Knitting their brows in disgust

To say the editorial today in my favorite newspaper was hard-hitting would be an understatement.The editorial hit Joe Eppihimer so hard his shoestrings must be vibrating like violin strings.Plumber Joe, of course, is the former Reading mayor who now is running as an independent to reclaim his old job.In the opinion of the Reading Eagle editorial board, Eppihimer’s candidacy is not exactly the brightest idea since the invention of electricity.The editorial went through Eppihimer’s record as mayor like a hot knife through cold butter. In lacerating detail it recounted all the micro atrocities that extrapolated into a macro picture of total chaos during Eppihimer’s term.Indeed, Eppihimer’s reign of error truly was a Barnum and Bailey world. But in that circus, even the clowns weren’t laughing.

Who let the dogs out?

It’s been a long, hot summer around here with dogs munching on mankind like so much mincemeat.Of course, dogs can be smarter than the average bear. And some of them undoubtedly have their dander up over all those grisly Michael Vick dog fighting allegations.

No. 5's math doesn't add up

Perhaps Donovan McNabb, his body more fragile than an anorexic supermodel, is beginning to taste his football mortality.He participated in the Eagles’ first practice of training camp today at Lehigh, then pronounced his rebuilt ACL to be 75 percent. And then in either a quixotic search for inner serenity or a lame attempt at whistling past the graveyard (your pick), McNabb said he can still be one of the best QBs in the NFL at 75 percent.Hopefully he’s better at playing football this year than he is playing the percentages. Playing quarterback at an elite level on a gimpy knee is not like playing a hand of poker. You can’t do it sitting down. McNabb’s recovering right knee is his plant leg. Even when he had a healthy plant leg, he had a tendency at times to spray passes like a punctured garden hose.Consequently, his knee had better improve in a hurry if the Birds want to have a leg up in the NFC East.

Sitting out the Potter craze

It seems as if the whole world has gone into overdrive with Harry Potter.Critics, pundits and bloggers such as Dana Hoffman have been bleating J.K. Rowling’s praises so energetically that it’s a wonder the world’s richest author hasn’t developed lumbago from shouldering all the gushing praise. Well, guess what?Yours truly hasn’t read one Harry Potter book. I haven’t watched one Harry Potter movie. I wouldn’t know Harry, Ron and Hermione if I tripped over them amidst all the shells at the Peanut Bar. To me, Hogwarts was the nickname of the field hockey team when I was in college. And I believe Voldemort actually ran the United Nations for a few years. So will I relent and join the masses in their plunge into Harry Potter mania?That would be a resounding no. I’m certain I’d find his magical world to be just so much hocus pocus.

Missing my daily fix

Once upon a time whenever the mood to work out struck me, I would wait it out and the feeling would blissfully pass. Then I would resume inhaling potato chips or Twinkies faster than Lindsay Lohan collects DUI busts.Back then, I was blessed with a good metabolism and gravity had not yet begun to extract its toll. But when my metabolism slowed down like a white-haired motorist and when my muscle tone became Pillsbury Dough Boy-flaccid, I became addicted to working out.Granted, I’m no musclehead and my cardio isn’t good enough to enable me to sprint up to the Pagoda every morning from Fourth and Court.While my body certainly is no temple, my daily fitness routine provides a measure of serenity that precludes me from taking the next exit ramp to insanity.Unfortunately, because of an early breakfast meeting this morning and some after-work commitments this evening, my trip to the gym today ain’t gonna happen.And it’s driving me absolutely bananas! I feel so deflated. So I’m trying to pump myself up in creative ways. I ate some M&M’s an hour ago, pretending they were steroids as I Googled images of Barry Bonds. And I’m typing this blog with just my right hand because my left hand is preoccupied at the moment curling my stapler. But my mind’s eye is visualizing the stapler as a 60-pound dumbbell.I guess whatever gets you through the day.

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee and whip out your checkbook

Muhammad Ali’s old Deer Lake training camp is for sale.Since I spent considerable time there as a young sportswriter chronicling Ali’s bombastic exploits as he prepped for his epic fights with Ken Norton, Joe Frazier, George Foreman and Leon Spinks, I’d love to buy the place.Alas, the latest bid (as of this posting) on eBay checks in at $3,500,100 — a couple more dollars than I currently find in my checkbook.But I do know that some of you in the Zeke blogosphere have big bucks, so I encourage you to buy the place from George Dillman, the Reading karate master who did some training with Ali.Trust me, Deer Lake is no cookie cutter of a property. Its historical link to Ali, a heavyweight champ with a reign of majesty and turbulence, is a compelling selling point. Because the whole world truly was Ali’s audience and he was a magnet for the kind of attention that few men in history have ever received, Deer Lake once upon a time was a very big pin on the world map — even if it’s located smack dab between Reading and Pottsville.Consequently, Deer Lake remains frozen in its ancient fame.When Ali was in residence at Deer Lake training for the sudden evil of a Frazier or Foreman left hook, the multitudes flocked to Muhammad’s mountain as if it were Mecca itself.Indeed, when Ali was perfecting his vaunted Rope-A-Dope at Deer Lake, the ring in its log cabin gym was one of the great stages of our time.The camp that once was his fortress of solitude remains stocked with Ali history and memorabilia.Good luck with the bidding, my friends.

Turn out the lights, Lindsay! The party's over!

When one sifts though the sad layers of debauchery, one undoubtedly will find Lindsay Lohan at the bottom of the pile.Her life seems to have all the decorum of a spring-break booze party.A mere week after checking out of an alcohol treatment center, the latest Hollywood party girl was busted early today on suspicion of driving under the influence in Santa Monica, Calif.So much for the alcohol-detecting anklet Lohan supposedly was wearing.Adding to the bright-lime nausea of the moment, she also was nailed for driving with a suspended license and cocaine was found in her pants pocket during booking.She’s already facing a drunken driving charge in Beverly Hills.A firehouse-red alarm should be resonating among her family and friends that Lindsay’s sense of sobriety is as gone as an expired breath. They need to throw her a lifeline because she’s clinging like a spider to the slippery slope of self-destruction.

Taking a bite out of bad news in the city

I spent a few days and nights losing money in Las Vegas, which is why I blew off blogging last week.Upon my return, I found out that pit bulls were snacking away on city residents.In fact, it’s even been in our favorite newspaper, as fellow blogger Al Walentis pointed out earlier today.I guess if Vegas has The Strip of lost wallets, Reading has The Boulevard of lost souls.Well, if our town is serious about moving into an epoch of prosperity and light, it needs to acquire a dimension of sophistication.Frankly, the pit bulls have gotta go. Tonight City Council supposedly is going to discuss what action should be taken to muzzle all these chomping pit bulls.I have two suggestions for Council to consider.First, since Jean Claude Van Damme’s movie career has gone into the dumpster, hire the former martial arts star to give free karate lessons to residents. As one guy found out, a swift karate kick can fend off an attacking pit bull.Second, since Michael Vick’s NFL career is in jeopardy because of his alleged involvement with dog fighting, hire the Falcons QB to thin the city’s pit bull population.

Sex and the city

The cops spent a couple nights cracking down on prostitution in the city. A laudable effort, I assume. But since hookers have walked the earth in high heels since the dawn of hormones, most of the time in the area of Seventh and Franklin streets in Reading, ultimately the effort will be prove as futile as trying to lighten the sinking load by throwing a deck chair off the Titanic.My observation on prostitution in the city?The johns either must have IQs that stopped short of hitting double digits or be uglier than jackal vomit. Who the hell would pay money to have money with those skanks? They’re nastier than cobra venom.

The price to park is stiffer than an arthritic spine

When I was in Catholic grade school and not getting my ears boxed red by the nuns (parochial schools actually had nuns who wore habits back then), I learned that God created the suburbs on the final day of Creation so that folks wouldn’t have to pay for parking.Which, from a theological perspective, certainly rings true because apparently there are no parking fees in heaven. Evidently the only toll up there is at the Pearly Gates. Jeez, I wonder if you can zip right past St. Peter if you have a heavenly E-Z pass (which could come in handy if you haven’t been all that angelic here). Anyway, what I’m getting at is that here on earth, paying to park can be a real cross to bear.But thank God we park here in Reading, where the monthly fees in Reading Parking Authority garages generally run somewhere between $70 and $105. Granted, that’s not chump change … especially when you could divert those dollars every month to cigarettes, booze, slots and green fees (or if your religious education really stuck, tithing to your church).But even forking over 100 bucks a month to park is a mere pittance compared to what some poor souls in Manhattan are paying to park. Actually, my use of the adjective “poor” might have been ill-advised. Parking is at such a premium in Manhattan that there are waiting lists of buyers who would simply die for the chance to purchase a private parking spot for — major percussive drum roll here, please! — $225,000. I don’t know about you, but unless your last name is Trump or Rockefeller or Bloomberg, it’s absolutely absurd to pay 225 grand to park.Which is why, I guess, God also created shoes, bicycles, buses, subways and cabs.