The unofficial end of summer is now a memory. The youngsters head back to school tomorrow. Mother Nature is readying her paintbrush to give us a vivid display of reds, oranges and golds. You know what that means.

Football season is upon us.

I have become quite accustomed to being a football husbear. For the past 11 years social calendars have been modified, satellite dishes have been installed and TiVos have purred as every minute of every Philadelphia Eagles game is documented, analyzed and mulled over.

I even ask Earl if he wants a glass of “wooder” to go with his snacks to keep the whole Philadelphia spirit alive. He’s so proud of his hometown team.

The transition to football season is particularly interesting this year, because Earl has been giving poker the same amount of interest for god knows how long. We sat down for a little evening snack just a few moments ago when he flicked on the television set. The channel of choice was GSN, the hip name of the Game Show Network.

“Oh, are we going to watch ‘To Tell The Truth’?”, I ask excitedly.

He mumbles something that shouldn’t really sound like “would the real idiot in the room please stand up” and lo and behold there’s the beginnings of a poker game.

“Where’s Peggy Cass?”, I inquire as … “Wait a minute, what is Welcome Back Kotter doing on the screen? I thought he was a distant memory.”

There he is Gabe Kaplan, sans bushy mustache but with a retro-chic Miami Vice thing going on, whining about the poker proceedings.

I can’t follow poker. I’m not good at cards. While others at the table are doing their best poker face, I fall victim to things such as yelling “Oh goody!” when I get an Ace. Or maybe it was a four. I don’t remember. What I do remember is a Royal Flush, which was demonstrated to me in seventh grade when the mean boys in gym tried to flush Peter Vida’s head down the toilet. That was called the Royal Flush.

So Welcome Back Kotter is talking with another unshaven man about a woman named Harman and her strategy for poker. Earl goes into his poker trance, studying every nuance and stragedy exhibited on our set in technicolor, his lips silently moving as he makes mental notes. There’s no yelling of “Yeah!” or “Go!” like during an Eagles game. I find this unnerving. He just sits there, studying. Me? I don’t get the attraction and I decide to blog instead.

At least football has hot looking uniforms.