Tommy and Me by Ray Didinger Evokes Nostalgia for a Bygone Era in Professional Sports

Tommy and Me by Ray Didinger Evokes Nostalgia for a Bygone Era in Professional Sports

When my brother Mark announced his plan to take us to see Tommy and Me by Ray Didinger, I had no idea what to expect. Although a lifelong Eagles fan, my earliest memories of the team begin in the 1970’s with players like Tom Dempsey, Harold Carmichael, and Roman Gabriel…when the Dallas Cowboys ruled and loyal fans suffered through consecutive losing seasons until Dick Vermeil came along and turned the Eagles into winners, beginning with the 1978-79 season. The one characterized by the Miracle at the Meadowlands, culminating in a 9-7 record. Winners!

I had heard about older players and the 1960 championship from my parents and brothers, but it didn’t mean much to me until I attended Didinger’s one-act play, featuring just four excellent actors. Performed at Theatre Exile, it tells the uplifting and heart-warming story of a Philly boy (Didinger) who loved his Philadelphia Eagles, and in particular, his idol Tommy McDonald. Their personal relationship begins one summer day in Hershey, during the Didinger family’s annual Eagles training camp vacation, when after patiently waiting outside the locker room for an autograph, young Ray meets his favorite Eagle. Tommy McDonald graciously engages the boy in conversation and asks him to hold his helmet as they walk together toward the field. It’s the start of a lifelong connection, though McDonald won’t realize it until decades later.

We follow Ray through his career as a Philly sportswriter and commentator, which reunites him with McDonald in the 1980’s and culminates in McDonald at last being inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 1998. At the end of the performance, I learned something new about my own family when my dad raised his hand during the Q & A to tell the story of how he took care of McDonald when he was a resident doctor at Misericordia Hospital in West Philly.

More than anything, Tommy and Me made me nostalgic for the days when professional athletes were connected to their fans and played mostly for the love of the game. What a refreshing tribute to a bygone era in professional sports. Many thanks to the cast, writers, and crew for the fun, interactive conversation with the audience at the end of the performance. I’m so thankful I was still “up north” to see it.

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A Few of My Favorite Water Signs Book Reviews

A Few of My Favorite Water Signs Book Reviews

I released the second edition of my 2008 novel Water Signs: A Story of Love and Renewal on July 15 (paperback) and July 8 (Kindle).

Why a new release?

Since publishing the book the first time around, I became a ghostwriter in addition to editing and helping other authors to navigate the independent publishing process. Eventually, this path led to the founding of Writestream Radio Network (March 2013) and Writestream Publishing LLC (June 2015) with my good friend and trusted biz partner Lisa Tarves.

Needless to say, I’ve acquired much more knowledge about the independent publishing industry and writing over the past eight years. Aside from wanting to publish my novel under the Writestream imprint, I also wanted to make some dialogue corrections and narration changes. While my book was well received and highly rated, as an author, I felt compelled to fix the things that were bothering me about the first edition. And thanks to the talents of Kia Heavey (cover designer) and Matt Margolis (interior formatting), my original vision has finally been fulfilled.

Still, it’s nice to look back upon some of my favorite reviews in the hope that new readers will respond in a similar manner:

Water Signs was one of those rare books that I had to force myself to put down because it was such an engaging, refreshing read. I enjoyed the fact that the story was set around the Jersey shore, as I am a Jersey girl myself. But what truly kept me reading was that Daria put so much life into her characters! Their personalities, their personal convictions, and their sense of family were so palpable that every time I read a page, it was like coming home to friends. The story kept me hooked all the way through, allowing me to experience Ken and Maddy’s life journeys along with them right on to the very end. The good thing is that the end wasn’t really the end, as Daria is currently working on the sequel, so I look forward to the day that I can pick up with Ken and Maddy on the next phase of their journey together! If you are searching for a truly good book that will leave you satisfied, Water Signs is definitely worth every penny!

– Amazon Customer

Pisces

The book flows with a great story line easy to follow and the imagination is caught in the rich descriptions of the surroundings as one can almost smell the ocean, hear the birds, and feel the breeze. The dialogue is a little abrupt at times, as some sentences seem to catch one off guard, but upon further reading, it blends with the pending emotion which ensues in joy, tears, heartache, and redemption, in which all can relate. – K. Fitzgerald

Pisces

Water Signs is one of those rare books that makes you feel like you want to meet the characters in person. Yes, they are that real. It is beautifully written with passion for our country and romance. It is one of those books that is just like a good movie, where you hate to see it end. Speaking of more…please Daria, write the sequel as we are left sitting on the edge our seats wanting more. Madeline Rose and her charming husband Kenny will enrich your lives with their love for each other. Yes, a perfect romance does exist. — Anni

Pisces

Daria is such a brilliant writer that you actually feel like you are living the story with the main character. I was so engrossed in this book, that there were times I had forgotten that I was sitting in my bedroom! This book is an excellent escape from one’s daily routine. I was always a slow reader, but let me tell you, I read through this book so fast, I even surprised myself!

Never did I ever feel like I could relate to a character as much as I could relate to this one. I could not believe how much Madeline’s life paralleled mine. It kept me wanting to read on. I can count AT LEAST five similar situations that the character and myself have been through.. It blew me away.

In addition, ANYONE suffering from panic/anxiety disorder or knows someone who is, MUST read this book. It will give you reassurance that this is only a temporary condition that will go away. You will lead a normal life again.

Not only will this book give you a sense of hope that true love does exist, it also proves that certain “bumps” that one goes through in life, are only temporary and will pass. Upon completion of this book, I had feelings of warmth, peace and hope, stir within me.

There is a light at the end of each dismal tunnel.

This is A MUST READ!!!..Any novel I had read after “Water Signs”, pales in comparison to this book. I am definitely looking forward to any future novels from this author.

Pisces

 

To read all reviews, click here.  If you would like to reach out to me to share your thoughts about the book, email me at dariaanne@writestreampublishing.com. Follow me on twitter @dariaanne and like my Facebook Author Page, Daria Anne DiGiovanni, Author.

Thank you to all who have taken the time to read and review!

Preview and purchase Water Signs: A Story of Love and Renewal on Amazon.com

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Gonna Fly in 2014!

Rocky

Let’s start this New Year off right with a nod to some of the most inspiring movie scenes, Rocky Balboa-style! Although I rightfully criticize much of the garbage produced by Hollywood — designed to indoctrinate audiences into embracing statism and a dependency mindset — there are still plenty of gems to be found that celebrate the power of the individual and the importance of faith in God. Even if it means going back in time a few decades, as is the case with Rocky.

I was a little kid when the original Rocky was released, and it’s still my favorite of the entire series, which is filled with common sense, timeless wisdom, religious devotion, love and friendship. In Rocky, boxing is just the vehicle through which these themes are expressed. It’s safe to say I have NEVER been a fan of the actual sport of boxing, but the Rocky series is really about a character who embraces life – with all of its challenges – to the fullest and never gives up.

One of the most memorable relationships in the films involves Rocky and his coach, Mick. These flashback scenes always make me cry but it also showcases two characters who possess incredible insight about life, if not a higher educational degree. Mick expresses his gratitude to a young Rocky for giving him a purpose, a reason to get out of bed and keep living. As he says, when people give up on life, nature has a way of fulfilling their wishes.

Finally, this scene from Rocky Balboa draws a dramatic contrast between Rocky and his adult son whose higher education cannot compensate for his (temporary) lack of grit, character and willingness to metaphorically fight. Good thing dad’s still around to straighten him out.

Make 2014 your best year yet. Keep fighting the good fight, believe in yourself and keep getting up no matter how many times life knocks you down.

Happy New Year!

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Save the Whales, Kill the Babies, Protect the Butchers

KermitGosnell2In spite of the Empty Chair media, Kermit Gosnell is trending on twitter. This sick, pathetic excuse for a human being is on trial in Philadelphia for the murder of seven babies at the Philadelphia Women’s Medical Society — babies who’d survived abortions only to have Gosnell and his staff viciously murder them by snipping their spinal cords. It’s up to Americans of good conscience to keep this trending on twitter and to demand media coverage. The same sort of coverage they breathlessly provided endlessly for …oh let’s see….George Zimmerman, Sandy Hook, Sandra Fluke, any abortion clinic bomber, animal-killer, football player’s imaginary girlfriend, etc.

But in the case of the Philadelphia “doctor” whose own personal Hippocratic oath reads, “Do as much harm as possible in the name of the Almighty Dollar” instead of the actual “First, do no harm”, the mainstream media has displayed a stunning and blatant lack of interest. As my dear friend, journalist Harriet Baldwin noted in her Examiner piece:

The “mainstream” or dinosaur media has largely ignored the Gosnell Abortion trial so unless you are an avid follower of news via the internet, chances are you haven’t even heard the details of babies born alive screaming outside the womb and Gosnell and his abortion workers snipping the spinal cords of live babies.

Gosnell, 72, is charged with murdering seven babies at Philadelphia Women’s Medical Society and with the death of the woman, who suffered cardiac arrest after she was given too much anesthesia.

A Gosnell worker described the abortion house of horrors as “raining fetuses and blood all over the place.”

It has been reported by worker/witnesses that the babies’ screams sounded like “a little alien.”

Brent Bozell, President and CEO of the Media Research Center and 20 other Conservatives- have petitioned the major news outlets to cover the trial, which for the most part, has been blacked out.

List Of Conservatives Speaking Out On Media Blackout Of Gosnell Trial

One has to wonder why the major media “news” outlets have all but blacked out the details of this monstrous murder trial and it’s horrifying details.

This is just the type of story that should have grassroots activists on their feet, on the phones and writing e-mails to ABC, CBS, NBC and MSNBC and ask WHY?

The old guard media seems to be having a feeding frenzy over gun control and aiding in the usurpation of the rights of lawful gun owners- but not on the Gosnell Trial, taxpayer fundedPlanned Parenthood or even the warped, life and beliefs of Margaret Sanger who wanted to eradicate the Black race.

"Doctor" Kermit Gosnell.

“Doctor” Kermit Gosnell.

Baldwin also referenced Sarah Palin’s pointed Facebook commentary in which she rightfully took aim at squishy “let’s call a truce on social issues” Republicans while linking to Kirsten Power’s Gosnell opinion piece in USA Today:

As many in our party call for “social truces” and encourage candidates to stop talking about social issues, I’d remind them to heed the advice of Lady Thatcher: “This is no time to go wobbly.” If our country does not start to focus on returning to a culture that respects life, how can we ever expect to solve the growing problem of violence?

I wonder if “calling a truce on social issues” was the underlying motivation for squishy GOP moderate Tom Ridge to relax the government accountability standards for Pennsylvania abortion clinics during his tenure.  According to Business Insider:

The clinic was not inspected from 1993 to 2010, when FBI agents finally raided the place. They found moaning women covered in blood-stained blankets and jars with severed fetus feet, according to the 281-page grand jury report.

The grand jury report that lays out allegations against Gosnell has an entire section called “How did this go on so long?” The simple answer is politics.

Pennsylvania’s health department stopped routine inspections of abortion facilities in the state after Tom Ridge, a pro-choice Republican, became governor in 1995.

Health department lawyers “changed their legal opinions and advice to suit the policy preferences of different governors,” health department official Janet Staloski said in grand jury testimony. In this case, she said the state didn’t want to be “putting a barrier up to women” who wanted abortions.

In 1999, high-level Pennsylvania officials met to consider starting up regular inspections again but decided not to, state lawyer Kenneth Brody testified, according to the grand jury report. He told the grand jury that officials were concerns that abortion clinics wouldn’t meet inspection standards and then there “would be less abortion facilities.”

To the so-called GOP “moderates” who rule the consultant and D.C. political classes, and to the licentious libertarians who want to scrub all morality and basic humanity from the public square while simultaneously enabling evil – shame on you!

Thanks to an unconstitutional decision erroneously rendered by the Supreme Court, abortion is not only legal in the USA, but the federal government can and does force taxpayers to fund it — to the tune of $542 million to Planned Parenthood alone in 2011. Given that financially supporting an organization founded by a racist/eugenicist is mandatory for law-abiding, taxpaying Americans, it is not only entirely reasonable but essential that there be strict oversight of all abortion clinics receiving taxpayer dollars. So even if you believe abortion is the taking of innocent human life, your hard-earned income is partially used to keep the abortion mill churning.

And to all of the anti-war libertarians who side with the Left on matters of national security, here’s a little reminder about the US Constitution: among the limited duties it ascribes to the federal government protection from foreign and domestic enemies is one. War is hell. War sucks. So does the reality that there are evil nations and people who want to harm us. Thus, sometimes war is justified to protect Americans, American interests and our allies. That is quite different from nation-building, which I fundamentally reject.

What’s not enshrined in the US Constitution? The right to taxpayer-funded abortions. 

While I’m on the topic of hypocrisy, where are all of the so-called feminists who care so much about women, especially poor, vulnerable women? Nowhere to be found in the case of Kermit Gosnell. As I tweeted earlier:

 

 

We can rightfully call out the massive genocide of tyrants like Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot, but when you get right down to it, the most horrific, widespread slaughter of human beings is abortion. The fact that it’s even legal in a country like the United States of America is an absolute travesty and disgrace. We can also chastise China for its forced abortions and one-child policy but that too rings hollow coming from a country that claims to be founded upon the principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

GrindingDownYou know what else rings hollow? The squishy GOP and self-centered libertarian rallying cries to sweep social issues under the carpet. Our culture of abortion has wrought near irreparable damage to this once great nation, by design. Are we as constitutional conservatives and people of faith going to sit down and shut up when it comes to calling out the evils of abortion and monsters like Gosnell? Or are we going to fight for the heart and soul of this country?

As my good friend Michael Fanelli pointed out on Facebook, the devil never rests. Can he count on us to be passive accomplices in the destruction of all that is good about the USA?

Finally, to those who don’t believe in God I would add that even if you are ok with abortion to some degree, if you’re not viscerally horrified by the Gosnell story you might want to check and see if you have a heart. How any decent American could turn a blind eye to this is further proof of the success of the Communist Agenda.

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