Posted in Uncategorized

Wedge vs Slice

“Wedge” VS “Slice”.
It’s an age old question.
A debate that has caused scholars many a sleepless night and bartenders hours of frustration.
Though I normally try to avoid such hot button controversial topics such as this, I believe it to be my civic duty to impose my opinion on this very important subject.
So let us now delve into the controversial world of,
“ Wedge” vs “Slice”.

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You go to a bar or restaurant and order ice tea or a vodka club. Very different refreshments but they share a unique characteristic, a lemon or lime. Sometimes they come as a wedge, sometimes they come as a slice.

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Slices are for eating. If you get a slice of orange on your Blue Moon, that’s okay, because slices are for eating.
But who wants to eat a slice of lemon or lime?

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Lemons and limes are for squeezing into drinks.

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I challenge everyone to attempt to squeeze a slice then you too can feel our immense frustration.

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So, I implore all of you in the world who have the monumental responsibility of making the decision of whether to slice or wedge your fruit, allow us the opportunity to get a good squeeze without getting sticky fingers, and citrus in our eyes.

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Wedging is actually easier to do. It decreases the incident of cut fingers and temporary blindness as well as being more aesthetically pleasing to look at.
So people, go out into your local bars, restaurants, friends homes, your own kitchen and demand wedges for squeezing, and slices for eating.

 

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Posted in Travel

Lovin’ New York

 

There is so much to do and see while in New York. Even 7 days in the city flew by with us wishing we had more time.

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Here are a few fun things to do while in New York.

Greenwich Village Le Poisson Rouge has great food, good drinks.

5641512B-9C7B-43A6-9B88-D6CBC2885C0EThe night Thor and Friends was the featured band.

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We enjoyed their unique sound and haunting melodies that kept the audience mesmerized.

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Greenwich Village has a whole different vibe getting off the subway felt like stepping back into time to the late sixties.

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Great music, fun people and delicious pizza are what you will find in The Village.

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Museum of Natural Science –

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Our visit turned into a Night at The Museum scavenger hunt.

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We found a few of the displays from the movie such as Tiki Head.

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Don got to sit with Teddy Roosevelt for a chat about the great out doors.

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When you go to this museum or the Metropolitan Museum of Art they have suggested prices listed outside, but you only have to pay what you can afford.

Radio City Music Hall Tour –

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This 75 minute tour takes you on an incredible backstage tour that includes seeing costumes

meeting with a Rockette.

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Hearing the history of the building and those who built it.


From the incredible bathrooms to the apartment built for the former manager in the 1920’s.

This our was well worth the $26.00 price tag and kept us inside warm and dry.

Be sure to ask to hear the story of why the elephant had to climb the stairs.

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Our tour guide Joyce was fun and knowledgeable and made us feel as if we were living the experience.

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Hamilton An American Musical –

So we saw his portrait at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and his grave at Trinity Church. But I wanted Don to have the chance to see the show that he so generously had sent all of us to.

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So we walked over to the Rogers Theater and asked again if they had tickets.

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This time the answer was not only YES but they were tickets in the 9th row and for face value.

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The Broadway show was fabulous, and the theater is beautiful.


Later we found out theaters have occasional cancellations and sometimes have tickets at the door. Don’t go to New York and count on getting tickets to your favorite show, but know it is a possible option.

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Central Park Carriage Rides – You can book a carriage ride on line and there are a variety of prices. The average price is about $150.00 on line for an hour.

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We found that just going up to the park that the drivers will offer you a pretty good deal for much less if they are having a quiet night or day.

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Our driver Ishmael and his horse Scooby gave us a lovely moonlit tour of the park, pointing out several landmarks during our ride.

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Church –

There is no shortage of churches in the area. But St. Patricks Cathedral on 5th Avenue is a true experience.

They offer many times for Mass throughout the day so many that as we were leaving one Mass they were starting the next one.

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Of course while in New York, we had to visit Fox News.

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Just to give Don the feeling we had taken him to The Mother Ship.

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We even had a Homer Simpson spotting.

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New York is a unique beautiful city, whether your cheering on the runners for The New York City Marathon.

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looking for fun photo ops

or just traveling the subway

there is always something fun to see no matter how often we visit.

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Posted in Uncategorized

A Sleepy Hollow Halloween

Near the shores of the Hudson River, in The Shadow of The Tappan Zee Bridge lies a small village in the state of New York. “Named Sleepy Hollow in The olden days as it was very quiet and made people sleepy”.

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In 1820 Washington Irving immortalized this town when he wrote “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. In modern times this quiet little village wakes in October to celebrate The Headless Horseman and the Havoc he wreaked on the imaginations of the townsfolk and Ichabod Crane.9DD12E35-C398-4D31-80AA-9D31AF9D97E6
When my cousin pointed out the town to me on a recent road trip, I thought what a perfect place to visit for Halloween. And I was not disappointed.

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Every street lamp, store front

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and street celebrates this haunting season,

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even the fire department gets into “the spirit”.

There is a huge haunted house on the property of Philipsburg Manor, that turns into the Horseman’s Hallow for the month of October.

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This very spooky haunted house is not for the faint of heart as you never know what might jump out at you around each corner.

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The Sleepy Hollow Cemetery hosts several tours.

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We took the evening lantern tour on Halloween night.

Our host Sandy fascinated us with tales of many of the residence who have chosen Sleepy Hollow as their final resting place.

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This beautiful garden cemetery is now eternal home to the remains of Andrew Carnegie,

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Frances Church

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The Rockefeller’s

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and of course Washington Irving.

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I was surprised at how peaceful and beautiful this cemetery was.

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From the “high rent districts”

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where the opulent mausoleum’s line up like homes in a cull de sac

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to the simple graves

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memorializing loved ones taken too soon,

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whose lives touched others and will always be loved and remembered.

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And a touch of macabre where Barnabas Collins from dark show gets a nod, because after all, this is Sleepy Hollow.


But there was no sign of the Headless Horseman on that Halloween Night

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nor did we have any Ichabod Crane sightings, not even a faint whisper of one of the church psalms he would sing when frightened.

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The simple Grave of Washington Irving is appropriately decorated by lit pumpkin that reminds us of the spooky, spirited tale that made this location famous.

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If your interested in a permanent home here (when the time comes) this is a “living” active cemetery where one can still find a plot for your final rest.

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There is so much to see in Sleepy Hollow and neighboring Tarrytown that three days hardly seemed sufficient.

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Because we were there during the week many places were closed.

The Bridge that Ichabod Crane ran for his life to still stands in town

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out side the Sleepy Hollow Cemetary, do not slip as you cross lest you become victim to the Headless Horseman.

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The magnificent Lyndhurst Castle on the banks of The Hudson

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was closed for tours

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but we were able to drive around the grounds

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and see the ghosts

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scarecrows

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And  witches

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That were still playing on the grounds, even after Halloween had passed.

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The Philipsburg Manor when not be used as a haunted house, sits peacefully on the water as a beautiful memory of times when Sleepy Hollow was sleepy.

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The Rockefeller State Preserve is just out of town and offers 55 miles of paths to hike.

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The Sleepy Hollow Lighthouse was closed when we visited.

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There is new construction in the surrounding area

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but we were able to get close enough to take a few pictures.

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Patriot Park stands in the middle of Tarrytown and is a place to take a peaceful walk or picnic.

Near Ossinger there is a river walk where you can stroll down the banks of The Hudson and watch the sunset.

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Lots to do and see in the quaint little area as we drove away.   How will we ever out do this Halloween?   Hmmmm 2018 Salem perhaps?

 

 

Posted in Travel

The Stanley Hotel & My Future Nightmares

I hate scary movies. If I watch them I dwell on them and will have nightmares about them for years to come.
But something about visiting The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado fascinated me.

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So on a cold, moonless evening in September, Don and I drove though the pouring rain to make a visit to see if we could catch a glimpse of the ghosts that haunt the Stanley Hotel

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We walked through the infamous hedge maze, but the scariest thing we found were a few puddles that we had to jump over.

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I felt like we were in a scene from “This is Spinal Tap” as the hedges were only 2 feet tall, they came to our knees but to the children running through them they must have seemed like a dark scary forest.

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At the statue of F. O. Stanley, he stood before us smiling with his violin in hand, no spooky glares or words of warning before we entered the hotel.

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We walked up the steps to the beautiful lobby where the antique piano sat silently waiting to be played.

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We wondered if spirits gathered around late at night and played mystical melodies while dancing by the firelight in the dimly lit lobby.

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Behind the front desk stood a nice young man who was the keeper of the keys.

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Skeleton keys! Was his smile deceiving us, once the guests the guests were in their rooms would guest never be heard from again?

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Especially those staying in room 237 (or maybe it was 217)!

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The beautiful staircase stood empty with pictures of past owners but no twin girls standing in the hallway beckoning us to join them.

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In the basement stood an empty dollhouse, there was no activity to be seen on this night, but one could only imagine lights moving inside the windows and the doors creaking opening slowly.

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If you had any doubts about the paranormal activity you could make an appointment with the resident psychic Madame Vera who keeps her office in the basement.

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Outside and inside there stood parked vintage cars waiting to take the hotels spirits on adventures to exciting places.

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From the windows you could almost imagine Stephen King sitting at a desk and conjuring up his next story.
Though I have never seen The Shining movie nor mini series, the story has such recognizable scenes and characters that even a person like me,who shies away from scary stories knows the history.

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Though Stephen King wrote The Shining based on this hotel, Stanley Kubrick took creative license and chose not to use it as the set of the movie.

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In later years, as though they were hoping to erase the haunting stigma of the Stanley, the film makers of Dumb and Dumber used it as one of its locations.

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As we drive away from Estes on a dark, stormy night, I am feeling as though I can more relate to the title of the later film. For how dumb could I be to go see a hotel that I know will give me nightmares just at the thought of it for months to come.
No more knives for Don for fear I will come home one day to see him with a scary look on his face saying “Here’s Donny…..nah..?

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Posted in Travel, Uncategorized

Five States to Philadelphia

A few days before I arrived in New England , my cousin Michelle asked me if I would like to drive from Massachusetts to Philadelphia with her to deliver supplies for St. John following the devastation done by Hurricane Harvey. Michelle had lived on the island and was there for Hurricane Hugo, so she was very familiar with the damage a hurricane could cause.

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I am always up for a road trip, plus I am geographically challenged whenever I go to the east coast. As compared to Texas everything looks pretty close, so passing through 5 states in 4 hours seemed like a breeze.

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Friday night, we gathered at my Aunt Claire’s house to go through the supplies that had been donated to this beautiful island that had been ravaged by the storm, I was impressed with the generosity of so many as we sorted through mosquito netting, medical supplies, MRE’s, water filters and a variety of other items that were being requested.
It was like playing a game of Tetris as they carefully placed every box in her SUV until the only space left was for Michelle and I.

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Saturday morning with some great tunes and a car full of gas we headed out.
There is nothing quite like a road trip for 2 friends who get so little time together. We filled in the spaces of one another’s lives that had passed over the years, catching up with all the important and silly moments we had missed.

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The time flew as we passed from state to state.
When we finally arrived at the airport in Philadelphia the sponsors carrying the supplies to St. John were thrilled with the stash that our car held and escorted us directly to the tarmac where the supplies were unloaded.


Our car was emptied and Michelle made sure every box was properly labeled for transport.

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Having completed our mission we decided to do the only logical thing when in Philadelphia… see the Liberty Bell.

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My image in the past of the Liberty Bell was always of this very small bell in front of Independence Hall that people would walk by. Instead this beautiful reminder of our American Heritage has its own building.

The line to get to it is very well organized, there are dozens of photos and stories to read as you wait in line to view the bell. We arrived just before closing, and the line was short with a quick wait to get in.


We were able to get some great pictures, as all the tourists seemed respectful of allowing everyone to get their moment with one of our nations most well known symbols.

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We spent a few minutes after walking around the historical streets of Philadelphia, where so much of our nations history was made.

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Visiting the Liberty Bell costs nothing, the only thing we paid for was parking and some great souvenirs.

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In the visitors center we had a chance to take a picture with Rocky Balboa before heading back to our car for the drive back to Massachusetts.

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The sun was starting to set, and there was a misty rain falling as we drove away from The City of Brotherly Love.

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Again the music was playing and conversation was flowing when Michelle turned to me and asked “Do you want to go to Mystic Pizza.”

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Something about the place sounded familiar, and pizza is always great, especially on the east coast, so I said yes.
After a little Googling, I was able to find the location in Mystic Connecticut, it was a mere 2 hours out of our way, but the reviews and the history sounded great, we rerouted our GPS and headed to the coast.

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It was dark when we arrived in Mystic Connecticut, but I could tell this was a beautiful coastal town.
There was a limousine parked outside the pizza place, and inside their was a huge neon sign saying A Little Piece of Heaven. The movie Mystic Pizza showed on several TVs in a continuous loop.

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We sat at the bar and ordered 2 slices of the special of the day.
The bartender brought them to us and asked if we had every eaten there. We shook our heads no, and he let us know since it was the end of the evening and the pizza was not as fresh as he would like he was not going to charge us for our slices.
Well I am not sure what fresh pizza tastes like there, but I will say that was some of the best pizza I ever had!

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We walked around the place taking in the pictures and memorabilia before heading back to the car.


The 90 minute drive home seemed like five minutes as we laughed and talked about our day and future plans.

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We arrived back to my Aunts house late, exhausted but happy. Five states, a rescue mission, history and pizza filled my head as I fell asleep that night. It was a great day and I look forward to another one of Michelle and Jill’s excellent adventures!

 

Posted in Uncategorized

The Great Labor Day Gas Hoax

Does anyone really know how panic starts? Is it a joking whisper between two friends, that is overheard as something that could happen?
Is this assumption then shared with others until the joke becomes a crisis?
Perhaps this is how the great Texas gas debacle of Labor Day weekend 2017 started.

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One day gas was something we all took for granted, the following day there was insanity, people rushed to gas stations, waiting in lines that could be compared to a Star Wars premier. Filling their gas tanks and anything that would hold liquid with gasoline.

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The panic spread quickly, overwhelmed by the demand, gas stations began closing putting signs up saying they were out of gas.

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People saw the signs and panicked more. Political officials pleaded with the public telling them the gas shortage was a hoax, but people only saw the “out of gas signs.”
People who really needed gas, who were not panicking were left stranded on their way to work and home.
Some in desperation sat next to empty gas pumps, waiting for the gas trucks to come so they could get their “gas fix.”
The world grew darker when Buc-ee’s home of a thousand gas tanks ran out of gas.

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We were among the lucky ones, I started that dark Thursday with a full tank of gas, the following day, I came across a gas stations with no line that had gasoline, we topped off our tank, but it was as if people could smell the fresh gasoline that had just been poured into the tanks, within moments the station was filled with cars, we escaped just in time before the place became a madhouse.

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How long will the insanity last? How much gas can one city use? Will people be able to overcome, and what will happen to all those bags of gasoline that people so dangerously collected.
Texas just survived one of the costliest natural disaster in recent history, will we really allow a false gas shortage to destroy us?
Quick somebody, go whisper that the library is having a book shortage, if we are going to lose our minds, let us at least educate ourselves, so we can be smarter people.

Posted in Uncategorized

Williamsport PA Little League World Series

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Before college or Major League Baseball, there is Little League. Every August the best of Little League from all over the world gather in Williamsport Pennsylvania with hopes of claiming the International championship.

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For nearly two weeks, these young players converge on Williamsport and are transformed in a few short days from school kids to rock stars, complete with fans vying for autographs and photos, each fan hoping they are meeting a future young Ted Williams or Babe Ruth.

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Fans of all ages come from across the globe to watch these kids play and enjoy an old fashion game of baseball and have the chance to slide down the hill on a cardboard box.

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This year as the Texas coast was getting a grand slam by Hurricane Harvey, a group of players from Lufkin, Texas were battling their way through the competition becoming the US Little League Champions. Nicknamed the Thundering 13, (an appropriate name considering the storm that was raging in Texas).

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These talented players lost in the end to the International champs, Japan, but still made their home state proud.

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The town that host The Little League Series each year is Williamsport. This sleepy little town in north central Pennsylvania, wakes up in mid August like an insomniac with a quad shot cafe Americano. Williamsport “Welcomes The World” is a two week celebration of youth athletics worldwide.

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Politics and party lines take a back seat to new friends from all over the world.
Every business puts out a sign welcoming Little League, many restaurant serves “baseball” themed dishes.

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The Friday before the final World Series game, the town host a street fair with music, dancing, food, and vendors. The town hosts a parade the first week of games featuring the teams, and everyone does their best to make the young people here to play baseball feel at home.

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If you plan to attend the event, be sure to book a hotel room well in advance as everything sells out early. There are plenty of small local hotels in town, as well as name brand hotels to stay in, and lots of great places to eat or drink. Some of our favorite places in Williamsport include.

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The Holiday Inn -Given the choice between Holiday Inn and the connected Holiday Inn Express, I would chose the Holiday Inn, both hotels give the same great service, and provide clean quiet rooms, but you cannot get additional IHG points at the James Restaurant or bar, and in our life “points rule.”

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The Brickyard – Great little restaurant off Pine Street, great place to catch your favorite sports events, have one of their signature fishbowl cocktails, or get a great burger, try The Toasted Brick or The Chuck burger.

Franco’s – Some delicious Italian food, and service that makes you feel like your home. The Torts and Tips are a yummy combination of flavors. If you want something a bit spicy, that will burn your mouth but leaving you craving more, try the stuffed cherry peppers, the hot combined with provolone cheese and prosciutto will bring tears to your eyes, but you wont be able to stop eating them (a hint, the homemade bread helps to break the heat, so you can continue to torture your tastebuds with the delicious flavors. They have a great wine selection, as well as a full bar. If you want to assure a seat make reservations in advance, if you want to be where the fun is ask if you can have a table in the main dining area, if not you may wind up at one of the 3 tables near the bathrooms. Not bad seats, a little quieter, but not my first choice.

 

Bullfrogs – Open on Sunday, this is a great place to get a great craft beer or a bite to eat.

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Boomtown – This place is new to the area, but they are raising the standards for everyone else. Their Muddy River stout is one of the best porters I have ever have, combine it as a boiler maker with a shot of their chocolate vodka and you have the perfect desert in a glass (or just a delicious adult beverage). Their delicious burger with a fried egg, on an English muffin made you feel like you were combining dinner with breakfast, in a very yummy way. The service is great, everyone is very friendly! Seating is available inside and outside. I look forward to going back just to check them out again.

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Julia’s – Great place for coffee and breakfast or lunch. I had the quiche then sat and enjoyed my coffee at a lovely window seat. Friendly service and good food.

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The Old Corner Hotel – Great bar with lots of room to sit, have a drink and meet friends. If you want to sit outside, they have a great courtyard with beautiful grapevines (complete with grapes when in season.) friendly service and great cocktails. Bring your ID, they take carding seriously.

Moon and Raven – Fun little Irish Pub. They make a yummy Sidecar.
Loved the Irish Nachos. Also ordered the Irish Stew Pie, the crust was delicious, but there were far more carrots then I would have preferred. Service was good. We had a bit of a wait, but entertained ourselves by checking out the antique store in the building while we waited.

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Williamsport Mural – This beautiful mural takes up 3 walls and is at least three stories high. Featured are many local residence whose good works are memorialized in the life like paintings. There are celebrities who once visited, as well as 9-11 heroes. The art work done by Michael Pilate leaves you wishing had been able to get to know the people depicted on the walls.

Serenity Studios Massage – If your muscles are feeling a little sore while visiting, check out this place for a nice massage at a good price.

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The great thing about Little League Baseball is that each year brings a new crop of hopefuls all coming with dreams of playing with the world watching. I look forward to having the opportunity to be able to return in the future to see what super stars will emerge from the worlds youth.