Friday, December 18, 2009

It's appropriate

The cafeteria at the state Capitol in Harrisburg was shut down Thursday and continues closed today because of mice infestation.

That's only appropriate, seeing as the halls of the Capitol are overrun with rats!!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

With lost bet, man's TV becomes victim of gun shots

The New Orleans Saints' dramatic come-from-behind overtime win Sunday over the Washington Redskins cost an Albany, La., man a television -- his 60-inch, high-definition, flat-screen TV!

Wayne Spring told his friends that if the Saints won, they could come over to his house and shoot his television.

As soon as the game ended, after the Saints' kicked a game-winning field goal, Spring said his phone started ringing. About a dozen gun-toting friends then came over and shot up Spring's TV in the back yard.

But the event turned Spring into an Internet star. He posted video of his TV being shot at on YouTube and received more than 145,00o hits in 3 days.

Albany is located about 50 miles northwest of New Orleans.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

That's a lot of weight!

Tuesday night was the live finale of season 8 of "The Biggest Loser" on NBC. My wife and I are in awe of the transformations the 16 contestants make from the the start of the show.

This season's big winner, Danny Cahill of Broken Arrow, Okla., at right, is literally the biggest loser in the history of the program. Cahill, who weighed 430 pounds when this season started in September, lost a staggering total of 239 pounds -- the most in the show's history -- to win the $250,000 prize.

The weight Cahill lost is 5 pounds more than what I weigh.

After 6 months and 3 weeks, Cahill lost 55.58 percent of his previous body weight.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Holiday concert scheduled for Saturday

The Boyertown Alumni Band will present its sixth annual holiday concert at 7 p.m. Saturday at Morning Star Fellowship on Limekiln Road in Bechtelsville.

Selections will include "Greensleeves," "Sleigh Ride," "How the Grinch Stole Christmas Medley," "Wonderful Christmastime," "Jingle Bell Fantasy," and "A Christmas Festival."

Admission is free. A freewill offering will be taken to benefit the Boyertown Area Multi-Service.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Imagine hitting this on the road

In southeastern Pennsylvania, we always worry about deer crossing our path while we are driving.

Well, an Oklahoma couple driving home from church hit something a little larger while on the road: an elephant!!!

Here are the details, according to the Associated Press:

An elephant that escaped from a nearby circus collided with the couple's SUV Wednesday night when it ran across a rural highway in Enid, about 100 miles north of Oklahoma City.

Police say the 29-year-old elephant had escaped earlier that night from the Family Fun Circus at the Garfield County Fairgrounds. The couple weren't injured in the crash, but police say the elephant had a broken tusk and an injured leg.

Authorities say the elephant's tusk tore a hole in the SUV's sheet metal.
After the crash, the elephant was taken to a veterinary school for an exam. Dr. Dwight Olson says the elephant doesn't appear to have serious injuries.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The dreaded pick

Well, here goes. I've spent the last few days wondering about my pick to win the World Series, with the hometown Phillies battling the Evil Empire, otherwise known as the New York Yankees.

To be honest, I've been surprised by the Phillies so far this postseason. Yes, I picked them to beat the Colorado Rockies in 4 games in the National League Division Series, but the series didn't play out the way I had in mind, with the Phils winning two games in Colorado in the 9th inning.

Against the Dodgers, I had the Phillies winning the NL Championship Series in 6 games, and they did it in 5. They had few problems with the Dodgers vaunted bullpen, while the Phils' pen shut the door.

So, what about the Series? One minute I think the Yankees are going to win it, the next I lean toward the Phillies.

The Phillies are underdogs in this series. Few so-called "experts" expect them to win. Heck, the defending World Champions were the third choice by bookmakers in Las Vegas to win the NL crown.

This team continues to amaze me. They don't feel the pressure. And it's not like they haven't been here before. After all, they won the thing last year.

So with a split in New York and 2 of 3 wins at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies will repeat with a Game 6 victory at the new Yankee Stadium.


Attack on Christmas has begun already

It's not Halloween yet, but the attack on Christmas has already begun.

In Kentucky, the tree that will sit on the Capitol lawn will not be called a Christmas tree. Instead, the giant evergreen will be known as a "holiday tree."

A giant evergreen that will brighten the Capitol lawn this winter won't be called a Christmas tree. Instead, Gov. Steve Beshear's administration has dubbed it a "holiday tree." Beshear is a DEMOCRAT.

In an Associated Press story, the Rev. Jeff Fugate of Lexington says the change is offensive to Christians.

Beshear administration spokeswoman Cindy Lanham says the holiday tree reference is meant to be inclusive of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year's. People found out about it Tuesday when the state sent a letter looking for someone to donate a tree.

Republican Senate President David Williams of Burkesville says Beshear is putting political correctness ahead of Kentucky values.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The pick

I waited long enough, almost 2 hours before first pitch, to make my pick on the NLCS.

The key to this series is simple. The defending World Champion Phillies need to score early and often against the L.A. Dodgers -- something they did not do against Colorado in the division series, and really something they didn't do a lot of in the regular season. It seems the Phillies score most of their runs after the fifth inning.

But the Phillies can't afford to do that in this series. The Dodgers have the best bullpen in the National League, if not all of baseball. So if the Phillies don't have a lead in the sixth inning, that game's outcome isn't going to look too good.

I think the Phils' pitching will be pretty good throughout the series, so it's the bats that will need to come through.

I was right with my pick of the Phillies winning its NL Division Series over Colorado in 4 games. It didn't happen exactly how I had pictured it, but winning is the only thing.

Perhaps it's just wishful thinking, but here it is: Phillies in 6.

Go Phillies!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sad day for 1980s wrestling fans

I'll admit it. In high school and college I followed pro wrestling. And one of the great characters of that time frame was Captain Lou Albano.

So it's sad to hear that Albano, at right, has died at the age of 76.

Albano was with World Wresting Entertainment from 1983 to 1996, when he was inducted into its hall of fame.

Albano also played Cyndi Lauper's father in her video for "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" in 1983. According to WWE, Albano took credit for her success.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Playboy must be running out of models

Playboy magazine must be having a hard time getting models.

For its November issue, the magazine will feature the never-aging matriarch of the Simpson clan, Marge Simpson.

Yep, Homer Simpson's better half, at right, will not only grace the cover, but will "pose" in a three-page pictorial. The magazine will hit newstands Oct. 16.

It's a first for the magazine, which has had everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Cindy Crawford to the Girls of Hooters and even the likes of Jerry Seinfeld on the cover. But it's never had a cartoon character before.

Marge isn't going to bare all, though, as the magazine says there will only be "implied nudity" in the 3-page pictorial.

New CEO Scott Flanders says the idea is to attract readers in their 20s to a magazine where the average reader's age is 35.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Another sign I'm getting older

I was walking the dogs shortly after 7:30 this morning. The air was crisp, temperature in the low to mid-40s, so I was dressed in sweatpants, sweatshirt and windbreaker. And I felt comfortable.

During the walk, I came across another man who was out with his two dogs. He was probably 12-15 years younger than me and it showed in his choice of clothes for the morning walk: T-shirt, gym shorts and flip flops!!!!

Just one more sign I'm getting older.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Talk about a great pumpkin

You'd be able to make a lot of pumpkin pies, bread, etc. from a pumpkin grown in Ohio.

Christy Harp of Jackson Township near Canton, grew a 1,725-pound pumpkin, shown above, that took first place at the Ohio Valley Giant Pumpkin Growers contest last weekend. Harp won $2,500 and could claim lay claim to the world's biggest pumpkin.

Contest organizers say Harp's entry topped the 1,689-pound record-holder grown in 2007 by Joe Jutras of North Scituate, R.I.

The dreaded pick

I have mixed feelings about how the Phillies will fare in their NL Division Series against the Colorado Rockies.

On the one hand, the defending World Champions struggled down the stretch, winning just 5 of their final 13 games. The starting pitching was mediocre at best, the hitting was practically non-existent, and the bullpen at times was in shambles.

The only regular player who had good numbers in the season's final month was Ryan Howard. Chase Utley saw his batting average fall 20 points from Sept. 1, and Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino had trouble getting on base.

But on the other hand, the team did what it needed to get into the post-season. And their 11-3 record in the playoffs last year shows they know how to play when the pressure's on.

Plus, the Phils owe the Rockies from 2007, when in a similar situation, the Rockies one the first two games at Citizens Bank Park en route to a three-game sweep of the NL East champs.

So here goes: I like the Phillies to win the series in 4 games. I expect Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels to pitch well the first 2 games in Philly and give the team a 2-0 edge.

But if that doesn't happen, it could be a short visit to the playoffs for the defending champions.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wow, I got it right!

As the Phillies prepare to open the National League playoffs Wednesday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park against the Colorado Rockies, I went back in the blog archives to see what I predicted for the season. Boy was I surprised.

Not so much that I correctly prognosticated that the Phillies would win the NL Eastern Division (though I thought it would be in a dogfight with the Mets), but that my analysis of a 93-win season was correct as the defending World Champions finished with a 93-69 record, 6 games ahead of the second-place Marlins and 23 games against the hated, injury-plauged Mets.

I'll have my playoff outlook before Wednesday's first pitch at 2:37 p.m.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

History in the making?

I haven't blogged much about the Phillies this year. Perhaps its because as the World Series Champions, I was cutting them some slack.

But through an up-and-down season, I'm finally fed up. Sure they're in first place, 4 games ahead with 6 games to play, but I feel incredibly uncomfortable over their prospects.

Just last week, the Phils were ahead by 8 1/2 games with just 13 to play, and 7 up with 10 to play. Do you see a pattern? They should be wrapping up the division and preparing for the playoffs; instead, the lead keeps dwindling.

There have been few positives for this team down the stretch. Brad Lidge's struggles have been season long. The rest of the bullpen, save for Ryan Madson, has been overcome with injuries. The offense has turned mediocre veterans and rookie starters into Cy Young winners.

The Phils only need to win 3 of the 6 games to clinch the division title. But since they are 0-5 this season against the awful Houston Astros, who the Phils host the next 3 nights, and then a visit from the always tough Florida Marlins ends the season, winning those 3 games will be tough.

The Atlanta Braves, who trail the Phillies by 4 games, have 2 more at home with the Marlins, then host the NL-worst Washington Nationals for 4 games to end the season. So it's unlikely the Braves will lose 3 times.

So if the Phillies end up losing the division title, they will make history by blowing the largest lead (7 games) in the shortest amount of time (10 games). Until now, that mark has been held by the infamous 1964 Phillies, who had a 6 1/2-game lead with 12 games to play, but lost 10 games and lost the National League pennant to the St. Louis Cardinals.

I think the baseball Gods are getting back at Phillies fans for last year. We had the ecstasy of a World Series title; now, will we get the agony of a blown division title?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Two holes in one -- in one round.

The sport isn't this easy.

Twice within the past week, two people have hit two holes-in-one in one round on the golf course. And no, they didn't have to knock the yellow ball through the windmill.

The first was done by former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Steve Blass, who carded two holes-in-one in a span of 11 holes during the team's annual alumni golf outing.

The other was accomplished by 64-year-old Ruth Day of northern England, who shot two holes-in-one in the same round at Whitley Bay Golf Club, where she is a member.

"A hole in one in itself is usually pretty amazing," Day said in Friday's edition of The Journal, a newspaper in northeast England. "But I couldn't believe it when I did the same thing 10 holes further on."

Day, a retiree, said she has been playing golf for about 10 years.

"Some people go through their whole life and never get a hole-in-one," Day said. "I think there's only a very small number of people around the world who have done it twice in one round."

The feat is rare. Golf Digest estimates the odds against a golfer having two holes-in-one in the same round at 67 million to 1.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bye bye Baskett -- and Kendra

The Eagles added suspended quarterback Michael Vick to the 53-man roster on Tuesday so he will be able to practice with the team prior to being allowed to play in the season's third game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

To make room for Vick, the Birds released wide receiver Hank Baskett. Baskett was an average receiver, but his biggest claim to fame is that he married "Girl Next Door" and former Playboy Playmate Kendra Wilkinson, shown at right, this summer.

Baskett got a lot of air time this year in Wilkinson's reality show "Kendra" on the E! network.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Numbers align for Wisconsin baby

I find this hard to believe: A baby born in Wisconsin on Wednesday 9/09/09, at 9:09 a.m. weighed, get this, 9 pounds, 9 ounces.

To read more, click here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Missouri nursing homes hold beauty pageant

The crowning of a new beauty queen will take place tonight in Kansas City, Mo. It's not Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, Miss World, Miss Universe, or Miss Informed.

No, this pageant is the 29th annual Ms. Missouri Nursing Home Pageant, a three-tiered, statewide competition.

The pageant's c0-chairwoman Carla Lungren, who works with the Missouri Health Care Association, is proud of the pageant.

"That's totally why we do what we do everyday in long-term care," said Lungren. "To touch people's lives and make them meaningful until the very end."

According to an Associated Press story, there ares no extravagant prizes or evening gown competitions, though some women prefer to wear a fancy dress or adorn their wheelchairs with flowers as they tell stories of growing up during the Great Depression and World War II. Some reminisce about vacation mishaps or decades-long marriages — and of their children, grandchildren, even great-great grandchildren.

Georgia, Alabama and California also have long-running pageants, and West Virginia held its event for many years before the death of its organizer.

To read more, click here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Now this is a cupcake!!

My stepdaughters love to bake, but I hope they never try to bake a cupcake this size.

The world's largest cupcake -- a 1,224-pound triple vanilla cupcake with pink frosting -- was unveiled Aug. 15 at the Woodward Dream Cruise classic cars event in Royal Oak, Mich.

A Guinness World Records representative was on hand to certify the cupcake's girth. The cupcake weighed more than 8 times the size of the previous record holder.

Some of the other insane numbers: the cupcake took 12 hours to bake, and included 800 eggs and 200 pounds each of sugar and flour. The cupcake was made by New Hampshire-based Owner Ryan Abood told a newspaper the cupcake had an estimated 2 million calories.

Slices of the cupcake were served in exchange for donations to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast cancer organization.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pa. man guilty of groping Minnie Mouse

A 60-year-old Schuylkill County man was found guilty Tuesday of groping a woman in a Minnie Mouse costume at Walt Disney World.

According to the Associated Press, John William Moyer of Cressona told the judge he is innocent. His son said before sentencing that his father would never inappropriately touch a woman, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Moyer was convicted Tuesday of misdemeanor battery and sentenced to write the victim an apology, serve 180 days probation and complete 50 hours of community service. Moyer must also pay $1,000 in court costs and possibly undergo a mental evaluation.

The victim says she had to do everything possible to keep Moyer's hands off her breasts.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Rough start for Eagles at training camp

The Eagles are considered among the favorites to contend for the Super Bowl this season, but the first 10 days of training camp have been difficult for Andy Reid's squad.

First, the team received the devastating news that longtime defensive coordinator Jim Johnson and succumbed to cancer. Since being hired by Reid in 1999, the Eagles defense has been among the best units in the league.

First-round draft pick Jeremy Maclin did not sign until late Monday night and missed 9 days of camp.

Starting middle linebacker Stewart Bradley is out for the season after tearing an ACL in a knee during a practice Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field.

Then early this morning, defensive end Juqua Parker was arrested on a marijuana possession charge near the team's training facility at Lehigh University.

According to the Associated Press, Lower Saucon Township police said Parker was a passenger in a vehicle stopped for a traffic violation at 12:33 a.m. near Lehigh University, where the Eagles train.

Parker was carrying "a small amount of marijuana" and was taken to Northampton County Prison, police said. Parker was released after posting $1,000 bail later Wednesday morning, a prison official said.

Eagles coach Andy Reid said he was aware of the incident.

"It's in the law's hands right now. As time goes on, I'll know more," Reid said. Reid said the team curfew was 1 a.m.

So most of the news coming out of Eagles camp has been bad. As a fan, I hope that isn't a pretense to the regular season.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Mary Ann" to hold auction on Saturday

Mary Ann is holding an auction.

Dawn Wells, at right, who played Mary Ann Summers on 1960s classic television show "Gilligan's Island," will be selling off the contents of her home in eastern Idaho on Saturday.

Wells, a native Idahoan who will turn 71 in October, said she will sign autographs for anyone who makes a purchase.

Among the items to be auctioned off are a Kenmore double-door refrigerator, antique Chinese rug, a picture frame cutter made in Denmark and memorabilia from the annual Spud Fest Family Film and Television Festival.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Phillies reach deal for hurler

The Phillies reportedly picked up a Cy Young Award winner on Wednesday, but not the one most fans were hoping for.

Both and were reporting that the Phillies had reached a deal with the Cleveland Indians for 2008 American League Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee, above. The Phillies will also get right-hand hitting outfielder Ben Francisco.

The Phillies will give up three of their top Class AAA prospects -- pitcher Carlos Carrasco, infielder Jason Donald and catcher Lou Marson -- and Class A pitcher Jason Knapp.
The deal means the Phillies will have 4 left-handed hurlers -- Lee, Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer and J.A. Happ -- in their starting rotation.

The deal means the Phillies did not have to give up either their top minor-league pitching prospect Kyle Drabek, currently pitching for the Reading Phillies, or their top minor-league player Dominic Brown, who is an outfielder with Class A Clearwater.
I was hoping the Phillies would acquire Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay, who would have balanced out the rotation. But Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. did not want to part with Happ, Drabek and Brown.

To read more, click here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dog takes newborn from crib

A scary incident happened in Kentucky this week when a dog took a newborn baby from its crib and carried it outside of the home.

The baby was listed in critical condition with multiple punctures and brusies

The dog is a 4-year-old mixed breed called a Native American Indian dog.

Click here to read more.

Couple with same name to get married

Couples meet through the Internet and get married all the time, but here's a new twist: this Florida couple has the same name.

Kelly Hildebrandt will marry Kelly Hildebrandt in October.

According to the Associated Press, it all started when 20-year-old Kelly Hildebrandt decided to search Facebook for other people with her name. Up popped Kelly Hildebrandt of Lubbock, Tex. For the next three months the two exchanged e-mails and then started calling each other.

He then decided to visit, and the couple, above, soon began dating. Eight months after Kelly Hildebrandt sent her first e-mail, he proposed. The couple plans to marry in October.

It hasn't been all smooth sailing. A trip on a cruise ship almost got canceled when the travel agent deleted one ticket from the system, thinking someone had plugged in the same information twice.

Mets falling apart all over

As the red-hot Phillies continue their hold on the National League East, the hated New York Mets are falling apart at all levels of their organization.

On the same day the injury-riddled Mets, who know trail the Phils by 10 games, were shut out, 4-0, by the lowly Washington Nationals, it was reported that one of their officials went ballistic on a minor-league team.

According to the New York Daily News, Tony Bernazard, the Mets vice president for player development, pulled off his shirt and challenged the Double-A Binghamton Mets to a fight. The Binghamton team plays in the Eastern League, along with the Reading Phillies.

To read more, click here.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

"The Dude" goes bankrupt

Former Phillies outfielder Lenny Dysktra, who led the team to the National League pennant in 1993 when he finished second in the MVP voting, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Wednesday.

According to reports, Dysktra had between $10 million and $50 million in liabilities and only $50,000 in assets.

To read more, click here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Why you should never keep reptiles in the house

Police say a 2-year-old Florida girl was strangled by a 12-foot pet python on Wednesday. The python escaped from its aquarium and strangled the girl while she was sleeping in her crib.

The snake was the pet of the girl's mother's live-in boyfriend.

To read more, click here.

Picking up where he left off

Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins was mired in an 0-for-19 slump last week when manager Charlie Manuel rested the 2007 NL Most Valuable Player for 4 games.

Rollins, at right, was restored to the leadoff spot for Tuesday night's game against the Atlanta Braves and picked up where he left off when he last played in Tampa on June 24. He was hitless in 5 at bats, including two strikeouts. In 2 of the plate appearances, Rollins, now hitting .207, swung at the first pitch.

Much of the struggles for the defending World Champions this season are because of the pitching staff. But Rollins' problems are high on the list.

The Phillies need a lot more from their leadoff hitter. Rollins is 30th in the league with 41 runs scored. When he scores runs, they win. But it's hard to score runs when you can't get on base. Rollins' on-base percentage of .250 is the worst in the league for any regular.

Coming off a title, I expected more from this team than they've showed the first 3 months of the season. They should be running away with the National League East. But until Rollins begins to produce offensively, the Phillies will continue to struggle.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sixers go old school

The Philadelphia 76ers announced earlier this week that they were bringing back the team logo they used during the championship seasons of 1966-67 and 1982-83.

The logo is a "76ers basketball" logo with a red, white and blue color scheme.

Now if the 76ers could just come close to achieving the success those teams had a generation ago.

Sad day in television land

Farrah Fawcett, the pin-up queen of the 1970s and one of the original "Charlie's Angels," died today after a 3-year battle with cancer. She was 62.

To read more, click here.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Another year older

Today, I turn 46.

Ugh. Another year older, hopefully another year wiser.

So now I'm as old as Phillies' left-handed pitcher Jamie Moyer. Like Moyer, I'm left-handed. And also like Moyer, I can't get out major-league hitters, either.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Just one you thought the Phillies would surge...

Coming off of a 7-3 road trip, including winning the last 2 games from the hated New York Mets, I thought the Phillies were prime to put a hold on the National League East. I should have known better.

The Phillies have continued their season long road woes throught the first 5 games of a 9-game homestand. They lost 2 of 3 to the Boston Red Sox and lost the first two games of their series with the Toronto Blue Jays, who last weekend were routed in 3 straight games at home to the Florida Marlins.

If that wasn't bad enough, the Phillies placed left fielder Raul Ibanez on the 15-day disabled list this morning with a pulled groin muscle. Ibanez was hitting .312 with 22 home runs and 59 RBI. He is second in the league in homers and RBI.

Fortunately, for the Phillies, the rest of the teams in the division aren't taking advantage of their ineptness.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

And I thought my teens were text queens

Judging by our cell phone bill, I thought my two teenage stepdaughters were text messaging queens. But I was wrong.

A 15-year-old girl from Des Moines, Iowa, was crowned the text messaging champion Tuesday after winning the LG U.S. National Texting Championship. (Yes, there is such a thing.)

The Iowa girl sends more than 14,000 texts a month, but this contest included texting while blindfolded and texting while maneuvering through a moving obstacle course.

For more, click here.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Anyone Phillies fans out there still want Pat Burrell?

Raul Ibanez continued his assault on National League pitching Thursday night with a 3-run home run in the 10th inning to give the Phillies a 6-3 win over the hated New York Mets. The victory pushed the World Champions four games ahead of the second-place Mets in the National League East.

The home run was the 21st of the season for Ibanez, shown above hitting the blast. He's also hitting .322 and leads the league in runs scored (49) and runs batted in (58). Not only has Ibanez been a more consistent offensive force than Burrell ever was, he's also a much better fielder and a better baserunner.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hard to believe, Harry

Last month, the Phillies lost a 1-0 game to Johan Santana and the hated New York Mets. So if you had told me before Tuesday's game the world champions would bomb 4 homers off Santana, I would have expected the Phillies to win rather easily


Despite the blasts, the Phils lost, 6-5, to the Mets and saw their lead over their rivals from the north dwindle to 2 games.

With ace Cole Hamels on the mound for the Phillies, tonight's game is an imporant one. Yes, it's only early June, but the Phils can't let a depleted Mets team get any momentum. The Phillies are the best team in the division, but for some reason they haven't shown it against the Mets this year.

Eagles' WR to be a dad

Eagles wide receiver Hank Baskett, who is set to marry Playboy Playmate Kendra Wilkinson later this month, will become a father, too. Wilkinson, above, told E! News that she is pregnant.
To read more, click here.
Baskett is currently at minicamp with the Eagles. The couple's wedding date is June 27.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Remembering summers with Harry Kalas

This blog originally appeared in a column in The Mercury on May 17.

In March 1977, my family took a two-week trip to Florida. Among our stops was Clearwater, Fla., where we took a day to watch the Phillies in a spring training game.

Sitting in the back row of the grandstand behind home plate at Jack Russell Stadium, we heard familiar voices behind us as the game time approached. We stood up from our seats, turned around and there chatting in the press box behind us were Phillies broadcasters and future Hall of Famers Harry Kalas and Richie Ashburn.

I don’t remember what was said, other than we told them how much we enjoyed listening to them.


It’s been more than a month since Harry Kalas passed away after collapsing in the broadcast booth at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., about to do what he loved: broadcast a Phillies game. That was a difficult week for me — and for many other Phillies fans I’ve spoken with — as I recalled the 38 summers I spent listening to Harry’s voice as he chronicled the ups — and mostly downs — of my favorite baseball team.

I watched and listened to as many tributes to Harry as I could. I shed more than a few tears as I watched his memorial service on a sun-splattered Saturday at Citizens Bank Park. It was as if I had lost a longtime friend.


My love affair with the Phillies began in 1971, the same year Kalas joined the Phillies after a stint as a broadcaster with the Houston Astros. In that year, he called the first of six no-hitters when Phils pitcher Rick Wise blanked the Cincinnati Reds, 6-0, on June 23. Harry’s call of the final out — a line drive by Pete Rose caught by Phillies third baseman John Vukovich — was one of several highlights shown during many tributes to him.

Wise also hit two home runs that day, becoming the only pitcher to hit two homers while pitching a no-hitter. That day also happened to be my 8th birthday. It was one of the best presents an 8-year-old boy could receive.


Poetically, the afternoon of Harry’s passing, cable service was being worked on in my area, so I couldn’t watch the first few innings of the game. Instead, I listened on the radio. I couldn’t remember the last time I tuned in to a game on the radio while I was at home. You could hear the emotion in the voices of broadcasters Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen as they talked about Harry and what he meant to them — and the fans.

I listened to the game in my bedroom, where the reception was clear. As I lay on my bed, I thought about all the nights as a kid I fell asleep listening to Phillies games on the West Coast with Harry Kalas at the microphone.


We had a Sunday game season-ticket plan for 30 years, all but 28 of them at Veterans Stadium. From our seats along the first-base line, we could watch Kalas in the broadcast booth. He would interact with fans in the lower deck behind home plate between innings, and sometimes would toss bags of peanuts down to them.

When the game ended, we went as fast as we could to the car for two reasons: one, to beat the traffic; and two, if a key play happened during the innings Harry was on the radio, we wanted to hear how he called it.

Harry was honored a few times with collectible item giveaways to all fans. One was a bobblehead featuring Kalas and Ashburn to celebrate Kalas’ induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The other was a “Talking Harry” doll, which played a few of Harry’s catch phrases.

The batteries in mine wore out long ago.


Without Harry describing the action, the broadcasts just aren’t the same.
Twice since Kalas’ death, left fielder Raul Ibanez has won games with late-inning home runs. I couldn’t tell you how broadcaster Tom McCarthy described the action. In my mind, I keep hearing Harry’s signature “That ball’s outta here!”

However, I’ll continue to hear Harry’s call of the Phillies World Series victory last year over and over again. I have it as the ring tone on my cell phone.

Mike Spohn is The Mercury’s news editor and a lifelong Phillies fan. E-mail him at

Friday, May 15, 2009

World Champions visit White House

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has told the Philadelphia Phillies that their 2008 World Series run was similar to his winning presidential campaign — both were underdogs.

Obama welcomed the baseball team to the White House on Friday and said, "Nobody thought I would win, either."

He singled out star shortstop Jimmy Rollins for making calls on Obama's behalf during last year's campaign. Rollins presented Obama with a jersey and baseball, but the president wanted more. Obama jokingly asked for Rollins World Series' ring.

The Phillies were scheduled to meet the president on April 14. But that visit was postponed after the death of Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas the day before.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A sure sign of the season

You can tell that Memorial Day weekend and the unofficial start of summer is coming fast.

Gas prices have risen more than 20 cents in the last 10 days.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Another death in the Phillies family

A month after the death of Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas, the Phillies family has suffered another death.

Danny Ozark, at right, who managed the squad to three straight National League Eastern Division titles in 1976-1978, died this morning at his home in Vero Beach, Fla., team officials said. He was 85.

Despite his success, Ozark never led the team into the World Series. Fans will always remember his decision in Game 3 of the 1977 playoffs against the Los Angeles Dodgers, when he kept left fielder Greg Luzinski in the game in the ninth inning despite the Phillies holding a 5-3 lead. Sure enough, Luzinski failed to catch a two-out flyball against the wall and the Dodgers went on to score 3 runs and win the game 6-5. The game is known as "Black Friday" in Phillies' lore. I know because I was at that game.

Ozark was manager of the year in 1976 after leading the Phillies to a 101-76 record. He is one of only a handful of Phillies' managers to have a winning record. Beginning in 1973, Ozark compiled a 594-510 record in seven seasons in Philadelphia. A year after his departure, the Phillies won their first World Series under manager Dallas Green.
Ozark was third-base coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers before joining the Phillies.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Don't mess with band girls

As someone who has been in a marching band since 7th grade, I found this story quite funny, as did an area music teacher.

A 17-year-old girl in Quartz Hill, Calif., beat back two would-be muggers with the help of a marching band baton.

According to the Associated Press, Los Angeles County sheriff's Deputy Michael Rust says the Quartz Hill girl was walking to school April 24 when two men approached her from behind, tried to grab her coat and demanded money.

Instead, one got a punch in the nose and the other a kick to the groin. Rust says the girl then beat both of them with her band baton before she ran away.

The men had not been caught. But Rust says there's a clear message to take from the encounter: "The moral to this story is don't mess with the marching band girls, or you just might get what you deserve. Final score: marching band 2, thugs 0."

To read more, go here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Alumni band concert on Saturday

By Mercury Staff

BOYERTOWN — The Boyertown Alumni Marching Unit will present its 33rd annual spring concert at 7 p.m. Saturday at Boyertown Junior High West, 2nd and Madison streets.

Selections will include “Emperata Overture,” “Jupiter,” “Tapestry of Nations/Chaos,” “Hollywood Milestones,” “Selections from Mamma Mia!,” “Freelance March,” and “The Great Locomotive Chase.” There will also be a tribute to jazz legend Chuck Mangione.

Tickets are available at the door.

To see what the unit is doing for the rest of 2009, click on the link above.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Vote for favorite "Simpsons" stamp

It's time to vote for your favorite Simpson.

The post office wants folks to vote early and often for their favorite among the five new stamps honoring the nation's funniest dysfunctional family.

The Simpson stamps will be issued May 7, portraying Homer, his wife, Marge, their son Bart, daughter Lisa and baby Maggie.

The characters, created by cartoonist Matt Groening, have become pop culture icons in 20 years on Fox television.

The 44-cent stamps went on display at 8 a.m. Thursday at and votes can be cast at that site until May 14.
The price of a first-class stamp goes up 2-cents to 44 cents in May.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Is golf dying?

Last year, I played 11 holes of golf one night after work. That was it in 2008, 11 lousy holes. But it wasn't much less than in 2007, when I played 2 full rounds.

I love the game and have made several golf trips to Myrtle Beach, S.C., in the past, but finding time to play and the expense of a round of golf is the problem.

But it's not just with me, according to an article in Advertising Age magazine.

According to Golf Datatech and the National Golf Foundation, the number of rounds played in 2008 dropped 1.8% from the number played in 2007. At America's unofficial golf capital in Myrtle Beach, S.C. -- where there are 74 courses, including 10 of Golf Digest's Top 100 Public Courses -- rounds played in 2008 were down 8.5% compared with 2007.

It wasn't just that fewer rounds are being played. According to the article, by nearly all accounts, sales of golf clubs, balls, apparel and other accessories fell in 2008 compared with 2007.

If I can get out for at least one full round this year, I will consider it progress.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Play ball!!!

After a shorter-than-usual offseason, the World Champion Phillies -- I never get tired of saying that -- open the 2009 season tonight against the Atlanta Braves at Citizens Bank Park.

Last year, I picked the Phillies to finish third behind the Mets and Braves and finish with only 86 wins. I guess I was wrong.

This season, I expect this team to exude the confidence of a World Champion. Remember that last year, Jimmy Rollins had a subpar offensive year, Chase Utley was hurt for the last half of the season and Ryan Howard didn't get into an offensive groove until September.

Closer Brad Lidge won't go another whole season without blowing a save, but I wouldn't expect Brett Myers to get sent to the minors for 5 weeks, either. The Phillies pitching staff is a strength, and there's some depth in the farm system, too. The only thing that would keep this team out of the playoffs is Cole Hamels' bad elbow.

So here we go: I see 93 wins, and another dogfight with the Mets, with the Phils prevailing again for the NL East flag.

What happens in the postseason? Who knows? Who would have thought the Phillies would go 11-3 last year?

Here is what's Ken Rosenthal sees the MLB season. I was pleasantly surprised.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Villanova: The lesser of 2 evils

As a Temple graduate and basketball fan, I don't like Villanova basketball -- I should refer to them as Villian-ova -- and 99% of the time will root against the Wildcats.

Except tonight in the East Regional semifinals in Boston when they face a basketball program I hate even more: Duke.

I've despised the Blue Devils since the NCAA men's basketball tournament of 1988, when they beat my Owls in the East Regional final and kept Temple and Hall of Fame coach John Chaney out of the Final Four.

Heck, Duke coach Mike Krsyzewski is so full of himself that last week he took offense that President Obama didn't pick Duke to win the tournament and suggested that he could do a better job with the economy than the president.

Tonight is a game I can't really root for anyone. So, while I dislike Villanova, I hate Duke. That makes Villanova the lesser of 2 evils.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Winnie Cooper gets married

Kevin Arnold must be disappointed. The actress who played Winnie Cooper on "The Wonder Years" has gotten married.

Danica McKellar married composer Mike Verta in a ceremony Sunday in the California seaside town La Jolla. McKellar's publicist confirmed marriage on Wednesday. It was first reported by People magazine.

The 34-year-old actress, shown above, and the 36-year-old Verta began dating in 2001 and were engaged last summer.
McKellar famously played the elusive young love interest of Arnold on "The Wonder Years," which aired on ABC from 1988 to 1993. Arnold was played by Fred Savage.

McKellar last starred in the 2008 Sci-Fi Channel movie "Heatstroke," for which Verta composed the score. After studying mathematics at UCLA, McKellar wrote two books, "Math Doesn't Suck" and "Kiss My Math."

Now that's a burger!!!

You better be hungry and not watching your calories if you go to a West Michigan Whitecaps game this summer.

Why? The Class A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers in Grand Rapids, Mich., is adding a 4,800-calorie burger to its menu.

The 4-pound, $20 burger -- shown in an Associated Press photo, above -- features five beef patties, five slices of cheese, nearly a cup of chili and liberal doses of salsa and corn chips, all on an 8-inch sesame-seed bun.

The Grand Rapids Press reports that anyone who eats the entire 4,800-calorie behemoth in one sitting will receive a special T-shirt. Saner fans can divide it up with a pizza cutter and share.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Good news on Hamels

The Phillies received good news Tuesday on ace lefthander Cole Hamels' ailing elbow. This from an Associated Press story:

Phillies ace Cole Hamels will return to camp after a team physician found no damage in his sore left elbow.
General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. says team doctor Michael Ciccotti reported no structural damage to the joint after looking at the left-hander's pitching elbow Tuesday morning in Philadelphia.
Last season's World Series MVP received an injection to relieve inflammation but should be cleared to throw by Thursday.
But Hamels' status for Opening Day is unclear. The team will continue to monitor his recovery when he returns to camp.
The Phillies host the Atlanta Braves in the first major league game of the season on Sunday, April 5.
Hamels went 14-10 last season with a 3.09 ERA. He was 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five postseason starts.

Reason to worry?

Phillies ace lefthander Cole Hamels, at right, the NLCS and World Series Most Valuable Player, is back in Philadelphia today to get the sore elbow on his pitching arm examined. That's not good news in mid-March.

The Phillies don't believe it's serious, but any time your ace pitcher has to get his throwing arm looked at, it's a cause for concern.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sad day for Eagles fans

It was a sad day for Eagles fans Saturday when news broke that 13-year veteran safety Brian Dawkins had signed a 5-year contract with the Denver Broncos.

Dawkins, shown at right holding up his Broncos jersey, played more games than anyone in Eagles history and was the heart of a defense that was among the league's best for most of his tenure.

Ironically, the Broncos will be playing the Eagles this season in Philadelphia.

Don't know who is to blame here, but most fans point toward Eagles management. Right now, there is a huge void on the field, in the locker room and in the hearts of die-hard Eagles fans.

Friday, February 27, 2009

WOO HOO! 'The Simpsons' renewed for 2 more seasons

Great news for fans of "The Simpsons."

The Fox network has renewed the series for two more seasons, bringing the total to 22 and making the animated hit the longest-running prime time series in history.

While I don't believe the show is as funny and clever as it was 10 or even 5 years ago, "The Simpsons" remain one of the best shows on television.

"The Simpsons" has won a Peabody Award and 24 Emmys during its run.

For more, click here.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

This is not the way to get rid of head lice

A teenager in Evansville, Ind., was severely burned Sunday night while trying to get rid of head lice.

So how did 18-year-old Jessica Brooks attempt this? Police say she was letting her hair soak in gasoline just before a pilot light from a water heater ignited the gas fumes and her hair.

According to authorities, Brooks suffered second- and third-degree burns over half of her body. She was in serious condition at the burn unit at University Hospital in Louisville, Ky.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

3 days to go

Just 3 days until Phillies pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater, Fla., for the start of spring training.

Ohio teacher enjoys recess

Here's another example of a bad apple among teachers.

Authorities say an Ohio fourth-grade teacher had a side job as a prostitute, and even skipped class after using a school computer to arrange an afternoon tryst at a motel.

According to the Associated Press story, Logan County sheriff's officials say 35-year-old Amber Carter was arrested Tuesday at a motel parking lot in Bellefontaine in central Ohio. She's charged with misdemeanor prostitution and a felony, unauthorized use of property, regarding the computer.

Bellefontaine City Schools Superintendent Larry Anderson says officials are shocked. He says Carter never received a reprimand in 13 years at the district.

She's now on administrative leave.

A woman answering a phone listing for Amber Carter in Bellefontaine hung up on a call seeking comment Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

From 'I do' to Pop-Pop in 4 years

My wife and I got married in 2004. When we said “I do,” her daughters were ages 19, 13, and 10. I went from bachelorhood to instant family.

It wasn’t so hard. There were no diapers to change, no spit ups to clean, no strollers to push, no baby clothes, gadgets or toys laying around the house. Instead, I just had to deal with the growing pains of girls who were teens and pre-teens going on 30.

Tara, the oldest one, didn’t live with us much, spending most of her time on her own. But when she needed us, my wife Sharon and I were there for her.

And so it was last Easter when Tara needed to move back home with her baby daughter, Arianna. She was just 6 weeks old; a tiny bundle, yet kind of big for her age. It was a huge adjustment for all of us. It took a few weeks, but we had a room built in our basement for Tara and the baby.

Kristen, my youngest stepdaughter, was excited to have an infant in the house, since she had always pleaded for a younger sibling — a plea that emphatically fell on deaf ears. Kelly, the middle one, started grooming Arianna to be a cheerleader and engraining in her Kelly’s love for Belle from “Beauty and the Beast.”

Having a baby around day after day has been a different experience for me — and a rewarding one: perhaps because I have yet to change a diaper.

In the summer and fall, Sharon and I watched Arianna at night while Tara worked and went to college. On nice nights, we took her — and our dogs — for a walk. Sharon had a much easier task of pushing the stroller than I had walking two excitable labradors.

We spent much of the walks just watching Arianna. She loved looking up at the sky and at the trees. And she was fascinated by street signs. She’d stare at a sign as we approached it, and turned her head to keep looking at it as we walked past. I suppose it was her first introduction to shapes.

One of the favorite things I do with Arianna that always gets a big smile is when I hold her on top of our refrigerator. She looks at everyone for a reaction, and starts laughing when my wife asks, “What are you doing up there?”

In November, Arianna began crawling — and she scoots. She likes when someone gets down on the floor to crawl around with her — especially when it’s her Pop-Pop.

But crawling was so yesterday. Now she wants to walk. And walk. And walk. At first, she looked like a drunk stumbling down the street. Now she could win the gold medal in the baby 100-meter dash.

Of course, that also means she’s getting into things she’s not supposed to.

The dogs have also benefited from Arianna’s presence as they perch themselves on either side of her high chair waiting for food to fall.

It’s hard for us to believe, but Arianna turned 1 on Saturday. It’s amazing how time flies when you see someone grow hour after hour, day after day.

Sharon and Tara both say I’m Arianna’s favorite and that she is a Pop-Pop’s girl. I don’t know why.

So her eyes get big and she giggles when she sees me walk into a room. Or that when I peek on her while she’s getting a bath, she starts laughing and splashing water. Or that whenever I come home, she reaches out for me to hold her.

Well, maybe Arianna is Pop-Pop’s girl.

Another sign spring is right around the corner

With spring training set to start Saturday in Clearwater, Fla., for the World Champion Phillies, spring is just around the corner.

Well, here's another sure sign that spring will soon be here: Sports Illustrated unveiled the cover for its annual swimsuit issue on Tuesday.

The covergirl is 23-year-old Bar Refaeli, an Israeli who has been romantically linked to Leonardo DiCarpio. It is Refaeli's first time on the SI cover.

To read more, click here.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Rough night for Jessica Simpson

Now Jessica Simpson knows the pain her boyfriend, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, felt after the Eagles' 44-6 romp over the Cowboys in the NFL season finale.

According to the Associated Press, Simpson forgot lyrics, mumbled through songs and fought back tears in a performance in Grand Rapids, Mich., in which she opened for Rascal Flatts.

Here is the account:

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A bizarre 38-minute set by opening act Jessica Simpson inadvertently stole the spotlight from headliner Rascal Flatts in a show at the Van Andel Arena.
The Grand Rapids Press said Simpson forgot her lyrics, struggled with her ear monitors, mumbled through songs and fought back tears during Thursday night's performance.
At one point, the 28-year-old singer-actress asked her backing band to start over on one song, and she forgot the words to another.
"Jessica had an off night," Cindi Berger, a representative for Simpson, said Friday. "She's a perfectionist, and wanted to start some of the songs over. She always wants to give her best performance to her fans."
Simpson apologized to the supportive audience of about 9,000 by mouthing the word "sorry" on two large video screens.
While introducing her last song, Simpson said she sometimes feels like quitting. She appeared to be wiping away tears after finishing the song and walking off the stage.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Spring training countdown

Only 9 days to go until pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater, Fla., for spring training as the WORLD CHAMPION Phillies begin defense of their title.

Where's FEMA?

While President Bush was vilified by the mainstream media for his handling of the crisis in the South during Hurricane Katrina, President Obama is getting a free pass in his handling -- or lack of handling -- of the mess in Middle America where thousands are still without power thanks to last week's ice storm.

Check out this blog post by my colleague Tony Phyrillas.

Bonds pleads not guilty

Not surprisingly, all-time home run king Barry Bonds pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges he lied to a grand jury investigating steroid use in sports.

Does anyone believe him? Just look at the size of his head!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A pretty good idea for NBA All-Star Weekend

The NBA is adding something to its All-Star Weekend that most basketball players have done on the playground or in the gym: H-O-R-S-E.

That's right, the playground staple in which making a simple layup can be better than trying some out-of-the-ordinary trick shot will make its way onto the national stage.

Three yet-to-be-named players will appear in the contest.

In a poll on, 78% of more than 37,000 votes think this is a cool idea.

To read more, click here.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I guess gay marriages don't last, either

It must not have been wedded bless for a lesbian couple who led the fight for gay marriage in Massachusetts.

According to the Associated Press, Julie and Hillary Goodridge, who were married the first day same-sex marriages became legal, have filed for divorce.

The pair were among seven gay couples who filed a lawsuit that led to a court ruling making Massachusetts the first state to legalize same-sex marriages in 2004. The couple became the public face of the debate in the state.

The divorce case was filed last week in Suffolk Probate and Family Court and was not unexpected. The couple announced they were separating in 2006.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Super Bowl without Buffalo wings?

Say it ain't so. A Super Bowl without chicken wings?

Apparently, there is a shortage of chicken wings and the price has skyrocketed. Part of the problem is that Pilgrim's Pride, a poultry farm in Texas, has filed for bankruptcy.

To read more, go here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

He also thought the Eagles would win

This story moved on the Associated Press today:

Rendell delays speech for Super Bowl celebration
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Gov. Ed Rendell is so confident that the Pittsburgh Steelers will win this year's Super Bowl that he's postponing his budget speech to the Legislature.
Rendell's spokesman says his boss will deliver his annual address on Feb. 4 — one day later than usual — to allow time for Steelers fans to return from Florida and celebrate back home next Tuesday.
Spokesman Chuck Ardo says Rendell plans to attend the Super Bowl on Sunday, when the Steelers play the Arizona Cardinals. Ardo says it's too early to say whether the governor would join in the celebrations.

That could be bad news for Steelers fans, since Rendell -- in his side gig as an analyst on Comcast SportsNet -- predicted the Eagles to be the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC Championship Game.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The new Miss America

Miss Indiana Katie Stam, a 22-year-old University of Indianapolis student, was crowned Miss America Saturday night in Las Vegas. Stam claimed the crown while fighting off a throat infection and laryngitis.

Here is some of the account by the Associated Press:

The Seymour, Ind., native drew loud applause for her rendition of "Via Dolorosa" during the talent portion of the show. She also strutted onstage in a black bikini and an off-the-shoulder, white lace evening gown. During the interview portion of the competition, she decried the use of performance-enhancing drugs among professional athletes and discussed the definition of glamour.
"That beauty that you feel on the inside, it's that confidence, that radiance inside of you, that's what glamour is," Stam said.
Stam won a $50,000 scholarship and hopes to obtain a bachelor's degree in communications and become a television news anchor. She began competing in pageants at age 15.

The event took place at the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Only 3 weeks to go

Only 3 weeks to go until the pitchers and catchers for the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies report to Clearwater, Fla., for Spring Training.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Britney's new song too hot for radio

Apparently, Britney Spears' latest hit is getting parents riled up.

Simply put, if you say the title of it real fast, you're saying something really raunchy.

Here is the full story.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Labs rule

The American Kennel Club announced Tuesday that for the 18th year in a row, the Labrador Retriever is the most popular choice among purebred pooches in the country.

It's no different in my house, which is ruled by our two dogs, above: Disney, a black labrador mix, and Tinkerbell, a pure yellow lab.

AKC says more than twice as many labs were registered in the U.S. in 2008 as Yorkshire terriers — the No. 2 dog on the list. The Top 10 canines are German shepherd, golden retriever, beagle, boxer, dachshund, bulldog, poodle and shih tzu.

The Labrador Retriever was also top dog in the Philadelphia area, followed by the Yorkshire terrier, boxer, German shepherd, bulldog, rottweiler, golden retriever, poodle, pug and doberman pinscher.

The kennel club says the bulldog returned to the list as No. 10 last year after an absence of 70 years, and has since jumped two notches.

The kennel club turns 125 this year.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

If you think it's cold here...

Hell just froze over. The Arizona Cardinals are going to the Super Bowl.


Halftime score:

Cardinals 24, Eagles 6

This first half shows why Andy Reid, Donovan McNabb and Jim Johnson are 1-3 in 4 previous NFC Championship Games.


The dreaded pick

I've waited long enough, seeing that it's just 2 hours before kickoff of the NFC Championship Game between the Eagles and Arizona Cardinals.

I expect the Eagles to win. They are favored to win and they are the better team. And that's what scares me. What sticks in the back of my mind is that the Eagles were the better team in 2003 when they lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and in 2004 when they lost to the Carolina Panthers. The Eagles were favored in those games, too, and they were at home.

The point spread opened with the Eagles as a 3-point favorite and by Friday the Eagles were a 4-point favorite. As of Saturday night, it was 3 1/2 points.

The turning point for the Eagles' season was the 48-20 rout of the Cardinals on Thanksgiving night. Since then, the Eagles have won 6 of 7 games. But don't expect that today.

The Cardinals limped into the playoffs, but have defeated the favored Atlanta Falcons at home in the Wild Card round, before routing the host Carolina Panthers last week to move into the NFC title game.

The Eagles' defense is playing at an incredible level right now, and I expect more of that today. The Cardinals have a more potent passing game than either the Vikings or Giants, but the Eagles should be able to contain it -- if they get pressure on Cards QB Kurt Warner.

The game is likely to come down to 2 things -- how many times the Eagles hit Warner, and who wins the turnover battle. I see the Eagles ahead on both counts -- and a few big plays from Brian Westbrook wouldn't hurt, either.

I see the Eagles winning 27-20 (I hope it's a bigger spread) and headed to Tampa to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in an all-Pennsylvania Super Bowl.




Friday, January 16, 2009

The undefeated chair -- so far

For Christmas, my father-in-law got me a Philadelphia Eagles office chair that provided a dual purpose: to use at our computer desk, and for me to sit in on the rare occasions I played on PlayStation3, rather than sitting on the floor as I had.

The Sunday after Christmas, some family members visited and that afternoon the Eagles played the hated Dallas Cowboys, needing a victory to get into the NFL playoffs. So I pulled the chair to a spot in front of the fireplace and next to the television to watch the game. The outcome was a 44-6 romp by the Eagles that vaulted them into the postseason.

So being a bit supertitious when it comes to following my sports teams, when the Eagles played the Minnesota Vikings the next week in the first round of the playoffs, I watched the game in the chair in the exact same spot -- and the Eagles won 23-14.

Naturally, when the Eagles faced the New York Giants last Sunday, the chair and I were in the same location in the living room rooting on the Birds. Sure enough, the Eagles earned a 23-11 victory to move into the NFC Championship game.

That makes the Eagles office chair undefeated at 3-0. So when 3 p.m. Sunday rolls around and the game between the Eagles and the host Arizona Cardinals is about to kick off, you can be sure my Eagles chair will be in its same spot with me sitting in it.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

World Series trophy on tour

The Phillies announced last week that the World Series trophy will go on tour throughout the tri-state area.

On Saturday, the trophy will be on display at the Montgomery Mall in North Wales from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

On Thursday, Jan. 22, the trophy will be in Reading. The VF Outlet Center at 801 Hill Ave. will host the public viewing from 1 to 2:30 p.m. For more information, call 610-378-0408.

If you are lucky enough to hold tickets for Reading's sold-out "King of Baseballtown" Banquet and Fundraiser that night at the Reading Crowne Hotel, the trophy be on display there as well.

Hitler cake update

Remember the New Jersey couple who asked a supermarket to put "Happy Birthday, Adolf Hitler" for their son and were denied?

Well, the husband and wife may have a bigger problem on their hands.

Acccording to the Associated Press, the couple's three children -- whose names each have Nazi connotations -- have been placed in the custody of the state.

Holland Township Police Sgt. John Harris says workers from the state Division of Youth and Family Services on Tuesday removed 3-year-old Adolf Hitler Campbell and his younger sisters, JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell from their home Tuesday.

Harris says family services did not tell police the reason the children were removed. Agency spokeswoman Kate Bernyk says it does not comment on specific cases.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My Eagles pick

I'd like to say I see a victory against the hated New York Giants, but I can't.

The Eagles defense is playing great, but I don't know if the Eagles offense will be able to score enough points, and while the Giants rested with a bye week last week, the Eagles were in a physical game with the Vikings.

Donovan McNabb hasn't had great games at Giant Stadium, and kicker David Akers doesn't kick well, either.

All that, and after the two road teams won Saturday, I don't think the Eagles can make it three out of three.

Final score: Giants 17, Eagles 10

Warming thoughts

Has the cold, bitter January air got you in the dumps? Well, here's a warming thought:

Five weeks from today, the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies open spring training in Clearwater, Fla.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Another industry wants slice of bailout pie

There's another American industry that wants to go before Congress and ask for $5 million in bailout money. This time, it's the pornography industry.

According to CNN, Hustler publisher Larry Flynt and "Girls Gone Wild" CEO Joe Francis said earlier this week that they will request that Congress authorize $5 million to bailout the adult entertainment industry.

A spokesman for Flynt said the porn industry has been affected by the economic downturn as much as any other industry.

To read more, click here.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Kiss of Death for Eagles?

ESPN's "NFL Countdown" host Chris Berman, as is alter ego The Swami on SportsCenter Friday night, went out on a limb and picked the Colts and Eagles to meet in Super Bowl 43.

Well, the Colts lost to the Chargers, 23-17, in overtime Saturday night. That doesn't bode well for the Eagles.

Another of ESPN's talking heads, Skip Bayless, said Monday on "First Take" on ESPN2 that he see the Eagles as this year's Giants ... meaning winning the Super Bowl.

As a die hard, I wish for it, but I don't really see that happening.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Fly Eagles Fly

It's been a roller-coaster season for Eagles' fans, capped by last Sunday's 44-6 rout of the hated Cowboys that got the Birds into the playoffs.

I hate to make a prediction on Sunday's playoff game at Minnesota against the Vikings, but except for the offense's performance in a 10-3 loss to the Redskins 2 weeks ago, the team is playing really, really well on both side of the ball.

So here goes my pick: Eagles 24, Vikings 13

Click the link below to hear the Eagles fight song: