>> A TRAVELIN’ MAN: Way back in 1873, Jules Verne celebrated the globetrotting pursuits of the idle rich in his novel “Around the World in 80 Days.” Back then, 80 days was 80 days. It was a big deal. Today, you could probably circle the world in 80 hours – 60 if you load up on coffee. In fact, the record for a non-stop trip around the globe is 42 hours and 23 minutes by a U.S. military aircraft. And why is this important? Because this Tuesday is Phileas Fogg Wager Day – marking the start date of Fogg’s fictional journey. You could try to re-create his exploits, but with the price of gas these days, you’d probably go broke around Poughkeepsie.
>> REBUT THIS!: Fans of politics and arguing are in luck. The first of three presidential debates is this Wednesday at the University of Denver. It starts at 9 p.m. and the designated topic is domestic policy. Savvy political types expect the debate to go something like this: ROMNEY: “My opponent’s policies have failed to create jobs.” OBAMA: “My opponent has outsourced jobs and destroyed thriving companies.” ROMNEY: “You’re a big poopiehead!” OBAMA: “No, YOU are!” ROMNEY: “Nyah, nyah, nyah! POOP!” OBAMA: “Pffffhhhttthhhh!” ... The debate is on ALL the usual networks.
>> MARCH OF THE PENGUINS: Good news, bad news, hockey fans. First, the bad. It looks like the NHL won’t be dropping any pucks or gloves anytime soon. The league is making like the NFL and NBA and dabbling in its own set of labor problems, putting the start of the season in serious jeopardy. Good news: WHO CARES? The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins begin play this week with a pair of preseason home games. The Rochester Americans visit the arena Friday night and the Hershey Bears take their new logo out for a test drive Saturday.
>> CAN YOU HEAR THE THUNDER? Aye! Tis always a fine day when Irish songs be fillin’ our ear drums. And this Saturday you can enjoy some of the musical culture from the Emerald Isle when the lads of Celtic Thunder visit the F.M. O’Kirby Center. The group got its start with those fund-raisin’ banshees over at PBS before goin’ out on the high roads of the land on tour. If you want to be checkin’ the céilidh out – that’s the gaelic word for party -- it starts at half past seven in the even tide. That’s Irish talk for 7:30 p.m.
>> A STATE OF WAR: When the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers play this Sunday, just to be fair, they should play in the Centre County hamlet of Fisherman’s Paradise. Why? That’s the exact center of the commonwealth, if you believe some cartographers from Penn State. As it stands, the game will be at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. And they’ve got the field in good shape again after it was destroyed by Bane in the new “Batman” movie. The Pennsylvania grudge match starts at 1p.m. on FOX.