Hi ho silver

Two dudes stole two grand in an armed robbery at the Silver Dollar Hotel at Fourth and Pine in Reading.No word on whether all the loot was in silver dollars.If the cops capture the culprits, you could say they coined another silver lining in the city’s crackdown on crime.

Taking the measure of Super Bowl Media Day

We all are fortified by the true order of the universe.Which is why there are certain high holy days on the calendar.Like the annual Tuesday Super Bowl Media Day, where the bold, the beautiful and the brash ask a torrent of silly questions that somehow merit conversation.There is a certain audacity to Media Day that spawns a tide so strong it sucks in legions of folks who wouldn’t know a zone blitz from a granola bar.No matter. It’s all about entertainment and watching Super Bowl players put on display like animals at the zoo. It’s all in good fun, a lighthearted prelude to the serious business of crowning yet another world champion this Sunday.Indeed, the tension was as sharp as a dull razor yesterday when a TV reporter from Mexico City, dressed in a truncated white wedding dress, veil and red pumps, unabashedly asked Patriots quarterback hunk Tom Brady to marry her.”I have a few Mrs. Bradys in my life,” quipped Brady, whose girlfriend is supermodel Gisele Bundchen.

Riding shotgun in Reading

While I am notoriously geographically impaired, I do know that Reading is located on the East Coast.But Reading really should be in the Old Wild West. Case in point: An ice cream deliveryman was robbed at gunpoint Monday, the seventh delivery truck driver robbed in the city since late December.Sound like Dodge City or Tombstone to you?If I owned a delivery truck that was making the rounds through the mean streets of Reading, I would have an armed guard riding shotgun next to the driver. Just like they did on stagecoaches. There may not be any Apaches in our town, but there sure are plenty of bad guys in black hats.

The toast at their wedding must have been a real humdinger

Some relationships bleed you pale even when they’re over.It can be enough to drive you to drink.The other night in Vermont a lady got in an accident and wound up getting processed for DUI and drug possession.She called her ex-husband to pick her up.Now there are some former spouses, rife with hard feelings, who would have immediately conjured up some belly laughs and promptly hung up.But this guy apparently allowed sentiment to intrude upon his better judgment. Then again, his judgment was impaired. He rolled his car on the way to the station and got arrested for drunk driving and driving with a suspended license.With Valentine’s Day approaching, do you think this thirsty couple has any shot at reconciling?

A measured courtroom defense

When their butts are on the courtroom hot seat, some desperate defendants have no restrictor plates on what they may say to get off.For instance, a serial sex offender in England told the jury he couldn’t be a flasher because his genitals were too small. Claiming he was too embarrassed about the size of his manhood to expose himself to women, he even showed the jury — without a hint of humiliation — photos as proof.Apparently the jury sized up his privates as a tad bigger than thumbnails because the guy was convicted and sentenced to 20 months.This British courtroom melodrama rekindles the embers of one of the towering judicial moments in Berks County Court history.The legendary Cal Lieberman — a mass of energy, charm, space and enlightenment as a lawyer and later a judge — once, with reptilian coldness, persuaded a jury that his client couldn’t be guilty of prostitution because she was too coyote ugly for any man to want to pay her for sex. ”I had to hold her down when he told the jury that; she wanted to kill him,” said Russ LaMarca, who was co-defense counsel on the case.I guess her sense of vanity trumped her sense of freedom.

BCP is no place for a Playboy model

Heather Hull is back on the job as a Berks County Prison correctional officer, substantially improving the decor and spiking the spirits of the inmates.Hull was reinstated after going to arbitration. She had been fired for appearing in Playboy magazine.I wonder why someone as photogenic as Heather wants to be a prison guard. If she’s into handcuffs, she can always be a security guard at the Playboy Mansion.After all, somebody has to watch over Hugh Hefner’s pajama drawer, the place where he hides his Viagra.

Heath Ledger the latest shooting star to disintegrate

As life has taught us, Hollywood celebrities sometimes aren’t great for the long haul.Perhaps it’s the evocative highs and cavernous lows of a life rooted in the loose gravel of superficiality, but it seems as if some of them know their days may be numbered. So they play as if awoken from a dream too soon.Does Britney Spears come to anybody’s mind at this juncture? Whenever satellite trucks and the paparazzi jockey for curb space in front of her home after her latest meltdown, we all are graphically reminded of the brittle vulnerability inherent in some stars. Stars who are shining on the outside while the darkness inside clamors for electroshock therapy.Then there was Heath Ledger. The Grim Reaper got the movie star in an enervating embrace yesterday. At 28, the leading man with good looks hijacked from a young girl’s dream was young enough to be still growing into his features. Now he’s gone, found dead in Manhattan with sleeping pills nearby. Police said the death was caused by a possible drug overdose and appeared to be accidental.An autopsy today was inconclusive, and more tests are needed, the medical examiner’s office said. Some tabloids are reporting that Ledger had been battling substance abuse problems — including an addiction to heroin — for some time. Still, he didn’t fit the standard Hollywood mold. He apparently never bought into the Hollywood hype. Then again, people outside Hollywood have their share of demons. It would take an army to plumb the dark drives we all share.Of course, it could be possible Ledger worked himself to death instead of partying himself to death. I guess we won’t truly know until the results of more medical tests come out. Ledger was known for grueling, intense roles. And his personal strife evidently rode in tandem with professional anxiety.He admitted to the New York Times last fall that he “stressed out a little too much” and “last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night. I couldn’t stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going.” He said he took two Ambien pills, which only worked for an hour.Whatever killed Heath Ledger worked for eternity.

Rumble, Hillary and Obama, rumble!

I was getting somewhat bored with the presidential races, considering the 2008 campaign seemed to start way back around the invention of time.But now that primary season is in high gear, Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama have thrown the gloves off and are exchanging bare-knuckle punches — at least verbally.Clinton accuses Obama of “looking for a fight” while Obama claims Hillary and hubby Bill have been a villainous tag team in distorting his record. I guess Bill wants to be the third person in the ring so he can break up any clinches. I hope Hillary and Barack keep slinging shots at each other. Nothing like the singing sound of percussive rhetoric to stir one’s competitive juices. I hope these Democrat heavyweights carom cringing shots off each other until their eyes start closing like shades being drawn ever so slowly and until one of their campaigns melts into ruin at the ballot box. Let the best man, er, person win!

Patriots, Giants are just Super — especially since they came in from the cold

Tom was a few exits short of terrific on his trip to another Super Bowl while Eli’s coming of age happened before the very eyes of his dad, brother and nation.So now the unbeaten Brady Bunch, also known as the 18-0 New England Patriots, are squaring off with the road warrior New York Giants for the NFL championship.Perhaps it will be a sinewy showdown, although the Las Vegas oddsmakers have installed the Pats as two-touchdown favorites.As you may have noticed, both conference championship games were Cold Wars that would have left Eskimos shivering until their bicuspids cracked. I don’t think Mother Nature intended people to play outdoors in Foxborough and Green Bay this time of year. Then again, Fox and CBS executives didn’t consult with her.The key question now is whether the overachieving Manning and the Giants can finally be the ones to topple the Patriots, who in the latter stages of the season seem to be a force that can be reckoned with.Brady showed yesterday that he’s not superhuman all the time. Of course, the real trigger for the Patriots is Bill Belichick, the diabolical coaching mastermind with a heart shaped like a revolver. Can Belichick’s clever schemes traumatize Giants coach Tom Coughlin, who has grown as a leader now that he has dropped the scepter of being an arrogant sovereign?Well, I guess we all will have to just tune in on February 3rd to see how this Super chess match plays out. The ol’ Zekester predicts the Patriots will continue to enslave and slaughter all hope in finishing a pluperfect 19-0.

Life and death

Amalia Crina Kline, a 27-year-old Wyomissing resident, was arrested Friday on her way to dinner with her family. So much for a family night out. Kline’s family complained that police made a big scene with guns drawn and arrested her in front of her 8-year-old daughter when Kline would have voluntarily surrendered.Kline was charged with homicide by vehicle, reckless driving, driving at an unsafe speed and related offenses in connection with the July 24 hit-and-run death of 78-year-old Polly Rassow at Sixth and Penn avenues.Neither you nor I can assume that Kline’s new silver Mercedes struck and killed Rassow. One must be presumed innocent until proven guilty.Whoever is responsible for Rassow’s death, it must have been difficult all this time for he or she to squelch the guilt of not owning up to the crime. Especially during moments as still as a cathedral. Especially when memories of the fatal incident replayed on the backs of eyelids at night.I have no idea why such an individual wouldn’t come forward. I guess we are all honeycombed for survival, an instinct that runs deep into wherever it is a person lives.Tainted life or not, at least the perpetrator still has a life. The victim, alas, does not.It must take an inordinate amount of concentration to compartmentalize your everyday life and pretend everything is normal when the bass line behind your every waking thought is whether or not you will be able to get away with murder.