R & R

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

I hope someone noticed that I was away from the cameras last week. Chris Michael, Tom Stoudt, and John Leone covered the opening week of high school basketball, with some very interesting results, I must say. It will be a year of parity which means exciting games.

My wife and I went on another cruise. This time we had to fly. Lately, we have been going out of Bayonne, but not this time of the year – too cold. So we flew to Fort Lauderdale. The flight down was uneventful, except, for some reason, for the first time, we received “Pre-check” security approval and whizzed through. I was told that TSA randomly does that from time to time to allow people to experience it so they would be inclined to purchase it. I am now inclined, but I don’t fly enough to make the investment.

We sailed on the Harmony of the Seas. Up until a few months ago it was the largest ship on the ocean. It has since been surpassed by the Symphony of the Seas. Harmony has 2,747 state rooms so there are easily over 5,000 passengers on board. And there is an almost equal number of crew on board. Suffice it to say, it is a small city.

And all the things you have heard about cruising – 24-hour food, beautiful scenery, beaches, a wide variety of entertainment (comedy clubs, Broadway shows, two ice shows, two diving and aquatics spectacles, parades, intimate lounge music, casino gambling, etc.), and more. The service is spectacular from the restaurant staff to a room steward who cleans your room twice a day and makes sure your bed is turned down at night. Just like NOT at home.

But with all of that, the most interesting part of the trip is usually the people you meet. We like to share our dinner table even though you never know who you will get as your table mates. This time we sat with two couples who have cruised over 50 times each. The one gentleman, who was 85 years old, played hockey for the Chicago Black Hawks. His wife was an avid cruiser 19 years his junior. She booked five more cruises on the ship during this cruise. They are always within a few weeks of their next one.

The other couple owned a swimsuit business in Florida. He, at one time, was part of the start-up for Sharper-Image. That business took him to Moscow where he was kidnapped by the Russian Mafia and forced to pay $5,000 to be freed (I told you we meet interesting people).

We sat in a hot tub with a couple from Zimbabwe and listened to their journey to America years ago. And once my wife explains how she came to America from Germany as a baby with Ukrainian parents a new story is added to their repertoire.

There is never a dull moment and there is very little sleep. Yet, we always come away feeling fortunate that we can experience life through the eyes of so many others.

Going home was not as much fun – our flight from Fort Lauderdale to Philadelphia was changed. We had to go to Boston and then on to Philly. In Boston, the flight to Philly was delayed by an hour and a half. Instead of arriving home on Sunday night at 7:00pm, we walked in the door at 11:15pm.

Rest assured, however, we are ready to do it again!

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSING)

1.   I watched the Eagles game on the flight home and saw the finish later. They looked like last year’s Eagles. Now can they get lucky enough to make the playoffs? Dallas has a one-game lead in the East over the Redskins and the Eagles and they own the tiebreaker over both. So, Dallas must lose the last two and the Redskins and/ or the Eagles must go 2-0.  Keeps you watching, right?

2. The MVP this year appears to be the Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes. He should pass for over 5,000 yards and over 50 touchdowns. Those numbers have only been achieved one time – by Peyton Manning in 2013. The Chiefs could win the Super Bowl.

3. If you are a Dallas fan, how do you feel about Jason Garrett? After going on a five-game winning streak, they got shut out on Sunday by the Colts. Were you ready to fire him earlier, and then ready to keep him lately and now ready to fire him again? Oh, the NFL – so fickle – just ask Eli Manning!

4. Don’t expect an NBA championship out of the 76ers quite yet. Jimmy Butler certainly has helped, but he missed a few games this past week with injury. Even with him, they are barely one of the ten best teams in the league.

5. I am taking a two-week holiday break from blogging, but the NFL picks will continue. I hope you use them so you have someone else to blame.

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks (Last week: 9-7) (Overall: 132-74-2 64% )

Week SIXTEEN

TENNESSEE

BALTIMORE

CHICAGO

DALLAS

NEW ENGLAND

CAROLINA

MIAMI

INDIANAPOLIS

PHILADEPHIA

MINNESOTA

GREEN BAY

CLEVELAND

RAMS

NEW ORLEANS

SEATTLE

DENVER

Gary Laubach About Gary Laubach

Gary began his broadcasting career with Twin County in 1972. Twin County eventually became C-TEC and then RCN. Gary holds the dual role of Director of Media Services and Sports Director/Broadcaster. He currently broadcasts about 140 sports and entertainment broadcasts a year, and oversees the scheduling of all sporting events for RCN.

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