Sometimes You Eat the B’ar


In one of my favorite movies, The Big Lebowski, the mustachioed Sam Elliot tells the Dude, “A wiser man than me once said that sometimes you eat the b’ar, and sometimes the b’ar eats you.”   Saturday night was opening night for Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby in Lancaster.  In their first game, The Dutchland Rollers ate the b’ar, handily defeating the South Delaware team.  In the second game of the doubleheader, the b’ar ate them.

Normally, I get there just before the match starts and walk right in to the arena, but on Saturday I wound up at the end of an extremely long line of people waiting to get in.  Many were local fans of the Dutchland Rollers coming out to support the team in their season opener.  Some were fans of the South Delaware team, but a whole hoard of people were there supporting the team that would play in the second game.

In the second game the Rollers faced the Jersey Shore Beatdown, and it was a hell of a game.  The Dutchland Rollers faced a well-drilled team that had brought a lot of talent, their own cheerleaders, and a huge fanbase.  They must have come by the busload.  They also had three spectacular jammers, Horror Quinn, Silicone Valkyrie, and Misbehaving Maven.

I’m a diehard Dutchland Rollers fan, and one thing I’ve learned from the ladies is that they enjoy the game and that playing hard and improving themselves with each game is what this is all about.  They’re amateurs, in that they don’t get paid to play, but they’re professional in their attitude, and they put forth 100% effort all the time.  Playing up to your potential is more important than winning.  The league is set up so that the winningest teams wind up advancing to tougher and tougher divisions.  Because of their winning record last year, The Rollers are now playing against some of the finest Women’s teams in Flat Track Roller Derby, and the games are competitive and intense.

They also have some fun with makeup.  Dash Ketchum, one of our finest jammers, wears dark makeup around the eyes that make her look, well, deadly.  When she pulls up her bandana like an old-time train robber, you know she means business.  Mega Pixel, with her torn fishnet stockings and bright red bloomers under her short uniform skirt, looks kind of cute, sexy, and harmless, until she furiously busts through a wall of opponents to rack up points for her team.  They were in the first game, which the Rollers won.

In the second game, Kis’t Kis’t Bang Bang was the Rollers’ top jammer.  She skated very well, but her opposition was just overpowering.  They were the previously mentioned, Horror Quinn, Silicone Valkyrie, and Misbehaving Maven.  My favorite was Horror Quinn.  She wore a costume that was part Harlequin and part The Joker.  Even her bright white mouth guard added to the look.  When she flashed that great big smile, just before she crashed through a wall of determine, but doomed, Dutchland blockers, she looked like a female Jack Nicholson, though I guess she was actually going for the look of Harley Quinn in the Batman stories.  The rollerskates have a round rubber piece in the front that can be used as a brake to stop a skater, though I’ve never actually seen a skater use it for that purpose.  Horror Quinn was able to stand on that piece like a ballerina, and use the added traction of the rubber to plow through the defense like a fullback.

Later, at the after party, I sat at a table with Kis’t Kis’t Bang Bang and Horror Quinn, the top jammers of the two opposing teams in the second game.  There was no lingering blood feud between them, though.  It was just girls having fun, which is what this league is all about.  And having fun is what I’m all about, so I loved every minute of it, and I also loved the cheeseburger and fries they served at 501 West.  The next game is April 13th.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,



Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day, Groundhog Day…


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,, 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.



We Be Jammin’

Two milestones were set last Saturday thanks to the local Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby.  Vanitti won her first MVP Jammer award, and I finally got my activity tracker to announce that I had successfully completed my goal for the day.  I don’t remember exactly what my goal for the day is, since I set it when I first bought the watch years ago, but I normally only hit about 35-40% of whatever that goal is.

On Saturday, The Dutchland Rollers competed against and defeated the Salisbury Wicomikazes from Maryland in the first match of “Monster Mashup Night.”  This was the third time I’ve attended the local roller derby, and it was easily the best.  I realized that it’s a lot like horse racing.  The more familiar you are with the athletes going around the track, the more interesting it is.  By now I recognize many of the Rollers, especially their two best jammers, Vanitti and Mega Pixel.  I also wound up cheering for one of the blockers on the Wicomikazi team, #13, Ida Crazy Mama.  (Far left in the team picture above.)  I kinda had to cheer for her, as her parents were sitting right in front of me.

At halftime, one of the other parents came over to me and asked me if I had a daughter skating on the team.  I know that she was being very tactful, because I’m probably older than most of the girl’s grandparents.  I told her that, No, I didn’t have any relatives on the track, I was just a Vanitti groupie.

In the 2nd match, continuing the Halloween theme of the evening, Witches Be Crazy defeated Ghouls Just Want To Have Fun.  Raggedy Aneurysm, #79, proved to be one of the stars for the Witches.  Ghengis Bon, #302, was my favorite Ghoul.  After that it was time to head home.  There was just one problem.  The bus had stopped running hours earlier.

I knew the bus schedule, and I had a plan for getting home.  It was a simple plan.  I knew from a Google map that the arena was just a little more than 3 miles from my apartment.  I would walk to the closest bar, have a few drinks, and then call a cab.  So, I started walking, and I quickly realized the flaw in my plan.  There weren’t any bars on that road.  It was a pleasant evening, so I figured I’d just keep walking until I got tired and then call a cab.  I made it all the way home.  The last three blocks seemed to take me almost as long as the first three miles, but I made it, and I felt good when I got home.  Tired, but good.

The next day I checked my activity tracker and found that I had reached my daily goal for the first time ever.  I had taken a total of 12,453 steps and completed 4.67 miles.  I took a few more steps to my recliner and spent the rest of the day there.  No sense pushing myself too hard.  I’ve got to save my strength for November 12th, when The Dutchland Rollers take on the Mason Dixon Roller Vixens.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,


Watching The Wheels


I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round I really love to watch them roll No longer riding on the merry-go-round I just had to let it go.

-Watching The Wheels, John Lennon

Tonight is the Barnstormer’s last home game of 2016.  They didn’t make the playoffs, so this is my last chance to see them play this year.  Clipper Magazine Stadium will be dark until Spring.

I grew up a baseball fan, but I’ve always been a fan of Roller Derby, too.  Where I grew up in South Ozone Park, NY, we even played Roller Derby in the street.  We sometimes had to skate around parked cars on our “track,” and occasionally we had to skate around moving cars too, when some drivers felt like they had “dibs” on the road, and that we should be skating on the sidewalk.

I was a pretty good skater, but not nearly as good as my friend Vinny Nizza, whose nickname was Great Balls of Fire, and sparks could actually be seen coming from his skates when he skidded on a turn.  That was back before anyone had shoe skates with rubber or plastic wheels.  We had the old-fashioned kind of skates with metal wheels that clamped right onto your street shoes.  You tightened them onto your shoes using a skate key, like the one Melanie sang about when she sang, “I’ve got a brand new pair of roller skates.  You’ve got a brand new key.”

So, with the baseball season drawing to a close, I was looking forward to seeing the Women’s Roller Derby matches on September 10th, hoping to see my favorite Dutchland Rollers skater, #29, Vanitti, who pound-for-pound must be the best skater in Lancaster.  I say that because she probably only weights about 100 pounds soaking wet, which is about half of what some of the other girls weigh.  She looks more suited to be a thoroughbred jockey than a rock ‘em sock ‘em Roller Derby star.

IMG_1904_3Vanitti was in the starting line-up, so I wasn’t disappointed, but I did wind up conflicted before the night was over.  Lancaster’s opponents, The Harrisburg Area Roller Derby (H.A.R.D.) had some pretty good skaters, too, and I couldn’t help but cheer for #63, Holden Grudges, whenever she put on the jammers helmet.  She was awesome, not just pound-for-pound awesome, but sheer awesome.

In case you didn’t know this, a point is scored in Roller Derby whenever a jammer laps an opponent on the track.  Whenever Holden Grudges put on the jammer’s helmet, three of the Dutchland team members would wait at the rear of the pack for her to come around trying to lap them, and then they would gang up on her.  Actually, I should say that they would attempt to gang up on her.  It reminded me of a line in a Jack Reacher novel.  “There were three of them and only one of him.  It wasn’t going to be a fair fight, but that was their problem.”  The confrontation almost always ended with the same result – three Dutchland Rollers skaters splattered on the track and three more points on the board for Harrisburg.  Actually, Holden Grudges didn’t stop with just three points.  She’d skate around the track again and pass the fallen Rollers again, as they struggled to clear the cobwebs from their brains and get back on their feet.  In one jam, she scored 12 points.

Fortunately for the locals, all that skating leaves a jammer winded, so they usually have to sit out a jam or two while they catch their breath, and the locals managed to score many of their points whenever #63 was taking a breather.  In the end the Dutchland team emerged victorious 187 to 163.  Go Rollers.

Once, when I was extolling the pleasure of watching The Lancaster Barnstormers baseball games, my nephew asked mockingly, “Yeah, but what do you do in Lancaster when it’s not baseball season?”  The Barnstormer’s season is just about over, so I guess it’s time to answer that question.  First, I’d like to thank the Lancaster Barnstormers for all the joy they brought me this season, especially on $2 beer nights.  Enjoy the off season, guys.  In the meanwhile, I’ll just sit here watching the wheels go round and round.  I really love to watch them roll.


Go Vanitti.  Go Holden Grudges.  Go Rollers.  See you in the Spring, Barnstormers.


Peace & Love, and all of the above,







Who Let the Dogs Out?

68 is not old

Here’s something that probably none of you know, and probably none of you care to know, but I’m going to tell you anyway, because that’s the way I roll.  The area of a racetrack that takes the most pounding is the area closest to the rail, because the shortest trip to the finish line is the trip that skims along the rail.  Calvin Burrell won a few Kentucky Derbies by taking his horse on a path that skimmed the rail the entire mile and a quarter.  If you watched those Derbies, you knew that.  What you didn’t know is that racetracks take special precautions to prevent excessive wear and tear on the inside portion of the racetrack during morning workouts.  They put traffic cones on the track to keep horses away from the rail.   When Racing Form clockers report the times of these workouts, they let the racing fans know that the horse was not allowed to skim the rail because “the dogs were out.”  That means, there were traffic cones on the track to prevent the horses from getting too close to the precious rail area.  I have no idea if the Baha men knew this terminology when they wrote their one hit, “Who let the dogs out,” but I’m just passing this information along to my readers to keep them well informed.

 On my birthday last week, Jose Canseco made a guest appearance at Clipper Magazine Stadium in a home run hitting contest against five local amateurs.  Since the five local guys were not major league caliber they put the dogs out.  Traffic cones were placed in the outfield and any ball hit past the cones was considered a home run.  Spoiler alert!  Jose won the contest easily.  Almost every one of his shots went further than the cones, but he only hit a few balls that actually cleared the walls and went out of the park.  Here I should note that it was a humid evening and the ball was just not travelling well.  Jose won the contest, but he was upset that he didn’t show off his power, and man oh man does he have power.  I was only 50 feet away from him, and he looked more like the dinosaur in centerfield than he looked like the other participants.  He was Huge.  I don’t think that he is still doing steroids, but he obviously spends more time in the gym than the library.  So, when the contest was over, he still wanted to hit.  Naturally, they let him.  He just kept hitting until he had whacked enough balls into the stratosphere to make himself happy.

Jose Canseco

They also had the local Women’s Roller Derby stars from the Dutchland Rollers skating around the stadium and I got a picture with my favorite, Vanitti.  


So, that was a good start to my birthday celebration, but it got better.  It was $2 beer night from 6:30 until 8 o’clock.  My activity tracker showed a lot of activity that night between 6:30 and 8, as I raced back and forth from my seat to the beer concession numerous times.

Normally, you can just sit wherever you like, because the stadium is half empty (or half full if you’re an optimist) but not on that night.  In addition to Jose Canseco, and $2 beers, they also gave away complete sets of Barnstormer bubble gum cards, and there were fireworks after the game.  The weather was nice, so the stadium was jammed with the highest attendance they ever had.  Not bad for a team in last place, 10 games out of First Place.

My seat was right in the middle of the row and the family on my right never once complained about having to get up every 15 minutes while I replenished my beer supply.  They didn’t even complain when I got drunk and started messing with them.  The more beers I had the more the guy on the end of the row looked like Danny Glover.  So I kept pointing my camera phone at him asking him to repeat Danny Glover’s signature line from the Lethal Weapon movie, “I’m too old for this shit.”  I took a picture just so you can see the resemblance.  They look very upset in the picture, but that’s just because I caught them by surprise.  They were actually very friendly and nice, and never once called for Security to restrain me.

Put the camera away

 The guy immediately on my right did his absolute best to ignore me as I got drunk and started joking loudly about everything and everyone in the area.  I kept taking pictures of the giant head that was protruding from the seat right in front of me.  I had a great seat, right behind home plate, about 6 rows back, but I was right behind the largest man in Lancaster.  I kept taking pictures of the back of his head trying to make the fellow on my right laugh.  It took a while but James finally cracked up and we joked together for the rest of the ballgame.

The team is still in last place, but there are advantages to that.  They are adding more giveaways and entertainment.  Last night they had Chad the Mad, from Venice, California, who juggled 3 running chainsaws in between innings.  They also had fireworks after the game and after that the premier of a show that will be airing on Fox this Fall called “Pitch.”  The show is about the first woman player in Major League Baseball.  I really enjoyed the commercial-free premier of the show.  I also enjoyed another $2 beer night, and the Barnstormers won big, so it was a great night.

Oh, and before the game, they let the dogs out again.  Well, it was just one dog, Percy, the Frisbee catching wonder dog, who is a fan favorite and a local legend.  Woof Woof.

Go Stormers.

Peace & Love, and all of the above,