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PA Printer Strikes Up Perfection —Cagle

August 2010
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Underneath the uniform of every printer across this great land sits the big red Superman "S", just waiting for mild-mannered second pressman Clark Kent to reap the opportunity to do something brave, heroic or unbelievable.

Well, we don't recall Clark Kent ever bowling a perfect game, and we certainly doubt that he ever came close to rolling three masterpieces in a row. We know that for a fact, incidentally, because the new national record for the most consecutive strikes thrown is now held by, you guessed it, a printer. Step aside, Superman, and make way for Tommy Gollick, arguably the most prolific bowler in history.

Gollick is not a professional keggler, and this Swatara Township, PA, native won't quit his day job as a printer for a nonprofit company. In fact, unlike Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak, Gollick's streak came to an end when, well, he stopped bowling. After 47 straight strikes, which upended the previous record of 40 set in 1986, Gollick packed up his ball and went home.

In all, he threw a 279 during his first league game at Red Crown Bowling Center in Harrisburg, PA, on May 11, then rattled off a trio of successive perfect games and earned the official recognition from the United States Bowling Congress. Gollick told The Patriot- News that he loosened up after racking up the second 300 game, in the process shattering the house record of 35 strikes.

But after Gollick's fourth game was in the books, he was ready to go home and was unfazed by the thought of how many more strikes he might have been able to throw. The 32-year-old, who has bowled since the tender age of 5, will go back to bowling in anonymity now, never getting a shot at the big money earned by professionals, despite racking up an achievement that even the greatest of bowlers will never accomplish.

BANNER IDEA: Memorial Day and the Fourth of July are the two holidays that find Americans in the most patriotic of spirits, so it comes as no surprise that one printer has ushered in a tradition of celebrating our nation's freedom fighters with a message that carries a lasting impression.

Starting in 2008, Keith Nichols and his family-owned inkDOTS Printing, of Cypress, TX, began printing out 22-foot banners that feature patriotic images. The banner is hung outside inkDOTS Printing for people who want to sign their names, add encouraging messages and well wishes. Once the banner is full of names, Nichols ships the banner to one of the nation's war theaters—Iraq, Afghanistan—for the troops to enjoy and appreciate during some spiritually demoralizing times.

Nichols plans on printing and shipping his banners of encouragement overseas as long as U.S. troops are serving their country, so this promises to be a commitment that will last into the foreseeable future.

SPEAKING OF FREEDOM: We are continually reminded that freedom comes at a cost. Some people give their lives in its defense, while others trample over it in squelching ideas they find offensive. As I write this, longtime White House correspondent Helen Thomas has resigned from her reporting gig with Hearst newspapers over a remark where she suggested that Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and go home to Germany, Poland and America, etc. Her inflammatory remarks essentially ended a career that began in the 1940s.

The irony here is that the freedom of speech entitled to all Americans was shamelessly perverted via a mob mentality in the name of protecting an entire race of people from racial discrimination, and stripped away from a person who for more than half a century has done her part in championing the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights—which includes freedom of speech and the press. We must continuously recognize that the First Amendment was crafted to protect unpopular speech, and that it is an absolute.

For whatever reason, there was a rush to have Thomas ousted by Hearst in the name of swift justice. And, in that rush to portray Thomas as an ethnic cleanser who wanted to revisit the Holocaust, 99 percent of the public probably didn't know that she is a Lebanese immigrant whose memory and life predates the Israeli state, and whose obvious point of view is that Palestine is occupied land.

But I'm not picking sides in THAT battle. The point here is that Thomas' rant, however clumsy, mean spirited and open to interpretation it may have been, is constitutionally protected.

And, after 60 years on the political beat, perhaps she should have been given the benefit of the doubt—or at least the chance to defend her views, as opposed to the public skewering that she received.

Long live free speech, and may Helen find comfort in her role as its champion. PI

—Erik Cagle



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