes episodes of Breaking Bad can drag on a little too much, but usually the next episode picks it up a bit. I was skeptical of this show in the beginning but Bryan Cranston (most famous for his role on Malcolm in the Middle) is incredible, evidenced by his Emmy for the leading role in Breaking Bad last year and his nomination for this year.

Comedy Series: 30 Rock

This is generally my favorite category when it comes to the Emmys because I tend to watch more shows from this genre than most others (Phillies baseball never seems to be nominated, oh wait) and I have been saying for a few years now that 30 Rock, if I had to choose, is my favorite show on television. My response before that would have been How I Met Your Mother (which is also nominated) but 30 Rock's cast and writing gels in ways few shows can.

How I Met Your Mother is actually receiving its first nomination for this category, which is surprising to me because I feel that the show definitely has tailed off recently. Neil Patrick Harris remains the best character on the show but his love storyline with the character of Robin has taken away some of the comedy from the role of Barney Stinson.

Perhaps as some time goes by I will touch on a couple other favorites for the award, but I'll hold off until closer to Emmy time.

The 61st Primetime Emmy Awards will air Sunday September 20, 2009 at 8pm on CBS live from the NOKIA Theater in Los Angeles.


Name Your Philadelphia Sports Media

How many of these sports reporters, from yesterday's Pedro Martinez press conference with the Phillies, can you name?

Click here for a larger version.

Honestly I can only name two, and Pedro Martinez (in the red hat) does not count.


This Should Be Fun to Watch

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Phillies stole the baseball headlines today by inking veteran free agent pitcher Pedro Martinez to a contract for the rest of the season worth $1 million, with $1.5 million in incentives.

Whether or not Martinez throws well for the Phillies from his first start to the end of the season remains to be seen, but it will be fun to watch his progress (and hear his thoughts) along the way.

Martinez starts his Phillies career on the 15 day DL, but that is more of a procedural move to get him some "rehab" starts in the minor league system.

I have grown to be a fan of this move and am anxious to see the Martinez Experiment develop into a possible success.


950 ESPN has Phillies Poll All Wrong

Choosing between the two is like asking which child is your favorite. You love them both and would never want to place one above the other. But 950 ESPN is asking you to do just that with a poll this week on their website.

Each week the Philadelphia sports radio station is polling listeners asking for their input on the best athlete for each of the Philadelphia teams, culminating with a poll pitting the best of the best between each other to determine the best Philadelphia athlete over the last 50 years. Wilt Chamberlain won the vote for the best Sixer over the last 50 years and this week they are looking for the best Phillies player over the last 50 years.

Your options are Richie Ashburn, Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, Robin Roberts, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley.

I have some issues with this poll right from the start but the fans at least are showing that this really is just a two man race; Carlton at the moment has 57% of the votes and Schmidt has 35% of the votes. Chase Utley is in a distant third with 3% of the votes, Ashburn behind him with 2%.

Let me get the most annoying part off my chest; Richie Ashburn does not deserve to be on this poll. Seriously. Ashburn is one of the best players in franchise history, but judging by the foundation for the poll and the restriction of the last 50 years should eliminate Ashburn from discussion.

Ashburn did play the 1959 season with the Phillies, so he does fall under the 50 year guideline, but the 1959 season was Ashburn's worst with the Phillies. His 20 runs batted in were the worst of his Phillies tenure, and his nine stolen bases were tied for a low with the Phillies. His .266 batting average also ranks at the bottom for his Phillies career. Want more? With 150 hits Ashburn had his worst season as a Phillie in 1959.

What I am trying to say is that Ashburn not only is not the best Phillie in the last 50 years, but to have him on the poll is a crime. Now what about Robin Roberts?

Roberts is one of the best pitchers in Phillies franchise history, evidenced by his retired number. With no disrespect intended for the Hall of Famer, Roberts also does not belong on this list, going with the guideline of the last 50 years.

Roberts played for the Phillies between 1948 and 1961, but for the purposes of this poll I only take into account his 1959-1961 seasons.

In those three seasons Roberts went 28-43, including 1-10 in 1961, failing to record a winning season in each of those three seasons. He also suffered the worst three seasons in regards to ERA while with the Phillies and he only finished five games (after finishing an average of 21.6 games each season from 1948 to 1958).

So what am I saying here?

If 950 ESPN is going to do this poll they should at least put some research and thought into their poll selections. Carlton or Schmidt should win this poll no matter what players they are up against, but at least give the correct options.

The two players who should be on this poll before Ashburn and Roberts are Jimmy Rollins and Curt Schilling.

Rollins has put together 150+ hit seasons from 2001 to last season, lead the team in triples four times, put together an MVP season, stolen 311 bases, scored 896 runs, recorded over 1,500 hits and picked up a pair of Gold Glove awards.

Schilling put together 95 wins in Phillies pin stripes and was the ace of the 1993 World Series runners up. The three time Phillies all star pitched fifteen complete games in 1998 when the Phillies were 75-87. In today's age that is almost as close to Carlton's 27 win 1972 season as you can get.

Now my final riff. This one is with the voters who are creating a landslide for Carlton over Schmidt. Again, Carlton and Schmidt are unquestionably two of the best players in franchise history so choosing either one of them makes sense just about any way you pose the question.

But Schmidt is the best third baseman of all time. Again; of all time.

The vote should be in favor of Schmidt because as good as Carlton was, not even he is a landslide to be named the best pitcher, or maybe even left handed pitcher, of all time. To vote against someone who is unanimously recognized as the epitome of a position is just ludicrous.

Schmidt is a ten time Gold Glove winner, though some may beg to differ, a twelve time All Star selection, six time Silver Slugger winner, three time NL MVP, and a World Series MVP. Yes, Carlton has four NL Cy Young Awards but Schmidt clearly had more competition for the MVP award. Schmidt also played every day at one of the toughest positions in the field.

Be smart people. Vote Schmidt.


Mario Marathon Raises Over $28,000

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Over the weekend, and extending into this morning, a few guys from Indiana set out to raise money for Child's Play Charity which collects donations for toys, games and books and more for sick children in hospitals. Three guys dedicated their time to pulling off their second Mario Marathon and raised $28,684.01 for the cause.

The games the team played were Super Mario Brothers, Super Mario Brothers 2, Super Mario Brothers 3, Super Mario World, Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy. The goal was not to just beat the game, but to master each game. That meant beating each stage in each game, unlocking all of the secrets in the more recent games and checking things off of their complete to-do list.

I had the window open in my browser throughout the weekend after Stef saw that the marathon was trending in Twitter. I did not watch even a quarter of the live streaming video but enjoyed checking up on it periodically to watch the progress in the games as well as the donation totals rising.

Here's hoping that if they try this again next year that they add in some Super Mario Kart or Super Mario Land. By then though there should be two new Mario games available on the Wii so who knows what will be in store.


Mario Monday - Mario Paint

Monday, July 13, 2009

This week we return to the normal Mario Monday feature with a look at a game that is not exactly a game, but a creative tool. The Super Nintendo was one of the greatest video game systems, and Mario Paint was probably one of the more innovative ideas on the system.

As someone who spent many hours in my younger days both playing Mario games and drawing lots of things like the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, original game level designs and mazes, imaginary super heroes and more, Mario Paint, I feel was made just for me.

In 1992 when Mario Paint was released I was already finding myself playing around with MS Paint, packaged with Microsoft Windows, but wishing there was a more fun way aside from Kid Pix, which was starting to be outgrown by me.

Mario Paint took the fun of Kid Pix, mixed in some Nintendo flavor and added some entertaining features like music composition, animation, and an addictive game.

Mario Paint allows the creative gamers to draw whatever they want using tools like a pencil, paint brush, or rubber stamps. Aspiring artists can use a slate of Mario influenced sprites that are available to use as well as create their own stamps. Mario Paint was so detailed one could actually recreate an exact scene from a classic NES title, and some SNES titles.

One of the most popular parts of Mario Paint was probably the music composer, which gave the musically inclined a number of different icons that represented different musical instruments. While the notation was limited to the key of C and just sixteen bars of 4/4 time if you were creative enough and edited your pieces just right you could recreate some famous works of art.

Here is one compilation of music from Super Mario Brothers 3 using Mario Paint's music mode...

Here is another piece inspired by the character select screen in Super Mario Brothers 2...

Evidence that the music feature of Mario Paint was the best part comes in the form of Mario Paint Composer, a piece of software the takes the guidelines of the original music feature and expands on it greatly. This program is the music editor of choice for expert Mario Paint musicians, as the program provides an expanded instrument selection and allows the composer to utilize sharps and flats.

Here is one example of a remixed song using Mario Paint Composer...

Using the animation feature opened up a new realm of creativity, bringing all of the features of Mario Paint together. The animation mode allowed gamers to combine their illustrated backgrounds, customized music, and four, six, or nine frames of animation in one piece. Or if you wanted to mix things and edit things on your own, you could put together a real masterpiece...

Another shining example of how with enough creativity Mario Paint can really open the doors for you is Homestar Runner. Did you know that the very first Homestar Runner cartoon, which has gained a cult following on the internet, was animated through Mario Paint? As Homestar himself might say, "It's true."

Of course, to use Mario Paint Nintendo fans had to use the innovative SNES Mouse, which came packaged with the game along with a sturdy mouse pad. Much like Windows came with Solitaire and Minesweeper as a way to get people familiar with the computer mouse, Mario Paint came with an addictive game that pushed your mouse moving and clicking to expert levels; Gnat Attack.

In this game the player uses a fly swatter to rid the screen of an onslaught of insects and flying bombs. At the end of each stage is a show down with Watinga, a giant robotic insect set to destroy your fly swatter.

It is no secret that Mario Paint is one of my favorite games on the Super NES, although it is hard to consider this a true game on many levels. Regardless, the dream of one day being able to dive into an updated version on the Nintendo Wii, which would have so many possibilities at this point, remains just that; a dream.

What are your thoughts on Mario Paint? Were you as big a fan of this game as I was or did you quickly find yourself bored with this and inserting your copy of Pilotwings or F-Zero back into your Super NES? Go ahead and share your thoughts in the comment section.


Phillies, All Stars, Fireworks - Oh My!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Over the weekend Stef and I met my family at Citizens Bank Park for a Phillies-Pirates game and fireworks afterward. We sat in a section with the Penn State Chester County Alumni Association and saw the Phillies knock off the woeful Pirates.

Joe Blanton was awesome and Brad Lidge recorded the save in a 3-2 victory. All three runs were manufactured by the all stars on the Phillies lineup, with Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth putting together the rally. Raul Ibanez did not play in the game.

Below is a slide show of the pictures from before the game, with Greg Dobbs doing a pre-game show interview on the concourse, through the end of the fireworks.

Click here to view the Picasa album.


Five Eagles to Watch at Training Camp

Thursday, July 09, 2009

With training camp just a few mere weeks away up in Lehigh it is time to get the juices flowing. So the time to start thinking about which players you are most interested in seeing is now. Below are the five Eagles that I am most looking forward to watching when camp starts.

LeSean McCoy, running back

With the uncertain status of Brian Westbrook as camp draws near, the rookie McCoy figures to see a lot more playing time in camp and in the pre-season. What McCoy brings to the table is a swift running back with the ability to dodge tackles and find the end zone. A stand out at Pitt, McCoy can do a lot of the same types of things that Westbrook can do. If Westbrook should go down at any point then McCoy could be the first back up, as he should be.

Leonard Weaver, fullback

It has been a long time since the last time the Eagles had a full fledged fullback that brings the kind of game that Weaver is expected to have. If Eagles fans had been clamoring for a return to a physical game, the acquisition of Weaver may be a sign of good things to come.

The 6'-0" 250 pound fullback will not only provide some quality blocking in the backfield for Donovan McNabb, but he can also pound out some much needed short yardage.

Victor Abiamiri, defensive end

Call it a gut feeling, but I think that Abiamiri may have as quiet a break out season as there is. Entering his third season Abiamiri finds himself sitting behind Juqua Parker at left defensive end as training camp opens up. But a good pre-season could help him see more time in the rotation at the position. The former second round pick out of Notre Dame recorded just 22 tackles in 2008, but I have high hopes for him this season.

Omar Gaither, linebacker

When camp commences at Lehigh the logic seems to be that Gaither will remain second at his position behind Akeem Jordan. I am hoping that means that Gaither comes in motivated and fired up to retake the starting job. Will he do it? Only time will tell.

If Gaither comes in poised to prove he is worthy of being a starter though it should make for an interesting training camp battle in the hot days of summer. I expect that to result in some good hard hits from the linebackers.

Donovan McNabb, quarterback

Perhaps this is a cop-out but with the events of the off-season I am expecting McNabb to come out with a new enthusiasm for the game. After losing in the NFC Championship game McNabb made it clear that he wanted the team to make some significant moves.

The Eagles did just that in replacing aging veterans on the offensive line with a Pro-Bowl caliber lineman and a massive body on the other side. In the draft the Eagles picked up McCoy and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. While Maclin may not be ready to make an immediate impact out of the huddle, he can spark things with a good kick return. Add in the return of Westbrook and the steady crop of receivers, including flashy DeSean Jackson, and there are reasons to be optimistic and excited.

There you have it, the five Eagles players I am most looking forward to checking out at training camp. Who are your five players on your must-see list? Go ahead and leave your thoughts in the comments field.


12:34:56 7/8/09

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Did you realize that today was the only time this millennium that the exact time would look as if it was learning to count to ten?

At 12:34 (and 56 seconds) on today, July eighth (7/8/09) the exact time was a running string of consecutive numbers. I guess this was not a big deal for those of you in Europe though where the day is typically placed in front of the month in a time stamp.

It's not exactly as big as 7/7/07 (one of my personal favorite days), but it is pretty neat!

If you missed it either time today (not using a 24 hour clock of course), you'll just have to hold on until the next time it happens, in the year 3009.


July 4th Fireworks Video

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

To celebrate the birth of the greatest country in the world Stef and I headed down to city where it all began (Philadelphia) with Sarah to eat unlimited amounts of ice cream (more on that later), have a nice dinner (more on that later as well), and take in the concert and fireworks on the Ben Franklin Parkway.

Today I'll share a video-photo montage of pictures of the fireworks. Enjoy! More on the ice cream tomorrow, and the great meal I had Thursday. On Friday I'll share an interesting tale about people who claimed their spot for the concert four hours in advance.


Mario Monday Is STILL On Vacation

Monday, July 06, 2009

Mario Monday is on break for one more week. Instead check out this latest offering from the Angry Video Game Nerd, as he discusses a pair of educational Mario games.


Why Victorino? Here's Why!

Shane Victorino, the feisty and gritty center fielder for the Phillies, is among the nominees for the National League's final roster spot for the 2009 All Star game. His competition is Cristian Guzman of the Nationals, Matt Kemp of the Dodgers, Mark Reynolds of the Diamondbacks, and Pablo Sandoval of the Giants.

So how does Victorino stand up against the other nominees?

At first glance it may appear that Reynolds could be a favorite based on his power numbers, but Victorino holds his own and should be the winner of the final vote.

Let's look at Victorino's numbers...

Right off the bat, hitting for a .300 average is nothing to be upset about. What the stats don't tell you above is that Victorino has the fewest strike outs (39) than any of his competition, yet has the most at bats (320), meaning Victorino strikes out 12% of the time. His competition?

  • Reynolds strikes out 36.9% of the time (111 SO in 301 AB)
  • Kemp strikes out 24.5% of the time (74 SO in 302 AB)
  • Sandoval strikes out 15.4% of the time (43 SO in 279 AB)
  • Guzman strikes out 14.5% of the time (42 SO in 289 AB)
Throw in the fact that Victorino has the second most walks (32) among the Final Vote candidates and it may turn some heads. Only Reynolds has been given a free base more times with 38.

Victorino, with five home runs, is second from the bottom in that category, but every body knows that power is not his game. Still though that could detract some votes for fans who look for home runs. What Victorino does offer that no other candidate can is Gold Glove caliber defense. Victorino picked up his first career Gold Glove award for his play in center field.

If your team is looking for a clutch double play then you better hope that Victorino is not the batter. Victorino has hit into just two double plays this season, fewest among his final vote candidates. Victorino's two double plays are half as many as the next fewest (four for Sandoval). To be fair though, batting second behind a struggling Jimmy Rollins has vastly limited Victorino's opportunities to hit into double plays this season.

On the flip side though you have to wonder how Victorino's RBIs would look if Rollins was on track from the start of the season. Victorino has 31 extra base hits, and if Rollins had his offensive game in check you would have to imagine that Victorino's RBI numbers would increase to a certain level. With 35 RBIs in the second spot in the lineup you could expect his total to raise by at least ten runs if Rollins was getting on base from the start of the season in the lead off spot.

There are some good arguments for a few of the Final Vote candidates on the National League squad, but the favorite should be Victorino. Don't forget to cast your vote(s) for Victorino by using the widget in the right side bar of the site!


The Elizabethan Gardens

Friday, July 03, 2009

On our second full day in North Carolina we took a drive down to the Outer Banks, did some outlet shopping, and then continued to travel to Fort Raleigh National Historic Park. Unfortunately for me it was not exactly what I had in mind from a previous family vacation, but we came across The Elizabethan Gardens.

Before smashing our camera, rendering the lens to make images blurry, I took some snapshots of the plant life. Here is a video of the photos we did get before the camera went bust.

Stay tuned for more photos coming up. If you can't wait, then click here to check out the entire 2009 North Carolina photo album.

Planning a trip to the Outer Banks? If you are interested in driving to these gardens for a stop, check the Google map below to get directions.


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