Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Strange Day

Yesterday was a strange day for me, full of different emotions. I woke up yesterday morning with a holiday weekend hangover, the kind that makes you feel like you never want to wake up at 6:00 am and go to work ever again, but you know you have to. I dragged myself out of bed and got ready for work, hopped the train and rode into Center City.

My workload is light right now, so I spent a portion of my morning figuring out my local taxes. I hate taxes. Local tax in Pennsylvania is the biggest B.S. ever. Not only do I pay thousands in federal taxes (on top of what I normally owe at tax time), but the local boroughs charge every working residents anywhere from 1-2% of their gross salary in local tax. In Lansdale, the local tax is 1%, with half going to the township and half going to the school district. It sucks, but it's still only 1%. Sure, I complained about it last year, but I realize now how lucky I was. I went to do my taxes this year and found out that the local tax rate in my new town is 1.5%. That means that I have to pay 50% more this year than I paid last year. Luckily, I only lived there for 4 months, but next year should be real fun. Without telling you what my yearly salary is, this puts my local taxes at over $900 per year. It's disgusting. This pretty much ruined my morning.

So I went to lunch. There's a great sandwich place just down the block from where I work, but I choose Subway over this place sometimes because Subway is cheaper. No more! To my surprise, Subway changed all their prices over the weekend. They also put up a hip new menu to confuse people with. Get this: all of their good (in my opinion) subs are now over $5 for a 6-inch! And yes, they are still running the $5 footlong promotion. Yesterday, I wanted to get a 6-inch Subway Club with the meal. The 6-inch club used to be $4.50, but they raised the price to $5.25, making it more expensive to get the 6-inch than the footlong under the current promotion. So Subway would rather waste food than have someone simply buy the amount that they want or need. Nice going Subway. Way to do your part. Not only that, but all 6-inch subs are now at least 3.99, including the veggie subs. All subs with meat are at least $4.25. I actually hope that the $5 footlong thing ends soon so they can stop wasting food. The best part is that the 12-inch versions of the 6-inch subs that now cost $5.25, cost a whopping $7.00! That's right, $7.00 for a footlong Subway Club. If you add a meal, you're looking at a $10 lunch, which incidentally is more expensive than the local deli (Kennedy Food Garden, a.k.a. The Sandwich Nazi) I mentioned earlier.

So when I got back from lunch, I was pretty peeved. But then I saw something that made all that go away. I saw a news story come up on my Google Reader with the headline "Harry Kalas rushed to hospital". Of course I clicked it. The story said that Kalas collapsed in the press box of the Washington Nationals' stadium and was rushed to the hospital. Team President David Montgomery said it didn't look good. I frantically started clicking links on philly.com to get an update and when I clicked the "Home" link, the headline on the front page read "Harry Kalas Dies". I couldn't believe it. I was in complete and utter shock. It all happened so suddenly. I clicked the link and the story said that he passed out and was unconscious when he was rushed to the hospital and the doctors could not revive him. I felt lost for a few minutes. I teared up. I've never felt so sad over the death of somebody I don't even know. But he was the heart of the city of Philadelphia and the only Phillies commentator I knew in my lifetime. He was the image and voice of the Phillies and one of the greatest commentators the sports world has ever known.

See you Harry, you were the best ever

What few people know about him is all the different things he did in broadcasting. Sure, he has been the Phillies broadcaster since 1971, but other credits include being the voice of NFL Films since 1975, as well as credits calling NFL and college football games on Westwood One radio. He was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in 2002. He was the Phillies' broadcaster during their 1980 World Series title, but did not get to call the games because of broadcasting rules set forth by the MLB. Four years later, the rules were changed and 24 years after that, Kalas finally got his crowning achievement: calling the last out of the Phillies' 2008 World Series championship. He is, in my and many others' opinions in Philly and elsewhere, the best there ever was.

Still feeling a little off when I left to head home, I read a little and dozed on the train before going home to help my fiancee with her taxes. We watched our CBS comedies (Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother), which were hilarious, before watching one of the most boring episodes of Heroes to date. At the climax of the episode, I was finishing up my local taxes and Sezzy was playing Final Fantasy III on her DS. It made me laugh at just how much the show has declined in the last two years. Anyway, I thought I would feel back to normal again when I woke up this morning and, for the most part, I did. I got ready for work and hopped in my car to head to the train station. On the way, WMMR played a Harry Kalas montage put together by a member of their morning show and I got emotional all over again (I posted it on my tumblr site). I guess it's going to take the people of Philadelphia some time to heal after this sad, sad incident. Our voice was taken from us yesterday and watching a Phillies game will never be the same. I hope the Phillies pull together this year and win another one for Harry the K. It's what he would have wanted.

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