Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Good Morning, Good Day, Hardboiled Eggs, and a Dolly Parton 45.

This is just a check-in, a sonar ping, a call-and-response. Some days, one needs to lift one's head above the water, like a playful dolphin on the Jersey Coast, and say a quick hello to the neighbor body surfers. The porpoise is not only to catch a quick breath of salt air, but also for the sheer thrill. It's autumn, and there are even more women hunters in the woods--haven't you heard? They're apparently more patient than their male nimrod counterparts, and more interested in meat than trophy--a darn good way to slice it.

I'd like to present Wilkes-Barre as a concept this morning. You have to work to get there--anyone accustomed to reflexively peeling Northwest on Route 380, you're missing a great chance to hang in Pennsylvania's most European small town: There are a lot of hills, and the streets, which are small, don't line up. Consequently, it's a lot of fun to get lost.

From the City, it's through the Water Gap and then north on an unlikely spine, the Northeast Corridor of the PA Turnpike. From there, it's only one exit--but soft! One exit on the Extension is an 11-mile tunneling into Luzerne County. Like most everything west of the Hudson, Wilkes-Barre's environs sport a wasteland of box stores, strip malls, and the standard complement of Thank-God-it's-Restaurant kinda places, but in this case, it's more like a retail moat. Once you brave the alligators and the slime, it's quite cozy and charming on the inside. The mighty Susquehanna runs its length, and other interesting bergs are on the other side. They appreciate Poker in this region--two establishments welcomed our cash game, one in our own, free, wood-paneled room. Drinks were inexpensive.

The Red Sox disappointed this weekend, to say the least. Fortunately, it won't mean Jack when we ice the American League Wild Card. Homefield advantage notwithstanding, the postseason landscape is when Major League Baseball hits the Refresh button. There is still another month of hotdogs, leather gloves and shivering fans. And thank God for that.

Thank God, also, for the late great William Safire. His politics were revolting to me, in many ways, but he was a wordsmith nonpareil, and a buddy of the journalist Daniel Schorr's, and that's good enough for me. Let us remember him.

Thanks for reading, and happy autumn, and please try to remember that although Andalusian/French brother Jean Reno--a nonpareil of badassery--occasionally makes a stinker, only YOU can prevent forest fires...

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