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.



A Suck for a Buck



It wasn’t the first Friday of the month, but it was Friday night, so I decided to check out 4 more bars in Lancaster.  I started with the place that’s billed as the “Friendliest Pub in Town,” Molly’s Pub.


Molly’s Pub was about a 6 block walk from my apartment, and it is in a quiet part of town, with no other bars nearby.  It’s across from one of the big parks in town.  They have a few tables outside, but I was by myself and on a scouting mission, so I headed indoors.  It looked very much like an Irish Pub, with a crowd of people dining at tables indoors.  There was only one open space available at the bar and I took it.


About a third of the people at the bar were eating, and about a third of them were having Calamari.  I didn’t know that Irish folk ate Calamari.  I certainly don’t.  Calamari, anchovies, and canned peas are three items I will only eat if I am shipwrecked on a desert island and that is all that washed ashore.  But the patrons at the bar were obviously relishing the dish.  Different strokes for different folks.  Fortunately, there were some people at the bar eating Irish Stew, so the place kept it’s Irish atmosphere.  I didn’t eat there, but I did stay for a few beers and the crowd was friendly.


The newly-opened Federal Taphouse was my next stop and, even though it’s enormous, it was packed.  There was absolutely no room at the bar, so I made a quick exit.


I made Yorgos my next stop.  I had been there before in the afternoon.  The beer and food was good, and there were quite a few nice looking women in the place, which always adds to the atmosphere.  Tonight, it was packed with college kids, but I managed to find a place to squeeze in at the bar.  Most of the customers were drinking beers and pounding shots.  I felt like a chaperone at a frat party, so I only stayed for one beer.


I headed for an out-of-the-way place I had discovered earlier in the day while walking to the dry cleaner.  It’s only a block from my apartment and it’s called The Alley Kat.  It was fairly crowded, but I found an open bar stool and quickly occupied it.  The crowd there was quite varied, and there were enough people my age for me to feel comfortable.  The Yuengling on tap was just $2.75 a pint.  That made me even more comfortable.


The barmaid asked me if I wanted to see a menu.  I wasn’t really hungry as I had eaten dinner before going out, but I decided that a little snack might hit the spot, so I ordered some mini-burgers.  They were absolutely delicious.  Cheap beer, nice crowd, great inexpensive food, just a block from my house – I quickly ranked it as one of my favorite place in town.  I stayed there for quite a few beers.


Naturally, all this liquid led to a pit stop, and on my way to the gent’s room I passed a table of young ladies, who were all wearing long bright pink boas.  One of them was wearing a white veil and they were all having a great time.  It was obvious that this was part of a bachelorette party, so as I walked past I said, “Happy Halloween.”  They stopped me and told me that it wasn’t a costume party.  They were raising money for the future bride’s wedding.  They asked me if I wanted a “suck for a buck.”


I had already decided that this might be one of my favorite bars in town, now I was positive.  With the speed of a magician, I produced a roll of singles and quickly handed one of them to the girl in the veil.  She reached into her goodie bag and gave me a lollipop.  I laughed out loud at their little Trick & Treat.  So, I actually got a suck and a yuck for my buck, a pretty good deal, even if it wasn’t the deal I had pictured in my dirty little mind.


A couple more beers and my tank was full.  I headed home with a big smile on my face, and a lollipop stuck right in the middle of it.


Peace & Love, and all of the above,