Thursday, March 25, 2010

Top 10 Indie Artists To Be On The Lookout For

In no patricular order, they are all equally talented



1. Landon Pigg born in Nashville, Kentucky but has toured just recently in this area. He appeared at the Tin Angel along with his talented keyboardist in Philadelphia on March 17th. He writes songs about losing love and finding hope. Falling in Love in a Coffee Shop, find it and play it I am sure you have heard it before. It is featured in a De Beers commercial and also in an A T & T commercial. It’s a beautiful song, makes you want to fall in love all over again or at the very least dream about it while you are drinking your coffee. Take a Chance, another positive inspiring song. He has many more. landonpigg.com

2. James Maddock I have never seen James live as of yet but look forward to seeing him on April 29th at The Tin Angel in Philadelphia. I was handed his new CD Sunrise on Avenue C, as I left for a road trip to visit a friend. It was a bonus CD from Paste Magazine. Like the entire list but Chances, Stars Align and When You Go Quiet were all songs I could specifically relate to. jamesmaddock.net



3. Ian McGlynn is from North New Jersey. I had the unique opportunity to be part of the audience while Ian along with band mates Chris Newkirk, John Molsloskie, and Dave Macarone recorded “This is the Sound” at the Blue Light Digital Sound in Mount Holly, NJ, a few months later we attended the CD release party in New York City. Memorial Day Parade and Night Driving great songs. Ian allowed me to use Memorial Day Parade as the backdrop to a collection of photos I took while in New York visiting the site of the World Trade Center disaster. Listening In is on the soundtrack of “My Mother’s New Boyfriend", starring Meg Ryan and Antonio Bandera’s. He will be performing live at the Tin Angel on April 7th. ianmcglynn.com

4. Darling Cait great song by Cait Like a Ninja,an upbeat song that has you feeling sexy and captivating as a ninja. She performs mostly in NY and has worked with Ian McGlynn. Cait’s song Precious Moments appears on Beautiful Escape: The Songs of The Posies Revisited [Box set]



5. Laura Shay is a Philadelphia native. I originally first saw Laura perform at the Burlap and Bean in Newtown Square along with core band members Dominic Cole and Andy McGowan. Kyle Swartzwelder also joined her on stage for two songs. They had a definite chemistry together. I was knocked out not only by this woman’s voice but also the content of the lyrics that she has created. I’ve also had the pleasure of seeing Laura, Dominic, and Andy again at the Tin Angel along with Lanine Walker playing violin, Mike McCarthy playing trumpet and Karen Shay on percussion and glockenspiel. First to Fall is being used in a movie called "Elevator Girl" next airing April 8th at 9PM on the Hallmark Channel Laura’s next show is April 2nd, along with Kyle Swartzwelder at Studio LuLoo Live in Oaklyn, NJ laurashay.com

6. Kyle Swartzwelder I have seen Kyle at work and at play. He is the in-house sound engineer at the Burlap and Bean in Newtown Square and hosts the open mic evenings there, and also runs a small recording studio in Wilmington. DE Kyle has also performed at the Tin Angel. Kyle’s first release 13:13 was nominated Best Album of the Year by 93.7 WSTW in 2008; he was named Best Male Artist by WSTW that same year. Kyle’s next show will be April 2nd at Studio LuLoo Live in Oaklyn, NJ and also again on April 23rd at the Burlap and Bean in Newtown Square, PA kyleswartzwelder.com


7. David Jonathan "David Janes" is a Philadelphia native who recently performed at the Tin Angel along with Emily Shick. The first time I ever heard their music. It was great. He describes his music as folk- like that may remind you of Jeff Buckley, Ryan Adams and Wilco. I thought of James Taylor. He along with Emily are that good. They are a couple and had a terrific stage presence together. I often wonder what that is like and if a bad day for them would bring less passion to a set but who knows, it might bring more. The bands next performance will be at Triumph Brewery in Old City April 21st. Deathcard should be available for release at that show.

8. Rob Melso is a native of West Chester, PA who is now living in Brooklyn, NY. Rob recently has started a hip hop band and their first performance will be in New York City tonight, March 26th. I saw Rob perform in Phoenixville a few years back. Looking forward to seeing him come to our area. One of Rob’s songs Kiss You Now, appears in the film "99 Percent Sure" a film written and directed by Pat Taggart also a Philadelphia native which premiered in December 2009. robertmelso.bandcamp.com

9. RCRD LBL: (all the songs are FREE on this site by permission of the artist) type in any artist in the search box and see what comes up.

10. Paste Magazine Important site of all the latest new music/trends this is a subscription. Regular membership includes a free download of 20 songs of different indie artists every other month. VIP membership you can download the 20 song selection monthly.






These are just a few of my selections and recommendations. Also check out
The Chronicles of Michael Christopher the Daily Times Music Columnist to see what else is happening. I will be seeing cover band Minds Eye View tonight at Matty’s Bar in Upper Darby I feel like dancing!



Top 10 Indie Artists to be on the look out for




1. Landon Pigg born in Nashville, Kentucky but has toured just recently in this area. He appeared at the Tin Angel in Philadelphia on March 17th. He writes songs about losing love and finding hope. ”Falling in Love in a Coffee Shop”, find it and play it I am sure you have heard it before. .It is featured in a De Beers commercial and also in an A T & T commercial. It’s a beautiful song, makes you want to fall in love all over again or at the very least dream about it while you are drinking your coffee. Take a Chance, another positive inspiring song. He has many more. http://www.landonpigg.com/




2. Ian McGlynn is from North New Jersey. I had the unique opportunity to be part of the audience while Ian along with band mates Chris Newkirk, John Molsloskie, and Dave Macarone recorded “This is the Sound” at the Blue Light Digital Sound in Mount Holly, NJ, a few months later we attended the CD release party in New York City. Memorial Day Parade and Night Driving great songs. Ian allowed me to use Memorial Day Parade as the backdrop to a collection of photos I took while in New York visiting the site of the World Trade Center disaster.. He will be performing live at the Tin Angel on April 7th.





3. Laura Shay is a Philadelphia native. I originally first saw Laura perform at the Burlap and Bean in Newtown Square along with core band members Dominic Cole and Andy McGowan. Kyle Swartzwelder also joined her on stage for two songs. They had a definite chemistry together. I was knocked out not only by this woman’s voice but also the content of the lyrics that she has created. I’ve also had the pleasure of seeing Laura, Dominic, and Andy again at the Tin Angel along with Lanine Walker playing violin, Mike McCarthy playing trumpet and Karen Shay on percussion and glockenspiel. Laura’s next show is April 2nd, along with Kyle Swartzwelder at Studio LuLoo Live in Oaklyn, NJ




4. David Janes is a Philadelphia native who recently performed at the Tin Angel along with Emily Shick. The first time I ever heard their music. It was great. He describes his music as folk- like that may remind you of Jeff Buckley, Ryan Adams and Wilco. I thought of James Taylor. He along with Emily are that good. They are a couple and had a terrific stage presence together. I often wonder what that is like and if a bad day for them would bring less passion to a set but who knows, it might bring more. The bands next performance will be at Triumph Brewery in Old City April 21st. Deathcard should be available for release at that show.


5. Kyle Swartzwelder I have seen Kyle at work and at play. He is the in-house sound engineer at the Burlap and Bean in Newtown Square and hosts the open mic evenings there, and also runs a small recording studio in Wilmington. DE Kyle’s first release 13:13 was nominated Best Album of the Year by 93.7 WSTW in 2008; he was named Best Male Artist by WSTW that same year. Kyle’s next show will be April 2nd at Studio LuLoo Live in Oaklyn, NJ and also again on April 23rd at the Burlap and Bean in Newtown Square, PA http://www.kyleswartzwelder.com/live.cfm


6. Rob Melso is a native of West Chester, PA who is now living in Brooklyn, NY. Rob recently has started a hip hop band and their first performance will be in New York City tonight, March 26th. I saw Rob perform in Phoenixville a few years back. Looking forward to seeing him come to our area. One of Rob’s songs Kiss You Now, appears in the film 99 Percent Sure a film written and directed by Pat Taggart also a Philadelphia native which premiered in December 2009. http://robertmelso.bandcamp.com/


7. Darling Cait http://darlingcait.com/ great song by Cait “Like a Ninja”, an upbeat song that has you feeling sexy and captivating as a ninja. She performs mostly in NY and has worked with Ian McGlynn. Cait’s song “Precious Moments” appears on Beautiful Escape: The Songs of The Posies Revisited [Box set]


8. James Maddock I have never seen James live as of yet but look forward to seeing him on April 29th at The Tin Angel in Philadelphia. I was handed his new CD “Sunrise on Avenue C”, as I left for a road trip to visit a friend. It was a bonus CD from Paste Magazine. Like the entire list but Chances, Stars Align and When You Go Quiet were all songs I could specifically relate to.
http://jamesmaddock.net/

9. RCRD LBL: (all the songs are FREE on this site by permission of the artist) type in any artist in the search box and see what comes up. http://rcrdlbl.com/
10. Paste Magazine Important site of all the latest new music/trends this subscription. Regular membership includes a free download of 20 songs of different indie artists every other month. VIP membership you can download the 20 song selection monthly. http://www.pastemagazine.com/sampler.html

These are just a few of my selections and recommendations. Also check out
The Chronicles of Michael Christopher the Daily Times Music Columnist to see what else is happening around town. I will be seeing cover band Minds Eye View tonight at Matty’s Bar in Upper Darby I feel like dancing!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Top 10 Children Books Worth a Read

Just like so many things in life there are requirements that can enhance your experience and this one would be to find a small child preferably your own child or grandchild and sit with them and read them safely down to sleep.


1. The Runaway Bunny was written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd. I mention the artist because I feel they are equally important, some people can grasp the idea through words and others are visual learners. Small children typically with their wide eyes take most things in with their eyes way before they have learned the hurtful words that sometimes come off the lips of the adults that we are suppose to be. Runaway Bunny is the story of this “trying to be” but not so successful rebellious little bunny who announces to his mother that he is going to do this because he can. The mother concedes each time and allows the little bunny to go ahead and do it. Cleverly though, the mother portrays to the little bunny that any attempt they make she will be there in some kind of capacity, often times in the background but always watching over. The story ends with the little bunny finally realizing that he can do whatever he wants but that mother bunny will do whatever she can to be available and at times an obstacle. So he may as well stay and crawls up into a rocking chair with his mother where he finds comfort. I am a stalker with my children so I can relate very well to this story.

2. Goodnight Moon was also written by Margaret Wise Brown and the pictures are by Clement Hurd. This book features the same stars of Runaway Bunny, the mother and the little bunny. It begins in the quiet of the great green room where the mother is putting her child down for the evening. The story continues with the observation and acknowledgement of all the items in the room as they bid them goodnight. Fun to allow the child to find and to pick out each one as you say goodnight. To me it is a very peaceful book and has reminded me of my own days and all the things in my day that have made an impact, some happy, some sad but the day is done and it is time for a peaceful sleep and to say goodnight. Tomorrow offers another great day to find new things in that great green room but the routine is the same at the end of the day you say goodnight.

3. The Big Honey Hunt written by Stanley and Janice Berenstain. If you have never heard of the Berenstain Bears you have missed some of the greatest educators of our time and this is just one story that makes me smile. The bears run out of honey and the mom takes the problem to the dad but of course gives him explicit directions in where to go. The dad takes his small son out to fetch the honey but he does not follow the wife’s suggestion. He has a better plan. It is a great story of the adventures of a dad and a boy in search of natural honey that you get from a tree, so he thinks, as they pass right on by the store that the mom recommended. I like the story so much because it is a fun filled and at times dangerous bonding of the boy and his dad as they spend the day together in search of the perfect honey. They arrive home much later in the evening with the honey from the store. The mother bear, hands on hip is waiting for them at the door, smiling, knowing full well they had taken the wrong road but at the end of the day she has her honey and her family home safe and sound.

4. Horton Hatches the Egg written by Dr. Seuss. I love this story, big old dumb elephant sits atop a tree on a nest to enable his friend, Mayzie who begs for help and goes off on vacation as Horton faithfully stays for the egg to hatch 100. Horton is ridiculed because he doesn’t belong on a nest, it was out of character and he didn’t fit the role. He became such a freak of nature; men came along and carted him along with the nest to a traveling circus. People would laugh and laugh at this dumb ole elephant and one day the circus reaches the same very town where the bird had flown off to. The bird spots the elephant and faintly remembers him and just then the egg begins to hatch and the bird is all set to claim his prize. Horton now feels the egg belongs to him. As they struggle with the decision, the egg cracks and out flies an elephant bird that resembles Horton as it “should be” because an elephant is faithful 100% and in the end he received his just reward. The humans then hailed Horton for the unique life he had hatched.

5. Things I Like written by Anthony Browne this is a very short book filled with so much potential to open up a dialog. The front cover is a monkey in overalls hanging in a tree. The first line of the book, “This is me, and this is what I like”, so simple. How much power does a book like that have? Immense if you ask me. You have the opportunity to share that book with anyone, you get to see exactly what that monkey likes, can share some of your own likes and ask the person you are reading with “what do you like”?, and in finding that common ground and possibly new insight you find a friend and a bonding relationship.

6. Corduroy story and pictures by Don Freeman. Another famous bear story, Corduroy was an imperfect, homeless toy; he lived in a department store with hopes of having a real home some day. He was missing a button. A little girl named Lisa spots him on a shelf and finds something attractive about him and the mother says not today besides he has issues, waste of money. Corduroy sets out on an adventure that evening in the department store and tries to find a button to fix his short comings. Doesn’t exactly work out but the very next day Lisa comes back and with her own money buys him, takes him with her and gives him a home and they form a lifetime friendship. People don’t have to be perfect to find one another; you just have to accept who they are. Lisa did find a button and fix him up though.

7. I Just Forgot written by Mercer Mayer part of the Little Critters series. I can’t identify who or what this little critter is but I certainly recognize the characteristics. No defining sex to this creature either so I will just call it “they”. They absentmindedly forgot a little something each day like closing the refrigerator door, putting the milk away, and turning off the water. I have my own list of forgetfulness each day. No one gets through a day successfully remembering everything that’s why we are given the opportunity to get it right the next day. Something’s have more priority and have to be taken care of but at times it’s helpful to take a minute and reflect, "what did I forget?"

8. How To Dig a Hole To The Other Side Of the World by Faith McNulty, pictures by Marc Simont Now I find this to be an interesting book because where it does provide an education in geology naming each and every level that you must go through to get to and back again from the earth’s core, it also provides a view into a journey we all take into the deeps of our soul. There are a lot of obstacles and struggles we all face and the going gets tough and when you reach the surface again you can look back and see how important it all was and be ever so grateful to see the light of day again.

9. Watch Your Step, Mr. Rabbit written by Richard Scarry. He uses just 39 different words and you have the opportunity to cut those words out in the back of the book and rearrange them any way you see fit. I prefer not to deface any book because I find all books and stories to be precious. I have used this very statement “Watch Your Step, Mr. Rabbit” on many occasions. I’ve used it with my children to caution them to stop and think, and yes as a wife I have used it to inform my husband that he is treading on some shaky ground, but most of all I have applied this warning to myself. I have wandered into some pretty dangerous situations myself and have often not heeded the warning signs, just merrily and unconsciously traveled on, sometimes with my mouth but I do try and pay attention to that little voice inside that says I have gone too far out of my comfort zone and I too should watch my step.

10. Curious George some stories were written by Margaret Rey with pictures by H. A. Rey and other stories were written exclusively by H. A. Rey. George is this adorable, lovable monkey whose curiosity always seems to find him in trouble. There are so many different stories worth a read and you can find one book that has them all. I have both the compilation and a few of the individual books. George is very fortunate in that he has this friend, the man with the yellow hat that is always on the look out for where George is and religiously shows up in the end of each story and saves the day. Tough to find the man with the yellow hat when you are out there just being curious but he’s out there and I hope everyone can appreciate at the end of the day he does show up. Just be careful!

Find a small child and curl up with a good book or visit your parents and return the favor of the times they spent reading to you as a small child or you may never know the impact it can make on your life.

All these books I'm sure are available at your local Library. Get a library card and take your kids. Not sure how old you have to be to get a card but I know you can never be too young to enjoy a book!

Please share a book or two that has made a profound difference in your life. I’m always up for an education.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Top 10 Hot Guys!

1. Fathers holding their little boy or girl’s hand proudly walking down the street and smiling.

2. Any man who says, “Yes dear”, just to appease and keep the peace. I don’t think that is wimpy at all. Shows me a man who has intelligence and knows how to use his brainpower.

3. Men who are comfortable in the company of women and can appreciate them for their stimulating conversation.

4. Men who hold open the door. Chivalry is not dead, it is much appreciated.

5. The man while driving slowly politely asks, “would you like to drive?” You calmly think you are already providing free GPS service; he smiles and validates your directions.

6. Instead of him asking, what’s for dinner tonight, he walks in the door and says, “Want Chinese take-out tonight?” Now he is a saint and a savior.

7. The heater man who comes within hours if your heat is not working. He has you up and running in 15 minutes, then comes back the next day with the correct parts to provide a permanent solution.

8. A man who will get out of bed first and make the coffee.

9. Men that find the time and call in the middle of the afternoon and asks you out to lunch, just because you look like you need to be fed.

10. The exterminator. Who guarantees his work and will come back free of charge if he doesn’t get the job done?

In my opinion you do not have to be overly attractive to be HOT just possessing a certain “kind” of charm.

Who is your Cosmo guy? And gentleman what makes you happy? No complaints please : )

Top 10 Signs of Storm Damage

1. Driveway sealant cracked from your township plow? Glad they came by though.

2. Broken branches on the azaleas from the weight of the snow.

3. Tree surgeons busy all over the place. Call a professional for the bigger more dangerous jobs!

4. Sun dial survived. Shoveled off the deck, found it! Now I can tell it is springtime.

5. Muddy front lawn needs seed. I’ll do that more of a green thumb, he’s better at brown. Are high heels a good aerator?

6. Fir tree branches seem to be all over the place. Where were they when we need greens for the holidays?

7. Potholes, yes I unexpectedly have found a few.

8. The neighbor who hardly speaks to you lets you know that “your” tree fell on “their” property and destroyed their azaleas. (not in my diary) happened to someone else : )

9. Anyone discover they suddenly have a water problem?

10. Check your siding. That wind a couple of weeks back was fierce. Again find a capable climber.

Its spring and hopefully the weather holds, a little rain, only helps the flowers grow, just would prefer it holds off for people’s weekend jaunts to the beach or the mountains!

Top 10 Weekend Highlights

1. Basketball was a bummer both Men’s Temple and Nova are out but the Lady Owls are still alive. Go Girls! Congratulations!

2. Free Rita’s Water Ice. Brookhaven was packed but the Media line was doable about a 7 minute wait. Shorter if the ladies in front of us weren’t so into the samples.

3. Theatre “Rear Column”, at Iron Age Theatre is over if you missed it, you missed a good show. More opportunities coming up! Check ‘em out. ironagetheatre.org

4. Beautiful Weather. Free vitamin “D” for everyone.

5. Went Topless. I drive a convertible 60 degrees is my rule. A temperature of 74 degrees, now that’s a perfect day!

6. Yard Work. Weather was permitting – Opportunity to work off the beer belly.

7. Heat off $$. Windows open with fresh air signs of spring and hope.

8. Wardrobe change. A little premature for the bikini and Speedo but certainly time to prepare.

9. Freecycle.org – Start your spring cleaning now. First used this service yesterday, I just missed the auto vac offer this weekend but lots of great stuff on there. I now possess a purple lamp and a brand new puzzle.

10. Deck furniture in place. Evening barbeque meals on the veranda. Woo-hoo, I am not the cook!

Hope everyone got a chance to go outside and enjoy the gorgeous weather.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Top 10 Musicians with “Irish Roots” 'tis worth a listen

1.Phil Coulter, born in 1942 grew up in Derry, Northern Ireland, writes his own music, Steal Away is a great song. He is quite an accomplished piano player and also plays the classic Irish ballads. Danny Boy, it will make you cry, it’s beautiful. Saw him perform live at the Academy of Music.
2. Gaelic Storm, Celtic rock and roll, relatively new group been around about 13 years, saw them at a folk festival. A lot of Irish energy!
3. The Cranberries, formed in Limerick. Dreams and Linger two of their most popular songs, great female vocalist lead singer.
4. Van Morrison, six times Grammy Award winner too many favorites to mention and I’m sure everyone has one of their own. Ok Sky, Blue and Black just learned about that song last year.
5. U2, Bono everyone has heard of Bono and his famed sunglasses besides some spectacular songs he also is almost always included in any star-studded fun raiser. He is a great humanitarian.
6. Ian McGlynn is from New Jersey. Memorial Day Parade is one of my favorites. He also co-wrote along with Chris Newkirk and John Bonaventure, “Listening In” which is on the soundtrack of “My Mother’s New Boyfriend, starring Meg Ryan and Antonio Bandera’s.
7. Sarah McLachlan can’t name one. I like every one of her songs. I Will Remember You, Angel, Stupid, and Possession all automatically roll off my tongue
8. Blackthorn local band that plays special events in this area all the time. They are a premiere Irish band in Pennsylvania.
9. Pogues, traditional, modern Irish music. What does that mean? If you went into a pub in Ireland this is probably what you would hear. Definitely has the heartbeat of Ireland.
10. Jeffrey Gaines, “Always be”, not sure if he has Irish roots. This is just a shout out for Lisa and her husband to be, getting married tomorrow and this is their wedding song. Congratulations!

Not quite the British invasion but some heavy hitters nonetheless. Check them out!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Top 10 Reasons Why I Love Young Children (particularly 3 and 4 year olds)

1. They are honest, sometimes brutally so.
2. They are innocent, even if they did it, wasn’t done with malice
3. They have an incessant curiosity.
4. Their language skills are just developing be careful what and how you say it, they are listening.
5. They have minds of their own, haven’t reached the age of reasoning yet, lucky them.
6. You can show them anything and they will instantly form an opinion and share it with you.
7. They may whine and cry but it is more tolerable then when an adult does it.
8. They have a better appreciation for life.
9. They don’t sass back.
10. If you have the advantage of being in the company of a child of this age, take advantage of the time you get to spent with them. Guaranteed they will provide you with an education.

We all age too quickly and forget the child within.
Any special tips on wisdom you have acquired from a child?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Top 10 Ways My Irish Heritage Comes Through

1. My home reeks with corn beef and cabbage on March 17th and few more times throughout the year.
2. I eat green things but do pass on mold on bread and cheese.
3. Potatoes are a staple. My ancestors worked hard to keep that crop going.
4. I kissed the Blarney Stone on my honeymoon. The timing was a little off. My husband had no idea I had so many opinions until after we were married : )
5. I make Irish potatoes (the candy) once a year. Mine are sweet an full of calories. Get you coconut early, the stores run out.
6. I work hard at every task presented to me. Little did I know that tradition was bred way back, until I visited the homeland and observed the woman there.
7. I do not drink that often but when I do I have fun. I’m Irish and sometimes overdo.
8. My superstitions are ever present. If it wasn’t for the fact that one of my best friends was born on the 13th I wouldn’t go out of the house on those Fridays.
9. I wear green on St. Patty’s Day
10. I do not think any nationality is superior and we have all struggled to find our place in society but come on if you have an Irish friend you are guaranteed to have someone to laugh with. We can take a joke…most days. And we may be tone deaf but we love to sing!

What special about your roots? What tree did you fall off?

March Madness

First I would like to begin with , I have very little expertise or knowledge of the game of basketball I watch it like a girl and I am not trying to be sexist nor take away from the many talented women who posses the skills to play the game. I tried out for a team while I was in fifth grade at my grammar school and was cut after the second round because I could not dribble. Who knew you had to know how to dribble to play basketball? I instead after the devastation of rejection, moved on and became a cheerleader and that’s how I watch the game of basketball.

My unique interest in March Madness began several years ago during an office pool. We picked teams randomly out of the hat and I got Gonzaga. I was disappointed because I had never heard of them and knew my chances were slim. Go figure, Gonzaga took down Stanford that year and made it to the Elite Eight. I was thrilled! I have participated in the excitement of March Madness, ever since those days. I look at the ranking after I have selected my teams and never turn back on my decision. I will at times select a team merely by name and often times pick a team I have never heard of just because you never know and I am an avid fan of the underdog. Victory seems to be so much sweeter when it is an upset.

To me, March Madness also affords the opportunity to see who is out there and could possibly be the next Kareem Abdul Jabbar (Lew Alcindor) or Michael Jordan. I follow the draft as well. I think the college teams provide great entertainment. These kids are obviously talented but they still possess something that I feel is lacking in the NBA today. It’s not about the money; they have a passion to win. I also get to know some of the players during this time. The standouts in my mind usually come from a team that has beaten a team that I am rooting for. It is a bummer to me that their efforts help contribute to the downfall of the team I want to win but I have to appreciate the talent and I remember them. I’m always a loyal fan to the local team because I have experienced all the elation that comes with winning. The Philadelphia Flyers in 1974, I skipped school that day and went to the city for the parade. I can’t get in trouble for that now, can I? It was crazy. The Phillies first World Series victory 1980 in my lifetime, I was at the Liberty Tavern, we all went nuts when Tugger threw that last out. MacDade Boulevard was overrun with honkers and screaming of pure joyfulness. I too was a participant in the happy dance. The Philadelphia Eagles, well I have my own feelings there but I have to say my favorite game was when we played the undefeated Patriots and by golly we “almost” won. We “should” have. Now that victory would have been sweet and to me that was a “super game”. I was on the edge of the sofa hooting and hollering. I think I could have coached a win that day. Ah, maybe not but we all dare to dream. I am also a fan of the Philadelphia 76ers.

I am not totally without lack of experience; I had the distinct pleasure of being an assistant soccer coach for young ladies from the age of 6 thru 10 years old. My daughter was on the team and the coach needed an assistant. My knowledge of the game was limited but I was quickly bought up to speed through the girls themselves of what the games were all about. I found that half-time snack time was one of the most key parts to winning the game. I was responsible at times for creating the lineup and also in their younger years was allowed to be on the field at the same time as the players. It is such a unique vantage point because you are actually in the game and can see the playing field unlike the parents that are screaming at their kid to get the ball and take a shot. Parents, relax, your children have eyes of their own and many times can see what you do not see. Our town had intramural teams named after Indian names that you could not pronounce so we usually went by colors. My favorite team to this day was the “gold team”. We were not yellow; we were golden, socks to match. I could be incorrect but to my knowledge we were undefeated that year. That’s the way I like to recollect it anyway. We were not without our eight year old superstars that were a pleasure to watch but I distinctly remember this one young lady who was bigger then all the other kids. She was not the best of athletes and she actually used to get in the way a lot of times so placing her on the field was always a challenge. I weekly rotated players because these kids were so young and you could not tell exactly where their talents lied. I placed this young lady in the front this one day because it was her turn. Do you know that she got the ball; her dribbling was awkward, took it all the way down the field and scored a goal? I don’t recall if she ever played soccer after that year but I do remember it was my greatest experience as a coach because we gave that girl a “golden” opportunity and she took it. She made my day and my career.

This leads me to my perplexing thoughts on the Sixers this year. First off I love the team, each player holds something particular about what they bring to the court and some days what they are lacking. It does not seem to be a talent problem. They can hit those three point shots but of course I’d like to see more. Slam dunks, wow Iguodala showed King James the other night that he was not the only gamer on the court and Sammy who has had his struggles these past couple of years has impressed me with his style and enthusiasm this year. I love the contribution he made to his home land Haiti this year. I have to say Lou Williams is my favorite player. He’s small I know but when he gets in there he can create excitement and my eyes do focus on him. Hope I don’t make him nervous lol. He possesses to me an enjoyment of the game, I watch his face and yes I have watched his face when he was not a starter and demoted to the bench this season. He was having a great year up until his jaw was broken and he sat out and missed quite a few games this season. Not as many as expected but it did seem to unbalance the momentum the Sixers were working on. The choice then came to bring back Allen Iverson. Go ahead start throwing the stones now, I love Allen Iverson and was disappointed when he was traded the first time around. So I was delighted when I heard he was coming back to Philly. Yes, he has a bad reputation and many were happy to be rid of him but I liked his play on the court. His presence did little to advance the 76ers standings but the publicity alone made many locals stop and take notice once again, oh yeah, we have a basketball team in town. Truly sorry for the personal problems he is suffering now and wished his return would have had a happier ending with the comeback kid or is he a man now?

Coaching? What was wrong with Mo Cheeks? I liked the guy and was shocked to read in the paper that he was dismissed, ok he was fired. What! The team was starting to look a little weak but we were winning games. Wasn’t he part of the dream building this young team? Next up was DiLeo; I have to go on my limited knowledge here because I do not have all the facts. Is he a scout? I know he was and still is part of the front office, not sure exactly what his expertise is and what he bought to the equation but I thought he was handed a team that Mo had worked on and it was coming along. We made the playoffs last year under his leadership and looked pretty impressive for a while but the hopes were dashed. He did not return this season and has returned to the position he serves best in the organization. Now we have Ed, Ed and Ed. Ed Snider is the Chairman of the Board can’t do anything there but sympathize with him. He wants a winning team too. Ed Stefanski, does not seem like a bad guy, seems sincere he’s following his plan in trying to bring this city a “super” basketball team and has enlisted the help of someone whose work he has admired and has worked with before Eddie Jordan. Again seems to be a great guy and accepts full responsibility for every loss. Unfortunately he has had a lot of “practice” at it lately. I don’t get it and I don’t know what is wrong with this team. We seem to have all the pieces in place, something is out of whack and some change is inevitable. Who will take the fall for this? I hope it is the correct choice. It has to be a tough one. I don’t harbor any “March Madness” for the team or Ed, Ed or Ed but please give us a reason to keep our hopes alive.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Top 10 Ways To Go "Green"

1. Start with the thumb.

2. Grow your own herbs in your sunny kitchen window. Nothing pops the taste of a meal like fresh herbs.

3. Start your outdoor garden now with seeds. Nothing like fresh home grown tomatoes without the pesticides. Cherry Tomatoes are my favorite.

4. Carpool to work. The conversation alone may wake you up just as well as a solo cup of coffee. Rotate the driver saves on gas and wear and tear on the car and less pollution gets into the air.

5. Check out the website freecycle.org You can offer to give away anything useful that is no longer needed, you can also find things other people are giving away for “free”. Key words “wanted, “offered”, “taken”. Some good stuff on there. My recommendation: take a scary friend with you when you do the pick up, you can never be too careful.

6. Brick in the toilet tank, conserves water as well as a water efficient shower head.

7. Run your laundry at off peak times. Check PECO site for recommendations.

8. Use solar power to light your pathway at night.

9. Candlelight at dinner. Sets ambiance, hides the brown edges on the meatloaf and who doesn’t look stunning at the end of the day in candlelight. Saves electricity too.

10. Try to buy local and or store brand in most cases the store brand is cheaper and often made right here in the good ole USA. Support yourself and your neighbors.