So what guy out there would trade lives with Tom Brady? That whoosh you just heard was every male on the planet raising his arm!

For many unfortunate folks, the world can be a cruel, foreboding place. They live on the precipice of catastrophe. With them, one tiny sniffle turns into a wheeze and suddenly their universe is left in ashes and ruin. Life sits on them as it were trying out a sample sofa in a furniture showroom.
Then every now and then there is a lucky stiff whose life comes served on a bed of lettuce with sauce béarnaise.
Tom Brady obviously was wired together in heaven by some subcommittee that giggled joyfully as it benignly went about its work.
Brady, his leading-man looks and his deft passing arm soared to the stratosphere of global heartthrob as he won three Super Bowl rings as quarterback of the New England Patriots.
And now he has married Brazilian mega-beauty Gisele Bundchen, the hottest and highest-paid model in the world.
Suddenly Brady’s devastating knee injury last season is so in his rearview mirror and now can be wiped away as easily as a fleck of dust on a Porsche.
For you football fanatics who have double majors as fashion freaks, the bride wore a Dolce & Gabbana gown. Her three dogs wore matching Dolce & Gabbana floral lace collars. Tom Terrific did not wear his Patriots jersey.

Lifesaving Good Samaritan, tripped up by legalities, cited for jaywalking

Some folks would eat cold green peas out of a can if that’s what the manual calls for.
Suffice it to say, they never think outside the box. Or seldom think inside that proverbial box.
For instance, there’s a state trooper in Colorado who must be a pea-headed moron. This guy must totally go by the book. The rules must be glued to him.
The other day the cop gave a guy a jaywalking ticket. First of all, there’s a crime that will absolutely bust the moral compass of society.
Ticketed the guy for jaywalking after the bus driver helped two elderly women cross a busy Denver street in a snowstorm, pushed three people out of the path of a pickup truck, and then got squashed like a bug on a windshield by the pickup.
The hero-turned-human ten-pin wound up with bleeding in the brain, broken bones, a dislocated shoulder, a possible ruptured spleen and a jaywalking citation.
All of which must have left him with eyes looking like fried eggs.

Memo to Obama: Aliens from outer space may be flying in like locusts and asking to be taken to our leader

You leave town for a few days and suddenly you find the universe has flipped its hide faster than a quick change artist.
Yep, it now seems that the Milky Way galaxy may be teeming with thousands of intelligent civilizations.
Granted, I’m not sure Earth houses any of them, considering our globe’s track record. Our planet has to lead the galaxy in the number of village idiots per capita.
That being said, this is over-the-top news to all those sci-fi junkies who can’t go to sleep at night until they say their prayers to the sainted Mr. Spock.
Imagine our friendly skies jammed with enough UFOs to blot out the sun.
Imagine our streets crawling with all sorts of odd aliens who never discovered skin care products and look green because they get nauseous whenever they look in a mirror.
Upon further exploration, things really could get out of this world if it turns out that the Snickers, Mars, Almond Joy and 3 Musketeer galaxies are all absolutely sweet with beings intelligent enough to build rocket ships that can fly at the speed of light and serve free in-flight meals.

Community pools are in peril, plunging Zeke into a white heat

My God, is nothing sacred anymore? Everything apparently is falling apart. It seems as if a whole fleet of piranha is chomping away at the fabric of life in America.
The latest institution under assault is the community swimming pool. Evidently the recession, sagging membership and spiraling maintenance costs have unleashed a tidal wave of woe for local community pools.
The Hillside swimming pool has just drowned and the Northwest Pool sank last year.
A number of local pools are treading water, hoping enough money-crunched people forsake that trip to the shore and join a pool instead. If the allure of salt water proves too enticing, pools will be swimming in debt.
Having community pools on the growing list of endangered species is totally unacceptable.
I have been at poolside my whole life at Antietam, Lincoln Park and Wyomissing Hills as I transitioned through different stages in my life.
When the heat in the air looks like germs, nothing — not even good ol’ AC — beats a good plunge in the pool.
And swimming is great exercise. If your knees sound like someone is cracking walnuts after years of running on a treadmill, swimming is the perfect workout.
Since there already is enough pork in the stimulus plan to satisfy an army of carnivores, why can’t the feds bail out community pools, too?
Put on your Speedo, Uncle Sam!

A-Rod's confession didn't have enough mea culpa to merit absolution

Once upon a time Alex Rodriguez seemed to be a swatch of velvet in a burlap world. He seemed to be the one contemporary slugger in baseball who wasn’t on steroids.
Of course, now that he has been outed, A-Rod no longer is perched on the mantle of immortality.
To help cushion his fall and the fallout, he confessed his sins to the media Tuesday.
He did admit he was injected with juice by his cousin. I just wonder if his unnamed cousin could the same guy that O.J. Simpson was tracking as the killer of Nicole.
But was A-Rod’s a true confession?
Rodriguez just seemed too slick, too polished, too corporate, too inconsistent, too insincere. And he kept leaning on the crutch of being young and stupid at the time. Zeke ain’t buying that lame excuse. He wasn’t that young and he definitely isn’t stupid.
Now that the storm cloud of performance-enhancing drugs has trespassed upon the sun shining down on America’s Pastime, truth and cover-up, much life and death, seem to be ever dueling.

Proposed 1,900% beer tax hike has some folks hopping mad

If you’ve ever been to a Polish wedding, you know that there’s no beer in heaven. Which is why we drink it here.
Oregon has been a great place to drink beer for over three decades. It hasn’t raised its malt beverage tax rate in 32 years. Which is why crafting beers there rivals watching it rain for the most popular thing to do.
But with the state’s budget redder than a tomato farm, five Oregon lawmakers have proposed the single largest beer tax hike in the nation’s history.
Must be tea drinkers.
Stay tuned for the Portland Beer Party if there is a thirsty taxpayer revolt.

Not just another Monday in local journalism

For those of you who read our print product, and hopefully that is all of you, you undoubtedly saw the new Reading Eagle this morning.
In an era when newspapers are gutting their print products to stave off the executioner’s song, we’ve been bold and visionary enough to add content to a dramatically redesigned paper that is as bright as the sunrise and exhibits a whipcord muscularity.
May the Reading Eagle burn like a solar flare across the Berks County firmament forever.

Swimming star's death in plane crash leaves us looking at the sky for answers

When vibrant, vital young people blessed with a shining indomitability of spirit are snuffed in the tragic blink of God’s eye, we are all left wondering why.
Lorin Maurer, 30, an All-American swimmer at Wilson, a star swimmer at Rowan University, the recipient of a master’s degree from the University of Florida, and a dynamic fundraiser for the Princeton University athletic department, was one of 50 people killed Thursday night when Continental Connection Flight 3407 crashed into a house in Clarence, N.Y.
Compounding the tragedy is the circumstance of her trip. Maurer was heading to Buffalo for the Valentine’s Day wedding of her boyfriend’s brother.
Life, no matter how passionate we live it, is indeed a slender reed upon which to lean.
Life can be an unforgiving wind cutting across our face like a doubled-edged axe.
I didn’t know Lorin Maurer. But I knew her parents. And the death of their daughter leaves me boiling with sorrow and sympathy, angst and anger.
With so many young thugs out there dealing dope and shooting people, why does it seem that only the good die young?

A-Rod, the Reading Crowne Hotel/Mexican Restaurant and a root canal — all on Friday the 13th!

Ever since I got back from Hawaii Wednesday evening, my mind is all over the place. And I can’t get it back.
Strange thoughts keep pinballing through my brain like electrons on steroids.
Like …
Would A-Rod really look like Woody Allen if he hadn’t done performance-enhancing drugs?
Does the Reading Crowne Hotel, once upon a time the Sheraton, really look like a gigantic Mexican restaurant? You know, the kind of place where the patrons make loud slurping noises and, for the denouement, erupt with hearty belches.
Should I quit this blogging gig and instead pen award-winning recipes for guacamole?
Perhaps all these weird thoughts are because I had a molar erupt on me while still in Honolulu and it’s undergoing root canal this afternoon — for the second time. No wonder I’m addled and edgy. And my face is a road map of sleepless nights.
When it comes to teeth, my mouth is a train wreck. And it’s not because I neglect them. I’ve poured so much money into my mouth over the years that the dental industry is in no need of an economic stimulus package.
I’ve always thought that proper dental care is the key to chewing on a stout cigar.
On top of all this I’ve got a cold. My nose is running more fastbreaks than the Los Angeles Lakers. And my cough is a deep, guttural rack — golf cleats on gravel.
Perhaps there is something to this Friday the 13th hex after all.

Attempted beheading with a circular saw sounds like a case for Hawaii Five-O's Steve Garrett

While I was hanging loose with the “Can You Beat Zeke?” winners and sponsors in Waikiki Beach, the violent crime back home wasn’t exactly interfering with my concentration on cool liquids like the Pacific Ocean and Mai Tais.
Granted, there is even crime in paradise. No place here on earth is totally able to caulk the cracks in society. The sloppy reality of the streets oozes through the seams whether it’s Reading or Honolulu.
Still, two things surprised me when we returned to Berks County Wednesday night.
One was the surprisingly warm weather here. Which made the transition from the 80 degrees and toaster-oven warm Hawaiian sun that much more easier.
The other surprise was that crime had taken a new twist back home. I saw that the story with the most hits on our Web site was about a Muhlenberg Township man who tried to cut off a Reading mechanic’s head with a circular saw after the men fought about a broken-down car.
Now if it had been a Porsche or a Ferrari involved, perhaps I would have been less stunned.