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Just who is Ronny?

And why is he sitting in front of a plate of pasta and a glass of red wine? Ron grew up on the Hill, Belmont Hills, across the river from Manayunk. He thought so much of growing up there he's written three books about it and working on the fourth. The books are fiction, but Ron will be the first to tell you that many of the episodes in the books are accurate. 

 

The author lives in South Philadelphia with his wife, Denise, and two cats. After graduating from Mansfield and Penn State's School of Journalism, he has worked at Penn State, Temple, and Drexel as a major gift fund-raiser, while Denise raised three children and taught fifth grade at John Welsh Elementary School in North Philadelphia. In 2001, she was selected as teacher of the year in the Philadelphia School District.

 

Since they retired in 2015, Ron and Denise have been to Italy seven times — usually a month at a time and have stayed in neighborhoods where tourists don't go. They love to find out-of-the-way restaurants far from tourist areas.

Ron likes to surf fish and covers the beaches from Seaside Park to Atlantic City. He fishes for blues, stripers, and flounder. He is experimenting with using a drone to take his bait further out than he can cast. See the bottom of the page.

"We'll have another bottle please."

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"Easy, easy, come on that's it, come on, take the bait."

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Sometimes I sits and thinks and sometimes I just sits.

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Author's favorite dinner in Italy, pasta and clams.

Got it. A nice blue fish that came in too close looking for dinner off the breakers at high tide.

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This is my drone. I attach the fishing line to the bottom and the drone hovers over where I want to release the bait. I then hit a button on the control panel, released the line, and the  bait dropped to the sea. I hit another button, and the drone automatically returns to the exact spot it took off from. It's waterproof and can even take off from the ocean.  This way, I'm much farther out to sea than I'd be with a regular cast.

Hi-Tech Fishing

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Here is an  example of the kind of restaurants we look for in Italy. First, great pasta and wine. Second, there are no tourists and therefore no high prices. The cost of this dinner was a ridiculous $45, including the wine. Do you want to go to Italy? Talk to us. Rome has terrific neighborhoods far from the tourist sites. We found this restaurant, Il Barroccio, in a neighborhood on our way to the da Vinci museum. There is no tipping in Italy, but I'd slip the waiter a ten spot on the way out. He'd smile, bow slightly, and say, "Grazie, Mr. Costellio. Molto riconoscente." I learned that from my friend, Pete, who was born in Italy. Look at the bottle of wine on the table. It looks like a bottle of Pepsi. But it's not. It's homemade red wine, and it is so good. You can't get that at restaurants near the Vatican or the Colosseum. Why not? Because that's tourist territory, and there you will pay jacked-up prices, 300 Euros for dinner and 250 Euros for a bottle of wine that tastes like turpentine. The table is on the sidewalk, and many people stop to say hello. Italians love Americans. It's not like France, where they hate you. Go figure that. 

Ron and Denise love the Phillies. Below, Ron and his son Matt attend the NCLS game vs Arizona. The Costello name on the shirts? They were Ron's Dream Week (also called Fantasy Camp) shirts, when, at the age of fifty, Denise gave him a birthday gift to attend the Phillies camp and play baseball. For a week, they played two games a day. It was a fantastic gift and experience. 

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