Aug. 21–22, 2003

On Thursday night, my friend Brian had traveled by bus from Manhattan to Atlantic City to meet up with me and my friends for a three-day weekend at the shore in Avalon. As we were driving out of A.C. toward the Garden State Parkway, Brian noticed a billboard to our left that read:

AUGUST 22–24

“Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if we actually went to that show?” he asked.

This was an interesting proposal, since Huey Lewis and the News happened to be my favorite band when I was a kid. In fact, the first concert I’d ever attended featured Huey and his bandmates on their Small World tour in 1988.

The following day, only half-jokingly, we decided to call about tickets for one of the shows. Caesar’s box office and a few ticket agencies stated that all three shows were sold out (!), but we made the short trip to Atlantic City anyway. If tickets still weren’t available, we could always settle for an all-you-can-eat buffet and a little gambling.

We arrived at the casino about 90 minutes before the show. Peering through the narrow bars of the box office window, I asked the attendant, “I was told that tonight’s show is sold out, but are there any late cancellations, by chance?” Just then I noticed that a stack of tickets was placed on the counter in front of her. “How many do you need?” she asked. And just like that, Brian and I bought two tickets to see Huey Lewis and the News perform at the 1,100-seat Circus Maximus Theater at Caesar’s.

The best part of the story is that the show was genuinely entertaining! Huey’s voice sounded as clear and strong as it had 15 years earlier, and the News, consisting of several original members, filled the room with the band’s signature R&B-influenced sound.

One depressing thought occurred to me after the show, however — most people under the age of 18 would probably classify Huey Lewis and the News as an oldies group that they first learned about on VH1. (Flannel-clad grunge bands from the early 1990s aren’t far behind, I guess.)

[ No. 61 ]

Aug. 21, 2003

Congratulations to Penn State football coach Joe Paterno for reaching the pinnacle of sports fame — his likeness will appear on a special-edition Wheaties box!

Breakfast with JoePa!

The newest version of the “Breakfast of Champions” was unveiled at Beaver Stadium earlier today. (Considering JoePa’s legendary tenure at Penn State over the last 50-plus years, it’s about time!)

[ No. 60 ]

Photo credit: Penn State Live

Aug. 16–17, 2003

Met up with some old friends in State College to celebrate one final weekend of freedom for our friend Larry, who will sacrifice the majority of his social life when he begins his pursuit of a law degree at Catholic University later this month.

Enjoyed the strange calm of a non–football weekend at our alma mater by splitting a case of Rolling Rock seven-ounce “ponies” at the Rathskeller, treating ourselves to some tasty Creamery ice cream, and wandering around the tree-lined campus to stare at all of the new buildings under construction.

[ No. 59 ]

Aug. 11, 2003

The circus has arrived in California, but the clowns and elephants have been replaced by an unlikely assortment of 190* state residents (celebrities and otherwise) who have all decided to run for governor in a bizarre recall election. So break out the popcorn and cotton candy, folks — this could very well be the greatest show on earth, or at least the greatest one we’ve seen in a while.

Consider this: if thousands of Florida voters struggled with the task of selecting one of two major presidential candidates in 2000, imagine the bewilderment that Californians will experience in October!

Given the quantity of gubernatorial choices, maybe the state should hire Google to create an online voting system so that voters could type and search for candidates at the polls. Actually, that plan would probably be scrapped when election officials realize that even well-educated voters don’t have a clue how to spell “Schwarzenegger.”

*     *     *     *     *

On a totally unrelated note, the Philadelphia Eagles have found a clever way to further alienate their loyal, long-suffering fans by virtually eliminating VIP parking at the new Lincoln Financial Field.

This is only the latest PR fiasco for the Eagles. In anticipation of the move to the new stadium, Eagles management required season-ticket holders to pay thousands of dollars for seat “licenses” for the mere privilege of purchasing season tickets in the new facility. They also attempted, and ultimately failed, to prohibit fans from bringing food into the stadium, using the pretense of terrorism fears — instead of simply admitting that the owners are greedy and want to maximize revenue at concession stands.

(Is it any wonder that the “midnight green” of the Eagles’ uniforms closely resembles the color of cold, hard cash?)

Now, to top it all off, reserved parking is now limited to a handful of elite fans who can afford private suites. I won’t pretend to know the best way to run a professional sports team, but it seems as if the Eagles organization is deliberately trying to antagonize their own customers — namely, a bunch of amazingly loyal football fans who haven’t witnessed a championship in their town since Eisenhower was president.

Unfortunately, the Eagles can basically do whatever they want, since there are countless people on a waiting list who will eagerly fill the vacant seats left by those who decide to walk away and watch the game at home.

* Update: In a press release dated Aug. 13, the California Secretary of State announced a certified list of 135 gubernatorial candidates.

[ No. 58 ]