What a grim parable dime novelists could script in the solemn tones of scripture when it comes to our not-so-fair city.
Reading now is tied with Flint, Mich., as the sixth-poorest city in the nation.
If there is one town mounting a goal-line stand against hope, that would be Reading.
Granted, we all now are bracingly cynical and about a dozen exits past the days of distracting hysteria and mutineering histrionics.
We’ve all come to grips with the sobering reality that Reading’s future seems more painful than passing a kidney stone.
And the usual convention of dark suits, white shirts, striped ties and big smiles won’t be able to turn it into Zurich, Switzerland in a hiccup or two.
Of course, I know of one Berks Countian who could slide the city some money even though she lives in the suburbs.
That would be Kate Gosselin, late of “Jon & Kate Plus 8” and soon of “Kate Plus Eight.”
Kate has made a mint showcasing (exploiting?) her brood on her TLC network reality smash. Why not share some with a city of pity that is starving for assistance?
I know some Hollywood celebs are gnashing and wailing their teeth over the imprisonment of film director Roman Polanski in Switzerland as he fights deportation to the U.S. in a three-decade-old sexual assault case.
Forgive me if I don’t splash along in the tracks of their tears.
Polanski pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor after he drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl in the home of actor Jack Nicholson.
But he obviously preferred a life of luxury while basking on the red carpet than to sitting in prison.
So he took a walk.
Now it’s time to limit his walks to a penitentiary exercise yard.
Iran, being a religious state and all that, would never give the world — and specifically Uncle Sam — the finger.
The hell it wouldn’t.
The Iranians carry around a sack of hate for the West and for Israel and you just know they love strutting their swagger.
Iran now has conducted three rounds of missile tests in two days after last week’s revelation Tehran was constructing a nuclear enrichment facility on the sneak.
You just know they want all of us to feel the snap of their nuclear gaze.
Iran tested upgraded versions of the medium-range Shahab-3 and Sajjil missiles. Both can carry warheads and reach up to 1,200 miles, putting Israel, U.S. military bases in the Middle East, and parts of Europe within striking distance.
You can just hear the Iranians cackling and screaming at the same time.
The U.S. is calling for harsh economic sanctions to cower Iran into curtailing its nuclear muscle.
But it’s tough to make zealots blink when their eyes look like fried eggs.
So much for all the pregame hype and hoopla.
Michael Vick’s return to the NFL after 1,001 days was, to rip off Shakespeare, much ado about nothing.
Vick was merely a decoy during the Philadelphia Eagles’ 34-14 yawner past the Kansas City Chiefs this afternoon at the Linc.
Rather, it was the Birds’ youngsters who sparkled like a lightbulb-size engagement ring Sunday.
Kevin Kolb, filling in for the oft-injured Donovan McNabb for the second straight week, threw for 327 yards, becoming the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to throw for more than 300 yards in each of his first two starts.
Kolb, as down home as Cracker Barrel, turned the game into cake.
Rookie LeSean McCoy, filling in for the oft-injured Brian Westbrook, rushed for 84 yards in his first start. McCoy looks as if he’s gonna be more tasty than garlic mashed potatoes.
DeSean Jackson and Brent Celek each had 100-plus yards receiving and rookie Jeremy Maclin caught four balls in his first start, filling in for the oft-injured Kevin Curtis.
Never mind that that the Chiefs’ secondary plays as if listening to mood music by some death march composer guy.
Vick was expected to run the Wildcat offense, but McCoy took most of those snaps.
Vick, considered to be no longer part of the human race by dog lovers, got in for 11 plays. Vick ran once for 7 yards and threw two incomplete passes. He lined up at receiver once, took the snap in shotgun formation nine times and was directly under center once. Kolb was on the sideline for the 10 plays Vick was in at QB.
With Vick on the field, the Eagles gained a net total of 30 yards. They got 390 without him.
The Birds did it with kids too young to know that you won’t find ketchup in a gourmet restaurant.
“I’m glad to see that,” said portly Eagles coach Andy Reid, who knows a thing or two about restaurants. “You got a lot of young faces in that huddle … that’s a plus.”
With the Eagles heading for their bye week, Reid expects McNabb and Westbrook to be back when the schedule resumes against Tampa Bay.
And Reid made it clear, unlike tortilla soup, no quarterback controversy will be alive and kicking when McNabb returns. “Donovan is the quarterback of the team,” Reid said. “I don’t think it’s a problem for Kevin. I don’t think it’s a problem for the team. And I don’t think it’s a problem for me.”
What fun is that? Reid can be innovative as hell by alternating McNabb, Kolb and Vick on snaps. The game of musical chairs could mount a massive comeback. On Kolb, Reid said. “I thought he had a good day. That’s a compliment to the kid. It’s always tougher your second game.” Reid said he did not set a percentage of plays for Vick’s debut.
“We wanted to get him in and just get him gradually back in with the speed of the game,” Reid said. “We wanted to knock some of the rust off. We accomplished that.”
Actually, Vick looked rustier than one of King Arthur’s Camelot knights who fell into the moat. Reid also lauded the defensive effort. “The defense played exceptionally well,” Reid said. “They were flying around. I just thought as a group they swarmed to the football, they did a heck of a job.”
Indeed, they gobbled up the red-clad Chiefs like they were red beans and rice.
Granted, Kansas City has been no great shakes since the Beatles sang about it.
OK, is anybody really surprised that the hoodlums running Iran are hot to trot over nukes that aren’t anything but peaceful?
Come on. Everybody knows the correct spelling for evil now is Iran. I know a lot of bad four-letter words, and Iran is the worst. Iran has reached Genghis Khan levels of villainy.
So when President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy called out the rogue country today for building a covert nuclear fuel facility designed to trigger a Tarantino bloodbath, it was hardly a shock.
Iran deceitful? Say it’s not so.
Of course, now what?
Obama, Brown and Sarkozy can grump and glower all they want, but are they really willing to put Iran’s feet to the fire?
There are certain guilty pleasures in life that take the sting out of all the desolation and death stalking our planet like timberwolves on crank.
A few that come to mind are …
… fooling around with goddess women
… having a good Scotch in hand
… using soft toilet paper
However, all good things must come to an end. Hang onto the goddess women and the Scotch because plush toilet paper could be going the way of the covered wagon.
Blame it on the tree huggers.
And now we’re all supposed to screws our navels to the ground over the environment.
This turns me green with anger.
Soft toilet paper is the God-given right for all Americans. Otherwise we’re mere barbarians. Let the Europeans wipe with thin tissue made from recycled paper. Let the nature lovers wipe with tree leaves. If we comfort creatures wanted to rough it, we’d move to Paraguay or Libya.
The problem is that plush toilet paper is usually made by chopping down and grinding up trees that are decades or even a century old.
So what? Toilet paper together with facial tissue accounts for a mere 5 percent of the U.S. forest-products industry.
(Since I work for a newspaper company, in the interest of full disclosure newspapers account for 3 percent.)
Since toilet paper and behinds go together like gin and tonic, I’m all for indulging ourselves for the sake of a few trees that block the sunlight and dump leaves on squirrels.
No matter that the United Nations should actually be called the Divided Nations and that it’s been trudging toward obsolescence for years. It still attracts some marquee speakers.
For instance, President Obama and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi were at the U.N. today to deliver their narrative arcs.
Obama stressed that his administration is a team player in international relations and has turned its back on the cowboy/unilateral policies of the Bush regime.
Of course, getting a unilateral consensus can be as frustrating as hailing a cab in Birdsboro.
Gadhafi, who should give frequent tutorials on volatility because of his capacity for tantrums, ripped the U.N. for stacking the Security Council with the big powers. And he piled on the Security Council, saying it has been impotent to stop armed conflict.
He predictably slammed U.S. military actions in Korea, Vietnam, Grenada (remember that quickie?) and Iraq.
He failed to mention while he failed to take his silly hat off during his address.