Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Walking for Just Detention

Inspired by the old-time long-distance walkers I wrote about in Pedestrianism, I will be walking in a 24-hour race in New Jersey on May 16th and 17th. The race is part of the New Jersey Trail series of races and will take place at the Sussex County Fairgrounds. My goal is to complete 50 miles. The race is also an opportunity for me to raise money for Just Detention, a charity dedicated to ending prison rape. Please consider donating. Click here for more information.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Circus Elephants

Ringling Brothers’ decision to end elephant acts brought back memories of the summer I spent working in close proximity to circus elephants. I was a vendor in the Cole Bros. traveling circus, which claimed to be the world’s largest traveling three-ring circus under a canvas big top (lots of qualifiers in there!). As part of my job I assisted in the raising and taking down of the big top, which is where I worked alongside the elephants, who helped pull the big top into place. I was warned to never stand behind them because their kicks were quite fearsome.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Miracle Memories

Today (Feb. 22) is the 35th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice (the historic US defeat of the USSR hockey team in the 1980 Olympics). I remember watching the game on TV... but I already knew the final score. ABC tape-delayed the afternoon game until prime time. In those ancient, pre-Internet days, my 13-year-old self was forced to listen for hourly updates in real time on the CBS Radio newscasts (on KYW 1060 AM in Philadelphia). And now the Miracle on Ice is closer to World War II than to today. Time flies, as they say.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Presidents Day

I occasionally get asked, “Which president is your favorite?” The short answer is all of them. We’ve had some bad ones (I’m talkin’ about you, Franklin Pierce), but even the worst have had redeeming qualities. (Pierce was a party animal, for example.) The point is, we’ve never had a president hellbent on destroying the country (despite what the incumbent’s critics say). Each president did his best. Faint praise in some cases. But lots of other countries have had truly evil leaders. In 239 years, we’ve not had one. Make me wonder how long we can keep dodging that particular bullet.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Order forms

I miss the order forms that used to come with mail-order catalogs. I know it’s easier to order on a website. But the order forms appealed to my anal-retentive nature. Carefully filling out each block: item number, description, color, size. Calculating the total cost (including shipping). It made the transaction more personal. No impulse buying when you had to fill out a form. And there was a kind of art to designing good order forms. I especially liked the ones that were attached to an envelope to mail in the form. Order forms, victim of the modern age.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Only two Steagles survive

Allie Sherman died on Saturday, January 3, 2015. He was 91. With his passing, only two members of the 1943 Phil-Pitt Steagles are still alive: Ray Graves (96) and Al Wistert (94).