Great Uncle Buck

Alexander of Macedonia conquered most of the known world and they called him Alexander the Great. Peter Alexeyevich ruled the Russian empire for more than 40 years, and they called him Peter the Great. Waldo Pepper was a character in a movie about flying starring Robert Redford, and they called it The Great Waldo Pepper.

I didn’t have to do diddly squat, but now they call me Great, Great Uncle Early. Suck it Alexander, Peter, and Waldo.

My nephew DJ and his wife Stacy did all the work, but I got the title. It kind of reminds me of an acceptance speech I once heard an actor give. He said, “I don’t deserve this award, but I’ve got arthritis, and I don’t deserve that either, so I’ll accept the award.

I was in Lancaster and just about to jump in the car with Brother X, Mrs. X., and their daughter Beth. We were headed to Johnstown, PA for my Aunt Jane’s 90th birthday. Then they got the call. Stacy was in labor, so instead of heading west they went back east. I waited a week before I headed there. Wait until the work is all done. That’s my motto.

Stacy gave birth to little baby Cooper James and I went to see them. I’m happy to report that Mom, baby, and all the rest of the people who were waiting anxiously for the arrival were all settle down by then.

I took this picture of DJ holding the baby and restraining their dog Cujo, I mean Mason, who was probably wondering why there was so much excitement for a tiny creature that couldn’t walk, bark, or feed himself.

Here’s a close-up of the little tyke, in which he seems to be winking at me, congratulating me on my promotion from Uncle to Great Uncle.

All the best to DJ, Stacy, Cooper, and all the members of their extended family. Thanks for the promotion.

 

Peace & Love, and all of the above,

Earl

 

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When the Going Gets Tough…Grab a Slingshot

I recently read David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. He explains how the underdog David, should have been the odds-on favorite, because he had a weapon, a slingshot. Goliath was much bigger and stronger but needed for David to be within arms distance. David had no intention of letting the giant get that close, and he felled the big man from a distance with a stone and a slingshot. It was like that classic scene in the Indiana Jones movie when Indy is confronted by the fierce swordsman, who shows off his skill with the sword for about 15 seconds before Indy just pulls out his gun and shoots him.

Unless you have superior weapons, though, the giant always has a big advantage. Remember how Andre the Giant would wrestle against an entire group of midgets and always emerge victorious? Or try to think what it would be like if you were playing on a high-school basketball team and LeBron James showed up to play for the other team.   Imagine a high-school wrestler having to face Hulk Hogan. If you’re going to face a giant, you need a superior weapon.

This past Saturday, my favorite Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby team, The Dutchland Rollers played against a team from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in their home opener for the 2018 season. The Dutchland All Star team had their skates, their elbow pads, their knee pads, helmets, and wrist protectors, but they were up against Goliath, and they didn’t have any slingshots.

I knew something was up when I got to the Overlook Recreation Center where the games are held. It usually takes just a few minutes to get a ticket and find a seat. This time there was an extremely long line that went all the way to the end of the parking lot. I waited on line for half an hour, and they were 10 minutes into the game before I finally got in. The first thing I did was look up to the scoreboard.

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The score was 0 to 99. I couldn’t believe it, until I watched a few jams and saw the reason for the lopsided score. Goliath, in the form of Vanessa Sites was skating for Wilkes-Barre. Vanessa, who is nicknamed V-Diva, is a transgender superstar in the sport. She used to play for Gotham, the New York Roller Derby team where she helped them win the Championship 5 years in a row and most recently she skated with them when they won the World Cup of Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby in a competition held in England.

In Roller Jerby, a jammer wearing a star on their helmet, is the only one who can score points. They start at the back of the pack and must work their way to the front. Then, to score points, they have to skate around the track and lap opponents. With Vanessa skating backwards at the front of the pack, the Dutchland jammers were unable to get past her. If they did somehow manage to get by her, she then moved to the back of the pack and prevented them from scoring.

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Many times, after skating around the track, the jammer will slow down when they reach the pack and plan whether to attempt to pass on the left, right or center. When Vanessa wore a jammer’s helmet she wouldn’t slow down when she approached the pack. She would just hit it like a bowling ball and scatter Dutchland players like bowling pins. If the pack was on a turn, she would just take off before the turn, do a long jump across the infield and land at the front of the pack, boom 5 points for passing everyone. This move was so spectacular that even the local fans applauded. Mega Pixel, the captain of the Dutchland team does a similar move, she just doesn’t get quite as far in her leap and usually has to wrestle past an opponent or two at the front of the pack.

Normally the players skate every other jam, with substitutions being made after each jam. Vanessa skated almost every jam, and just kept knocking the Dutchland jammers off the track or onto the track. The Dutchland All-Stars didn’t have any slingshots, but they did have plenty of grit, and they fought on bravely. They double and triple teamed Vanessa and forced her to commit fouls that sent her to the “Dutch Oven” penalty box. Eventually, the Rollers got rolling and scored some points. The final score was 74-281, a respectable comeback for the Roller’s All-Star team, who never quit.

Each team actually fields two teams on an event night, and the women who didn’t get to skate in the first game come out for the second game. In the second game Wilkes-Barre came from behind to beat the Rollers, but without Vanessa, it was a much closer game. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, in between games, a dancing exhibition was put on by a local school of Irish Step Dancers. That’s something I know a little bit about, because my friend Marianne’s daughter Jessie Driscoll is a top class Irish Step Dancer, who has toured all over the world including performing in shows in China. The exhibition reminded me of when Jessie was just starting out on her career decades ago. I hope that some of these little girls will someday achieve the level that Jessie has.

As always, the after party was a lot of fun, and I got to talk to Drew Anderson, who was the weatherman on the local TV station, WGAL, but is now running for Congress. He had been a guest announcer at the games. He’s the one wearing the tie. He seemed like a nice man, and I hope he doesn’t face a Goliath in the election.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,

Earl

 

Dumb As a Doorknob

 

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The Winners with Brad Rutter standing behind them.

When I lived with my parents, if the phone rang between 7:00 and 7:30 p.m. we did not answer it by saying “Hello.” We said “Jeopardy! is on” and hung up. That half hour every weeknight was sacred. We would scream out the answers (If we knew them). My family was always competitive, especially in mind games. We all thought we were smart. Maybe we were, but the years, beers, and drugs have taken their toll on me, and last night I got a big reality check.

Last night the Lancaster Library had another “Are you Smarter than a Librarian” event, a literary trivia contest built for bookworms. The Librarian team competed against about 20 other local teams in the contest, and they were out for blood. The last time they held one of these events, the Library team got creamed by the competition, and they were determined not to let that embarrassing moment happen again.

There are some very knowledgeable people in Lancaster and these trivia contests are very popular in the local bars. Like usual, this contest was held in one of the local bars, Tellus 360, so I was psyched up to attend. I didn’t actually enter in the contest because you needed a team of 7 people, and quite frankly, I don’t even know 6 other people in town who like to read. Even though I wasn’t in the actual competition, I was given an answer sheet so that I could play along.

I said that there are some very knowledgeable people here, and the most famous was Brad Rutter, a Lancaster native who won over $2,000,000 on Jeopardy!, defeating such well-known opponents as the 74-time Champion, Ken Jennings, in the Tournament of Champions.  The only one who ever beat Brad was Watson, the IBM Brainiac computer. Brad, who now lives on the West Coast, was in town to host the show.

There were 7 rounds of 10 questions each and the first round was Literary Potpourri. I got 5 out of 10 correct. I put down “Colossus” as the name of the poem on the Statue of Liberty. The correct answer was “The New Colossus.” So, I was close but no cigar. Damn.

The next round was Wizarding World, and not having read the Harry Potter books killed me. I muggled my way through and only got 1 out of 10 correct. I figured I would make up for that round in the next round, What the Dickens! Unfortunately, I only got 4 right in that category. The next category was Pictures: Late but Great. I only recognized one face, but I even got that wrong when I wrote down Angela Mayou instead of Maya Angelou. I thought Kurt Vonnegut, Jr looked like one of those Russian writers who spent too much time in the gulag. It wasn’t a very flattering picture of him, and certainly never appeared on any of his book jackets. So, I wound up with a zero in that category.

We moved on to Sound: Is the Force with you? Jar Jar Binks and Lando Calrissian were the only voices I recognized. There were no easy ones, like Darth Vader’s, “I am your father” or Princess Leia’s “Help me, Obi Wan”, So, I only got two correct. The Force was not with me. The next category was One Hit Wonders. If they were talking rock n roll songs, I was in, but they were talking authors and I was out of my comfort zone. I only managed to get 4 out of 10 correct. The last category was Heroes and Villains. I recently listened to a 5 CD audio book about Heroes and Villains in literature. I knew about everyone from Beowulf to Lizbeth Salandar, the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I was pumped to finish on a high note. Then, most of the questions were about Marvel comic book characters. I was a DC Comics fan as a kid, so I only got The Joker, and Mr. Freeze. Those two correct answers brought my total up to 18 out of 70.

There was a bonus question. Name the four Jane Austen books that were published in her lifetime. All I could think of was Pride and Prejudice. So, no bonus points for me. My final score was 18. Was I smarter than a Librarian? No, I was as dumb as a doorknob. Most of the teams scored in the 50s and 60s. I did singlehandedly beat out one team, though. The Tequila Mockingbird team only had 17 correct answers. They had an excuse though. They were all doing shots of tequila before every round. They were there for the party.

The Librarian team won in a squeaker, and afterwards I went up to Brad Rutter to shake his hand and tell him a story about when I watched him years ago in the Tournament of Champions on Jeopardy! I told him that my favorite sport is Harness Racing, and I was shocked when none of the three great champions on the show knew that the vehicle the horses pull in a harness race is called a sulky. I told him that was my “Aha moment” when I knew my favorite sport was in serious trouble and needed way more TV coverage.

I didn’t do well in the contest, but I did learn one thing. The next time the library holds an Are You Smarter than a Librarian contest, I’m going to try to get my well-read New York friends Patrice, John, and Margaret to visit Lancaster that day and be on my team. My two brothers would also be welcome additions to the team. I’m sure that my brother Kevin would have gotten all the comic book questions right. That would only leave room on the team for one more player. I wonder what Ken Jennings is doing these days.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,

Earl

P.S. I went to the library today and it wasn’t open. There was a paper sign taped to the door “The library is closed today” with a picture of a big snow flake. The weather forecast had called for several inches of snow. We only got one inch and it was melted by noon. I imagined that more likely the library was closed because all the librarians were hung over. They were still partying pretty hard when I left the bar. I’m glad the weatherman gave them a well-deserved day off to celebrate their victory.

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Keep Calm and Storm On

 

Storm Damage

Here in Lancaster, I just bought my tickets to Opening Day of the Barnstormers 2018 Minor League Baseball season. Meanwhile, my old neighborhood got hit by a Nor’easter storm that took down the tree next door to where I used to live. My old apartment was the upstairs floor of the house on the far right of this picture.

The tree in front of my old house is still standing, and it’s even bigger than the one that came down. I’ll bet the new owners are calling a tree chopping company today.

My old neighbors weren’t hurt when the tree came down as they were on the first floor. When she saw the damage to her house, though, the lady in the house on the left had to be taken to the hospital.

I hope all my old neighbors are doing okay today, and I hope that my friends in the areas that are prone to flooding are okay.

Here in Lancaster our motto when we are trailing in a baseball game is, Keep Calm and Storm on. I hope my friends on Long Island can do likewise.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,

Earl

 

 

My Penultimate Will and Testament

 

In the past couple months, my friend Mark, my friend Linda’s sister Cathy, and a country line dancing friend of mine, Norma, all died. It’s time to get some of my final wishes down in writing, should I ever become incapacitated or dead, not that I’m anticipating either happening to me, but like they say, hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

I use the word “penultimate,” because I expect to make changes before I die, especially since I’m just writing this in sort of a stream-of-consciousness way.  I just want to be prepared with some sort of written document in case anything ever happens suddenly. After all, I was a Boy Scout. Who’s to say what might change? Maybe when I’m on my deathbed, I might suddenly scream out, “Screw Uncle Tony, he’s not getting my watch,” or something like that. Last Wills are impossibly tough to write, because you want it to accurately express your final desires, and you don’t expect it to change. It’s your LAST Will. It’s final. Plus, you’ve gotta feel like you’re putting the whammy on yourself just by writing it. Penultimate Wills don’t come with that pressure. It can always be edited. It’s just what the Pirates of the Caribbean would call “a guideline.” It’s also optimistic, because it shows that you don’t think you need a final draft just yet. This should be a breeze, and, in a way, it is a civic responsibility. Please understand that these are just my wishes at this current moment, they’re not chiseled in stone (though that would be cool).

I’ll leave off the “Hereby, being of sound mind” line, because I can’t really vouch for that. I can say, though, that this is probably as sound as my mind gets, and it’s not likely to get any sounder as I limp into old age. They say that there are two ways than a man can be sure that he’s getting old. Number One is he starts forgetting things. Number Two is…gee, I don’t remember. That’s another reason why I’m writing all this down now.

I saw a T-shirt that said, “I never though I would grow into a grumpy old man, but here I am, killing it.” I regret that I don’t yet have that T-shirt, but I do have a lot of t-shirts and clothes. Upon my demise, I donate them all to the mission in Lancaster. I think it’s on Water Street. Otherwise, Goodwill, or rags at the car wash.

John Brand gets my James Buchanan bobble-head doll. I think he will appreciate it more than my brother Donald would, though I know they both can’t say enough about the only President born and raised in Pennsylvania. John also gets my Lancaster Barnstormer stuff. Go Stormers.

Margaret Brand gets everything related to A Little Bit Better, the Children’s Book I wrote that was illustrated by her daughter, Eileen. Margaret gets my rights to the words in the book. Eileen already has the rights to the illustrations. If you dig around, I might have 40-50 copies of the book on a book shelf someplace just waiting to brighten some children’s lives. Plus, I’ve got some of the “Deleted and Bonus Material” that shows how the book evolved. It’s in a kitty liter bucket marked “A Little Bit Better.” (Clever, huh?) You can also have the framed artwork that Eileen drew that I bought at auction. They’re hanging on my Wall of Fame in the back room.

Deborah Jean Beck Donohue gets my tricycle, record collection, cd collection, video collection, and VCR equipment. Any beer or alcohol left over goes to her, too. Throw in the breathalyzer, too. She won’t use it, but it might give her a laugh. I know that I laughed every time I showed it to her and she slurred, “I’m not drunk. Go ahead. Take my blood pressure.” Debbie also gets the poster she had made of me and Muhammad Ali from a picture taken at the Vista International Hotel at the World Trade Center. I outlived both Ali and the hotel. Otherwise, I would give them this great picture taken by Angelo Dundee.

Earl and Ali

Maria Fundus gets my wine rack and wine glasses. It’s empty now, but I’ll try from now on to keep it stocked with a supply of Pinot Grigot. Maria also gets back the 25th Anniversary Mavericks T-Shirt she gave me. Odds are it will be clean. I only wear it when I go to Mavericks concerts with her, and I do have a washer and dryer, which I bought with my landlord Ed Pelton. The washer and dryer are all his now.

Barbara Hennig gets the armoire in my bedroom, and the big vase in the kitchen. Her husband James Cuozzo gets all my tools and any handyman sort of stuff. Jim also gets the Dutchland Rollers stuff.

My favorite skater, Vanitti #29, a.k.a. Jessie gets to know that I’ll be rooting for the Dutchland Rollers forever.

Geralyn Becker gets the big framed picture that her sister Marianne took of us singing at a LAM Dance. Geralyn also gets full rights to all the issues of The Cyber Space Cadet Gazette, which she helped to produce by letting me write them while I was supposed to be working at Cyber Medical. Hi Guys!

Marianne Driscoll gets her mother Arleen’s bowling ball, which I have kept unscathed from hitting too many pins. If I have any plays written, they, and all their rights, go to Marianne. As of this moment, I’m working on two of them: Alicia Off and Miles to Go Before I Sleep. If I live another decade I should complete both. If any of Marianne’s kids wants my LAM ring from Las Vegas, they can have it.

Patrice Davis gets a copy of all my screenplays and first choice on all my books and audio books by other authors. Whatever she doesn’t want I hope Marianne Driscoll will somehow manage to donate to Veterans, Africa, Goodwill, or Dentist’s offices somewhere.

Linda Merensky gets the unicorn spoon holder in the kitchen and the screen rights to Two Ships Passing…One Failing. If the book is ever finished, she can have the rights to that too. Linda also gets “The Band,” the complete collection of blow-up instruments I used to take to Karaoke.

Isabella, the little girl who lives upstairs gets my clarinet. That way the neighbors in Lancaster can all remember me whenever she practices on it.

Peggy Carbone gets my saxophone. She had to endure hours of listening to me practice when I first was learning how to play it as a kid in South Ozone Park.

Tierney O’Rourke gets all the rights to Bless Me, Jack. After all, it is his story.

The Hall of Fame of the Trotter in Goshen, NY gets the screen rights to Miles to Go Before I Sleep.

Joe Becker of Lancaster gets all the furniture that’s left after my friends pick out things they want. I don’t think Joe will want the stuff, but he’ll know how to sell it.

Tilda Virgilio Clark gets the book of Tuscany cooking I was supposed to give her months ago. And she also gets one of these:

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She’ll know what it means, and it’ll give her a big laugh. She really would prefer if I did it with both hands, but I couldn’t hold both hands up and hit the enter key with my elbow. Believe me, I tried.

My nephew DJ, a teacher and sports coach on Long Island, NY, gets all my sports equipment.  He also gets my train style pocket watch to time his slow runners.

My niece Beth, a Lieutenant in the NYPD, gets my pet pig, Buzz Lightpig.

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Caution: he’s a lot bigger than he looks in this picture.

 

My horseracing computer (The Dell) and all the horse information goes to my friend Caesar in the Downthestretch@yahoogroups.com group. Don’t worry about deleting any porn first, Caesar said he could do that himself.

My Harness Racing watch goes to Archie in the MerryGoRoundRacing@Yahoogroup.com. I also turn over the reins of the group to him. To the group I leave all the horse paintings and sculptures. You can have contests to see who wins what.

Barbara Flaherty a.k.a. Princess LaLa and her husband John don’t need any material things to remember me by, but, LaLa, I’ll contact you from the afterlife and tell you what Heaven is like. (I’ll also try to find out if Republicans are allowed there.) LOL

I don’t think I have anything that my relatives in Johnstown would want, but they’re welcome to have my TV’s. Maybe some Eagle luck will rub off on their Steelers.

The rent should, of course, be paid up until the end of the month, so anyone can stay in my apartment for a few days and go sightseeing in Amish country. (Unless I croak at the very end of a month, 😉).

I know that my cousin Debbie and my Aunt Jane love to travel (and probably would like to visit the Outlet Stores in Lancaster). Don’t wait too late. Come on out for a visit while I can still show you around.

My brother Kevin gets anything with a Batman logo, and the stuff on the shelf next to Buzz Lightpig. Speaking of pork, LOL, he also gets congratulations on making Chief in the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department. There sure are a lot of cops in my family tree. I’m glad none of them ever found out that I smoked pot. Wink. Wink. (a squirt or two of Visine) and another Wink. Wink. Kevin gets all my other laptop computers. Hopefully, he will find enough material on them to inspire a story or two for his blog. Then he can give them to his adopted children Zane and Aiden. They will probably find them to be old-fashioned, as I’m sure they have the latest techno devices, but they can just take them apart or smash them if they want to. That would be fun.

Everything else goes to Brother X, who will be in charge of sorting out the mess. That’s what you get for outliving me, Bro. You coulda put the whole stinkin’ thing on Kevin, but you took those 10,000 steps a day. I have a checking account with The Fulton Bank in Lancaster, PA; another checking account with HSBC in Nassau, NY; and a NY Life Annuity Plan. For details look in the locked steel box that is always somewhere in my bedroom. The key is in it. The key is always in it, otherwise I am positive that I would lose the key. There’s no money in there, but you should have enough money from my accounts to cover any final expenses with a little left over for a party for my friends. Otherwise, could you loan me the balance? LOL. I also have a betting account with Yonkers Raceway. I’m sure that you and a lot of other people will be very surprised if there’s any money left in that account.

I don’t want to be buried, but I would like my picture taken in a fox hole, just to prove that there are Atheists in fox holes. No, you don’t have to haul me around. You can Photoshop it. I don’t want any priests talking at any memorial celebration held in my name, saying that I’m in a better place blah, blah, blah. Even though I might be in a better place, if Trump is still President.

My first choice for the disposal of my carcass is to have my body donated to science, but if they send it back postage due, my backup plan is to be cremated and have my ashes sprinkled on a Harness Horse track. A burial at sea would also be nice, if the Navy feels compelled to honor me, thusly. (While I was on active duty, they offered to “throw me overboard” on many occasions.)

Please play, Prop Me Up by The Jukebox If I Die, by Joe Diffie.

If I should die while hooked up to a machine, unplug me. Wait five seconds and plug me back in. See if that works. If it doesn’t work, then…

Peace & Love, and all of the above.

  1. Earl Paulson

P.S. To get “dibs” on any of the other valuable momentos that will someday become available, just let me know what I have that you’d like to have, and be prepared to wait a very long time before delivery. (Hopefully.)

P.P.S. The washer, dryer, refrigerator, and the table in the back yard are not mine. They belong to the landlord. Everything else is up for grabs. I hope it becomes the longest going-out-of-business sale in history.

 

A Tale of Two Teams

“Every picture tells a story, don’t it?”

-Rod Stewart

 

Happy Eagle Fans

Eagle Fans

It was the best of times…Philadelphia Eagles fans

Patriot Fans

It was the worst of times…New England Patriots Fans

I got to Fat Pigs Sports Bar in time to grab the next to last bar stool.  The seat next to me was the only one left.  A man came in and asked me if anyone was sitting there.

Everyone else was wearing something that indicated that they were an Eagles fan.  His shirt said, Just Do It.  So I said, “That depends.  What team are you rooting for?”  He said the Eagles, so I offered him the seat.  Roger was from Uganda, and had lived for a short while in New York, and then went to school in Minnesota.  It made for interesting conversation.

Roger

Roger

The Eagles were having a dream season until their quarterback, Carson Wentz, got hurt and the dream became a nightmare.  Then the backup quarterback, Nick Foles, rose to meet the challenge, and the dream continued all the way to Super Bowl LII.  The Eagles scored first and led for most of the game.  The dream was very much alive.  Then, a few hours later, the Patriots had the ball with just seconds remaining in the game.  They were trailing by 5 points and everyone knew what was coming next, a Hail Mary pass to the end zone.  Sure enough, on the last play of the game, the Patriots had their giant receiver, Gronkowski, standing in the end zone, with a swarm of little green men surrounding him.  Tom Brady threw a perfect pass that was headed right for the outstretched hands of the mountain, who towered over his defenders.  But Eagles can fly.  The swarm flew up and batted the football away from the big man.  The Eagles won the Super Bowl 36 – 31, and Nick Foles was voted the MVP.  Pennsylvania was party town.

I stuck around for the after party, but after a while my camera got a little drunk and started taking some very blurry pictures, so I knew it was time to go home.

Blurry Eagle Fans

Congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles.  This season, you gave all of us in Pennsylvania an opportunity to fly like an eagle.  Thanks.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,

Earl

 

 

 

 

 

 

Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day…

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Twenty-five years ago, Bill Murray starred as Phil, a Pennsylvanian weatherman, in the movie Groundhog Day in which he inexplicable kept living the same day over and over again. The local library celebrated the event by showing the movie over and over and over again. Happy Groundhog Day. If you like the song, I Got You Babe by Sonny and Cher, this was definitely your day to visit the Lancaster library.

The celebrated groundhog in that movie, Punxsutawny Phil, is still making his prognostications and today at Gobbler’s Knob the rotten little rodent saw his shadow and predicted 6 more weeks of winter. That normally would not sit too well with Pennsylvanian’s, but this year we’ve got bigger fish to fry. On Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles play the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. So, a long winter, or an early spring is inconsequential to a Super Bowl victory by our Eagles.

This Groundhog Day was special to me, though. It was also First Friday, a day when Lancastrians (that’s what we call ourselves) support both their local musicians and the local purveyors of alcoholic beverages. I chose to go to a local sports bar, Yorgo’s, because some of the Dutchland Rollers were scheduled to make an appearance there. The Dutchland Rollers are the local Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby team, and I’m a big fan. Watching them brings me back to the days when Charlie O’Connell and his San Francisco Bay Bombers used to school the New York Chiefs at the Armory in New York.

I settled into a comfortable bar stool and glanced up at the TV. It was like Groundhog Day for me, as I was immediately brought back to relive my high school days. My old High School basketball team, Christ the King, was playing against Brother X’s old High School Team, Archbishop Molloy. What are the odds that these two New York high school teams would be featured at a Pennsylvania sports bar? Plus, I graduated from Christ the King 52 years ago. Sunday is Super Bowl 52. I looked around to see if Bill Murray or Rod Serling was in the bar. I was surprised that I didn’t see either of them.

Many years ago, when I was a bellhop at the Vista International Hotel at the World Trade Center in New York City, I had the pleasure of showing Bill Murray to his room. He checked in late one night and was probably coming from a Saturday Night Live rehearsal (or, more likely, an after party). He was upbeat and cheerful, telling me jokes and just being an all around nice guy. He was impressed with the wood paneling in the elevator and asked me what it was made of. I didn’t know. Afterwards I looked it up just in case he ever came back to the hotel. Alas, he never did, and the hotel was destroyed on September 11th. If you’re reading this Bill, it was a cherry wood veneer.

Back when I went to Christ the King, we had a very good basketball team, but Molloy had a better one, and they beat us every time we played each other. (Just in case you’re wondering, I wasn’t actually on the team. I was a cheerleader. My athletic ability back then was the same as it is today, nonexistent.) So, I was not surprise that the CK Royals trailed the Molloy Stanners throughout the game. But then, with about three minutes to go in the game, the Royals popped a few three-point shots and took the lead, and they held it to the end winning 64 to 61. I cheered like they had just won the national championship. The rest of the people in the bar looked at me like I might have been celebrating First Friday a little too long.

I went back to eating the delicious steak dinner I had ordered, and then I saw Mega Pixel and some of the Dutchland Rollers skaters. We talked for a while and then had a waitress snap our picture and I wished them success in the season ahead. I’m sure that picture will wind up on their website, www.dutchlandrollers.com, so look for it. All in all, it was a very good day, and not one I would mind reliving over and over and over and over.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,

Go Eagles.

Earl