Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat

We can thank the ancient Celts and their celebration of Samhain for our contemporary Halloween. The Celts believed this was the end of the light season and beginning of dark. They feared that the dead walked the earth this night so they lit fires and wore animal skins for protection.As the tradition continued to develop, disguises and costumes were worn to fool harmful spirits. Carved turnips were fitted with candles to ward off spirits and to to remember souls caught in Purgatory. During the later Middle Ages poor villagers would go door to door begiing food and drink in exchange for a promise to pray for the dead.
Thanks to these 2000 year old customs, we now have kids dressed like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Zombies standing at our door demanding Snickers and Hershey Bars.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Summary Execution

I believe it should be permissible to summarily execute convenience store clerks who jabber away on cell phones when one is trying to complete a transaction and pay for gas, beef jerky,chapstick, a snickers bar or a newspaper. Well, perhaps execution is a bit harsh. What about customer administered corporal punishment? Certainly the cute little lass in this photo would get a reprieve. I cannot however, condone a stay of sentence for the babbling jackass at the Sunoco in the East Falls section of Philadelphia yesterday.
I was standing there waiting to pay for gas while this garrulous twit happily spewed his gibberish into his cell phone while several customers, myself included, waited to pay for our goods and services and be about our business. Clearly the owner or other supervisory personel were absent or this pathetic act of customer neglect would not have been tolerated or least that is what we hope.
I had filled my car in order to make a trip to a Court appearance in Lancaster,PA. With the vagaries of Southeastern PA traffic, that trip can take an hour and fifteen or two hours. The last thing I needed was to stand at a counter staring through plexiglass waiting for this G.E.D class drop-out to finish his important discussion about which flavor Hot -Pocket he consumed for lunch or whether he was going to "get wit" his girl that evening.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Strike Three

I hunted the opening day of ducks Friday with my buddy Rob. We had a fair amount of action at first light but a very low tide made decoy placement a serious challenge.
Saturday afternoon Rob called and advised he had an extra ticket for Game 6 of the National League Pennant series at The Park here in Philadelphia. I attended the game and at the end was treated to the above-depicted batter's box debacle. I could write paragraphs about the game and about Howard's "at-bat" and other crushing disappointments. I will spare you the verbosity. All I can say is in the bottom of the 9th, with 2 men on and 2 out and the series on the line, that pitch they say in baseball....."too close to take."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Duck Season

Duck season opens tomorrow in Delaware. The boys and I will be at the Clubhouse for an "Opening Eve" dinner that will feature: field greens with mustard vinagrette,Thyme and Porter marinated charcoal grilled pork loin, sweet and sour Bavarian style red cabbage, Gratin of potatoes, and dessert. Whiskey before dinner and Port after...followed by cigars and the Phillies desperate game 5.

We will be out an hour before dawn setting decoys. Then we will be hunkered down in the blinds waiting for the beat of wings and hopefully some locked up mallards or woodies heading for our spread.

As an aside, please support Ducks Unlimited or another Conservation Organization of your choice. Ducks Unlimited does a splendid job of preserving habitat and acting as a lobbying voice for hunters and sportsmen.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Some Fine Points of the Game

We have been watching a lot of baseball around my place these past 2 weeks...for obvious reasons. Last night my son and I watched the Phillies even up the Pennant Series( I still think Pennant sounds better than NLCS) 1 game to 1.

Having watched the Phillies since I was old enough to remember,and having listened to countless innings on the radio, I take it for granted that everyone understands all the nuances of the play by play and the lingo the announcers use during broadcasts. Last night Roy Oswalt threw a little "chin music" at a batter. I found myself explaining the definition and strategy of a "brush-back pitch" to my son. We also had a discussion about why it is an insult to a player when a team yields an intentional walk to get that player to the plate rather than pitch to the batter before him in the order.....and in turn why it was so satisfying for Jimmy Rollins to crush that bases clearing double after just such a scenario. Game 3 tomorrow at 4 p.m. EST...stay tuned and GO PHILLIES

Friday, October 15, 2010

Local Sportsman

I have mentioned Ned in prior posts. He has "Sportsman" encoded into his DNA. He is an agreeable Hunting companion and a good friend.
Here we see Ned beaming over his success at a little Saltwater Flyfishing. Field or Stream, Rod or Gun, Ned is going to bring home something for the can count on it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Opening Day Outfit

The opening day of Duck Season is rapidly approaching. Hunters from the Eastern Shore to the Delaware Bay are cleaning their preferred waterfowling piece, organizing their gear, watching the weather and tide charts, buying licenses and ammo, getting boats ready and deciding what to wear. In the early season the question of what to wear can be difficult based on the weather.
In the later season it is typically colder than a grave digger's ass ( my Grandfather's favorite simile) so the choice is easy: you wear your big guns of Thinsulate and Goretex and use foot and hand warmers and your best gloves and hat. In late October it can be 40 degrees when you go out to the Blind and then hit 60 degrees by the time you are done. Hence, the choice of what to grab from your hunting wardrobe is tricky.
Waders are a must, so in early season I go with the hip high camo waders from Cabela's with 200 gram Thinsulate. They are not too warm on the feet and very comfortable and utilitarian when launching the boats and stomping thru the marsh mud. For the jacket, I take the lining out of the Herter's camo coat. You still have all the pockets for your gear and waterproof protection without over-heating. A camo hat completes the ensemble.
However, there is another detail which helps in this concealment and camo effort: make-up. As the Duck Commander says....covering the face is very important. So, there are plenty of camo face paints available. A few streaks of green and brown make your face less visible when peeking out of the Blind. Ducks have excellent eye-sight and can see a hunter's face as if it were a headlight shining from the Blind. Camo face paint corrects this problem.
Here's hoping we all have good hunting next week.
Photos courtesy of Cabela's Waterfowl Catalogue.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Boxing Update

After many negotiations and too long of an idle period, my fighter is slated to return to the Ring.
I thought I had a fight locked in for November 20th in Brooklyn. However, the opponent, Anthony Irons, declined the match-up.
Fortuitously, another offer came along at the right time. One of the Match-Makers from Golden Boy, De Le Hoya's outfit, called to inquire if my guy would fight Mikael Zewski, on November 6th at the Prudential Center in Newark. This is a better venue, better purse and better overall opportunity. So the training is now ramped up and focusing on this match and this opponent...stay tuned.

Monday, October 11, 2010


A clean sweep of those Reds. Now we wait to see which team emerges from the Giants v. Braves series. Post season Baseball here in Philadelphia is starting to feel like a habit.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Deer Camp Blog: All Hands On Deck!

Deer Camp Blog: All Hands On Deck!

For you Hunters and like minded Sportspersons, check out this Crew's Blog about their Deer camp...good stuff...sincere and real. maybe they will let me come down and shoot some of those pesky big hogs on their property.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Snyder v. Phelps

Big argument in our U.S. Supreme Court today. This matter charges the black robed 9 with the difficult question of whether a lower court verdict of 5 million dollars for intentional infliction of emotional distress should be reinstated against the kooks and religio-whack jobs at Westboro "Church." The members of this organization picketed the funeral of Marine Lance Corporal,Matthew Snyder with signs like the ones pictured above. Certainly our 1st Amendment rights are of extreme importance. But what of the rights of the Family to bury their son in peace and free from harassment? Justice Ginsburg frames the issue as whether Freedom of Speech rights must tolerate "exploiting this bereaved family."
As for the "protestors"...I cannot fathom how they rationalize their behaviour as Christian...they take the position that our soldiers killed in the Mid-East theatre are dead because of Divine retribution for our Country's myriad sins and wickedness; like tolerating homosexuals and abortion. This distraught father wanted to bury his son and he had to deal with these jack-asses....part of me wishes the local police had taken a fire hose to these misguided, pseudo Christian , publicity hungry swine when they showed up to picket the somber occassion of the bureal of a fallen soldier.
From a profesional perspective, I am very interested in how our High Court reasons their way thru this mine field of a case.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Giving Back To The Game

This Saturday, St. David's Episcopal Church held their annual Church Fair in Radnor,Pennsylvania. The grounds of this Church are beautiful and the Fair takes place beneath the Maples and Oaks towering over the park-like grounds. This gig features the requisite Food, Kids Games, Auction and Bake Sale. However, the real attraction is high end other words Flea Market stuff donated by denizens of some fairly well heeled Zip Codes. My Wife and I always attend and the kids only miss when a riding leson or sports event interferes.

Over the years I have found some great stuff and this year was no exception. I scored a beautiful watercolor of canvasback ducks flying across a marsh at sunrise and a stunning Jos. A. Banks Hunter Green wool sport coat with labels still on. Seriously, the clothes alone at this event would make Guiseppe from Affordable Wardrobe quiver and drool. I will not even bore you with other scores or a description of the tremendous book tent.

What is relevant to the title of this post happened in the Sporting Goods tent. Here on the Main Line there is an organization called: LEAPS. It is a charitable outfit with the goal of getting inner city Philly kids exposed to and involved in Lacrosse. In addition to teaching the sport, the Coaches advise the kids on nutrition, teamwork, discipline and preseverance. LEAPS is run by John Christmas and Eric Gregg. Christmas is a local kid from Ardmore who played high school lax at Lower Merion, was a 3 time All American and then went to U.V.A. where he was again 2 time All American and helped them win a National Div. 1 Title. John plays professionally, coaches at Lower Merion and does personal and group trraining. Eric was a top Goalie in Prep School league in the Philly area and played at Gettysburg. These two guys are devoted to the kids they coach thru LEAPS and depend on donations and volunteers to fund and equip these teams.

So, whenever I am at a Flea Market or the like, I am ever vigilant for helmets and other gear to give to this program. Helmets in particular are big ticket items and many kids cannot afford them and the purchase of same burdens the LEAPS budget. As with all youth Sports, kids outgrow their gear rapidly and at the St. David's Fair you find lots of Lacrosse gear as our area is and has always been a hot-bed of Lacrosse. I was lucky enough to buy 4 top quality and barely used helmets as well as numerous sets of gloves, shoulder pads and arm pads. Towards the end of the day the parishoners who run these sales get desperate to move their wares and not only did they give me the helmets at 1/2 price ( which was insanely cheap) but also threw in some of the other equipment gratis when I told them the entire haul was going to LEAPS. I am delivering the stuff to Mr. Christmas this week when I see him...he does private coaching sessions with my son. (As an aside, it is astounding to see how good this guys is at breaking down the movements and skills of Lacrosse and teaching the components to my kid thru continiuous repitition which translates to muscle memory and in turn can be executed at speed and with accuracy in Game conditions.)

I realize donating a few helmets and such is no great achievement, and I have been involved in some fundraising for LEAPS, but I do feel encouraged thinking that a kid who may otherwise not play this great game due to the prohibitive cost of a helmet, may someday go on to play at Duke or Hopkins or Princeton because of a great find in high end rummage.

P.S. That is Christmas ( # 2) playing at U.V.A. and with a LEAPS player... and a Team photo of the Ashbee team I coached this season....and some random photo left over from my prior " Vintage lacrosse " post.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


If you grew up on the Main Line or around Philadelphia in the mid 70's thru the early 80's, when someone referred to "Lefty" it meant Steve Carlton. I saw Carlton pitch several incredible games as a kid and even got the chance to drink a few beers with him when he came into my Jazz Club one night in 2001.
However, today's post concerns another not so famous "Lefty." Bernard "Lefty" Kreh is perhaps the most talented and revered Fly Fisherman on the planet. He lives quietly and modestly in Maryland, yet he is considered a Guru of Flyfishing by anglers around the World.
Lefty has been teaching and demonstrating the finer techniques of Fly Fishing for 50 years. He teaches a simple and direct casting method and tries to take some of the mysticism out of Flyfishing. He teaches at Angler's Shows, private fishing clubs and also fishes with Celebrities, Captains of Industry and others who are in the know and want to learn from the best. Tom Brokaw told "Oustside" Magazine that "fishing with Lefty was like going to the batting cages with Ted Williams."
He teaches a casting method that uses the whole body rather than just the arm.
Lefty also studies and develops knots and lures for his fishing. He is credited the "Lefty Deceiver" to use for catching striped bass in the Chesapeake.This lure is now used around the World and has been featured on a US Postal Stamp.
Recently, The Washington Post did a piece on Lefty that detailed his hardscrabble childhood. He described "bushbobbing" for catfish and selling them for 10 cents a pound to earn money for his widowed Mother. He aslo grew to be an expert marksman after a childhood hunting quail and rabbits outside his Hometown. He later earned money doing shooting demos for Remington.
He served in WWII in an Artillery crew and returned home to a job at a Lab at Fort Detrick.
He became an outdoor writer and his reputation as a Angler and Sportsman grew. . He was invited to fish in the Hemingway Marlin Tournament in 1959 and fished with Hemingway on his famous boat: the Pilar. One can only imagine what it was like to go out with Hemingway for a day's fishing.
Kreh remains active in Fly Fishing to this day despite his advanced years. By all accounts he is an affable, soft spoken and congenial gentleman who relishes the chance to pass his knowledge on to youngsters. I saw Lefty a few years ago at a Sportsmens Exposition and had no idea until later just what a privilege it was to see this man cast a Fly rod.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Croquet-Game or Sport

This weekend the Merion Cricket Club held the 20th Anniversary Croquet Invitational. According to some reports, this is the biggest Croquet Tournament in the U.S.A. There were 160 players whacking balls around the 24 grass tennis courts for 3 days.

Merion Cricket Club is an Old Line, Old Money Waspatorium that has great tennis and squash and facilities and serves a mean Snapper Soup. Merion is not quite as hard to join as it once was, you know with the economy and all and many Clubs across the Nation scraping for cash and new members. It used to have the reputation of needing direct a Mayflower rap to get in. It is far more loose now and quite a nice place.

This Croquet-a-polooza is pretty interesting . One of the organizers claimed in a quote in the Main Line Times: "It's the putting of golf, the angles of billiards and about 66 percent the strategy of chess." I always thought it was a game played at a backyard party which gave you an excuse to try to dent your older brother's ass with a mallet. The game always turned into weapon wielding mayhem in my parent's backyard in Bryn Mawr. Few balls were shot thru any hoops and no one really knew the strict rules of the game anyway.

Evidently this crew that donned whites and showed up at this Club in Haverford takes this gig seriously and believes it is a sport. Arguably it is no more or less a sport than golf in many ways. Then again, I do not much like golf either. Given the chance to blow shit up with a shotgun as opposed to chasing a little white ball around a giant manicured lawn, I will opt for the former.
However, I do see this as a spectator opportunity. One can certainly park on the expansive porch of this venue and slam down some Gin and Tonics or Bloody's and watch these "athletes" crack away at the balls.

I wonder if Michael Caine knows that dude stole his British Officer's campaign Hemlet from the wardrobe room of the movie "Zulu?"
Photos courtsey of