When a famous person dies, the immediate reaction is to say good things about that person. That’s what we do. No one wants to stomp on anyone’s grave.
So it wasn’t surprising to me when I called around yesterday to talk to some people that knew Doc Mattioli that they had nothing but good things to say about him. Now here’s the truth — every single one of the good things people said is 100 percent true.
I didn’t know Doc Mattioli that well, but in the times I spoke with him, he was nothing but straightforward and professional in anything I asked him. I don’t think there was ever a question I asked him, no matter how awkward it might have been, that he didn’t answer directly when others would have told me to stick it. Tom DeSchriver, who’s been around here a lot longer and knows Mattioli better than me, said it just as well as anyone could have in this morning’s paper.
He was also generous with his time with me. For some reason, he always called me back when I needed a quote from him. I tried not to abuse this, limiting the times I called him for quotes on something. But he was a legendary, influential figure around the Poconos. For better or worse — I say better — he and his Pocono Raceway helped build the Poconos as we know it and gave it national recognition and credibility. People wanted to know what he thought on issues that concerned the region. He could have big-timed me anytime he wanted and talked to the New York Times or Philadelphia Inquirer instead, but I always got the call back.
What impressed me the most about Doc Mattioli was the he always asked me what I thought about the Phillies. I never told him I was a Phillies fan — he just knew I was from reading whatever column I had written in the Record about the Phillies. That shows respect, and for that I’ll always be grateful.
Some local links:
If you’re a fan of the 80s — and really, who isn’t? — then do I have a weekend for you. Not one but two 80s parties this weekend on tap, the first is at the Blue Tequila in Minisink Hills. It’s from 9 to midnight tonight, and they have prizes for 80s look-a-like, biggest hair, tightest jeans, all that good stuff. Isn’t it sad we’re making fun of tightest jeans now, even though skinny jeans have come back? Aren’t they just tight jeans? I wore tight jeans in the 80s because my parents usually made my buy my own clothes, and I had to wear them long past the times I grew out of them. I wasn’t a fashion statement. Now? Skinny jeans on men have the very real potential to kill off the masculine gender. Be warned.
I know you’re now saying, “Wait, just one 80s night? I need more!” You got it. On Saturday, Pub 570 in Marshalls Creek is throwing its own 80s party with prizes and a 50/50 raffle to benefit the Bushkill Ambulance. Is this some kind of 80s anniversary weekend or something? I’d put the odds at about 5-2 that I know every word of every songs that’s going to be played at both places this weekend. My only problem would be if they threw in a Morrisey song or something. But I’m pretty sure it’ll be a steady diet of the typical 80s classics — Take on Me, anything Michael Jackson, Livin’ on a Prayer, Walk Like an Egyptian, Walkin’ on Sunshine, etc., etc. If there will be a video board at either of these parties, here’s the video I want to see on there, officially the cheesiest and most unintentially funny video of the 80s. I’ve posted it before, but it’s always fun to watch again. If you can watch this without laughing, you’re a better person than me.
Feel free to argue with me on cheesiest 80s video, but it’s going to take a monumental entry to beat out Air Supply.
Mauch Chunk Opera House in Jim Thorpe is starting a new thing, Last Friday Stand-Up Comedy Events over the next four months. I gotta be honest — I don’t know the three guys they have on the docket for this month. But if you go to a stand-up show and you don’t have a good time, it’s your fault.
This name I do know — Eddie Griffin in going to be at Cove Haven Resort in Lakeville Sunday night. Tickets are steep — $65 — but it’s open to the public, something Cove Haven doesn’t always do. His stand-up is pretty darn funny, though I don’t think I’d be in for $65 worth of funny. It’s not exactly the kind of film career that makes you jump out of your seat, but his stand-up is better than his movies.
The annual Winterfest Bluegrass Festival is this weekend, and even though it’s not the kind of music people love, it’s always a pretty cool, fun festival that allows you to get out on Main Street in Stroudsburg and around town to check it out.
Another festival this weekend, the Winter Lights Festival in Milford. I’m not a mac and cheese guy, but one of the festival’s big events if a mac and cheese cook off. Doesn’t it all taste the same? What can you really do with mac and cheese? I’m sure there are answers for that I haven’t even dreamed of.
Some good tour tickets of bands that will be hitting New York City and Philly going on sale today — Spingsteen, Florence and the Machine, Chili Peppers. Also, Foghat tickets go on sale tomorrow for a March 9 show at Penn’s Peak. Can’t imagine that gets sold out, but you can sleep easy at night knowing that just in case it does, you’d have the tickets to see Slow Ride live. Congrats.