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



Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Three new entries

In case it went unnoticed, I’ve added a few new addresses to the “Local Buzz” listings.

I love reading the thoughts of local folks. Always did, always will. It’s interesting how people who may have been raised in the same areas, in the same municipalities or even in the same neighborhoods could have such divergent opinions on the same issues.

While a link from this site is certainly not an endorsement of any other site, I enjoy linking to those who have differing perspectives than mine.

The name of this first site speaks volumes about the content.

Right Wing Fringe

This next one is what I call a single-issue blog. And as you veteran cyber warriors know, single-issue blogs tend to dry up and blow away sooner rather than later. Time will tell.

Wake Up Wilkes-Barre

While the name of this site may not ring a bell, if you’re long to local blogging, the name of the author ought to. Er, it might just ring some alarm bells.

Old Forge Times by David Foglietta

Since this is his second go-round at writing on the Internet, I'm wondering aloud about how long will it take before he gets to threatening the on-air talent at WILK/Facebook/Radio all over again? We shall see.

Blast from the Past: WILK radio talk show caller guilty of harassing hosts

Those, ahem, authors who attach a name and a face to their words versus those who will not always score some bonus points with me.

Later

Training video for inept W-B activists

No junket. Just the video.

Study up, trainees.

"Jay, your remarks will be part of the record."

Later

7 miles down

I’m surprised by the omission, but what they don’t tell you in this video report is that James Cameron is hoping to use some of the footage culled from this epic dive in the sequel to Avatar. That is, footage of any heretofore undiscovered forms of life.

Fascinating.

Later

Monday, February 27, 2012

It's time

Twelve-hour day today.

I'm too worn out to care much about local politics, hotties in hot cars or who hates me.

Thanks to the mildest of winters, it's already coming down.

Folks, it's termite time.

This one has nothing to due with the only insects that can digest cellulose, the insects that cause $6 billion in property damage each and every year.

Nah, I just like this one.

Later

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Danica-mania

These are some fascinating numbers.

Last year Danica Patrick earned $650,000 on Indy Tracks, but simultaneously earned an estimated $12 million off of them.

Check it out...

Later

My Ralph Garr-autographed bat

This is the full video report of last week’s council meeting that WBRE finally got around to posting. What I posted was all that my then-malfunctioning camera would allow me to capture. But it’s all better now.

Former Wilkes-Barre Tow Truck driver squeals at Council

I am soooo completely loathsome of poor behavior somehow passing as activism. Whatever.

A couple of news stories caught my eye, all three of which had me scratching my head.

Both The Citizens’ Voice and The Times Leader reported on the mostly unproductive ‘gang conference’ held here in Wilkes-Barre.

And I chortled at the TL piece about how the Crime Watch folks won’t rest while our mayor continues on with his incessant breathing. Talk about steppin' in it.

First of all, we’ve got untold numbers of police officers from all over this far-flung region participating in all sorts of ongoing training, which obviously touches upon gang activity. Junkets, I think the negative nincompoops call them.

We have a Luzerne County Drug Task Force that regularly conducts operations with the State Police, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms. Not to mention Immigration & Customs Enforcement.

And right here in Wilkes-Barre, we have a squad of detectives who’s level of sophistication just might surprise those who continually dwell on the negative and badmouth what they have at their disposal.

With all of that typed, still, the local and imported self-branded activists continue to insult us by suggesting that we are not up to speed insofar as gang activity infiltrates some aspects of our society.

Remember what I wrote many years ago: Policing is best left to the police.

Wilkes-Barre Online...5/20/2008: Policing is best left to the police

Not to some local watch group, and not to some transplant from NYC who poses as the ultimate reference on all things gangs and policing. The watch groups and the self-appointed “community leaders” should supplement law enforcement, not portend to be some appendage of law enforcement.

Behavioral changes

As was predictably mentioned in those aforementioned stories, one thing I hear stated over and over is that we should be alert to any and all “behavioral changes in kids.” And while that is sound advice, it should not taken as gospel. Taken as gospel, it can be as problematic for kids as the other myriad of challenges young people face.

When I was rushing on towards my fifteenth birthday, a former drug counselor of a neighbor transplanted from NYC started filling my mother’s ear about all things drugs. And she suggested to my mom that she ought to be proactive, not reactive.

At that time, I was going through an abrupt and easily noticeable growth spurt. I had been working for nearly a year, meaning for the first time in my life I had disposable income. I bought myself a slew of new clothes. And new glasses. New sneakers. An amazing 10-speed. A new baseball glove and the Ralph Garr-autographed bat. Still have those latter two.

I was doing well at work, fitting in nicely. School was going. I was bigger. I grew faster. The natural athleticism was much more enjoyable being bigger and whatnot. I was dressed better than ever. And I felt pretty good about things as they were. My self-esteem and confidence soared.

But then I got caught skipping classes while in pursuit of some Kresge’s pizza. Real criminality, ain’t it? Enter Expert #2...

Our assistant principal at the time had a degree in psychiatry or psychology. I cannot remember which. And when he started tossing all the tough guy talk around and threatening me with corporal punishment (a stupid paddle), I simply told him to bring it on. I wasn’t afraid of his punishment.

Well, the alarm bells fired, and both of my parents--my mother and my grandmother--were ordered to meet with him. And while I sat there taking it all in, he told them of the tough road I was heading down, and how he had seen all of the warning signs before and blah, blah, effing blah.

And then they gleefully agreed and chimed in with how I had a mouth on me, how I took the lords’ name in vain, how I took girls up to my room, how I had split my little brother’s head open, how they had found pills on my dresser (work-issued salt tablets) and that they thought I was experimenting with illicit drugs.

But never once was I asked to speak in my own defense. And not once was I given any credit due. And they, the parents and so-called experts, wonder how and why kids end up seeing suicide as an option.

At that time, my life consisted of school, work, bowling and sports. I did not even consider alcohol, save for one family-related incident that ended very badly. I had not even considered using drugs. And I was known for picking on potheads to no end, which later on led to the nickname “skinny senior prick.”

But according to my parents and the so-called experts, I was a drug-toting alcoholic, I was headed for juvenile hall before graduating on to the big house, I had no respect for authority and intervention was long overdue. And all over a slice of pizza and a couple of salt tablets.

So, as a result, the intervention programs from all of the so-called experts involved eventually manifested themselves in my frustration boiling over and my mother assaulting me with the Ralph Garr-autographed bat. It took everything I had to not pop my mother in the head, because the fact was, she would have deserved it.

I went to school, I worked when I wasn’t in school and I played sports when free from the other two, a true testament to my hyperactivity.

But due to my quote/unquote “behavioral changes,” I was somehow deemed to be a problematic kid headed for bigger and bigger problems.

If parents would remain more involved in the everyday lives of their kids as they grow older and bigger, and if the so-called experts operated from anything other than very narrow, supposedly time-tested templates, perhaps kids wouldn’t be so quick to detach themselves from the deluded realities of others.

Sad to say, the only thing that was real during that entirely frustrating period was my Ralph Garr-autographed bat.

Beware the so-called behavioral scientists.

Later

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Welcome to Daytona, Danica

Go Daddy hottie, Danica Patrick, wanted to trade paint on a fulltime basis with the good ole boys of NASCAR and she got her wish.

And after this wreck, I'd say she's been initiated.

Watch the in-car camera during the final 45 seconds. Wild, hands up approach before impact.

Later

God hates? Really?

A depraved new low for the moonbats who claim to follow the word of God.

Courtesy of The Westboro Baptist Church, a Whitney Houston Parody: ‘God Will Always Hate You’

Unreal.

Later

Friday, February 24, 2012

Rage as process?

Rather than repeat huge tracts of circumlocution or surgically reiterate any single point, I'll simply link to one of my recent posts...

Sorry, kiddies. You're no Ambrose

Is it lame to link to yourself?

Ah, screw it.

Now let me get this one straight: If it squeals like a pig, and squeals like a pig again and squeals like a pig some more, that means you're the pig?

I don't get it.

So what's on the agenda for next month's meeting?

Sock puppets?

Later

The filth hits the fan in Dunmore

This is something I wrote just a couple of days ago...

For instance, I see the back-of-house facilities where your foodstuffs are prepared. Put another way, I know where to eat as well as where not to eat. Do you?

Try this one on for size. I know of a popular local bakery where mice, flies and birds (yes, birds) roam freely throughout the food preparation areas. I wouldn’t consume anything prepared in there. But you do.

I once encountered a local kitchen so completely overwhelmed by fruit flies that I donned a dust mask so as to not ingest any. Did you order food from that kitchen? I never did, nor will I.

Remember, while Wilkes-Barre has it's own health department and regularly inspects food production facilities within it's confines, our neighboring communities can make no such claim. Are we still snickering?

Not only do I do so with my current employer, since the age of 14, I have been in and out of food production facilities as a chef's assistant, a cook, a kitchen manager, an assistant manager, and finally, as a general manager.

And my transitory job driving truck led me to the kitchens of hospitals, nursing homes, restaurants, bars, snack bars and what have you.

The point being, if a given location throughout NEPA has a fryer and a flattop, I've probably seen it at one time or another. Which leads me to this news story from WBRE after having watched Chef Robert Irvine's full show which aired last night.

Spotlight Fallout: Dunmore Restaurant Sparks Uproar on TV

What you need to fully understand is that Pennsylvania is not even close to being a leader in food safety compliance. The larger municipalities have their own health departments. But the vast majority of PA's smaller municipalities do not.

And and such, food safety varies from locale to locale.

As a general rule, if a place looks a little less than clean where you can see it, imagine what it looks like where prying eyes are not allowed.

Good luck.

Later

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wipeout rules!

The songs embedded in this video are lame and completely unnecessary.

Still, it's a fun one culled from the best television show currently playing on my video advertising box...Wipeout.

Some of these folks had to be injured. They just had to be.

Later

Markie's one-time vision of Heaven

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with collecting every Matchbox vehicle ever produced. I did not succeed in this quest, but near as I could tell, I had to have come damn close.

Back in those days, you only had to go as far as the nearby corner pharmacy to buy them. After you redeemed your recyclable soda bottles at five cents a pop, you’d tally up the take and head for the corner. They’d have the giant plastic display case, in which all of the displayed vehicles were numbered. All you had to do was tell the pharmacy owner which numbers you wished to purchase, he’d open the case and there they were…the best die-caste cars the world over.

I had a collection of enormous fishing tackle boxes inside of which I stored my wheels. One slot for each vehicle and a separate slot for the smallish cardboard boxes they shipped from the factory in. I’d haul them outside, bulldoze tiny roads through the grass, and then make with the sound-effects.

When I ventured outside with them, that was a signal to my mom that she didn’t have to supervise me at all. Wherever those boxes and I parked, we’d be there for hours on end. I’d allow others to play with mine, but I always preferred that they bring their own. And after I packed them back up and headed indoors, I’d wash every vehicle that had exited the tackle boxes on that day.

I slept with all them sitting next to my bed. My sister was never allowed to touch any of them. And no one, nobody was ever allowed to touch the pristine cardboard boxes they came in.

When I was in the fourth grade, a neighborhood kid stole the lot of them while I was indoors for a spot of lunch. That resulted in my earliest red zone freak out by which I beat every single inch of that kid. Besides, he was one of those Hot Wheels goofs the way it was.

When I was yanked out of my seventh grass classroom one September day and told we were permanently moving to Pennsylvania, my mom said we were taking clothes only, and every thing else was being put up for auction. You see, she had a Datsun. And with two kids and a baby in tow, there wasn’t room for much of anything else.

My immediate response was, “What about my Matchboxes?” Back at the house, we argued long and hard. I resorted to crying, which usually didn’t help. But I figure because the sudden upheaval was being sprung on me and all, she relented.

So when we loaded up the Datsun and moved to Beverly, that car contained one adult, three minors, plenty of clothes and a trunk full of Matchboxes.

As soon as we got settled here in Wilkes-Barre, the difference between the boys in Wilkes-Barre and the boys in Derby, Connecticut became readily apparent as I was being constantly mocked for playing with Matchboxes at such an advanced age…almost thirteen.

So rather than trade barbs and fists with darn near everybody this side of the New York border, those beloved Matchboxes of mine became what I did when I was all alone in my grandmother’s attic. Damn you, Wilkes-Barre!

And it wasn’t too long after that, I still shudder to say, that the Matchboxes were handed down to my unappreciative little brother.

All that aside, if you think die-caste cars being my driving obsession was weird, check this video. This thing became a museum piece late last year.

They way I remember it, if I would have been run over by a bus and killed before I moved to Wilkes-Barre, as I laid there fading away, this video would have been my last fleeting vision of the heaven that awaited me.

Later

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

And now, something completely off topic

I love this mindless stuff. Always did. Always will.

And even though I cannot remember on which night of the week it was televised back in the Bradley School/Derby, Connecticut days, I also looked forward to it in part because "Lost in Space" night was the only night I was allowed to stay up past 7:30.

Penny (Angela Cartright of Sound of Music fame) Robinson was an uber babe. She went and survived those killer birds at "Bodega Bay" only to become lost in space.

And a little more than ten years later, her acting sister, Veronica, fresh off her performance in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," was killed by none other than one of Ellen Ripley's now-legendary cinematic "Aliens."

Oh, yeah, and Veronica also played the mother to a alien-abducted child in "Flight of the Navigator." Oh, and she also appeared on "Leave ot to Beaver" for two seasons as Beaver's classmate.

See that?

An entire truncated post without a single reference to bed bugs.

DOH!

Later

My new reality: Part III

I just had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who has a familial interest in all things bed bugs as they pertain to our local school districts.

I don’t see my opinion as being the word of Allah, but it has been widely reported in print that no company the world over trains their pest control technicians as heavily, as relentlessly and as completely as mine does. I can attest to that.

In addition, there is only one pest control operator throughout all of Pennsylvania that is excluded from the PA Department of Agriculture’s monthly pesticide application training meetings and that company would be the company that currently employs me. Fact is, the state recognizes that our company-provided training is superior to theirs.

And if this helps bolster my credibility at all, on and off, I’ve been watching bed bug-related videos on the internet since this morning and I have yet to learn a single thing.

The following video series is pretty close to spot-on if you’re interested at all. I have a couple of issues with them, but those issues would not be of concern to the property owners or tenants. Rather, they would be fairly bad advice for those charged with eradicating these peskiest of insects.

Remember, they aren’t suspected of vectoring any diseases.

At least, not yet.

Later

My new reality: Part II

As a follow-up to my previous post about bed bugs, take a gander at the how-to inspection video I have embedded below.

The fact that the tenant attempted to minimize an obvious nightmare of a problem suggests that this is a public housing unit. Quite often, in an attempt to not be blamed in any way, tenants in these housing complexes mistakenly attempt to self-treat rather than inform the housing authorities.

Bad move. Real bad.

Make no mistake, the infestation in this video is very, very bad. But know that I’ve personally seen infestations that would make this one look like fun. And, yes, right here in our very own neighborhoods.

A quiz will not follow, kiddies.

Later

My new reality

A newfangled day in the life of an award-winning termite technician.

For most of my career, and for good reason, people have repeatedly picked my brain about termites. Since the hoi polloi knows next to nothing about termites, it made complete sense for myself to be conducting impromptu Termite 101 seminars wherever I roamed.

But these days, it's all about bedbugs. Today is typical of what has become the new reality for me. I got out of bed, fielded one phone call about the current goings-on at GAR, and then found two emails seeking the same thing...advice.

My advice?

Since the bedbug explosion really has become an epidemic of sorts, what the general public needs to do is educate itself. As in, know your enemy. That is the only logical starting point. Education and then inspection, inspection, inspection.

There are plenty of resources available at the click of a mouse, so go and find some of them. Study up.

Start with this one. It runs less than seven minutes, has a few visual quirks in the beginning, but gives you an idea of where we're at.

Later

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Too many...

Despite the persistent rumors, this one-minute long video was not filmed inside of Heights Elementary.

Nor was it shot at Alice A's. Sorry, Sue.

Nope. This was taken at my son's Man Cave. And it proves that my grandsons are, um, er, multi-talented?

Later

Bomb, bomb, bomb...

How did that old parody of the Beach Boys classic go?

Bomb, bomb, bomb...bomb, bomb Iran!

Yepper. The way things are going, pretty soon.

Exclusive: Photos Show Alleged Iran Bombs Hidden in $27 Radio

Coming soon to an Iranian city near you…

Nice.

Later

Catholic blowback?

I read the other day that there are 80 million Americans who call themselves Catholics. That's a staggering number. A voting bloc, if you will, that the self-absorbed despot in the White House continually spits upon.

I doubt that I'll ever meet two more hard-core Catholics than my grandmother and my mother. Growing up, the church was a huge part of my life. But as soon as I grew beyond their control, my days as an officially practicing Catholic came to an abrupt halt.

I don't know. I didn't need the building, the pomp and the circumstance. But while I've watched Catholics and their beliefs being systematically demonized for years on end, I pondered the following in print: would the world be worse off if we all lived our lives based on those ten commandments?

Basically, at this point in time, most Catholics are feeling persecuted. And they are tired of being mocked. And while the basic tenets of their most cherished beliefs have been eviserated from everyday life, they've had to endure this rapidly accelerating societal decay of ours that was probably predictable to even the occasional church-goers.

But, since the Naked Communists have attained their biggest goal by capturing control of one of the two political parties in this country, those deliberately persecuted Catholics have had no champion to rally around until now.

Is the unthinkable afoot?

Is Rick Santorum the Catholic version of blowback?

Later

WBASD: Build baby, build

I’ve gotten my share of wisecracks and snickers over the years because of my chosen professional. Oh, and the smart-alecky, almost obligatory, “You kill bugs.”

Well, duh.

While I occasionally do as much, the bulk of my time is devoted to denying termites access to structures. And if that somehow conjures up some ill-informed humor, I would say it’s all funny until termites gain access to your heavily-mortgaged structure.

While pest control might not impress you as being either brutally important or highly respected, remember, we work to maintain public health as well as public safety. You can snicker all you want until roaches are living in your kitchen cabinets or bedbugs are planning a slumber party at your place.

For instance, I see the back-of-house facilities where your foodstuffs are prepared. Put another way, I know where to eat as well as where not to eat. Do you?

Try this one on for size. I know of a popular local bakery where mice, flies and birds (yes, birds) roam freely throughout the food preparation areas. I wouldn’t consume anything prepared in there. But you do.

I once encountered a local kitchen so completely overwhelmed by fruit flies that I donned a dust mask so as to not ingest any. Did you order food from that kitchen? I never did, nor will I.

Remember, while Wilkes-Barre has it's own health department and regularly inspects food production facilities within it's confines, our neighboring communities can make no such claim. Are we still snickering?

I’ve been under the courthouse, as well as on top of it. I’ve even explored the ancient catacombs under the county prison--the perfect place to film a low-budget horror movie.

I see the bowels of the buildings. I see the rooftops. I roam the crawl spaces. I see the back halls, the heretofore unknown access ways as well as the utility service tunnels and what have you.

How many people can say that they’ve been in, on top of and underneath our shuttered juvenile facility? I can. And trust me, you’d prefer being tortured for hours on end to crawling through the sewage-splattered, roach infested catacombs beneath that building.

All of which somehow leads me to this blurb I snagged from WNEP’s Web site…

Two meetings scheduled for Tuesday could decide the future of two landmark buildings in the same city.

One is an empty hotel, the other is a high school that is still in use, and both face uncertain futures.

Wilkes-Barre School District Superintendent Dr. Jeff Namey said Meyers High School of Carey Avenue needs repairs, and the district might be better off closing the school.

Newswatch 16 got a tour of Meyers High School in June of last year. The building is more than 80 years old, and the district says it needs work. To completely renovate the high school, the superintendent believes it would cost $80 million.

Nine hundred students attend class there. Options for the district include splitting those students among the city's two other high schools, Coughlin and G.A.R. or constructing a new building.

A meeting to discuss the possibilities is Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Coughlin High School.

Okay, so I’m the guy who regularly sees what the general public never sees. I’m the guy that can navigate almost the entire length of the Wyoming Valley Mall without being seen by any of the shoppers.

With that established, you can take the following as the opinion of some lowlife blogger scum, or you can take it as my insight-laden professional opinion.

In my opinion, the Wilkes-Barre Area School District needs to build a new high school facility of some sort.

Later

Goth Rock

Ah, Specimen.

No, you see, Specimen was the name of the band.

I have a couple of their vinyl LPs, as well as a now-coveted bat-shaped EP they released.

Goth was stupid back then. And it still is to this day. The singer had some pipes on him. But nothing makes up for a bad concept, a fruitloop of a front man and lots of garrish-looking makeup as quickly as a guy who knows his way up and down the frets.

While the guitar-playing dude looks like something out of the original black-and-white Dracula movie, he can hammer-down with the best of the still undiscovered guitar heroes.

Love it, I do.

Later

It's a man's world

So they said.

Suzi Quatro, where are you?

Later

Monday, February 20, 2012

One-word video

This two-minute video contains all of one word. Yes, that word. The big one. The apex of all known curse words. The word that got poor Ralphie a mouthful of soap.

You have been warned...grandma would not approve of the following.

Later

Free condoms for everybody

I'm already well beyond being sick and tired of listening to all of this contrived contraception electioneering.

Need contraceptives? Fine. Check the tour schedule, meet the big rig and partake of the 100,000 free condoms.

Condom Nation

A couple of years ago I ran into a couple of ladies from the Red Cross who were conducting a free condom giveaway at a local public housing project. Right out of the trunk of their car, no less. They offered me a handful, but I declined on that generous offer.

Funny thing, though. At your typical public housing project, there are unsupervised kids aplenty and no shortage of unwed mothers. But not a husband or father in sight.

Seems to me that those Red Cross folks showed up just a tad late.

I'm just sayin'.

Later

Balls

Godspeed, John Glenn?

No, how about, balls, John Glenn.

Serious, serious balls strapping yourself to the top of the world's largest available firecrackers built by the lowest bidders, and then inviting the match.

File this one under "Yikes!"

Later

A gallon of Green?

From a 1994 acoustic set, The Kinks remind us once again that while our toys are cool and all, they are virtually useless without the fuel to power them.

This black-and-white video reminds me of when my step-father bought an aging Hudson, a hulking and menacing looking car that was reputed to be the heaviest automobile ever built. Trust me, it was a tank without the big gun mounted on the turret.

We used to go to the nearby Derby Drive-in to take in the latest horror and sci-fi B movies. And, as a kid, if I found the flicks to be too frightening, I would crawl up into the back window well and fall asleep. Name for me a car that comfortably sleeps one in the back window these days.

No pipelines. No ANWAR. No Gulf. No permits for new refineries.

Face it, when you can no longer afford to power your sexy kitten of a newfangled vehicle, it'll be because having gone all in on Green has sucked the last vestiges of green right out of your wallet.

Bummer.

Later

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tiny methane bubbles

I would be seriously remiss if I were to allow this egghead-generated bunkum to go unanswered.

UT Austin study says fracking hasn’t contaminated groundwater

The hydraulic fracturing of shale formations to develop natural gas has no direct connection to groundwater contamination, according to a study released Feb. 16 by the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin

Okay, I’ll approach this issue the way I approach most things, by going all simplistic and the like. In case you somehow missed it, I like simplicity.

Simply put, I was there on January 12, 2006.

I was there at the sight where methane now bubbles uncontrollably to the surface of the Susquehanna River.

Along with my longtime paddling partner in crime, I paddled my way from picturesque Wysox right through our now bubbling Sugar Run while on my way to Nesbitt Park back here at Wilkes-Barre. And if that isn’t enough, we started our day at Sugar Run, as well as enjoyed a later pit stop at Sugar Run. And as far as my four eyes could spy, there wasn’t a single methane bubble in sight. Not a one.

Look, this is real simple.

Either the Earth just upped and decided to start convulsing at Sugar Run, or the fracking of the Earth released something that no one anticipated being released.

It ain’t rocket science. It’s simple.

Like most other things.

Later

Iran: Not if, when

There is a widely held view that Israel is getting nervously impatient while the unfruitful sanctions and negotiations meant to derail Iran’s aggressive nuclear ambitions plod on.

It has been reported that Israel is considering a military strike on Iran’s hardened and scattered nuclear sites as early as this spring. And while the U.S. intelligence community believes Iran will not be dissuaded from their nuclear ambitions, it has been reported that our president would like to forgo any military conflict with Iran until after the general election in November.

Meanwhile, the Mossad, Israel’s top-secret spy agency, is suspected of having executed four Iranian nuclear scientists under very mysterious circumstances. And in response, Iranian agents are accused of staging attacks on Israeli diplomats in three countries in recent days.

I pay an inordinate amount of time tracking geopolitics and how they can very quickly denigrate into hostilities of the military variety. Always did, always will. While some in junior high were hawking copies of Playboy or Hustler, I was that long-haired weirdo reading the hardcover about Soviet military weaponry and their capabilities. Still have it.

So here’s the synopsis…

No matter how many tongue lashings our king-in-chief unleashes upon the Israeli leadership, they are not going to risk their very existence by holding off on an attack on Iran until after our election so as to make things easier and neater for said would-be king.

If the Israelis believe Iran to be too, too close to achieving nuclear devices and the intercontinental missiles to deliver them, go-time will have arrived for the Israeli military. At that point, any and all protestations coming from Washington or London will be ignored.

While it was easy for wise King Oblahblah to interfere in the internal politics of Egypt and Libya, he seems to have blinked on his interloping ways in Syria with the arrival of a Russian naval flotilla including the only operable Russian aircraft carrier.

And now, with what the entire world feared all along being dangerously close to coming to fruition, namely, a nuclear-armed state sponsor of worldwide terrorism, our commander-in-chief has an immense decision to make: does he order a U.S. and/or allied military strike on Iran’s hardened nuclear facilities before the election, or does he go the self-preservation route by letting Israel go it alone? Either way, it's going down.

The clock is ticking in Israel, and it grows louder by the day.

While I type this, sources in both Israel and Kuwait have reported that an enormous air and sealift of U.S. military assets to the middle east is well underway. We have three carriers devoted to Iran, and one sitting off the coast of Syria. There’s plenty of tinder, now all we need is the match and the runways of Diego Garcia go hot.

I paid seven dollars for two measly pounds of ground beef just two days ago. And after the long-expected shooting starts, it sounds as if I might be paying ten dollars for a gallon of gasoline before next we vote.

Oh, goodie.

Later

Go Big Blue

If I could cry, this one would have gotten the tears to flowing.

Bill Griese.com

Only five more months 'til the 2012 preseason gets underway.

Later

Hudson

If you've never seen this movie---Aliens---it's time to get the newly-configured safe popcorn and spurn the incessant chick flick demands for one night.

Warning: Bad, bad words.

This isn't a trailer, this is Hudson, man!

Later

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Five down, five hundred to go

This here Times Leader story confirms what some of us always suspected: that you had to either know or bl*w somebody to be a county employee in the first place.

And it also lays waste to the half-witted spiel about how the public, while it demands hard time for the corrupt elect and appointed officials, should honor and respect and love all of those, ahem, hard-working underlings.

Five probation officers among first to be laid off by county

Sharkey is the son of former chief court administrator William Sharkey, who was terminated on Feb. 24, 2009 after his guilty plea to stealing $70,000 in seized illegal gambling proceeds.

Guesto is married to former county Chief Clerk/Manager Sam Guesto, though she was hired before they were married.

DeJoseph is the nephew of former county Judge Mike Conahan, who is serving a 17 1/2-year sentence on convictions related to the county’s “kids for cash” corruption scandal.

Oh, and so much for the argument that furloughing county employees could negatively affect the services the county provides. Do we really believe that the connected, that the privileged, that the relatives of the former top dogs were working as hard as humanly possible?

Have at it: Five down, five hundred to go.

Later

Friday, February 17, 2012

Markie the "tot"

As some of you may know, I have not laid eyes on my father, Gene J. Cour, since April 19, 1962.

As a result of feeling somewhat less than whole after all these years, every once in a while I search the Google News Archive in hopes of finding some new lead, some new clue that may result in a not-so-chance meeting.

Most of the time, the archives have nothing new to offer. But every once in a while, something new (old) bleeds to the surface. And while today's impromptu search offered up a new (old) news story about the long-ago events that resulted in my permanent separation from my father, I have to say that this is the first time I can recall being called a "tot."

I've been called a lot of unflattering things, especially since I've been writing on the Internet. But I ain't never been called a tot.

Tot Returned to Mother In Long Battle

Later

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Ism & The Obama Oil Man

I figure Barry Oblahblah never saw this cartoon while growing up in, uh, well, wherever it was.

Later

Ramblin' man

Here’s my one and only question (for now) about our new county head honcho, Robert Lawton.

Is he buying, leasing or renting?

From Linkedin.com…

Robert Lawton's Experience

Solano County, California,…2 years

Calveras County, California…2 years

Solano County, California…3 years

Schenectady County, New York…less than 2 years

New York State Senate…3 years

Marinette County, Wisconsin…just over 1 year

Albany County, New York…2 positions, less than 4 years

New York State Senate…10 months

New York State Assembly…various positions, almost 10 years

New York State Senate…6 months

And, finally, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania? Well, using the standard template...

Less than (insert prediction here) years.

Later

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Video Flapdoodle

From the Citizens’ Voice archives…

Since 2010, Lawton has been employed as principal management analyst at Solano County in California, and his current salary is $122,600 a year. He was the Solano County deputy administrator from 2005 to 2008 and had an annual salary of $135,000.

From YouTube via the email inbox…

I really like this last one. A thirty-year Solano County employee falsified $41,000 in overtime?

For what it’s worth, there it is. But does it sound as if Solano County, California has been just hummin' along?

Later

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sarah's WTF speech

Sarah Palin's 2012 CPAC speech.

Now, mind you, this is the full speech clocking in at a whopping 38:12.

I was wondering, if Barry Oblahblah and Palin were to engage in fisticuffs, who do you suppose would win?

Later

Facebook parenting

A how-to video, if you will.

I lost track by the third round...

Later

Update: YouTube dad says authorities pay visit; Daughter gets job offer

Sunday, February 12, 2012

2012 RiverFest date

From the ask-and-you-shall-receive department…

According to informed sources at Endless Mountain Outfitters, the 2012 Wyoming Valley RiverFest is scheduled for June 23-24, 2012.

Contained within the following video thingie may be the final pictures taken from beneath our one-time dueling 8th Street bridges.

2011 Wyoming Valley River Fest (advance recon paddle) 6:39

Ramming speed.

Later

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A big city school in a small city

Accepting the premise that white people are inherently racist, I’ve long maintained that the white folks are the least intense and not near as all-encompassing as the multitudes of other racist ethnicities.

Students, parents: Racial tensions sparked machete attack near GAR

A long-simmering battle for racial supremacy at a Wilkes-Barre high school precipitated the nearby machete attack Thursday that nearly cost a 15-year-old student his hand as he swung his arm to block another boy from a potentially fatally blow, according to students and parents whose children attend the school.

The attack - minutes after dismissal on a street corner across from the GAR Junior/Senior High School property - was the most brazen and visible manifestation so far of the tension between Dominican students and black students at the school. It put parents and students on edge and compelled school officials and police to dramatically increase security.

Two weeks ago, while working at a public housing project within walking distance of GAR, I bent over to pick up what I thought was a shiny quarter lying on the sidewalk. Nope, not my lucky day. What I swooped up was 10 pesos which were minted in Republica Dominicana. And my first thought was about how the demographics have been blown all to hell.

Oops! I meant, corrected.

I figure not many people can make this claim save for the police and paramedics, but I have and will continue to spent untold hours in all three of the public housing projects that serve as feeders for GAR. Just a few years ago, that number was four.

While it’s not necessarily the fault of the kids who are mostly products of their less than ideal environments, do not listen for a second to anyone who claims that acts of random violence are the fault of teachers, administrators or the school district’s upper management.

While very many of the staff probably deeply care about the general welfare of the students they are entrusted with, there are probably just as many that are relieved they didn’t have to shield somebody else from an incoming machete. While the warring ethic groups seek dominance, the staff might be content to just get home in one piece.

The way I see it, you can’t paint a masterpiece atop a piece of frayed burlap. You can try, but you ought not feel deflated when you fail.

I’ve mentioned how my daughter coached varsity sports at GAR. I told you how she put everything she had into turning a perennial doormat into a competitive squad, something she accomplished before setting off to finish her college years.

And I made mention of the fact that she spent over 1,000 of her own hard-earned dollars on “her girls.” And after she had resigned her position and coached her final game, I also reported how she had exited the gym only to find her car painted over with dog excrement.

But in her case, I found the weapon of choice interesting, because I had told her about how GAR was the dumping ground of the housing projects. I basically told her that you can’t shine excrement. I begged her to reconsider and take the same position at Coughlin, all to no avail.

If she was still banging her head against a wall by coaching there, how hard would she should push her girls, how demanding of them would she be, and how willing would she be to spar with outraged parents over bench time when in the back of her mind comes the swinging blade?

To my Democrat friends, well, you wanted diversity and we got it. We, not you, because I’m quite certain you choose to live nowhere near it.

GAR is the diversity dream on parade. It’s part Bronx, part Queens, part Camden, part Newark, part Philly, part Juvie Hall, part of all parts south of the undefended border and all parts welfare state.

Anywho, based on what I’ve consistently seen and heard, and what I will assuredly continue to see and hear, I’ve concluded that GAR is gone…it’s a lost cause. For all intents and purposes, it has become a big city school in a small city.

Gives a whole new meaning to “Duck & Cover,” doesn’t it?

Later

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sorry, kiddies. You're no Ambrose

When I think back about who I considered to be the local activists or reformers, the people who inspired me to get involved, I think of Ambrose Meletsky, Mary Camp, Nancy Kemp and former controller Steve Flood. Even WILK’s Fred Williams.

In Fred’s case, his accusatory rhetoric and his very targeted invective occasionally crossed the line, and his employer came under fire for it. I imagine that’s why he was dismissed from his position. Then again, while Fred regularly referred to county officials as liars and cheaters and thieves, he seems to have been vindicated of late.

I once saw Ambrose so frustrated at a city council meeting while jawing at council, he punched his open palm with a clenched fist. I imagine he did that rather than lash out in anger. I loved that fiery guy and I always felt like I was in the presence of Moses when he got to interpreting the good book known as the city charter.

Nancy and Mary, ever the ladies they were raised to be, used words like corruption, transparency and accountability. Before Mr. Flood was elected to anything, he was impressive every time I heard him speak at public meetings.

While each of these folks varied in their approaches and their varying abilities to resist becoming too incendiary and too accusatory in public, they fought the battles they felt the need to fight in open, public forums. And fought those battles without employing slander, libel, defamation and all of the other good stuff.

Enter social media gibberish…

Unlike yesterday’s dogged heroes, the would-be activist/reformer of the present day Wilkes-Barre resorts to slander, libel, defamation and all of the other good stuff as if by rote. But let us not forget the baseless allegations, the misrepresentations, the constant grandstanding, the trumped-up charges, the do-it-yourself lawyering and the penchant for playing judge, jury and executioner, and all in one newspaper article, one blog post or one ill-advised social media appearance.

The following appeared in the comment section of the Times Leader early this morning…

kevin dougherty Just now

X.X. XXXXXX raped and killed a young girl in 1990.

I Xed out the name, not the person who actually posted the comment. It has since been removed by the Times Leader upon request.

Even though this comment was beyond ill-advised, scandalous, hurtful and baseless, it’s really not much worse than the usual, the typical swill the would-be local activists post on social media outlets on an almost daily basis. And I never understood how these people who are so easily self-impressed in their budding genius could be so reckless with their colorful commentary.

Every-name-in-book succinctly describes what I’ve heard every city official called during just this past year. Just yesterday I saw that one of the mayor’s underlings was again called a liar. Again.

This morning I read that an activist/blogger is daring current and former city officials to sue those they believe they were slandered by. Another activist/ blogger is accusing the mayor of being a car thief. And the city beat reporter who made them all, all dozen of them famous for a fortnight is leaving town as of tonight. So, without a totally sympathetic ear at a local newspaper, we can expect the already out-of-control and accusatory rhetoric and vitriol to get even more venomous on the Internet.

Since the primary election of 2011, citizen involvement in this city has reached a low so awfully low, it’s now looks like it might come back to haunt those who can not or will not control themselves to any degree.

That noise? No, that’s not an approaching tornado.

That’s Ambrose violently spinning in his grave.

Later

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Down to the last second

As of today, we will return you to your regularly scheduled circumlocution, as New York Football Giants for Dummies takes a well-deserved hiatus.

But first, an NFL fun fact: The NFC East, from which the NFL champion New York Football Giants currently hail, has now claimed 12 Super Bowl trophies. And not a single one of them are prominently displayed anywhere near Philthydumpia.

You green freaks went and got the sexy dog killer. And we, well, we got ourselves a boring pocket quarterback. Sucks to be you.

And to my hapless, but frenetic email friend, when the corner can't jam at the line of scrimmage outside of the hash marks, the safety usually can't come over the top in time to shut down a deep sideline route in a basic Cover 2 defense. Hence, Mario Manningham goes 38 yards down the sideline and the Jints ultimately win.

It ain't rocket science by any measure, but it is far more complicated than the casual one-night-a-year observer might want to believe.

Later

Monday, February 6, 2012

President Clint?

A Zorcong University poll has Clint Eastwood at 51% and Baroke Oblahblah at 48%.

Later

Super Bowl 42 Reprise

I created and uploaded the following video, slideshow or what have you on February 5, 2008. Real quick, go and check the date.

While a couple of the names, faces, cities and teams may have changed, I watched what happened in this dated video play out almost exactly during the past month.

While I pretty much hated the man when I was a sprat growing up in very western Connecticut, my step-father Leo and I made it a habit to jump on a bullet train to NYC and take in many a Giant's game.

Asked many years ago why I so completely loathed the man but grew to absolutely adore his favorite team, I remarked that while we were in NYC, while we were watching the Giants, and while we were bar-hopping post-game in hopes of rubbing elbows with those now-legendary black-and-white Giants, he was not cursing at me, he was not hitting me nor was he being mean to me in any manner.

When Leo and I were off in search of all things New York Football Giants, rarity of rarities, I felt like a son.

Later

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sprawl*Mart's Super Bowl ad

Sure beats "wardrobe malfunctions."

Uh, maybe not. I dunno.

Later

Super Bowl analysis by Markie

First, a few facts courtesy of Sports Illustrated…

• The Giants are trying to become the first team to be outscored during the season and win the Super Bowl.

• The Giants are trying to become the first 9-7 team to win the Super Bowl. The only teams with nine or fewer victories to win the Super Bowl are the 1967 Packers (9-4-1), who played only 14 games, and the 1982 Redskins (8-1), who played only nine games because of the strike.

• The Giants are trying to become the first team to give up 400 points (25 points a game) and win the Super Bowl.

• The Giants are trying to become the first team to lose four games in a row and win the Super Bowl.

Oh, and while it was duly documented that the New York Football Giants had the toughest schedule in the NFL this season, they are trying to become the first team to beat the Patriots twice this season.

Point blank, the Patriots secondary seriously under performs, and their linebackers are not very fleet of foot, evidenced by the 6,500 yards of offense they have allowed this year. And if Eli and his posse of talented, young wide receivers can’t exploit this group, I will be beyond amazed.

Much has been made of the Pats’ superstar TE Rob Gronkowski’s upper ankle sprain. They say he’s out of the walking boot and walking without a limp. But after the first half comes the extended Super Bowl halftime at which point his heavily-taped ankle just might become a bigger issue.

If Gronk is limited at all, it changes New England’s entire “between the hash marks” approach on offense, as well as wreaks havoc with their protection schemes for QB Tom Brady.

Speaking of protecting Brady, the Giants celebrated four-man wrecking crew of a defensive line will be playing on artificial turf for the first time since they demolished the Falcon’s offensive line, on turf, in the wild-card round of the playoffs. Not on the frozen tundra up in Cheese Bay. And not in the mush at San Franfreako. On turf.

Tom Brady will probably look to nullify that pass rush by going no-huddle and pitching plenty of short passes. But as they did during the first game won by the Jints, the Jints will try to keep Brady guessing by disguising their defensive alignments before the snap. Expect a lot of three safety sets, little to no corner blitzes and the younger, speedier linebackers getting plenty of snaps.

I think the Giants are going to dare the Patriots to try to run the ball. But if the Giants front four puts consistent pressure on Brady when he drops back to pass, the Pats will likely switch to their heavy package consisting of two tight ends and/or extra offensive linemen and take the Giants up on that. And that would be preferable, to have the Pats trying to win by way of the ground game.

There is the question of which team has more momentum. The Pats have won ten straight since the shorthanded Giants beat them in their own house. But the Giants have played and won five consecutive do-or-die games against the best that the NFL has to offer, including the reigning Super Bowl champs.

Meanwhile, the Patriots looked like world beaters against QBs Tim Tebow and Joe Flacco, neither of which will ever be confused with Dan Marino. And the Patriots won the AFC championship game when the Ravens’ kicker missed a point blank range field goal.

In addition, Tom Brady had arguably his worst game of the season during that Ravens game, against a Ravens defense that disguises it’s defenses and gets after the passer. Sound familiar?

I think the Patriots win the first half. And I think they lose the second half.

I also think the Patriots are going to secretly curse the name of Victor Cruz come tomorrow.

If the Giants avoid turnovers, and if the Giants can keep the penalties to a minimum, we win by double digits...thirty-something to twenty-something.

Because of the Janet Jackson booby incident, this year’s halftime performer, Madonna, promised that no clothing malfunctions will take place when she performs at halftime. This, of course, is coming from a woman who usually performs in her underwear.

Later

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Super Bowl 42...The Drive

Yup!

The Patriots were 18-0 and working on 19-0 when Eli foiled their plans.

It'll go worse for the Pats come tomorrow night.

Later

Chase Blackburn: "Never give up"

My son, my recently departed brother and I have been wondering aloud for years why this monster of a guy never became a mainstay in recent New York Football Giants lore.

Finally, he has become a mainstay, an all-important cog in the machine.

Giants' Blackburn takes long route from his couch to the Super Bowl

Chase Blackburn always had a bag packed. Just because the New York Giants no longer wanted him didn't mean no other team would. For three months, he kept the suitcase by the door.

It's no secret that the NFL is a cold blooded business. Camouflaged by fun and glory, the chill can be hard to recognize. But players come and go, even as they believe their careers are just beginning to bloom. The great Paul Brown once referred to professional football players as "interchangeable drill bits."

That makes Blackburn's story all the more rare and inspiring. Players do get second chances. Those considered extremely skilled get more than one. Not many, though, rise from their couches in December to become the starting middle linebacker on a Super Bowl team, as Blackburn has this season.

Always around the ball, don't be shocked if he turns in a pick-six sometime tomorrow night.

Later

40 years later

Forty years later, and they're still wondering whether toxic chemicals being dumped into the soil by the tens of thousands of gallons is a bad thing.

N.Y. town still baffled by teens' mysterious tics

According to a 1999 report from the EPA, about 30,000 gallons of trichloroethylene (TCE), a potentially harmful chemical used primarily as a cleaning solvent, and 1 ton of cyanide crystals spilled from ruptured tank cars.

The report said the railroad company, Lehigh Valley Railroad, tried to get rid of chemical odors at the site by using 1,000,000 gallons of water to flush the chemical into trenches, for four months beginning in March 1971.

The EPA and the New York Department of Health found TCE in 50 wells east or southeast of the site when they ran tests between 1990 and 1994. They installed water treatment systems at 37 of the wells where the levels of TCE were above the maximum standard.

Frack on!

Later

Friday, February 3, 2012

Jints Disease

I used to suffer from this particular disease. But there came a time when I packed it all up and gave it all away to my brother and my son. That is, except for the photo-copy of Lawrence Taylor's paystub.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Later

Jon McNaughton's...

...The Forgotten Man.

Water, guns and ammo?

Later

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Local stuff or: nice try and all

Some breaking (gush!) news…

State Ethics Commission clears Leighton

The state Ethics Commission has cleared Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton of any misconduct related to the repeated hiring of his children, finding the city's former human resources director hired all interns "without input or direction from the mayor," according to a letter obtained by The Citizens' Voice.

To the overzealous folks who fancy themselves as revolutionaries in this city, this is nothing more than proof that the State Ethics Commission is corrupt, too.

Trust me. You see, you either bow to the so-called activists, or you too are guilty as charged of corruption.

Okay, so what's next? Any new right-to-know leads?

This following moonbattery still confounds me in it’s sheer idiocy.

Woman says city stole her car

WILKES-BARRE – A city woman has filed legal paperwork charging Mayor Tom Leighton and Leo A. Glodzik with theft of a motor vehicle.

Senta Boyer, with assistance from Mark Robbins, the Forty Fort man who has stridently criticized Leighton, Glodzik and the city police department at several city council meetings, said her car was towed and LAG’s pricing made it impossible for her to get it back.

Follow me here: Somebody is driving around town with no registration and no insurance. And after the W-B police stop the illegal vehicle and then have it towed and impounded, somebody can not even afford to reclaim said vehicle.

The question is, if somebody could reclaim the vehicle, what next? More driving around town with an illegal vehicle? And if and when “somebody” goes and T-bones you at an intersection, from a financial standpoint, you, not somebody else is in a world of hurt.

It seems to me that both the WBPD and LAG Towing are protecting the general public from those who would put us at risk by skirting whatever law it takes to get from here to there.

Home Rule: The First 30 Days/First Tax Increase

Let’s see, our deposed county commissioners levied tax increase after tax increase after tax increase until the voting public, horrified and pushed over the edge by the corruption scandals, rose up and replaced the entire system of government with a council/manager form of governance.

And while we count down the days until our newly-hired county manager from California takes the reigns, the recently-seated county council decided to raise property taxes rather than furlough too many county employees.

I heard and read the various reasons for the surprising flip-flop from council. And while there was an iota of sense that accompanied their reasoning, in my mind, they weaseled out and buckled under to union pressure.

Yes, they need continuity and financial accountability while they and the new manager sit down together and brainstorm, but when confronted with the choice of making county residents pay or county employees pay, they chose to tag the residents.

So, with Home Rule, what’s changed?

Later

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Grandrodents on WBRE

Looky here. Three of my five grandrodents got their pics on WBRE...

BOTW: CFD

G'nite

VW: The Dog Strikes Back

As has become tradition with the advent of this electronic ether network, the Super Bowl ads are showing up ahead of the big game.

Later

Henry Hynoski pics

These are the pics, the subject of a recent newspaper story, that the local hometown folks sent to New York Giants fullback, Henry Hynoski, who played his high school football at Southern Columbia.

In case you're wondering, if you've made the trip from the Wilkes-Barre area to Knoebel's Grove, you drove right past the Southern Columbia campus in the waning moments of the trip to the park.

Henry was a monster in high school, and a regular on the Friday night television football recaps. He played his college ball at Pitt, and was very highly regarded as a pro prospect until an injury set him back.

The Giants signed him before the start of this season, and he was named the starting fullback, the lead blocker for Giants running backs Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs.

The pics were graciously provided by Lynn Snyder of Coal Township.

Go Henry!

Go JInts!

Later