I can't believe I'm back to making New Year's resolutions!

Many of us over the years have made New Year’s resolutions. And then failed to keep any of them.About the only resolution I’ve ever kept is to no longer make New Year’s resolutions.Until now.So here are my resolutions for 2007:Adopt Homer Simpson as my role model!Pack on about 40 pounds by eating potato chips and banana splits for lunch every day! Break the heart of Miss Nude Universe when I rebuff her advances!Hold my breath until the City of Reading no longer has the tiniest shred of trash, litter and graffiti!Watch reality TV shows nonstop until I either resolve (there I go again) to kill myself or go bowling!Hang upside down by my toes from the roof of the Pagoda until meaningful property tax reform comes to Pennsylvania!Pat myself on the back each and every day for having the foresight not to vote for George W. Bush!Continue procrastinating on addressing all my bad habits, starting tomorrow!Throw a brick through the back window of any vehicle that (a) has its sound system shrieking louder than the hounds of hell or (b) is double-parked when I’m running late! Immerse myself in history so I no longer have to stay current!Blog daily while perched (in black tie) at a Monte Carlo baccarat table!Enough about me. If the spirit moves you and you can find the time between partying, watching football and then battling a killer hangover over the course of this holiday weekend, feel free to share some of your New Year’s resolutions — humorous or otherwise.

Saddam now hanging out in hell with history’s other bad boys

Saddam. Hitler. Stalin. Mao. Pol Pot. Dictators all. Mass murderers all. Madmen who spilled so much blood that their countries resembled slaughterhouses.Men who did anything they damn well pleased to satisfy their bloodlust for power. Men with egotism, like a tattoo, etched into their flesh.Now they’re dead men all. Damned men all.Saddam Hussein had a most fitting farewell when he was hanged Saturday in Iraq.No sympathy for the devil.And now that they’re all roasting in hell, Saddam can join Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot in helping Lucifer ring in another new year in tormented eternity. If I’ve just delved into character assassination, so be it. At least character assassination seldom draws blood.

The FDA gives us cloned meat to chew on

The Food and Drug Administration used to have the aura of blue steel. The boys and girls at FDA used to be tough cookies who hardly crumbled. Indeed, they could be downright despotic and terribly tyrannical when it came to issuing their stamp of approval on products. They practically invented the concept of clinical fury.But when the FDA concluded today that food products from cloned animals are just fine and dandy to wolf down, it suddenly dawned on me that this no longer is your father’s FDA. The FDA thinks cloned livestock is “virtually indistinguishable” from conventional livestock, and believes “that meat and milk from cattle, swine and goat clones is (sic) as safe to eat as the food we eat every day.” Gulp.Well, upon further review, perhaps the FDA is right. Because the food we eat every day no longer seems all that safe. After all, E.coli is a noted provocateur in the food chain.Bon appetit.

The Eagles, believe it or not, go from oblivion to the playoffs

Once upon a time the Philadelphia Eagles looked like a carcass to be picked clean by the vultures. Alarm systems of panic were shrieking throughout the Delaware Valley and resonating even as far as Greater Reading. The comatose Birds were spawning more horror than Vincent Price ever imagined. Despair had settled in the belly of every Eagles fan and refused to leave — a woodworm that finds a spot behind a knot in the timber and stays there forever.But that was then and this is now. Now excitement in Eagles Nation is gushing as from an open faucet. The Eagles have done the impossible. Accomplished the improbable. They’ve risen from the dead. I thought resurrection was the gospel of Easter. But on Christmas Day/Night in Irving, Texas, the Birds were born again, clinching a playoff berth by totally dismantling the Dallas Cowboys 23-7. Consider this immensely illogical run that has been more kinetic than a pulsating garden hose snaking through the grass: The Eagles have won four straight, the last three transpiring in an astonishing road trip that has seen them win at Washington, at New York and now at Dallas. Pinch me, but they suddenly are 9-6 and have guaranteed themselves at least the fifth seed in the NFC. If they beat the imploding Atlanta Falcons on New Year’s Eve at the Linc, they will clinch their fifth NFC East title in six years.Who in God’s name would have thunk it?Sure as hell not me. And sure as hell not you if you’re honest about it.The Eagles suddenly are a team transformed. Somehow, someway, they have reinvented themselves. Is some mad scientist lurking inside the expansive stomach of Andy Reid?They now have a running game. For most of the season their offense had trouble jogging from the huddle. Now they actually are in a rush from the line of scrimmage. Brian Westbrook zipped for 122 yards on 26 carries Sunday against Dallas, the sixth time this season he has surpassed the century mark.And the Philadelphia defense, which had been even more pacifist than the Quakers, suddenly can plug the run, assault the passer and pressure turnovers. They absolutely stuffed the explosive Cowboys, holding them to a mere seven points and 201 total yards. But the catalyst to the Eagles’ renaissance is a backup quarterback who’s so old he has rings around his trunk. I believe he was a rookie during FDR’s first administration. For Christmas he probably received a new set of dentures and a shiny new walker.Quarterbacks his age usually are retired, ambushed by age and in dire need of a periscope to see a world that has grown alien to them. But Jeff Garcia’s NFL career still is under warranty despite all the mileage on his tires. He is the ultimate playmaker. Big plays explode on the gunpowder of his personality and moxie.Garcia once again was The Little Engine That Could pulling the Eagles down the tracks of redemption Sunday as he threw for 238 yards and rushed for 43 more.Who knows what surreal possibilities dot the horizon for this most incredible edition of the Eagles. But whatever the script of fate has scrawled for their destiny, it seems predestined that Jeff Garcia will be the straw that stirs the drink.For now, let’s all take a big gulp of happiness from the bewitching cauldron he and the Eagles have concocted.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,Let your heart be light.Even though Reading’s troubles are hardly out of sight.Have yourself a merry little Christmas,Make the yuletide gay.And not that there’s anything wrong with that.Here we are as in olden days,Stuffed with calories and holiday bills just like in days of yore.Faithful friends who are dear to us,Gather near us to read the Zeke Blog once more.Through the years we all will be together,If the fates and broadband allow.Hang a shining star on the nearest Wal-Mart Supercenter instead of upon the highest bough.And have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

My Christmas story

Every year as Christmas approaches, my face beams such a holiday glow that passersby must don sunglasses or else risk serious retina damage. But, alas, not this year. My face is whiter than the snow at the North Pole. Whiter than Santa’s beard.When you’re wearing your anguish on your face, the color quickly drains and gushes bile into your soul. No wonder there are emerging furrows in my brow. No wonder there is a glum gravitas riding posse with my voice when I sing Christmas carols in the shower.All because my tormented soul is grappling with Christmas and football.Those NFL execs are a huddle of lint-brains. Those morons have games on Christmas Eve and Christmas. And just when did Scrooge become the NFL commissioner?Now I’m caught in a horrific squeeze between family and football, with both sides sniping at me.My mother always throws a lavish Christmas Eve party. Attendance is mandatory. If you don’t show up, you don’t show up in the will. And the festivities kick off with Christmas Eve Mass at 4 p.m.Four freakin’ PM! What’s with up with that? All the 1 o’clock NFL games won’t yet be over, and there is a 4:05 and two 4:15 games on the clock. Why doesn’t the church have a big-screen plasma TV so people can listen to the sermon while watching football? Multi-tasking, after all, can be a gift from God.And then there is Christmas, the most beautiful and luminescent day of the year.We spend Christmas at my brother-in-law’s. A wonderful guy. A football fan. My sister-in-law is a doll and a marvelous cook. Her Christmas dinners are scrumptious. But she fails to appreciate that violence and grace are blended into one tasty concoction called football. So her Christmas dinner kicks off at 5 p.m. Five freakin’ PM!What’s up with that? The Eagles vs. the Cowboys for all the marbles in the NFC East kicks off at 5 p.m. Armageddon between T.O. and Jeff Garcia. And me, the peerless pigskin prognosticator known as Zeke, will not see the game live because their dining room has no TV sight lines.But if I blow off Christmas dinner, my wife will be spitting out the marrow of my bones.My brother-in-law, however, has come up with a Solomon-like solution. He will TiVo the game and we’ll sprint to the family room big-screen TV the moment the last morsel of dessert has been consumed.Of course, it might be a slow sprint with our full bellies. And then we’ll fast-forward through all the commercials and catch all the action better late than never.The things we do for family.

A sobering reality check

George W. wants to send more troops to Iraq, the 2008 Presidential campaign will be pitting Hillary vs. Obama in a hiccup or two, Rocky’s once again firing punches on a silver screen near you … but the big news last night on all the cable yakfest shows was The Donald granting a reprieve to Miss USA.Mix Donald Trump with a blonde beauty queen/misbehaving party girl and you get a bigger splash than a meteorite landing in Blue Marsh Lake. As you and everybody else outside of Tibet must know by now, Trump, whose egomania empire owns the Miss Universe Organization and Miss USA with NBC, didn’t fire Tara Conner for her binge drinking.Trump, normally tougher than a $4 sirloin, is a real softie when it comes to beautiful blondes. So Connor apparently now will undergo rehab and continue her reign. No word yet if she will actually get to wear her Miss USA crown at the rehab center.Personally, other than parading resplendent women in front of cameras, I’ve never understood the point of beauty pageants.And when we crown these young ladies, we expect them all to be plastic perfect, to be absolutely devoid of belly-button lint, and to live in a hermetic state of grace as if they were nuns. And even when we put them under a microscope, we expect to see no warts.So yesterday’s Miss USA dog-and-pony circus/confessional was in actuality a reality show. We discovered that Miss USA is not just a pretty trinket. She’s a human being just like the rest of us. Only better looking.

Confronting city crime: Are uncooperative witnesses making it a futile gesture along the road to ruin?

The noise of blaring radios and human struggle fill the streets of Reading.Although Reading is my hometown, sometimes it feels, at least to me, as if it’s set at the edge of the world.A world I don’t know. A world where people routinely are silent sentries — witnesses to violent crimes who instantly become elective mutes when the cops ask for their help.Our cops risk their lives and our city expends enormous resources trying to shield its residents from the gunplay of the streets.But all of that is done in the fat shadow of protruding fear and billowing suspicion.The latest example came yesterday when city police said they have received no help from witnesses in a weekend shooting that critically injured a 17-year-old Delaware boy.People milling in the block when the cops arrived where uncooperative with officers. Neighbors neither saw nor heard any evil.It’s enough to make me wonder why their protectors even bother trying to deliver them from evil.

Garcia, Eagles authoring a most unlikely Christmas miracle

So many of us, including your faithful correspondent, had condemned the Philadelphia Eagles this tumultuously topsy-turvy NFL season. We had banished them from our mind’s eye, and more importantly, from our hardened hearts. And then tossed them onto the hardscrabble rock pile where dead dreams are deposited with other dreaded debris.But we before the Earth had turned much further on its ever-spinning axis, our once again beloved Birds have achieved a monumental feat of resurrection. Suddenly, all the poisonous pus has been drained from our tense and tortured psyches.The Eagles took a gigantic step forward in Philadelphia sports lore early this evening when they miraculously slew the New York Giants 36-22 in the toxic waste dump that is the North Jersey Meadowlands. The Birds, their season once so utterly ugly and contemptuous, now are the lead dogs in the NFC wildcard scramble at 8-6. And, lo and behold, they actually can win the NFC East by beating the Cowboys in Dallas on Christmas Night and the Falcons at home on New Year’s Eve. Considering they were left for dead numerous times this remarkable season, this could become the most memorable holiday season ever in the City of Brotherly Love. And how in God’s name can you explain that happening to a town that once threw snowballs at Santa Claus?My explanation consists of two words: Jeff Garcia.This overachieving and aging whirligig is a dynamic presence. Quick of mind, eye, feet and arm, he is a playmaker of exquisite dimension. And a leader of considerable magnitude. The flow of his zealous competitiveness pours over all obstacles and distractions.Garcia was a dominant force Sunday, seemingly steering the Eagles to an improbable victory by the sheer force of his unyielding will. Please note, however, that it remains a team sport. Garcia was ably assisted by an Eagles defense that for once wasn’t pounded like the hide of a drum, a D that stunningly forced four turnovers. Safety Brian Dawkins was a wrecking machine as he furiously finished with an interception, two forced fumbles and a game-high 11 tackles.But back to the inspiring Saga of Jeff Garcia, which likely will be spewing from rap artists’ lips for generations. What made Garcia’s performance so electric was that he almost electrocuted himself and the Birds on two occasions during one fourth-quarter drive.But he refused to allow those twin flirtations with serious disaster to drain the juice in his battery. With blood leaking through a bandage on his passing hand, he fired a beauty of a 19-yard touchdown strike to Reggie Brown and then triggered a fastball to L.J. Smith for the two-point conversion and a 29-22 lead with 2:57 remaining.His scoring toss to Brown climaxed an eight-play, 80-yard drive stoked by Garcia’s molten desire to atone for his first interception of the season – a costly pick that helped the Giants take the lead. His interception might have been the result of too much adrenaline as Garcia tried to make amends for the 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty he drew for spiking the ball near Giant defenders after scrambling for a first down at the New York 22. Well, nobody’s perfect, now are they?I could go on and on, but I’m afraid I will suddenly wake up and spoil this magical dream in which Jeff Garcia just has to be the reincarnation of Santa Claus.

T.O. is full of spit

We all know that T.O. can’t keep his mouth shut, now don’t we?But apparently more than babble spews from his lips. Saliva geysered from Terrell Owens’ mouth last night as he spat upon Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall.Oh, well, just another flamboyant attempt to grab some moist headlines.Which T.O. didn’t have to do to bask once again in the media spotlight Saturday night.His five catches for 69 yards and two touchdowns, including a 51-yard long-distance delight, in the Cowboys’ explosive 38-28 victory were ample enough to earn some pubThen again, he must continue to feed the T.O. monster, now doesn’t he?