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Friday, June 19, 2009

Dummy of the Week

First Supreme Court nominee Sonia Maria Sotomayor fractures an ankle. According to press reports at the time, she did it all on her own. Now it has come to light that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has a fractured elbow that will require surgery later this week.

And just as it had in the case of Sotomayor, the press quickly offered a cover story wherein Hillary did it all on her own.

I put it to you, America; is president Barack Obama a woman beater? Have we elected ourselves an Abuser-in-Chief?

You can call all of this a coincidence. You can question my questionable sanity for even daring to go there. But if you look really, really, really close at the recently published pictures of our newest diva, Michelle Obama, it’s patently obvious that she has a black eye.

Maybe not.

Scranton’s Kurt Shotko is suing the City of Wilkes-Barre again???

What’s up? Did his unemployment run out? Or was he denied welfare benefits? What, the demonstration industry just isn’t what it used to be? The economy has bankrupted even the “drum circles” bunch?

Seems to me as if the Scranton cops have been shooting the wrong residents. Kurt may not be running around naked with a knife, but he is certainly a “302“ case.


Ghost law enforcement?

Say it ain’t so, kiddies. Say it ain’t so.

I-Team Investigation: Sheriff's Work Schedule Questioned

WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY- Where's the Luzerne County Sheriff's Chief Deputy been? Three independent sources claim Charles Guarnieri hasn't been in the office for four weeks. Reached by phone on Monday, Sheriff Michael Savokinas said Guarnieri was, in fact, on vacation for two-and-a-half to three weeks. "It was time that was coming to him," Savokinas said.

Payroll records dated April 15th through June 9th obtained by WBRE Eyewitness News reflect Guarnieri never clocked any vacation time while he was supposedly away from the office, as the I-TEAM was told by Sheriff Savokinas. Luzerne County Commissioners Maryanne Petrilla (D) and Stephen Urban (R) said there's no reason the payroll records would not properly reflect time taken off by any employee. Commissioner Urban called it "fraud."

Complete story at

I’ve been employed since I was 14-years-old, full-time since I was 16. And never once did the payroll department at any of the companies I have worked for goof my paycheck, let alone, goof it so completely. Never.

So, I’m left to assume one of two things with this story. Either something coming from the sheriff’s department smells funny, or the county payroll people need to pay a lot more attention to detail.

And, since I have personally compiled payrolls more times than I care to remember during my management days, since compiling a payroll amounts to little more than entering the data you received from management, from time cards or whatever the opted-for procedure, I’m thinking we’ve got yet another certifiable scandal on our hands.

So what else is new?

The latest from Governor Ed Rendell is his proposed “temporary” wage tax increase from 3.07% to 3.57%.

This is exactly why governors and state legislators need to be spendthrifts to some degree and maintain rainy day funds. We all know that with a cyclical economy comes periods of economic prosperity as well as financially hurtful downturns. In other words, they need not spend every penny that hit’s the coffers, the pennies that haven’t arrived yet, as well as the pennies that are yet to be minted. They need to work to prevent themselves from ever being put in such dire straights.

With that said, when a tax-and-tax-and-spend-and-spend politician comes bearing a “temporary” tax increase, you have to admire the unmitigated gall of the thing. He's got nuts of stone. Er, marble. I dunno.

Anyway, I would like to award Governor Ed Rendell the first ever Cirumlocution for Dummies’ “Dummy of the Week” award.

And if you honestly believe that proposed temporary tax increase to be of a temporary nature, consider yourself a co-recipient of this award.

Congrats to all! You have my deepest possible sympathies.

As the legions of people who are hopelessly addicted to their various and sundry texting devices are so frequently known to type…WTF?

Well, finally…finally, the new River Common at Wilkes-Barre will be unveiled to the residents of the Wyoming Valley today at 4 o‘clock.

Kayak Dude and I will be launching the U.S.S. Dude from the new boat launch just across the way at Nesbitt Park right around 3:30 PM. Yeah, we’ll be bobbing around out their just off shore while all of the politicos gather on the shoreline at Millennium Circle.

This is a big day for Wilkes-Barre, the Wyoming Valley, and I suspect, an even bigger day for downtown Wilkes-Barre. Over the past five years, hundreds of millions have been invested in the downtown, with most having been invested in new buildings, new amenities, the creation of parking, as well as infrastructure improvements.

And while we’ve been impatiently watching all of the construction and whatnot, while we’ve all noticed the serious up tick in activity and foot traffic down there, the politicos, the engineers and the urban planners kept pointing to this project as the one that would tie all of the improvements together and spur even more development in the downtown, as well as along the river’s edge.

While excited for our brightening prospects as a city, while I prepare once more to get on out there in the middle of the river, I am beyond thankful that some of us managed to deep six Congressman Paul Kanjorski’s proposed inflatable dam folly. What we need is a cleaner free-flowing river, not a dammed cesspool ringed by the orange staining that accompanies acid mine drainage.

But rather than continue to bash the congressman on this pivotal day for Wilkes-Barre, I encourage him to do what he said he would do during the inflatable dam brouhaha, I encourage him, I implore him to secure the federal funding necessary to eliminate the sewage outflow pollution from flowing into the river during prolonged periods of precipitation. With oodles and oodles and oodles of stimulus funding going to seemingly every group and every project the country over, now is the time. Now is the time to start the river’s big comeback.

A river flowing through a downtown setting is an amenity that should be enjoyed by all. But a clean, free-flowing river flowing through a downtown setting is an amenity that could be cherished by all.

Uncle Paul, clean our river.

As far as the paddling thing goes on Saturday, making his river paddling premiere will be 3-½-year-old Jeremy Cour, my grandson. Thanks to the generosity of Kayak Dude, my grandsons Gage, Zach and now Jeremy have all been treated to a day on the river, as was my nephew Mason in 2007. And so far, we’re three-for-three because all three of the rodents that have dared to go want to go again. As a matter of fact, Zach had a fit yesterday when he learned his brother Jeremy was going this year and not himself.

All of which suggests that we either need a bigger boat (virtually impossible), or another boat with which to flank the Iowa Class U.S.S. Dude.

Anyway, I hope to see some of you out there.

From the e-mail inbox:


A simple question for your green friend. Which is more environmentally sound? To maintain a structure in good working order by the judicious use of pesticides, or have it decay, be torn down and buried in a land fill, and then replaced by a new structure made from virgin wood. The ignorance in this country can be astounding.


Your instincts are dead-on.

Very, very recently, it was decided that I would engage in a bit of termite troubleshooting at a home near Hazleton. This home could not be dealt with chemically, because it has a well directly under it, plus you cannot gain access to almost all of the understructure. As a result, it has a very recently installed monitoring/baiting system installed along it’s exterior perimeter.

The home was originally a cabin, and it had many additions tacked onto it over the years. It has no basement, only an inaccessible foot-deep void under the home, except for one of the add-ons, which has a crawl space about two and a half feet high directly underneath.

This room had reproductive swarmers flying all about, as well as damage to a wall in an adjacent bathroom. From what you could see with the naked eye, the damage or infestation didn’t appear to be too bad.

But after I dropped into the flooded crawl space through a one-by-two opening created by a contractor in a closet, it took me, literally, a minute to learn that this structure was under serious assault, and in serious structural trouble.

On top of all four block walls, the header board was gone, eaten. The sill plates no longer existed, consumed. The main support beam running the length of the addition, the only support, was lying in the mud and water in tiny, tiny little half-eaten pieces. And the termites had even done considerable damage to the floor joists and the sub-flooring. In other words, there was little or nothing remaining. And little or nothing holding the floor above me in place. And since contained within that room was plenty of bulky, heavy-looking furniture, I got the hell out of there. Inspection over. No sense being crushed, of course.

After the contractor consulted with the rightfully horrified homeowner, it was decided that the entire addition needed to be removed. That’s right, excepting for the concrete footer and the 3-foot high block foundation, the entire thing was dismantled and hauled off to a landfill. And during my last visit, after it had been hauled away, the contractor and I discussed termite exclusionary tactics whereas rebuilding the thing from the ground up was concerned.

As I said, there was no available chemical treatment options in this case. But the prescient point is, when termites find their way into your home, when they are systematically working to destroy the single biggest investment you will likely make, your focus quickly shifts from trying to save the earth to doing whatever it takes to save your home. And as I have personally witnessed many, many times over, even the most fervent, the most dedicated of the tree huggers will immediately put their environmental concerns aside when they need my very specialized expertise.

All of which reminds me of the vitriolic non-smoking crazies when I was managing restaurants. Check this hypocrisy, check this phony baloney nonsense that typifies these anti-smoking zealots.

A lady and two kids wander into the restaurant on a relatively quiet Tuesday night. With the restaurant half-full, the lady pretty much has her pick of available seating. “Table for three?” And then, I inquire of her, “smoking or non,” and her face immediately tenses up as her gums begin to flap.

Here we go!!!

Here comes the obligatory lecture.

Here comes her overbearingly annoying zealotry, her vitriolic and incendiary anti-smoking diatribe in 500 words or less.

Here it comes!!!

Blah, blah, effing blah!!!

Oh…but on Saturday night, with a dozen or so deep waiting line, with an estimated wait for a table to be fifteen, perhaps twenty-five minutes, then that same anti-smoking zealot with the flapping gums and the same two kids has a different response when queried, “smoking or non?”

On this night, she dares not step up onto her self-crafted soapbox. On this night, she spares us the unwanted lectures. On this night, she is rational, short-winded…almost, dare I say, pleasant.

On a busy Saturday night, with the waiting line blocking her path to dinner, she says, “Doesn’t matter. Whatever’s faster.”

As with the termites, those with the supposedly unbending allegiances to the cause quickly abandon the cause when circumstances dictate. Or, you could say, they are all full of excrement.

Stay in touch.

Can anyone guess who I sent this e-mail to?

In all honesty, your feigned incredulity is getting really, really, really old.

Brenda? Brenda who?

Tomorrow, perhaps the next day, you’ll be on to your next supposedly cutting edge topic, the next best breaking news on which to latch your sorry-assed self, your next completely calculated, feigned outrage purposely crafted to promote your phony baloney image as some kind of hard-hitting activist-for-life. Another aging reject from the 1960s who always huffs and puffs and blows his own flower-adorned horn.

You and I know you’re nothing of the sort. What you and I both know is that you’re a shameless self-promoter, a self-centered egotist, a shallow little shell of an emasculated man who never came even close to living up to either his father’s or his uncle’s very high standards. You’re clawing and scratching to hang on to whatever it was that you honestly thought you had at one time. You’re hopelessly adrift, right where you always were.

Today it’s Brenda’s turn. A week from now, you’ll be off on some other equally weak and equally tangential pursuit of more attention being paid to…well, to you. It’s never about anyone or anything else. It’s always about you...the Great (edited).

Brenda? A week from now, it’ll be Brenda who?

You’re a hapless user of other people‘s misfortune, other people's sorrow and other people's fragile lives.

You are to journalism what Brenda Williams was to self-restraint.

Markie in Nord End

Clue: It was not Sue Henry.



Anonymous said...

ya gotta stop pickin on poor little stevey. all he got left inn his aged body is his over sized ego.

D.B. Echo said...

Hey, I saw you on the TV set! With Kayak Dude! WHILE KANJORSKI WAS BEING INTERVIEWED ON WBRE! Did you plan that? least I'm pretty sure it was you.

Me: Hey, I know that guy in the kayak!
My mom: How can you tell?
Me: I recognize the moustache. And the sunglasses.