ssǝɹddns ɹou ɹɐǝɟ ɹǝɥʇıǝu plnoʍ ʎʇǝıɔos ǝǝɹɟ ʎlnɹʇ ɐ ʇɐɥʇ ƃuıʇnɔolɯnɔɹıɔ suıɐʇuoɔ ǝʇıs sıɥʇ

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Swimming at Nesbitt Beach?

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."--Voltaire

I enjoyed a week away from all of this localized electronic tomfoolery.

Personally, it’s all gotten very redundant for me. The banality of the partisan preaching to the choir is insufferable at times. The economic morass is deepening thanks to a lack of clear and concise leadership. And yet, those facts are still being fed through the ideological filters for our consumption.

A “jobless recovery?”

You’re serious? Run that by the jobless and see how upbeat they are about the supposed recovery.

Seriously, when you’re reduced to arguing for more tax increases simply because your political party inflicted them on one segment of society (for example: tanning salons, beer drinkers, smokers) and not another, your brain is clearly misfiring.

If the Republicans levy a tax increase, it’s bad policy. But when the further confiscation of our earnings comes at the hands of the Democrats, that’s a necessary step?

Please do not send me any more instant messages. Ever. And on that note, Facebook effing bites!

It’s like this flap concerning Paul Kanjorski’s latest verbal gaffe.

When a Republican goes and misspeaks, those words are etched on stone tablets and regurgitated forever more. Oh, but when someone from your favorite team goes and fumbles the oratory ball, well, that’s no big deal. He simply misspoke, you say.

Sorry, but the inconsistency of applied standards is the hallmark of the intellectually dishonest.

Want proof that the fracking will go forward and completely unabated?

Well, since both Phyllis Mundy and Karen Boback have both stepped forward and demanded more stringent oversight of the gas drilling, I figure it’s a done deal.

Why? Because I honestly feel that their fellow legislators in Harrisburg do not take the female members of the legislature as seriously as they do their male counterparts.

That’s the way I feel.

We are facing, what was it, a $1.2 billion budgetary shortfall? But our all-knowing lawgivers are not in favor of the proposed severance tax being paid by the oil and gas companies currently laying claim to wide swaths of our area.

I’m thinking that they are operating out of this parallel universe where oil company executives slip cash-stuffed envelopes to the elected and the appointed.

If I’m way off base in this belief, somebody explain this to me.

The City of Wilkes-Barre has posted some nifty pictures from the Murray Complex smokestack implosion.

Boy, has the Nord End landscape changed for the better. Quickly, too. And this from the mayor who only cares about the downtown?

Better rethink that oft-used bit of illogic.

Last Saturday I participated in the 11th annual RiverFest paddling event, my 8th such involvement.

In my denuded mind, this was the perfect event. Hot as hell, humid and nothing but brilliant sunshine firing back at me off of the muddied water. On a picturesque day such as this one, the river’s duality is only heightened for the paddling neophytes.

They see much of the splendor and the beauty and the plentiful wildlife that accompanies a trip on the river. Unfortunately, they also see what man has done to the river by way of unregulated industry, poor urban planning and outright neglect of the local environment.

The defunct coal mining industry added the Acid Mine Drainage to the devastating mix. Poor municipal planning and a lack of useful federal funding has allowed raw sewage to flush into the river for far too long. Urban sprawl has added ungodly amounts of waste water runoff so that even a modest rain event can transform a normally sedate and meandering river into a raging torrent of destruction. And they also see that too many of us use the river as the final resting place of tires, appliances and what have you.

From day one, when first I set forth to paddle this river, from that day forward I’ve always had one thought of any resonance about our river: We can and should do better by it.

If you don’t want pee in the pool, then stop peeing in the pool. It’s simple. And I like simplicity.

Once again, a heartfelt thanks goes out to Kayak dude for having us along in the U.S.S. Dude. Know what? Despite Wifey’s long-running protests, I means to have my own boat when next we shove off together. So as to make some room, I’ll get rid of a bicycle or two.

I do want to make mention of the fact that our newly-appointed River Common coordinator is all of 24-years-old.

Let’s see here, we spent $24 million in local, state and federal funding on that beautiful amenity, and then we put it in the hands of a kid? And a politically-connected kid, no less.

I don’t care how many of our disgraced local officials they sentence to home confinement, this hiring suggests that you still need the right surname to get an invite to the big public sector dance.

Knowing that when some local comes under the microscope of a local blogger some reader will likely call said local and make them aware of it, let us assume that our River Common kid is at some point made aware of my unmitigated audacity.

If he objects to my commentary, I would suggest that he contact me and make his case in text or in person.

Sounds fair to me.

As for RiverFest 2011, I do have a couple of suggestions.

I know we really want to push the ‘getting back to nature’ angle and all of that, but why not bring in some more attractions for the kids. Like, kiddie rides. I know they draw electricity and destroy the planet somehow. All of which has yet to be fully explained. But rides also draw people looking to treat their kids. I know, keeping with the theme, we could bring in hamster-powered rides. Ah, never mind that last thought. The P.E.T.A. freaks would have a collective stroke, something, by the way, that I'd like to watch on YouTube.

And I have to tell you, after paddling 15 miles in direct sunlight, with the temps approaching 90 degrees and with an elbow screaming out in pain with each and every swipe of the paddle, a cold, frosty one would really seal the deal once we make land at Nesbitt Park. Okay, 3 or 4 of them would put the icing on. Maybe 6 or 7.

Follow me here. Beer is brewed from agricultural products. So, in effect, the consumption of alcohol is yet another way of getting back to nature. The way I see it, beer is as green as it gets. So, having the temerity to correct Kayak Dude, I’m no tree hugger. Nope, I’m more of a hops and barley hugger.

Anyway, while sitting there at the river’s edge watching all of the fatigued and spent-looking first-time paddlers struggling to get up out of their boats and up the launch, I’m thinking that very many of them would greatly appreciate being able to immediately self-medicate upon future arrivals.

My grandson Zach was made an official River Rat. But since he’s too young to operate a kayak, he’s the first ever River Rodent.

Dude, you have no idea how excited he was to receive that official RiverFest whistle. When we got home and stowed our gear, he slipped that whistle into the mesh netting on the side of his river hat so as to not lose it.

We’ll be celebrating his 7th birthday next month, and he’s already got 3 events and 45 miles on his paddling resume. Perhaps 30 years from now he’ll be leading young paddlers down river while telling them the history of the river. As in, it used to be polluted. No!

Yeah, really.

Will RiverFest 2040 include swimming at Nesbitt Beach?

That's for us to decide.


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