THE RED GOALIE TRIUMPHANT

There was no joy in Ashburn. The Red Team had not won a game since the beginning of their season. They were inexperienced in the push and shove of teams in one or two classes above them. They struggled furiously to score goals in any of these games. Their appearance in the Pittsburgh rinks was further evidence of their lack of cohesiveness and aggressiveness.
Towards the end of their travail, they began to push back and play with a sort of reckless abandon that allowed them to hit the net a few times. Although the games were not close, they began to get closer. Maybe there could be a light at the end of the tunnel that would not be a train coming towards them.
The snow had blanketed Frederick, Maryland in the morning of the game. The temperature had retreated to a winter level with dark clouds hovering above the entire area. By the time the 6:30 appointed time came and the buzzer sounded, the Red Team was on the ice waiting for an apparently experienced Rockville, Maryland team to appear.
It was said that the Maryland team came equipped with some older players and a decent record. None of this could ever be confirmed. As the puck was dropped by the referee, the small coterie of Red Team parents shouted encouragement to their young charges.
The Red Goalie stood in mute attention as the skaters came towards him in waves of spitting ice and eye popping speed. Initially, the Red Team managed some quality time down at the Maryland team’s goal. Within a few minutes, they had mesmerized the small crowd of Ashburnites with a clever goal that the defenders had no chance to stop.
This was the second time that they had been ahead in a game. However, that game did not turn out well. There was kind of a hesitancy to root too loudly, maybe to jinx the Red Team. The Maryland team continued their assault on the Red Goalie. He caught, blocked, kicked, pushed and dove numerous times to stop the puck from entering his domain. In one case, he pushed the opposing player, who stood directly in front of him to the ground, so that his vision was not impaired.
Ashburn’s team seemed to take heart from the Red Goalie’s ferocious tending of the goal. They raced down the ice innumerable times, either going towards the goal, or poke checking the puck away from the opposition. There did not seem to be any hesitation among the players, even the smaller and younger ones, to engage the opposition in combat.
All at once, the Red Team scored a second goal. This made the Maryland team even more aggressive on the ice. There were some penalties, some more pushing and shoving and a number of players were escorted to the sin bin. The pressure on the Red Team to play good defense grew. As it grew, the Red Goalie found himself splayed on the ground even more than before. He reached for blistering shots with his glove hand and seemed to anticipate where the next shot would come from.
As the last few moments of the contest approached, there was an undercurrent of joy in the Ashburn crowd. Many just held their hands together, as if to pray for the end to come quickly, and it did. The buzzer sounded and the entire Red Team rushed out onto the ice and piled on the Red Goalie, like lion cubs playing with each other. They had achieved their aim, to win against a superior team and reach the next level of accomplishment.
After the locker room emptied out, each with a huge bag of equipment, the Red Goalie exited with an even larger goalie bag. He had on a black pull down hat and a grand smile for everyone. He was standing there with much congratulatory handshakes and high fives from members of the crowd and from the opposing team. He looked over at me and said, “Hi Grandpa, and we hugged.”

THE UNIVERSE

As a kid, I was always fascinated by the vastness of the universe. In my early years, I would question the world infinite. It would come out in math class once in a while as the last number. “What’s the number after infinity?” “How can numbers go on forever? There has to be an end to things.”
As the brain develops its capacity to understand more conceptualizations, it allows a person to, at least, approach the idea of the vastness of space and of the universe. I would spend countless boring moments in classes trying to calculate how miles there were to a light year. I did this infinitely. It always came out to somewhere close to 6 trillion miles.
Whether it is true or not, I would then multiply that number by 4.5 because the distance to the nearest star (not our sun) was about that distance. I believe the star was Alpha Centauri (but I could be wrong).There is now more accurate ways of determining distances between points in our universe. The measurements run into the 1000 light years, million light years and a billion light years. The astronomers don’t really use this measurement anymore. They use parsecs (whatever that is).
I got an email from Norm Adams, by son-in-law’s father with a startling view of the vastness of the universe. In 2007, the Hubbell Telescope focused its lenses on a part of the sky that was entirely devoid of light. The lens of the telescope was opened for ten days. When the eventual pictures were viewed, the galaxies shown numbered in the hundreds of millions. That was the number of galaxies.
These galaxies being so far away seemed to be traveling much faster than others. It may mean that they were some of the first to be created after the Big Bang. That means that they could be over 13 billion years old. Their light takes that long to get to us.
I am not claiming that anything above is accurate (the numbers that is). However, it does make my think that the primary election in South Carolina means absolutely nothing in universal terms.

YIDDISHISMS

It is either an advantage or a hindrance to think partially in another language. Sometimes, an English word does not come to mind in a certain situation and a Yiddish phrase comes out without hesitation. I can quickly retreat from its utterance and wonder where it came from.
From ages 4-11, the lingua franca in our home with grandma was Yiddish. My grandma, who actually raised me pretty much during those years, the Yeshiva, that I went to and all of my grandmothers and grandfathers friends spoke Yiddish. I was taken to the 2nd Avenue Theater many times to see plays in Yiddish. I really didn’t understand the plot of MacBeth, but there was much caterwauling from the audience.
I have memories of many idiomatic expressions from those days that come out once in a while; when my mind wanders (which is does more of these days). I know that most of you will not understand the expressions and wonder why they even exist may recognize a few. Please excuse all of the Yiddish misspellings.
Chutzpah- gall (sometimes not a nice thing)
Gei cock in yam- go defecate in the ocean (get the heck out of here)
Mychl in bychl- warm feeling in your tummy
A shanda- a real shame
Getzigineh bupkes- deep friend nose pickings ( pretty much mean has nothing)
Frume Yiddlach- really religious Jews
Dreikop- one who turns your head around when speaking
Schmulzavel- a real jerky kid
Pishacks- warm pee ( as in some beers are . ..)
Guggle Muggle- concoctions with beer and cream for an upset stomach, cold, diphtheria, t.b. and so many others
Shvenger- pregnant
Zul Zein Sha- be quiet
Malach Hamawvet- Angel of Death
Shpilkes in Hintin- Needles in your rump ( you have no patience)
Moshe Kapair- Moses opposite ( a contrarian)
Kook mir on uber reer mir nicht on- Look but don’t touch
Zaftig- soft ( refers to a nice girl with a few pounds)
Nicht far dir gedacht- It isn’t for you ( when said quickly it means a bad person)
Fang shoen un- begin already
Shoene Maidle- Nice girl
Yeshiva Bocher- student at a Yeshiva ( Jewish Parochial School)
Shnorer- Freeloader ( as in Hello my Name is Shnorer the African Explorer- Groucho Marx and the music from You Bet Your Life Quiz show)
A Bubba Meise- A grandmother’s tale ( a great exaggeration)
Fertz Futz Putzgevit an Ainekle- a really distant relative
Varf shoen aroise- Throw it out
Chalerye- actually Cholera ( means a bad person)
Pruste Yung- common person

Chelm- mythical Polish town ( filled with dopey people) from Shalom Aleichem’s stories.
Alte Cocker- old man ( sometimes means people with old ideas)
Uyb tsooris vol geven gelt, vin ich a millionaire- if trouble was money, I would be a millionaire.
And now for one PA Dutch saying ( Yiddish is 13th century German with Hebrew thrown in and PA Dutch is 17th Century German with English thrown in)
Upgekochte Brivvy Zits.- Cooked up toilet sets ( means nothing)

AN IRRATIONAL THOUGHT

Once in a while, I have an irrational thought (maybe more than once in a while). I could not help but view the Iowa Caucus race between all of the Republican candidates. During the drawn out struggle and the debates that sprinkled our daily news fare, I kept on hearing a refrain that has made me wonder about such things.
Even 60 minutes gave voice to the man who has organized the “No Tax” Pledge. There are many Senators and members of the House of Representatives who have signed such a pledge. It was probably a good strategy when they were running for office. It was even better when they could go in front of the t.v. cameras and say that, “I pledged not to raise taxes and I kept my word.”
What do these actions mean exactly? If we get ourselves into a shooting war with and adversary that has the economic wherewithal to compete with us, will we then need new taxes for weapons and such and will these “Pledgenauts” not vote for a tax increase? Will they then be guilty of not abiding by the U.S. Constitution?
When a member of the federal (or even state) legislature swears to uphold the U.S. Constitution, can he/she pledge not to uphold parts of it, or even all of it? Save pledging the overthrow the government, is there something wrong with pledging ahead of time that you will do or not do something that is unconstitutional?
I placed this question in front of one of the finest legal minds that I know. Tom is able to distinguish my rants from a legal issue that I present. He was not so quick to dismiss my thoughts. He said that there have been such cases, not many, that have referred to this problem. They are not quite clear in their outcomes, but there is such an issue.
I realize that there is a difference between saying that you will not do something, like raise taxes when you are running for office, or trying to maintain your position as a legislator. That is not what I am talking about. I believe that signing a pledge that you will or will not do something that is plainly within the purview of your pledge to uphold the Constitution is something else again.
Tom reminded me that pledges and even swearing in court is not what it used to be is probably why people feel that they can just about say anything with no consequences. If I appear to sound like and old fogy right now, you are probably correct.

I CAN HARDLY BELIEVE IT

I’ve been doing this blogging since September of 2009. Originally, it was supposed to be my autobiography. As I discovered later, I really don’t have enough “stuff’ in my life to fill an entire book. I began to branch out into any number of areas that I felt strongly about, or had some knowledge of.
I accumulated about 180 names on the email list that I send out to alert people to a new blog. Some have opted not to be notified and some probably send my emails to their spam folders. As I post my newest blog and send my emails, I look to see how many people have viewed them. Over the years, the most popular has been the one about Penn State and its current problems. My least viewed are those in which I go off on some philosophical rant.
Evidently WordPress has a way of tracking things that is truly amazing. Each year, they compile all of the statistics about how many people have viewed your blog. How the people arrived at your blog and where the people generally come from.
Last night I received the totals for the year 2011. I had 5,000 hits and they came mostly from the United States. Since all of my email lists are people from this country, I was astonished to find that there are almost as many coming from Canada and Indonesia. I also have hits from Europe and Australia. There are none from Africa or Antarctica.
I’d love to know who is peering in on my blog from those foreign countries. Obviously, they are English readers in Indonesia and Europe. Canada is easy to figure out. I would love to have a comment from any of those people to know what their reactions are to my blog. Once again, I am not a sensitive soul.