Monday, August 16, 2010


The Wife & I are back, after most of a week in our beloved hometown of Erie, PA. Way too short a time, plus The Wife woke up with a head cold our second day back, but we still managed to have a great deal of fun, including but not limited to:

—Hanging out with our pals Al & Emma, with whom we spent an afternoon at Waldameer Park, riding the Whacky Shack, the Ferris Wheel & the Sky Ride—I wimped out & didn’t join The Wife on the Tilt-a-Whirl; it was too soon after lunch for me. I also didn’t take a second ride on the Ravine Flyer 2, Waldameer’s famed wooden rollercoaster. My first ride, last year (captured on video by Al & viewable here; the low animal moans of terror you hear are mine), was enough to suit my taste for thrills for a while. I did, however, replace the Ravine Flyer 2 hat that I bought last year—probably the most comfortable piece of headgear I’ve ever owned—with an identical one. This side by side picture will give you an idea of what a year of exposure to my sweaty melon can do:

—Al, Emma, The Wife & I also saw the Erie Seawolves play the New Britain (Connecticut) Rock Cats, & though the ‘Wolves are having a fairly dismal year, they obliged us with a 7-1 win. Plus, we had hot dogs & pepperoni balls at the game.

—Hanging out at the Plymouth with several splendid old pals from my high school days, some of whom I hadn’t seen since. I missed my 30-year class reunion last month, so it was a treat to have a mini-reunion.

—Hanging out, albeit too briefly, with some of my sisters & in-laws, & also with my pals Ronnie & Stan. Ron & I watched an old favorite of ours, The Green Slime...

...& we also went to see the film Inception, which I liked more than I thought I would; quite absorbing & imaginative. I especially liked the scenes of Joseph Gordon-Levitt spidering his way along the walls & ceiling of the hotel corridor.

—A quick visit with illustrator John Oless, whose work I was occasionally lucky enough to have accompanying my articles in the Erie Times-News, at his kiosk at the Millcreek Mall. Check out John’s lushly macabre pictures here.

—Feasting on a variety of goodies, including filet & shrimp from Ricardo’s (twice), Rita’s Italian Ice (three times), fried smelt at Oscar’s Pub, tongue sandwich with chicken & kluski soup at Gerry Urbaniak’s 8th Street Deli (four times!), pizza subs & Italian wedding soup from Barbato’s, mussels & clams from the Plymouth & chocolates from Stefanelli’s. I also got to sample Peeps-flavored Italian Ice at Rita’s, & I must regretfully report that while Peeps are perhaps the most heavenly of Easter candies, they make an unfortunate Italian Ice flavor.

—Al, Emma, The Wife & I also made a side trip to Bemus Point, New York, to feast at the Italian Fisherman on the shore of Lake Chautauqua. While dining, we were treated to a rehearsal for that evening’s entertainment on the floating stage next door: “Barbra and Frank: The Concert That Never Was,” a Vegas-based Sinatra-&-Streisand imitation act backed up here by The Bemus Bay Pops. We probably wouldn’t have wanted to sit through the show, but the rehearsal made an above-average accompaniment for our lunch.

—I also picked up this book:

A Picture Palace Transformed: How Erie’s Warner Theatre Survived a Changing World is a beautifully illustrated chronicle of my first place of employment, & it includes a mention of my dear old late pal Jean Eisert as one of the ghosts reputed to haunt the place (though his name is misspelled as “Gene Eisert” in the book, which ought to put the authors high on the haunting list themselves). This makes Jean, as far as I know, the first legendary ghost that I ever knew in life. I can think of few fates that would have pleased him more.

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