The Girlz Are Back in Town

Amand and the Noise

“Friday night they’ll be dressed to kill

Down at Dino’s Bar N Grill

The drink will flow and the blood will spill

And if the boys want to fight you better let ‘em. -Thin Lizzy

Ask Me

The 2017 Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby season has begun and I was there on Saturday to cheer on the Dutchland Rollers. There’s usually a little pushing and shoving, a bit of bumping and a whole lot of skating going on. It’s a contact sport, but it’s usually quite friendly. All the girls are amateur skaters and nobody’s out for blood. Usually.

If the Girlz Want to Fight

On the very first jam of the game, one of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Roller Radicals gave Dutchland’s “Genghis Bon (#302)” a vicious elbow to the mouth, and the Roller Radicals quickly grabbed a 16-0 lead. That didn’t last long, though. Bon picked herself off the floor and Dutchland fought back. Bon, “Mega Pixel (#7),” “Harper’s Fury (93),” and “Metaphor Shadow (#17)” led their team to a crushing 205-98 victory in the first game.

Ask Me About Payback
Genghis Bon

Amanda and the Noise provided the half-time entertainment, and also performed in between games. They performed a number of original songs and a cover of the Go-Go’s hit We Got the Beat. They had the beat all right, but the Dutchland team gave the Roller Radicals a severe beat down in the second game. This time “Mugz Shots (#13),” “Scarface O’Hara (#26),” “Woomerine (#4),” “Alto Hurtya (#28), “Mama Moscato (#750), and “Mega Pixel (#7)” were the big heroes, as the Dutchland team absolutely destroyed their opponents 347-108. Rookie “Mugz Shots” really got the crowd buzzing when she scored 39 points in one of the jams, the most points I’ve ever seen scored by a jammer in one jam. Jammers score 1 point for every opponent they lap. To score 39 points she had to lap the other team 8 times during the short 2-minute jam. That’s not skating. That’s flying.


The after-party crowd at 551 West was thrilled to see that video of the team’s victories was prominently featured on local TV, and I was thrilled to hear that “Vanitti (#29)” is thinking about coming out of retirement for a few games this fall. I guess that after the rock ‘em sock ‘em action of Roller Derby, merchandising just isn’t exciting enough for her.

Vanitti in Retirement

So, since I moved here, I’ve learned that Lancaster is home to great Minor League baseball and Women’s roller derby action. Then I saw a Roller Derby fan wearing this T-shirt. Now I want to find out where the local Rugby team plays.


Peace & Love, and all of the above,


We’re Born Again


“I believe in the Church of Baseball. I’ve tried all the major religions and most of the minor ones – I’ve worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan…”

-Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon in Bull Durham)

Happy Easter. Happy Spring.

The Lancaster baseball season kicked off today (Holy Thursday) with an exhibition game against the Lancaster Bible College Chargers. The Barnstormers won 17-0. I guess the Bible team either didn’t have God on their side, or else, maybe God was busy hiding Easter eggs for the big weekend ahead.

When I was a kid, Baseball was my favorite sport. My Mom was the world’s greatest Brooklyn Dodger fan, but I rooted for the same team as my Father, The Yankees. Then when I became old enough to bet, I switched allegiance to Harness Racing. Now, I am several hours away from a racetrack and only minutes away from a ballfield. So, I’m becoming a kid again.

As you can tell by the photo, there weren’t a lot of fans at the game, even though it was free to get in. If it wasn’t for the Bible College fans, it would practically have been a ghost town. The Charger faithful were there to cheer for every player on every play of the game. The Chargers know they are going to lose, but when a Bible College baseball player can be in a game against a real live minor league team, it’s a thrill for them and their fans just to be on the same field. The Barnstormers are a damn good minor-league team. Yet, if they had to face a major-league team like The Yankees, they would be praying harder that the Bible school kids were against them, and would be lucky to only lose 17-0. All things are relative. Einstein said that, and Einstein was in a league of his own.

The Lancaster Bible College sponsors the foul poles at Clipper Magazine Stadium, so I’m sure that the Barnstormers play this exhibition game every year to keep their sponsors happy. It’s always a rout, even though they sometimes give the Bible-thumping Chargers 4 or 5 outs in an inning. It’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen in a ballgame. The Barnstormer manager (formerly Butch Hobson, now Ross Peeples) runs out onto the field after the Bible students have made three quick outs, and asks the umpire to give them a few more outs so that his pitcher can get a little more work. The Chargers are thrilled, because they want to get everyone on the bench into the game. You know what? It’s an exhibition game. This is one of those moments when winning or losing really is secondary to the joy of just playing the game.

There’s another exhibition game on Saturday. This time it’s against another team in their league, the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, and it’s also Fan Appreciation Day. It’s free to get in, hot dogs are just a buck, and they have a lot of giveaways, like posters of the team. It’s a good day to get young player’s autographs, hoping that someday they’ll make it to “The Show.” I’ll be searching out Connor Root, #30, a 24 year old pitcher who’s the youngest guy on the roster. The last pre-season game will be against the Blue Crabs on Tuesday. Then the team starts the official season with a week-long road trip.

Unlike the fictional Ms. Savoy, I haven’t tried all the world’s major religions, but, like her, I’m sure that I will spend way more time this Spring at the Church of Baseball than in any of the other churches here in Lancaster. The Barnstormer home opener is on April 28th, and I will be there at Clipper Magazine Stadium with my friends John, Debbie, Mike and Deedee. Like John Fogarty would sing, “We’re born again. There’s new grass on the field.” Let’s go Stormers.

Can I get an Amen?

Peace & Love, and all of the above,


By the Numbers

“…In Europe at the dawn of the Renaissance, mathematics was still limited by the cumbersome notation using Roman numerals and expressing relationships using words, rather than symbols; there was no plus sign, no equal sign, and no use of x as an unknown…”



I get a limited amount of high-speed Internet on my phone each month. I have unlimited data, it’s just that once I go over the monthly high-speed limit, i-t g-e-t-s r-e-a-l-l-y s-l-o-w. I keep an eye on my account, and if the billing cycle is ending and I’m still under my quota, I usually binge watch comedy on YouTube. Since I’ve already watched dozens of comedies on DVD this winter, with my soon-to-be-expiring gigabytes of high-speed data, I decided to give documentaries a shot.

I started with an interview of Buckminister Fuller. He died in 1983, so it was a very old interview. Old Bucky was quite a bit ahead of his time, though, so I didn’t understand half of it. So, I watched a few more interviews with him, and after a few repetitions, some of his ideas eventually began to sink in. After several hours, I checked my Boost Account and I still had high-speed data left, so I watched a few more hours. Buckminister Fuller invented the geodesic dome and more that 300,000 of them have been built as super economical homes and offices. He actually lived in one himself for a while, during which time he discovered its one design flaw, the roof leaked.

He wrote many books and was the first person to refer to our planet as Spaceship Earth. He devoted his life to developing artifacts, like the geodesic dome, to help all humanity. In most of the interviews I watched, he was in his eighties. The interviewer would ask him a question and he would start rambling on about something completely different, like a politician might. At first, I thought that he must be losing his mind with age, but then I saw that instead of giving a sound bite, the old professor was actually giving the question a complete answer that took in all aspects of the problem, and the things that led to the problem. One interviewer on a tiny cable station asked about his opinion on the Falkland Islands war, which was a big news item at the time. He started talking about 1917 Russia, the Cold War, nuclear warheads, Economics, the population of the hemispheres, and a bunch of other things, and rambled on for several minutes before tying all his thoughts together and delivering his opinion of how all those things would affect the outcome of the war in the Falkland Islands. He was brilliant.

It was during one of those seeming diversions in an answer that he mentioned the publication in 1202 of the Italian Mathematician Fibonacci’s book “Liber Abaci” (Book of Calculation). This was the book most responsible for popularizing Arabic numbers in Europe. Using this “New Math,” Europe went from the Dark Ages to the Renaissance. Roman numerals are great for keeping track of Super Bowls, but they were a lousy way of doing calculations and scientific studies. Quick, what’s MCMLXXXVI times MCMLXLIV?

The introduction of Arabic numbers, negative numbers, and the zero made it exponentially easier for scientists to calculate whatever they were studying. Going from Roman numerals to Arabic numbers affected everything. Science figuratively took off like a rocket. This made me think about another time that a simple change in the way we do Math caused a complete change in the world, when we shifted from our base ten system to binary, just zeroes and ones. That didn’t just simplify calculations, it enabled computers to do all the calculations for us. Science literally took off like a rocket, then. I’m old enough to remember when the nerdy kids in school all carried slide rules to do their own calculations. I don’t think today’s generation has ever seen a slide rule. Computers have changed everything so much.

So, after I file my taxes online this year, I’ll drink a toast to Fibonacci. Paying taxes is never fun, but thanks to him at least, I can use a computer, and I don’t have to figure out my Adjusted Gross Income using Roman numerals.

Peace & Love, and all of the above.



Florence Frighteningale


I’m working on a book about my friend Debbie D., a native New Yorker, who arrived in Lancaster a few years before me. She’s a character, and since third-world countries will have high-speed Internet long before she ever goes online, I feel safe in writing anything I want to about her, here.

She’s knows I am writing a book about her, though, so it’s not a secret. Besides, she’ll probably be the first one to see the finished product. So, unless I want to wind up someday eating a steady diet of bunny rabbit stew, I won’t say anything to piss her off (too much). But, some stories just have to be told. Consider this a public service message. Stay healthy, Pennsylvania. Debbie just got a job as a homecare assistant.

She lost her job at the T-shirt store, when the boss decided not to open the store this year. He was branching out into the designer popcorn field, and that looked like a bigger moneymaker for him. So, Debbie went job hunting. She landed a job that didn’t require any computer skills. So, you could say that she was overqualified in that area. Nor did the job require any other skills. So, she nailed it.

She also nailed the job interview. They gave her a few hours of orientation and put her right out in the field. Fortunately for those individuals for whom she will be performing home care, the orientation was all about what she is NOT supposed to do. She can’t administer drugs, not even aspirin. She can’t even put a Bandaid on a patient, but she can give them a Bandaid if they are bleeding and are able to put it on by themselves. She is not there to be a nurse. She is only there to run errands, do dishes, sweep up, do the laundry, that kind of stuff. Still, it scares me half to death. I’ve known Debbie for more than 3 years, and she has a talent for breaking things that surpasses any proverbial bull in any proverbial China shop anywhere.

The home care company at least showed some good sense by making her first assignments two patients, who were under hospice care, and probably not going to live that long anyhow. Debbie showed a little good sense of her own, by asking to go meet the two patients while another caregiver was there, so that somebody could show her the ropes. As a gambling man, I’d say that both parties have now probably used up most of the good sense either of them ever had. So, if Debbie makes it through the probationary period, it’s only a matter of time before she’ll get assigned to someone not in hospice, at least not in hospice until after she became their caregiver. Stay healthy, Pennsylvania. Watch your diet. Take your vitamins. Exercise. The life you save could be your own.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,