Archive for October, 2008

Well, as I mentioned in the intro post for the Wandering Fireball category, my wife Carol went to Ireland a few weeks ago. She will hopefully be putting up a series of posts on that trip soon. But to tide us over while she’s sorting through photos I thought I would write a post about the journey I took while she was away.

Since Carol was away I decided that over the weekend while I was alone I would take place in the New Jersey Lighthouse Challenge. The goal of the challenge is to visit 13 participating lighthouses. For each lighthouse you visit they give you a souvenir button. If you finish the Challenge you get a plastic completion tag. Also if you do a night climb at one of the places you also get a night climb tag. The lighthouses in the Challenge are located on both the Atlantic coast and the Delaware River. They range in height and power from small metal columns with little lights at the top to large concrete structures that loom over the skylines and have giant lights.

So after researching the locations of the houses I decided to try to make the eight hour trip in one day. I began my journey at 6:00 am getting up before the sun to get breakfast at Dunkin’ Donuts and head to the first lighthouse in Tinicum, New Jersey. When I got to Tinicum I signed up for the Challenge and got my first button. I also bought a lanyard to hold my buttons and a lighthouse passport. The passport can get stamps at many lighthouses across the United States, including all the lighthouses on the challenge sights. If you fill the passport you can send it in to get a patch. The rest of the trip went rather smoothly; I only hit traffic around Atlantic City and the construction around Sandy Hook. The one interesting trip was that the Twin Lights lighthouse which is a large stone structure on the top of a hill around the Sandy Hook area. The structure is built on this small area so there is no parking around it. You have to park instead at a nearby school and walk through the woods to get there. All in all it was an enjoyable trip. For anyone interested there is a similar event in Long Island and Maryland.

Passport  Lanyard  Buttons
~Chris Baldi “The Healer”~
tober 29, 2008~

A few weekends back me and Carol went to see the Real Pirates at The Franklin (formerly the Franklin Institute).  Unfortunately, the special exhibits hosted by The Franklin don’t permit photography and this was no exception, so we where unable to take any pictures to post here.  The exhibit itself features the recovered remains of Black Sam Bellamy’s ship, the Whydah.  The relics of this ship are displayed in glass cases that are interspersed throughout some large sets filled with wax figures representing a pirate tavern and the ship herself.  The size and scale of these sets was rather amazing and between the cases was plenty of facts about life on a pirate ship.  The most amazing thing, however, was the honest-to-god pirate treasure chest recovered and overflowing with recovered dubloons and pieces of eight.  There were also several parts of the display designed for children, from a place where they could raise the Jolly Roger, to a knot-tying station, to a ship identification station and a table where you could touch dubloons that where handled by pirates.  In all this is a great exhibit for both adult and child fans of pirates.  It will be at The Franklin until 11/02/08 so if you get a chance you should go check it out if you’re a pirate fan.
~Christopher Baldi “The Healer”~
~October 13, 2008~

Our roving pirate reporter MUM the pirate cook has returned from his day at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire and he filed this report.

Arrr! it was a fine day to revel in all things piratical.  The sky was clear and the weather cool and the breeze gentle.  Once I got in to the village I made a line for the tap room and the Swashbuckler’s Stage to see the bawdy shows of the Sultry Sirins of Sin and the Rakish Rogues.  I had me a plate of fine gourmet cheeses and breads for lunch and sampled the pubs finest Privateers Gold Ale.  Then me lads I journeyed over to O’Malley’s Pour House Stage to see the rowdy Celtic band Coyote Run and the magician Sir Isaac Fawlkes.  As the weather started getting cool I went over to the Royal Tea Shop and got me a glass of Ice Wine Tea to warm the bones.  On me way over to the Globe Stage for closing I stopped at the Pirate’s Treasure Ship and picked up an interesting dagger that also works as a pair of scissors and a pearl-handled strait razor that should help with the whiskers.  The finale at the Globe Stage was a raucus party worthy of a pirate, including fire breathing, music performances and dancing.  Finally on the way back to the ship i stopped by the wine shop and got a taste of warm spiced winter wine which was a fitting end to the day.

Well thanks for that great report, MUM, sounds like a raucus and rowdy pirate festival as always.

Sultry Sirins of Sin
~Christopher Baldi “The Healer”~
~October 13, 2008~

It’s time for another pre-faire rundown.  It’s another Pirate Jamboree!  Our new roving reporter and resident pirate cook, Mum, will be attending the PA Renaissance Faire‘s Pyrate Invasion this weekend.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the PA Faire, it is set during the reign of Queen Elizabeth and, like the Maryland Faire, they have a different theme each weekend.  The faire is located on the beautiful Mount Hope Winery in Manheim, PA.  So come down and meet us, matey!

~Christopher Baldi “The Healer”~

~October 9, 2008~

Capping off a busy week, Chris and I traveled to the much-anticipated Collingswood Book Festival.  My favorite part about this festival is always the Town Book.  As usual, it was something I probably wouldn’t have picked up on my own.  This year’s selection was The Stolen Child, by Keith Donohue, a novel that delves into the concept of identity while the narrative follows a band a changling fairies and one of their own who has taken the place of another.  The festival hosted a book discussion last Tuesday and the author was there on Saturday to give a presentation and autographs.

We ended up bringing home more books than we have space for, as usual.

Chris and I can’t resist the “up close and personal” feel of the Collingswood Shakespeare Company and the pseudo-in-the-round presentation at the American Legion.  They always make the most of the small space to bring the audience right into the show, so you’ll have characters practically dying at your feet.  The feeling that you’re a part of the show, and not just the audience, really makes the emotional ending all the more personal.  Jacqueline Holloway as the Fool was an unsurprising standout and I did appreciate that she had the very last moment.  We can’t wait to see what they have planned for the upcoming year.

This past week, Chris and I celebrated Banned Books Week with a reading at the Philadelphia Free Library.  Local notables read passages from their favorite banned books, such as Raisin in the Sun and To Kill a Mockingbird.  The host, Gene Shay of WXPN’s folk show also presented “banned and taboo” music samples.  The standout favorite was a reading of “noted evildoer” Shel Silverstein.  Next up at the library – the OED 80th Anniversary, Nov. 18th.

Well its time again to unveil a new category -the Wandering Fireball category. I realize that the last new category, Faire and Con Reports, has been a bit thin. Unfortunately we chose to skip some of our usual faires so we could save some cash. But I promise there will be more coming for that category and that this category will see more action that that one did.

So what is this new category about and why do you keep talking about the Faire and Con Reports category? Well the answer to both of these question is that, like the Faire and Con Reports category, the Wandering Fireball category will be a travelogue. Unlike the Faire and Con Reports category, however, this new category will be a general travelogue for all the trips that don’t fit in this first category. I decided to create this category because my wife and I seem to take a lot of road trips on the weekends. Sometimes these trips are of a strange nature; my wife and I are huge fans of New Jersey and all its weird landmarks. Other times they’re to see museum exhibitions and in October my wife and her family will be visiting Ireland. Combine these facts with my wife’s love of taking pictures and I hope this new travelogue will be fun and interesting. As with the Faire and Con Reports category I will be also making an associated Wandering Fireball category in the links section that will contain the links to the places we go if any. So until next time make a Dex check to avoid the fireball.

~Chris Baldi “The Healer”~

~October 3, 2008~

Despite the rainy weather, our roving pirate reporter MUM the pirate cook attended the Adventure Pirate Weekend at the Maryland Renaissance Festival and filed this report.

Arrr! Ye can drench me bones but ye can’t soak me spirit.This weekend was the pirate Adventure Weekend at theMaryland Renaissance Festival.This is always one of me favorite times of the year and even though the ground was muddy and the sky kept dumping on us intermittently I was not disappointed.All me favorite acts were there, from the Pyrates Royale, to the Hooligans to the O’ Danny Girls and, even when the rain was pouring, the acts continued and got even more rowdy for the weather. Then there was the peasant bread. For those of you who do not know, peasant bread is a fried piece of dough that has been stretched thin. The result is a crunchy wafer that can be used to hold fruit topping, honey, sugar, or just be lightly salted. Reminds me of a dish me grandmother used to make. Finally the day ended as always with a rowdy pub sing at the White Hart Tavern. Well that’s about it me lads, another fine celebration of piracy – I can’t wait till next year.

Well, thanks for that report MUM and we hope to hear more from you in the future during other pirate events.

Pub Sing Stub Toe Lane Hooligans Mud Pyrates Royale

~Chris Baldi “The Healer”~
~September 30, 2008~