Opinions need not be feared nor suppressed.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The invite-only GSC

“An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens.”--Thomas Jefferson

Yesterday afternoon, the following news blurb appeared on the Times Leader Web Site:

Study Commission meeting to air on the Internet

P.J. Best Wednesday said tonight's meeting of the Luzerne County Government Study Commission will be broadcast live on the Internet. The first Web cast of the commission's meetings will air at 7 p.m. tonight.

Best said the meeting can be seen by going to http://luzernehomerule.org tonight during the meeting. He said viewers can submit comments at the official Study Commission Website at http://luzernegsc.org.

Unfortunately, I got busy with other stuff and forgot all about the live web cast. My bad.

So the Times Leader did report on the GSC meeting this morning, but it made nary a mention of the live broadcast under the very last paragraph:

Skrep: Next charter should be ‘foolproof’

The commission voted 7-2 to reject a motion to have P.J. Best Web cast future meetings on the commission Web site. Concerns expressed by two members included it being “a distraction.”

Stop the presses!

A distraction? Openness in government at any and all levels is too distracting for these people? Turn off the lights and lock the door on your way out. This invite-only GSC party has just about run it’s horribly foreshortened course.

One disturbing incident does not make for a trend. But two incidents of an identical nature do constitute a trend.

First, under the watchful eye of Commission Chairman Jim Haggerty, the GSC voted to ignore the Sunshine Laws in this state. A decision that was vociferously and very publicly protested by commission member Walter Griffith, as well as advised against by a then newly hired GSC solicitor after the vote was taken.

Now, despite the fact that the GSC voted 9-0 at the July 15 meeting to authorize the implementation of the Web casts by P.J. Best, last night, the issue was retabled and voted against by a 7-2 majority. That July 15 meeting, by the way, went forward minus one recuperating GSC Chairman, Jim Haggerty.

As originally envisioned, last night’s proposed and agreed upon streaming video presentation was called a “test,” meaning it would be done and then the results of which would be examined. The quality, the number of people who bothered to view it, that sort of stuff.

But after the reengaged chairman objected to the Web cast, he went on to say that the word “test” had caused some confusion in that, the nine commission members who voted in favor of the test never fully understood that to mean it would be available to the prying eyes of the general public last night.

And with the GSC chairman back in the fold, one member went as far as to tell P.J. Best in no uncertain terms that the streaming video would not happen as previously agreed upon. At that point, Best said the video would be on the Internet as was agreed upon. And yet another member warned him, “This is a bridge you don’t want to burn.”

Undaunted, Best finally learned that due to a member of the commission being away on vacation, neither Best nor the commission members in attendance at last night’s meeting had access to Wyoming Seminary’s secure network for the purposes of the Internet broadcast.

Well, then. Wasn’t that convenient for the folks that steadfastly refuse to err on the side of transparency?

When pressed for an explanation for the sudden resistance to the promised Web cast, a commission member said that snippets of the video could be captured and taken out of context by anyone with access to the Internet.

Wow! Now we add paranoia to this most troubling of mixes.

And I have also come to learn that still another member asked why a frequent attendee of the GSC meetings was videotaping the proceedings. What was her intention? What did she intend to do with the video?

I’ll take a stab at this one. Um, share it with other taxpayers? Duh!

The point of the previous circumlocution?

Well, it’s become patently obvious that, much like the troubled and inefficient government it was charged to reinvent, the GSC prefers to operate as far away from the glare of the general public as humanly possible. Whenever possible, this commission has opted to keep things as muddy and clouded as possible. It apparently prefers to be impenetrable rather than transparent.

And in my opinion, by mimicking the purposeful muddiness that is the modus operandi of our elected officials at the county level, our GSC, as currently put together, once again proves that “open government” will forever be categorized as oxymoronic in this corruption-riddled, backwards county of ours.

You either choose to err on the side of transparency, or you choose to be as opaque as possible. And so far, this flailing commission has demonstrated a preference for flying under the radar. What? They are going to give the people what they want, they just don’t want the people watching how it gets done?

That should trouble each and every one of us.

So what’s next? So as to not come off as being as completely secretive as the career politicians they criticized to get themselves elected to these positions, the GSC will table a motion to hire a makeup artist, a hair dresser and a set designer?

Skrep, I think they need another 50 grand or so. Oh, and how about some of that Cheese Whiz your buddy sold to the prison commissary at twice the normal markup?

When asked for a comment, Walter Griffith said, “It’s just another way to stifle the free flow of information to the people of this county.”

And judging by what was and what was not reported in today’s newspapers, I’d say it worked perfectly. It worked just as envisioned.

In response to my e-mail inquiring as to his reaction to the abrupt decision to
prevent the scheduled Web cast from going forward as planned, P.J. Best responded with, “I'm disappointed.”

And what’s up with the continued legalese coming from the chairman?

A 5-4 vote is now regarded as a “no” vote for lack of a quorum? That’s bullspit. It’s a 6-vote quorum, or a failed vote? A 5-4 vote denotes a lack of a plurality? That’s not-so-clever lawyer speak for my-way-or-the-highway.

Really? Try floating that malarkey by the U.S. Supreme Court where practically every pressing issue is decided by a 5-4 vote.

So, in conclusion, a question.

What’s worse? The problem, or the supposed solution?

Chew on that one for a while.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The post-party party

“I'm pretty tired of this guy (Ciaverella) and Conahan.”--David Yonki

Fear not, Dave. According to source who spoke on condition of anonymity, both of our disgraced former judges are expected to be sentenced and incarcerated before the 2016 presidential election.

Hang in there.

Tomorrow, July 30, 2009, is my marriage anniversary. I call it a marriage anniversary because we did not have a wedding when first we were joined at the hip. Our “wedding” amounted to a visit to the local justice of the peace after much coercion by my grandmother. If she actually owned a shotgun, I’m sure it would have made the short trip along with us.

Anyway, tomorrow’s anniversary will be of the milestone category, since it will be our 30th anniversary. 30 freaking years. Can you imagine? In this day and age? Plus, we started dating before I owned my own razor, so this is more accurately put…our 35th anniversary.

If we were operating like the rest of society seems to have been operating during those 30 years, I suppose I’d be having trouble remembering the maiden name of my first wife, since I’d had so many other ex-wives in between the first marriage and the latest. Perhaps I’d even have separate sets of kids from different failed marriages. Maybe I’d have snuffed it a long time ago, and happily so. Or been snuffed out without my expressed permission by some conniving black widow of a girl just out of the marital revolving door.

But, as things still stand, I’ve got but one Wifey, one set of three kids, a growing gaggle of grandkids and, other than when Wifey cracked my Fabulous Poodles LP with an oil lamp, no complaints.

I think the things I lacked the most during the turbulent formative years were stability and predictability of any sort. But those two things are probably the hallmarks of what can only be called an enduring love. After all these many long years, she’s still stuck with the likes of me.

Proof that she’s tougher than she looks.

I plucked this belated comment from the electronic heap:

Gort has left a new comment on your post "Stuff":

I stopped listening to WILK (except for Sue on occasion) months ago so when you started your usual diatribe I tuned out of this post when you published it. I reread it tonight 07/28 and I'm shocked the block party is a no go. I thought you had the ear of the Mayor and could overcome such bullshit.

Sorry to have bored you. But much like many local bloggers make a habit of snatching idiocy from the pages of the local newspapers, I snatch idiocy from the local radio airwaves.

And as I have said before, that came about when it became obvious that two of the local talk show hosts, Lynn and Corbett, would rather hang up on me rather than engage me in a spirited, sometimes heated discourse. And as I have taunted them with before, they cannot hang up on me in this forum. They can misconstrue and misrepresent the facts over there, and I can have back at them over here.

Unlike the vast majority of my fellow Americans, I do not tune out what I do not wholeheartedly agree with. And I think the wide disparity of opinion on one hot subject displayed on WILK as the day progresses is fairly interesting to follow. Whatever the issue at hand may be, the morning hosts and regular callers see it one way. Sue’s regular callers read it another way. And then Corbett’s regular callers are apt to spin it a whole other way.

As a longtime blogger, I can understand why any of us would lean towards boycotting the morning and afternoon hosts, since they have gone well out of their way to denigrate our electronic efforts over the years. And their on-air treatment of local bloggers has been nothing short of openly hostile with the lone exception being when former radio people turned bloggers call in.

Sill though, here in NEPA, only on WILK can a new $24 million riverfront amenity spark early morning apprehension, mid-morning contentment and then late afternoon rage. It can be fascinating. Likewise, it can be thoroughly annoying. But as I mentioned before, it beats predictably programmed rock classics. And it sure as hell beats listening to sports talk radio all day long.

Funny that you mentioned the block party when you did. Last night I was summoned to a sparsely attended “block party” meeting. This would be the first and last such meeting. During the preceding years, this would have been the third or fourth planning meeting held at this late of a date. And planning meetings have always been parties unto themselves, replete with alcohol, foodstuffs and lots of people in attendance.
But last night, it was four “party elders” all staring at me and reading me the riot act…No…Block…Party. And the reasons were the same, too hard, too much work, we’re too old, not enough support--bunk that I feel could be overcome with the unrelenting drafting of the newer, younger neighbors, the next generation if you will.

But no. None of that will be done. And I am alone in my belief that the show should go on. And I even asked one of the “elders” why she was barking at me. What? Did I do something wrong by offering doable alternatives? Should I be shouted down because I alone am not running out of steam just yet?
The thing is, to my dismay, there will be no Thompson Street Block Party this year. And to be painfully honest, I’m still not sure why it has to be that way. I’m still certain that whatever is afoot is not being plainly stated for public consumption.

And the mayor has absolutely nothing to do with this. I want to make that perfectly clear. Whether I have his ear or not, his involvement with the block party typically begins when the party begins. Although, our current mayor did make it a habit to donate prizes for the affair. Not city property, mind you. He donated out of his own pocket.
The city grants our permit request, cleans the street, and provides steel garbage barrels, traffic barriers and large garbage backs. And that’s about it. Our party was always our creation, our show, ours to do with as we wished within reason.

Only during the 2002 event did we have any problem with the city after it/he denied our permit request for completely political reasons, i.e., me and my blogging exploits which were garnering a lot of attention at the time. But we held the party anyway, publicly dared the then mayor to raid it, many city employees dropped by to express their support and the press rushed on up here to see what would happen.

I’ll never forget that day. It was 3:59, and with the flip of a fader, up comes the Rolling Stones and the Times Leader’s Jolyn Resnick looking for an interview with none other than Wilkes-Barre‘s biggest political troublemaker, one Mark Cour. Oh, boyNeedless to say, that party did not go exactly as planned. But what it did demonstrate was the unbreakable spirit on this street at that time. The mayor said “no party” and we said party on! And party we did.

Anywho, I’m not angry about the long-running institution coming to an end. All things must pass, correct? But I was, and still am annoyed about how it was (wasn’t) handled. I’m still not grasping the gist of the problem. And I’m still confused as to why I was being treated as some sort of militant simply because I disagreed with the basic premise that it’s time had come.

As I said, my entire family and some friends will be here on the second Saturday in August, as mandated by tradition. Despite recent events, we’ll still have plenty of hot and cold foods, a barrel of beer on ice, a music library at our disposal, games for the kids, a PiƱata. the pool and I strongly suspect, some late night Texas hold ‘em poker (or whatever the heck they call it) going down.

So, if I don’t manage to bore you people to death before then, feel free to make an appearance free-of-charge other than a mandatory carry-in foodstuff or munchies. (Hint: Bugles.)

You know, like, RSVP.

And with that, I’m off to do some more pre-draft scouting for the fast-approaching fantasy football season. For the first time ever, I have the first pick in the upcoming draft. Decisions, decisions.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Scare tactics

No matter where I go, what I watch or what I read, I keep running into a particular phrase over and over again. I first encountered it in print after it was uttered by a high-ranking congressman, a democrat naturally. And then it kept coming up on those cable news outlets. It even eked out of the president’s mouth. And now it has finally trickled down to the local blog scene.

It seems that if you are opposed to, or suspicious of any minute detail of Barack Oblahblah’s expedited health care reform plan, you are quickly accused of dealing in “scare tactics.” Apparently, the sheeple are trying to tell us that, if passed, this plan will be wonderful, next to perfect and we’ll all live happy, more productive and much cheaper lives. Just like that. And no objections will be allowed. Compliance is mandatory.

So shut up and pay your escalating taxes!

And no “scare tactics” should be tolerated from those us of who seem to have this painfully annoying habit of providing for ourselves. Yes, during our ongoing revolution, the rugged individuals among us must be exposed as the liars, and cheaters, and scoundrels and the more fortunate that they obviously are. You’re either with the emasculated, or you’re against them. So get to snipping right now!

Well, I really hate to have to rain on the misdirected vilification parade, but it’s obvious that most or all of you devote leftists need to catch up on some necessary homework.

First of all, your fearless leader is from the old Marxist school, the School that teaches the Cloward-Piven strategy of orchestrated crisis, which was introduced to young radicals during the 1960s by Columbia University professors, Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven. The same radical environment that also motivated Saul Alinsky to pen Rules for Radicals. Remember him, one of the fearless leader’s longtime associates? Remember? Guilt by association, you said after receiving the new talking points from on high?

The strategy of forcing political change through orchestrated crisis. The "Cloward-Piven Strategy" seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse.

Sub-prime mortgages, anyone? ACORN, anyone? Expanded welfare roles, anyone? Open borders, anyone? The ACLU, anyone? Organized labor, anyone? The war on poverty, anyone? The bottomless pit that is education, anyone? Cap and trade, anyone? One-hour health care reform, anyone? Global warming, anyone? Democrats? Anybody?

Hey, didn’t the fearless leader go to Columbia, too? Gee, I wonder. I wonder how many times he shared a roach clip with those two revolutionaries? Or is that guilt by association, also?

Now, when you consider that not only the fearless leader himself, but most of his higher-profile friends and associates as well as his elected colleagues are relentless in their efforts to paint capitalists and capitalism as unchecked evil that needs to be combated for the greater good of the people, the Cloward-Piven strategy of effecting a peaceful revolution is not so easily dismissed when you are forced kicking and screaming to recall that Barack Oblahblah’s then incoming Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, stated outright his desire to make political hay with the ongoing travails of the U.S. and global economy:

"You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."

So, what Emanuel is suggesting is that uncertainty and fear would work to the administration’s advantage while it rapidly undertakes the dismantling and remaking of the U.S. in every possible sector of the economy. While it, redistributes the wealth, if you will. If you can work the populace into an agitated frenzy by making every problem into an impending, exploding crisis, you can then accomplish radical change at breathtaking speeds.

Put another way, you can then jam ill-conceived and ill-thought-out change down the throats of the unknowing, unarguably ignorant, usually docile public. Yes, once you work the populace into a frenzy, you can capitalize upon the uncertainty and fear you did your level best to create and perpetuate. You can win the political day by way of purposely manipulated, dare I say…scare tactics?

As far as accusing the more rational and sensible within our ranks of using scare tactics as a way of defeating this future health care boondoggle in the making is concerned, the way I’m seeing it, most of the more vociferous arguments against the creation of Blue Oblahblah Cross are coming from within the ranks of the democratic party. Yet, the folks in favor of the plan, the closet Marxists, the easily-led, the terminally partisan and those that are ill-prepared to do for themselves, are attempting to blame that other political party for the entrenched resistance?

Sorry, girlies, but that’s disingenuousness bordering on flat-out prevarication. If you want me to not chuckle and chortle at your expense, you’re just going to have to do better than that. And get back to doing the necessary homework again so as to not sound so fatally gullible and so easily duped.

Scare tactics? You’re serious?

The undeniable truth of the matter is, the democratic party holds the patent on scare tactics. The democrats are to employing scare tactics what Babe Ruth was to womanizing between hitting tape measure home runs. Every problem becomes an emergency. Every problem is a fast-growing crisis. Everything borders on being a big, fat lie.

Scare tactics, my skinny ass!

So, in the future, please, please, I implore you, please try not to sound so completely intellectually meaningless.

Good luck with that.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

I'll hire yer kin, iffin' y'all hire mine

As some of you already know, I’ve been writing on the internet longer than most people have been shaving. Or snorting corrosives and the like. Glue. Whatever. No matter, though. Sure, this ersatz site is still in it’s demented infancy, but there was that other locale of mine, Wilkes-Barre Online, that still contains eight-plus years worth of my acerbic and intemperate musings. If nothing else, I am persistent. Annoyingly so, so they tell me, so keep on hoping that a blazing meteor crashes right through my forehead.

And being anything but a democrat in a county where non-democrats are about as plentiful as are cures for cancer, while I’m kind of well-known, I am certainly far from popular. I may be the “blogfather” in this area, but I’m not getting many invites to weddings or any such thing. In this neck of the woods, you’d probably have to pay enormous sums of money to most of the other bloggers to get them to even link to anything I penned. If you visited blog after blog after blog written by the locals, you’d be hard-pressed to find a single link to, or a mention made of this site. You'd swear I have leprosy or something equally fun.

The thing I still fail to understand is why I get creamed via e-mail, yet, the comments left on this site are mostly positive. Downright nice at times. It must be that some are shying away from a very public scrap with this most-hated of authors. And as anyone even remotely familiar with my checkered past will tell you, I never shy away from a fight...penned, verbal or otherwise. Never.

And follow me very closely here, I wear that like an oversized internet badge of honor, being the pariah that I obviously am. I guess the long and short of it is, there aren’t many people I haven’t rubbed wrong at some point or another over the years. My bad, too bad. Eff them.

And since plenty of people have written unkind things about me on the many short-lived, now-defunct blogs over the years, I have one of those Google alert thingies set up that alerts me whenever any mention is made of my name on the dreaded internet. Mind you, this alert system is about as fast as a one-legged turtle on downers, but it does eventually accomplish what it’s supposed to. And I really enjoy reading all of those unkind words. In fact, it cracks me up. Fat, bald, bitter, stupid, unemployed…bring it on. I do love it.

So I awoke today to find an alert in the e-mail inbox. Rutro! Somebody got to hacking on Mark Cour again. What else is new? This ought to be fun. And lo-and-behold, one of these big time journalists, one of these Pulitzer Prize-winning types not only linked to my madness, he went and said kind things about, at least, part of it. Needless to say, I was stunned. And I think this is proof that even the big time journalists have an off-day from time to time.

So, somehow, my usual madness garnered a mention at Talking Politics with Tony Phyrillas.

Are you better off today than you were six months ago?

“It get [sic] much better. It's one of the best commentaries I've read anywhere about the current state of affairs in this country.”

Tony, Tony, Tony! What were you thinking, giving me kudos and all? Don’t you realize that you will now be vilified in this area much like George W. Bush was before you? You made mention of me, and you had the unmitigated audacity to not belittle me? Wow! That’s not going to go over very well in these electronic parts. You are mud, pal. Mud. Not only will your judgment be questioned, so will your sanity.

Anyway, off-day, drunk or otherwise, for one fleeting nanosecond, somebody out there liked me.
Good lord, I have tears in all four of my eyes right this second.
WILK’s Sue Henry had this e-mail contest going on in which the participants were supposed to submit to her their made-up country music song titles that would best exemplify the never-ending political corruption in this sad, sad county of ours. The winner, who she announced yesterday, won tickets to a big country music show. I think, tickets to a Toby Keith concert.


Being the foolish bugger that I am, and being the only certifiably lonesome redneck in these here twisted parts, I figured I ought to take a stab at it.

From the e-mail outbox:

Trust me, the very last thing I want to do is take in a country music concert. I'd rather be sentenced to a subsidiary of hell for eternity and share a smallish cubicle in perpetuity with one of your morning hosts. I'd prefer to be legally blind and forward-deployed to Afghanistan than that. Give me pedal-distorted, whiz-bang guitars rumbling the neighborhood loose, or give me death!

After growing up with thought-provoking stuff such as Bowie's "Width of a Circle," Zappa's "Brown shirts don't make it" or Cooper's "Halo of Flies," I have absolutely no interest in listening to country bumpkins whining aloud about how some city-slicker stole the gun rack or the rebel flag from their pickup truck's cab, their lost love of a second cousin, or the night the local honky tonk burned down after the mechanical cow burst into flames on ladies night.

With that said, good or bad, award-winning or not, this is my country music song title that, I think, perfectly encapsulates most of the goings-on in Luzerne County...I'll hire yer kin, iffin' y'all hire mine.


Markie in Nord End

And now, it’s world premiere time:

Ever since Junior got run over by a John Deere

He’s been as fickle in the brain as a neutered steer

And since the old sawmill closed back in 1999

Ain’t nobody gonna hire this useless chucklehead of mine

So I called me up the local gentry

I says, ya’ll gotta hire Junior as a courthouse sentry

And bein’ that I’m the local schoolhouse director

He said, just for appearances sake

I'll hire yer kin, iffin' y'all hire mine.

I dunno. I’m thinking an acoustic arpeggio to kick things off, some annoying steel guitar as the lead, a three-chord progression (neck chords like B, A, G), some bearded guy wearing overalls blowing into an empty moonshine jug, a two-piece drum kit and a very pedestrian bass line. You know, so stripped-down simple, even a legendary country music star could do it.

Oh yeah, one more thing:

Opal, you hot lil’ bitch!!! Get me a goll danged beer, woman!!!

Sez me, y’all.


PS--Since Sue Henry is leading the long-overdue crusade to reclaim our “lost language,” I offer the following:

Quit nekkin’ on me, you freakin’ fems!

Friday, July 24, 2009

"I don't care how they do it, I want it!!!"

Is it just me being mentally incontinent again, or are the Atlanta Braves suddenly showing signs of life?

From FOX News.com:

Obama was asked about Gates' arrest at the end of a nationally televised news conference on health care Wednesday night and began his response by saying Gates was a friend and he didn't have all the facts.

"But I think it's fair to say, No. 1, any of us would be pretty angry," Obama said. "No. 2, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home. And No. 3 — what I think we know separate and apart from this incident — is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately, and that's just a fact."--Barack Oblahblah


Perhaps one of the president’s many handlers should saunter on down to the local Radio Shack and purchase a desktop police scanner, and then program the various police department frequencies into the thing and plop it down on his desk. Think of it as part of the president’s on-going education.

Besides, at the fast-increasing rate this profligate-spender-in-chief is spending nonexistent monies, what’s another hundred bucks going down the drain?

Now we’re vilifying doctors, too? Jeez, is no one safe from this bitter man’s unfair, unearned wrath? Boy, with this boob, if it’s got money, it’s a target for abuse. We now toil away in a capitalist system (hopefully) that is obviously despised by our anti-capitalist apparatchik-in-chief. How is that supposed to work?

Oh, please excuse my momentary lapse of clarity. Last I checked, less and less and less of us are actually working. Meanwhile, our attention seems to be focused on everything but the lack of work for Americans.

Sound like a plan?

"Right now, doctors a lot of times are forced to make decisions based on the fee payment schedule that's out there. ... The doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, 'You know what? I make a lot more money if I take this kid's tonsils out,'" Obama told a prime-time news conference. The president added: "Now, that may be the right thing to do, but I'd rather have that doctor making those decisions just based on whether you really need your kid's tonsils out or whether it might make more sense just to change; maybe they have allergies. Maybe they have something else that would make a difference."--Barack Oblahblah

Who knew? I say we band together and file a class action lawsuit against the scheming, profiteering physicians who wrongfully took our precious tonsils away from us. I demand satisfaction.

I feel violated. I am, I am…(sniffling)…a victim.

And as a victim, much like damn near everyone else, I think I deserve a monthly stipend.

I have a rather pointed question for the administration of the City of Wilkes-Barre. It goes as follows…

Where it is written that Latinos are exempted from securing building permits before undertaking massive renovations of aged homes? And as a follow-up question, why is it that city employees traveling here, there and seemingly everywhere on a daily basis never seem to notice said ‘illegal’ renovations as they are thundering on?

Are the zoning laws and requirements currently on the books Caucasian-specific? Or is it that they only need to be adhered to by blacks and whites? Greens?

Down on the corner, while all of the various and sundry city employees travel back and forth all day long, no one notices sidewalks being laid? Nobody noticed the concrete abutment to the home’s field stone foundation being hand-mixed on the front sidewalk and then poured? Not a soul thought anything of the gas-powered auger and how it’s use violates the letter of the “call before you trench, auger, excavate, drill or…” requirements that are law in Pennsylvania? The lack of a clearly posted building permit was not a red flag for anyone?

And this scene is recreated almost every day in some corner of this Nord End neighborhood. It is, in a word, rampant. Construction sans the posted permit seems to go unnoticed, depending on who’s doing the constructing.

What’s the scoop on all of that?

Even though it was completely unintentional, I think WILK’s Steve Corbett perfectly summed up the position of the leftists as far as this so-called health care reform plan is concerned. As he and a caller were agreeing that we all need another swelled government teat from which to hang, he said, and I quote:

“I don’t care how they do it, I want it!!!”

Yes, the three exclamations were completely necessary, since this guy seems to be burning at a much higher emotional temperature than us normal folk do. When compared to his inflammatory super nova act, we’re akin to over-watered plotted plants. You know, sane. Rational.

Truth is, there ain’t enough cocaine the entire world over to get me to hyperventilating the way he does. Ah, no matter. In due time, all super novas eventually burn out and turn into astronomical scars. So there is hope.

Anyway, isn’t that roughly what Barack Oblahblah has been saying to Congress? I don’t care how you do it, I want it! And I want it done in far less time than it takes to build a plastic model kit. I want it done so freaking fast, there won’t be enough time for anyone to digest it and then reflexively object to it. Now, now, now! Do it now, while they’re still busy doing summer! Now, I tell you!

With that sort of modus operandi--unabashed recklessness--you just know if it’s passed as is, it’s fraught with economic and socioeconomic perils. See cliff, jump off cliff.

What-effing-ever. 95% of us have health coverage, so why not turn the entire thing on it’s pointy little head for the ultimately destructive purposes of benefiting the 5% (potential democrat voters) that do not.

Corbett had me chuckling at his mental vacuity while discussing the future of manned space flight in general, and a manned mission to Mars in particular. Yeah, he’s against spending money on the exploration of space (go figure), while there still are so many politicized slackers still in need of government-supplied freebies. No Tang. No duct tape. Only government-supplied freebies.

And, predictably, being the easily-led “progressive” he purports to be, he engaged in a bit of groupthink (politically expedient babble) when he told a caller, “We are in the process of destroying this planet!”

Oh, okay. Since this place is doomed, why go and destroy another planet. Got it. I swear, I swear I’ve heard that somewhere before. The end is near. Why bother, we’re all going to be dead in a fortnight unless somebody takes what little is left of our fast-dwindling earnings. Keep burning fossil fuels, drink heavily and fornicate with everything that moves. Why not when this gig is just about up?

Pay up or die. That’s what it amounts to, this scam. Eat barbecued grass, drink grass juice, live under a grass roof, wear a grass skirt, drive your gas-powered kart, or die an excruciating death as Mother Earth does likewise. Bunk, I think they’d call it, iffin’ they weren’t all so easily duped.
In my less than learned opinion, this guy is a victim of thought apraxia.

And under the new Blue Oblahblah Cross plan, at his advanced age, the BOC review board will deem his needed care too prohibitively expensive to be economically justifiable. And as a result, he will be given a brightly-colored lollipop, a cassette of old hippie anthems and be immediately transported to a remote timeworn facility where the soon-to-be dying will go to die.

Yes, they'll sit in a circle indian-style, burn some incense, hold hands, think only the purest of thoughts as mandated by law and wonder how this could happen to them. They'll openly yearn for the days of Marcus Welby, M.D., and consider throwing themselves in front of a grass-powered bus.

Hey, you wanted a European-styled health care system. And if you’re not really, really careful, you just might get one.

Bummer, kiddies.


Yo, Mike,

If you’re reading this, know that I played the “Cindy M**** Alive!” cassette through, and it is a freaking hoot. And according to my dated scribbling on the cassette‘s now ratty housing, we (You, George and I) recorded it on January 1, 1976. Oh, and it includes a cameo appearance by my mom.

If and when you make it up here, we have to spin it together. Seriously, how often do grown men (myself excluded) get to listen to themselves while left to their own electronic devices when they were wild and crazy (myself included) teenagers?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Be prepared

It was interesting that, when I asked of the noisiest of the Barack Oblahblah loyalists, “Yes we can, what?”, not a single one of them came forward and explained how nonstop tumult and upheaval amounts to a cohesive plan. Not a one. The undeniable fact is, they are reluctant to discuss hope and change these days. Although, I can't say I blame them for laying low after they got so completely snookered by the inexperienced snake oil salesman from, supposedly, Chicago. Nah, rather than go there, they’ll stick to beating up on Sarah Palin.

Sexist, anyone?

As far as Joe Biden’s (knucklehead) ill-advised crack about underestimating the depth of the economic malaise goes, I don’t think this administration underestimated the economy as much as they underestimated their clear lack of expertise. Put bluntly, our stumbling and fumbling but never bumbling president is to experience what Rosie O’Donnell is to beauty.
And this clueless and partisan-minded administration made a major, major blunder in tailoring the $787 billion stimulus package so that it would deliver maximum benefits during an election year (2010) rather than right now while rampant joblessness is on the rise. But have no fear, kiddies. Barack Oblahblah recently announced a $12 billion dollar program to help community colleges prepare unemployed people for new jobs.

See? There’s nothing to worry about if you are suddenly added to the swelling ranks of the unemployed. You can collect unemployment and wallow away at a community college preparing for jobs that do not exist, or jobs that won’t exist by the time you not-so-proudly earn your Oblahblah Corps certificate.

Yeah, you can claim one of them newfangled green jobs (?) that have yet to be created. You can help to process that alternative energy source (?) that has yet to be found. You can help to operate one of those gigantic atmosphere scrubbers (?) up North Pole way. You can work on the ice shelf reconstruction project. Or work on the emergency levee system that needs (?) to be installed around Manhattan. Or stick your head in the oven and blow out the pilot light.

Very many are saying of late, Oh, we’re America. We’ll bounce back. We always do.

And I think it’s obvious that our charlatan-in-chief is of this lazy mindset that amounts to little more than wishful thinking. And while we all impatiently wait, he’s busily turning this country upside down and inside out. So I ask again? How do you re-inflate a flat tire? By redesigning it?

Jobs? The economy? Ah, don’t sweat it. All of that malarkey should kick in right before the mid-term elections. Wink, wink. Meanwhile, the stimulus dollars are going to no-bid contracts in the more well-off states. And on a very local note, to homeless shelters. And the all-knowing great one, the charlatan-in-chief, wants control over Medicare, the health care industry, the automobile industry, the banking industry, the banking industry’s payroll, our fragile energy grid as well as our capacity to cheaply generate power. And his suddenly subservient secretary of state is off apologizing to the world for our contribution to climate change.

Jobs? Money? Retirement? Calm down, kiddies. We’re America. We’ll bounce back. We always do, right?

Unlike those Oblahblah diehards who can’t or won’t admit to their egregious mistake that was voting for a nobody with a blank slate of a resume, I have no confidence in the 535 plus-two jackasses currently stinking up Washington, nor am I hopefully, nervously optimistic. As for myself, I’m sticking with the Boy Scout training while seemingly all around me seriously slips or outright fails. Yes sir, as of June 1st, I have hunkered down. Good or bad, whatever becomes of our next to nonexistent economy, I will be as prepared as I possibly can be. Basically, I’m not counting on the big comeback.
With that said, you may have noticed that the Democrats are becoming alarmed with those mid-term election growing closer and closer while Americans in significant numbers are now maxing out of their unemployment benefits. And now they are talking about crafting a second stimulus package, with this one being larger than the first handout to supporters of the socialist faith. It’s not the economy, stupid! It’s about retaining the reigns of power. In other words, more clueless fiddling while Amerika burns.

As for my hunkering down (the exact opposite of what this flagging economy needs), it has been sudden and it has been complete.

Sin taxes? Fu>k you! No more beer. Seriously, next to none. And thanks to that new policy, I have very quickly gone from a hefty 210 pounds down to svelte 191 pounds. Well, that, no beer, and a reinvigorated workout regimen.

Sin taxes? Fu>k you! Gone are the pricey Newport 100s. And in their place have come the far less costly generic brands, and in lesser numbers than I would have thought possible. You want to tax me and redistribute the money to someone who did not earn it? Fu>k you!

And then we have the crash debt reduction program, which has become almost my new obsession. As of today, my total outstanding debt stands at $1,410. That’s it. That’s all of it. And that will be reduced in a matter of days. As part of the crash debt reduction program, I have been working a heck of a lot more than I would normally have liked (hence, no writing on these pages) and I’ve also taken on a second gig. I’ll not call it a second job, because it’s not a job. It’s a commitment that allows me to come and go as I wish, it allows me to get the job done without supervision, and it pays rather well. A gig, man.
Drastic, you say? Nope. I don’t see it that way. Consider it smart. With the hapless charlatans in charge, and with things slipping from their grasp at an increasingly alarming rate, consider it smart of myself to nervously hope for the best of times while doggedly preparing for the worst of times. You know, be prepared.

And what’s the worst that can come from it, anyway? I’m drinking and smoking a whole lot less. I’m shedding pounds faster than Oblahblah’s polling numbers are sinking. I’ll very soon be debt-free and cash rich. And all that it took to make all of this possible was having a clueless charlatan in the oval office.

And while the Oblahblah apologists will most likely point to my example as proof that his feebleminded plan is working, I say it’s proof positive that nothing he promised you some months back has been delivered. And if you go back and take a peek at all of his multitudinous amounts of high-minded campaign promises, he has clearly turned his back on almost all of them. He’s clueless, he’s a charlatan, and he’s a partisan-minded prevaricator.

In conclusion, you can pretend that everything is going to work itself out in the end. Yes, despite our overmatched president, we are what‘s left of America and maybe we will bounce back. We always do, right? But just in case we do not bounce back anytime soon as everyone seems to be counting on, is it not better to be prepared?
Answer me that.
Pics: Daughter Ebon, nephew Mason, grandrodents Zachary and Jeremy.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Hey KD, while it may have taken a few years, Gage Andrew finally went and grew into the T-shirt he had forgotten all about having tucked into one of his dresser drawers. Could a "No Dam" movement be very far behind in Knoxville? You never know.

If you know how to properly operate the obituaries, you already know I’m still running loose out here somewhere. Yeah, I know. It sucks. Sorry about that. And if operating those aforementioned obituaries is beyond your limited capabilities, turn on WRKC in the morning and have a guy operate them for you.

The thing is, I’ve just been too flat-out sidetracked to find the time to write anything. I’ve been working longer hours of late. I’ve had graduation parties and a birthday party to attend. And after a long day at work, I am certainly not interested in posting a short post just to say I posted something. I’m not about that.

Let’s see here, what’s the latest? Um, Sarah Palin dared to speak up again, so, predictably, she was repeatedly whacked in the head like an unwanted mole. The press pounced on her, talk radio chimed in, the bloggers quickly followed suit, and the end result is that they all still fear her.

Smear her whichever which way you feel you need to, but the lady does have her fans. And being a dreaded republican and even worse yet…a fiscal conservative, she is likely to receive the very same ravaging every single time she speaks. You figure it out. A drug-addled pederast is hailed as an iconic hero for the ages, while some conservative-looking lady from Alaska is pillaged and vilified.

Here’s a quick tip for you: If Kevin Lynn starts his morning show by following the lead of the New York Times and goes smearing a right-sider, you already know what the likeminded bloggers are going to do later on in the day. Pile on, kiddies. It’s become that utterly predictable. Redundant. Boring. But purposeful.

Get this, a “Michelle from Harveys Lake” called Steve Corbett and claimed there was no parking available at the new boat launch at Nesbitt Park. Yeah, it seems that ever since the new River Common was unveiled, Steve and his regular listeners have been doing their level best to paint it as an unsafe and unsuitable place.

Correctly, Steve asked of Michelle how she knew there was no parking near the launch, and she said her friends and the like told her so. And what that amounts to is typical talk radio fodder. Gee, I don’t really have a firm grasp of the facts, but I’m gonna call in and pretend as if I do. That’s talk radio in a neat, concise nutshell. The ill-informed making ill-advised calls.

So, just to set things straight, I sent the briefest of e-mails to Corbett:

You are correct. Anyone can call and say anything, no matter how untrue it may be. In fact, they usually do.

Markie in Nord End

And I included two pictures, one of the boat launch and one of the parking area. Oh, and as always, I included my cell phone number. You see, no one is going to suggest that I am some kind of spineless blogger hiding behind any mask. He knows who I am, and he knows how to contact me. So there!

So then he came back from a commercial break and mentioned that he had seen the pictures disputing Michelle’s erroneous comments. And then he got all weird and sophomoric. Juvenile, in fact. He said that perhaps I had sent the pictures as part of some “agenda.” Huh? An agenda? What in tarnation is that? All I did was attempt to make him aware that Michelle had led him astray, very far from the facts.

And he kept saying I was a “regular…listener.” Over and over and over again and to the point of absurdity, he went out of his way to repeat that I was a “regular…listener” of his. A juvenile dick he is. A "regular...listener."

Here’s the scoop, Steve.

I work a lot, and I usually work all alone in dark, dank spaces. And talk radio keeps me company all day long, as well as (mis)informed. When I roll out of bed in the morning, I turn on the imported radio. And when I’m done with the computer at some point every evening, I click the imported thing off. And since Northeastern Pennsylvania has exactly one talk radio station, I happen to listen to WILK. Go figure! I follow the morning show, Sue’s show, the big guy after noon, your inane drivel as well as that wildly entertaining ranting that follows your daily shoutfest. I listen when substitute hosts are behind the microphone, as well as when WILK’s regular programming is pre-empted by the network.

With all of that said, I’d love to hear much more from Joe Thomas. The guy is just funny. He’s too entertaining to be given so little air time.

You see Steve, it’s either talk radio, or even more of Radar Love, Stairway to Heaven and Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. And I am not interested in listening to the same old songs played at the same times each and every day. Hence, talk radio. Hence, WILK. Hence, your sorry act.

And as to myself being a regular listener to your banality that somehow passes as logical discourse, pal…don’t fu>king flatter yourself. Don’t make that mistake. You’re just another mad hatter on my pocket radio. A know-it-all loudmouth totally intolerant of dissenting opinions. And nothing more.
And please, I beg of you, can you cool it with the dis, dat, dem and dere routine? You make it sound as if NEPA is one huge trailer park.

Ruth’s Place, the 24/7 women’s homeless shelter relocated to directly behind this modest adobe has been open for about a month now, and so far it’s been really quiet. Although, the place has been locked down tight as if they were conducting a perpetual WWII bombing raid blackout drill.
But during the past week, the blackout drill restrictions seemed to have been eased just a tad, and we’ve seen these women walking over to the new store for coffees and the like. Personally, the jury is still out. And it needs to be noted that these women staying there look mostly harmless, but that doesn’t count for too much when chromosomes are at odds with each other.

We shall see about all of that.

Getting back to talk radio, all I’ve heard since RiverFest is that pit bulls are running loose all over the place, and that the skateboarders have wasted no time in damaging the new River Common.

First of all, most of these lawless skateboarders are clearly adults, so can we stop calling for the construction of a skate park “for the kids?” These clueless slackers are adults who should be gainfully employed and not wandering around aimlessly with their skateboards in tow. They are not kids. They are not children. And since they’ve taken it upon themselves to ignore the posted ban on skateboards, they are proving themselves to be very selective whereas obeying laws and the like is concerned.

And so I put it to you, should we drop a quick half million and create yet another idiot magnet? What? The police don’t have enough to do? They also need a skate park to have to baby-sit? I’m telling you, if you build that park, it’ll be a regular on the police scanner.

Rather than offering these lawless types an amenity from which they can generate more work for the police, why not offer them some job training? Why not teach them to operate a drive-thru window, as I strongly suspect that‘s about all that they are capable of?

Anywho, while I’m out biking the riverfront, I will call police headquarters (not 911) each and every time I encounter any of these hapless slackers. I will do everything I can to cause them grief. And if I encounter both skateboarders and loose pit bulls, I will then position myself behind the skaters and noisily taunt the loose dogs, hoping to get lucky. Yep, as they say, I’ll try to kill two birds with one stone. Dog eats slacker. Cop shoots dog. Gee, I like simplicity!

There will not be a 22nd annual Thompson Street Block Party. I think. Yes, from what I’m not hearing, the longest running such affair in this city will come to an abrupt end. I guess. After forcing the issue, I was told it’s just too much for some people to put on anymore.

The chief complaint seems to be the tear-down at the annual party’s conclusion. As per the city-supplied permit, the street has to be reopened at midnight or somewhere thereabouts. So after a long day of partying, drinking and the like, we have to remove the entire party from the middle of the street in the wee hours of the morning. Yes, it does suck. But it’s not that bad. At least, not for me and mine.

My ingenious proposal was to move it from the street to the empty lot situated next to this modest adobe. The thinking was that, excepting for a few of the pricier type things, we could just crash at midnight and tear the party down the next day. Makes’ perfect sense, right? And that proposal did not even receive the answer it was promised. Nothing. Not a word. No feedback. No nothing.

Something unbeknownst to me is afoot, but no one will give me a straight answer either way. It’s as if they don’t want to talk about it. And so, with that, a tradition here in the Nord End comes to it’s sad, sad ending. And while I figured this day might come one day much further down the road, I never thought it would be done in such an annoying fashion.

So, on the second Saturday in August, I guess there will not be a block party going down on this street. But, undaunted, there will be one humdinger of a party going on at this modest adobe. So, if you thought you were invited to the big party, consider yourself invited to the scaled-down affair. The show, some sort of show, will go on. Party on!!!

I am thoroughly annoyed.

So…in the opinion of the newly-hired solicitor of the Home Rule Study Commission, Walter Griffith was right to insist that the government study commission advertise according to the state’s Sunshine Act.

See that? Putting Walter aside (as some of his study mates have tried to do), the Government Study Commission is batting .000.

I say again, err on the side of transparency.

From the e-mail inbox:

If you could jam with any musicians you wanted, who would they be?


Here’s where I ended up. This was not based on technical prowess or anything, although that certainly plays into it. I just think these guys were or still are top-freaking-notch.

Vocals: Ian Gillian of Deep Purple and Jesus Christ Superstar fame. Although, if we’re going to be drinking too much while jamming, I want Axl Rose from Guns ‘n’ Roses.

Lead Guitar: Mick Ronson (Bowie, Dylan, Ian Hunter, solo)

Rythum Guitar: Alex Lifeson of Rush.

Bass: Cliff Burton (Metallica)

Drums: Terri Bozzio of Zappa and Missing Persons fame.

Keyboards: Billy Preston (Beatles, Zappa, solo, etc., etc.). Although, if we’re going to be drinking too much while jamming, no keys will be required. Just bail monies.

Stay in touch.


Friday, July 3, 2009


Three day weekend, baby. I’m happier than a welfare recipient drinking beer for breakfast.

Independence day in Amerika (formerly America)!!! Whoop it up!

Beer for breakfast, eh. I’m giving myself some good ideas here. Beer for breakfast, illegal fireworks by lunch and the overcrowded emergency room by suppertime. Ah, I don’t care what those snooping safety interlopers have to say about much of anything. Having ten fingers is probably seriously overrated.

From the reader’s comments:

kayak Dude said...

Dear Mark:

I did not utter a curse word. I was simply pointing out one of the multiple objects I saw floating by the side of my kayak. I believe I may have dry-heaved at the end of one of my utterances. My future campaign advisor told me to write this.

Dude, this is Politics 101 going on here. Don’t make the mistake of having the cover-up generating more of a controversy than the original offense. Simply admit to your horrible impropriety and move on. Cool it with the foolhardy finger-wagging: “I did not have sex with that tree.”

And personally, I am greatly offended by the utterances of foul language in my presence. Fother-mucking offended, I say. Fargin’ ice hole!

Although, Congressman Dude does has a ring to it, doesn’t it? Methinks you’d make a good legislator. Methinks you would be to passing solid, common sense legislation what Nancy Pelosi is to sticking pins through voodoo dolls. Methinks you would be to passing solid, common sense legislation what Harry Reid is to being embarrassingly bereft of depth. Methinks you would be to passing solid, common sense legislation what Barack Oblahblah is to sounding like he actually knows what he’s going on and on and on about. Methinks you would be to passing solid, common sense legislation what Barney Frank is to sucking…

Hey! If you do run for national office and pull off the big upset, can I be your press secretary? C’mon, man. I’d be good at it. They (Anne & Carol) tell me I have a knack for this stuff. Unbeknownst to me throughout almost the entirety of my tortured life, they also tell me I came from a long line of published writers, as well as a blue-freckled (Yep, blue freckles) Hollywood moviemaker. And since I once slept through a public speaking class in college, I’ve even got credentials. I’d likely win you plenty of friends, as well as legions of devoted fans. Maybe even a few million votes.

From the office of one Congressman Dude…

On the reckless Spender-in-chief:

“It‘s time to hit the panic button, kiddies. We’ve got a smooth-talking charlatan, a clueless wonder sitting atop an equally clueless filibuster-proof majority.”

On trillion dollar deficits:

“We’re spending our grandchildren’s futures away? Oh, come on! They would have blown it all on fake boobies and ugly tattoos anyway.”

On racial disharmony:

“Since when is it illegal to dislike anyone? What? If I choose not to hang out with you or yours, I’m somehow guilty as charged by you and yours?”

On political correctness:

“Do not judge others, or you will be judged very, very harshly.”

On Al Franken:

“Great! Now we’ve got an unqualified, mean-spirited and vitriolic partisan
lunatic in the senate. He‘ll fit right in.”

On baseball:

“Which of the following teams suck the least: The Philthydumpia Phillies, the New York Mets, the Florida Marlins, or the Atlanta Braves?”

On men:

“Men have it down to a science. They huff, they puff, they punch each other in the face and then they go drinking. Perfection in motion.”

On women:

“You meant chicks, right?”

On renewable energies:

“Wean ourselves off of oil? Which easily-led jackass said that? Wean ourselves off of oil? And replace it with what, pickled beet juice? Rendered pork fat? Processed urine?”

On the fast-sinking mood of the voters:

“If the previous presidential election was an overreaction to the eight years of Bush, as I have said; then the coming mid-term election will result in a necessary correction of that overreaction. If Bush was indeed the evil incarnate the opposition made him out to be, he still stands head and shoulders above this smug pretender.”

On welfare reform:

“Sit home, drink beer and play X-box? Where do I sign up, at the local democrat party headquarters?”

On national health care:

“The Fedrule Govmint is going to do for Americans what Americans ought to be doing for themselves? Open warm mouth, insert enormous teat. The end is near.”

On gay rights:

“I shudder to use “gay” and “right” in the same sentence.”

On abortion:

“Women should have the right to do as they see fit with their bodies. Besides, everybody’s doing it these days. Murder, that is.”

On foreign policy:

“What good is having a big stick if you’re afraid to swing the damn thing? Swing batter, swing!”

On Canada:

“Fu>k Canada.”

On France:

“Fu>k them, too.”

On Islamic terrorism:

“Nuke Mecca.”

On pop culture:

“Nuke Hollywood.”

On the Sargasso Sea:

“Um, I ain’t previously heard of that one. But why take a chance? Nuke it.”

Dude, future congressman, future leader of men, consider that my impromptu resume.

After listening to the hysterical ranting and raving about pit bulls for three straight days on Steve Corbett’s WILK daily shout fest, I’m at the point where I want to bite the first dog I come across. And repeatedly so!

I’m not going to reprint any of this malarkey. If you’re interested, go and read it for yourself.

City wants to stop the dog attacks

Plural? Dog attacks? That's totally irresponsible. Sensationalism at it's worst.


First of all, the killing of Fluffy was an isolated incident, and one incident does not make a trend, or a full-blown canine-driven crime wave. Although, there is certainly no shortage of irresponsible dog owners living within this city, or any other city for that matter. Sadly, the unfortunate incident in question could be repeated as early as today.

As an avid bicyclist, I’d had more than my fair share of run-ins with loose dogs, including those ugly, little devils…pit bulls. As a matter of fact, I once wrote about a pit bull that attacked my now deceased dog, Bandit, while Bandit and I were out for an early evening walk in search of a six-pack. Being a disgraced former Boy Scout, I’m always prepared. So while Bandit got chewed on just a tad, the pit bull fared much, much worse. I handled it. No need for no police, no need for no press, and no need for Steve Corbett using the incident as yet another weak excuse to go after Mayor Tom Leighton all over again.

Admittedly, I’m younger than some, and in much better physical shape than most people my age. I don’t feel nearly as vulnerable or defenseless as some do. So I do not intend to mock anyone who feels vulnerable, or who may chose to engage the police when potentially dangerous dogs are running loose in our neighborhoods. If it were my call to make, I’d have my police officers shooting practically every loose dog they encountered.

What? That was your pet we just shot? Bummer, dude. You should have complied with the leash laws, now shouldn‘t you have?

The thing is, just because you want to own animals, that doesn’t mean they should become my problem. Not even for a second. Not even once. Put up a fence, buy a strong leash, comply with the laws and ordinances on the books, or don’t go crying to the cops when I skewer your dog with my scuba knife. In an urban environment such as this one, with everybody practically rubbing elbows, the entire program suffers when the residents mistakenly think they can pick and choose between the laws and ordinances on the books. Put simply, everyone has got to get with the program.

When we still had the trailer park escapees living down on the corner, they repeatedly allowed their two rotweillers (spelling) to run loose, which resulted in many close calls for too many of the residents of this street.

So one day I approached the tattooed and pierced tough guy in the muscle shirt and told him that the next time those two dogs made it as far as my front porch again, I would kill them. No cops. No press. No Steve Corbett using a dog attack as part of his bigger anti-Leighton agenda. Nope. See dog, kill dog. Simple. And as Allah only knows, I like simplicity.

So the tough guy reacted by telling me he’d call the cops if I dared to go after his dogs. And how convoluted was that? Laughing at him, I asked him what he thought the cops would do if they arrived on scene and found snarling dogs that outweighed them running loose? Um, they’d more than likely shoot the bastards, you dummy! Think things through, dunce! And have all of that needless and garish-looking accessorizing removed from your body. You look like one of those tented circus freaks I saw as a sprat of eight back in Stratford, Connecticut.

Getting back to Mr. Negativity himself, Corbett not-so-slyly hinted to his dimwitted listeners that perhaps both River Common and Kirby Park were not the places to be on the 4th of July with hordes of dangerous pit bulls running loose all over Wilkes-Barre. To listen to him tell it, perhaps that event is not properly secured from the wild dogs marauding through the streets. Perhaps we’d be putting our children’s lives in jeopardy by venturing anywhere near all of that.

And then it happened. Then some panicked-sounding woman called in and claimed she was not going to the fireworks display while all of these dogs are “being allowed” to run free. Mission accomplished, Steve. Great job. You managed to tarnish what will be a family-friendly event. You managed to taint Wilkes-Barre’s image all over again. You got in one more deliberate and totally unfair swipe at Tom Leighton. And on talk radio no less. Great work, Steve. You are a true tactician when Wilkes-Barre needs no more piling on.

Stupidly, Corbett asked why there was no comment from the mayor at that point. He also asked the same of our city council folk. And he even went on to ask why there was no official comment from the Chamber of Commerce. I fail to see what role Todd Vonderheid has in any animal enforcement issues, so I’m left to assume that Corbett is an equal opportunity defamer of anyone he feels like defaming at any given time. Why didn’t Larry Newman subdue those dogs with his bare hands?

The Chamber of Commerce? What the fu>k is wrong with that guy? There’s no need to speculate as he has so clearly done for the past couple of days. But still, what the fu>k is wrong with that guy? Okay, I’ll speculate. One too many chromosomes? Seriously, I honestly thought he was going to up and demand that Tom Leighton get on the blower to Harrisburg and beg Governor Ed Rendell to mobilize the Pennsylvania National Guard.

And all over a couple of loose dogs.

I missed the original call, but I did listen in on the scanner as the police were trying to track the two offending pit bulls. Now, I don’t know too many people who are capable of chasing down, tackling and collaring pit bulls that don’t want to be caught, and in traffic no less. But apparently Steve Corbett thinks we’ve all had this sort of training down here in Wilkes-Barre, since he kept asking why nothing was done about these pit bulls. But if that person with those specialized skills does in fact live among us, I want to meet him and gently stroke his red cape. And I want my picture taken with his main squeeze, Lois Lane. Hubba, freakin’ hubba.

As for one of Steve’s many questions (since he so frequently goes on the air without doing what could only be called necessary homework), yes, Wilkes-Barre does have an animal enforcement officer. That officer works the dayshift, and I’m not exactly sure if he is on call during the other hours of the day. But being that overtime is correctly and necessarily avoided like the bubonic plague in this city, I seriously doubt it.

You see, Steve, here in Wilkes-Barre, our administration does not spend recklessly for the purposes of securing votes. Here in Wilkes-Barre, unlike in your (pretend) Nirvana of a city, we don’t run up outstanding debts at dizzying rates. Here in Wilkes-Barre, we’re trying not to increase the yearly budget outlays that must be devoted to satisfying the debt service. Here in Wilkes-Barre, we’re not headed for a financial catastrophe as the folks in Scranton are. Here in Wilkes-Barre, we’re trying to practice financial responsibility.

And there’s a fine balancing act that goes on when budgetary concerns must be tweaked in the name of public safety. In a perfect world such as Scranton, we’d have ourselves six or eight animal enforcement shock troopers all working seventy hours a week. Standing around, mostly. In a perfect world like Scranton, we’d have two police officers stationed at every street corner, with a third positioned in the middle of every block.

But in that perfect urban setting, in Scranton, with politically-rewarding excessive spending comes excessive debt. And here in Wilkes-Barre, we prefer to have a future, while all that Scranton has is the present. And when that growing debt service finally puts Scranton out of it’s financial misery, your self-serving mayor will have jumped ship long before the bills came due. Count on that.

So while in your less than learned opinion it seems that Wilkes-Barre has gone to the dogs, we need no advice or supervision from a member of a city that is already in the financial doghouse, and it’s future promises plenty of financial fleas with which to deal. You see, financially speaking, Wilkes-Barre is the cute pooch to Scranton’s mangy mongrel. So keep your flea-bag nonsense to yourself, you half-breed tail-wagger.

And in keeping with Sue Henry’s dogged pursuit of our long lost language, as my dearly departed grandma used to always say to her oft-whining twenty-seven grandchildren, “Ah, kwitcherbelyacin!”

Sez me,

Markie in Nord End

From the illustrious Twanger:


Ozone created by electric cars now killing millions in the seventh largest country in the world, Mexifornia, formerly known as California .

White minorities still trying to have English recognized as Mexifornia's third language.

Spotted Owl plague threatens northwestern United States crops and livestock.

Baby conceived naturally! Scientists stumped...

Couple petitions court to reinstate heterosexual marriage.

Iran still closed off; physicists estimate it will take at least 10 more years before radioactivity decreases to safe levels.

France pleads for global help after being taken over by Liechtenstein. No other country comes forward to help the beleaguered nation!

Castro finally dies at age 112; Cuban cigars can now be imported legally, but President Chelsea Clinton has banned all smoking.

George Z. Bush says he will run for President in 2036.

Postal Service raises price of first class stamp to $17.89 and reduces mail delivery to Wednesdays only.

85-year $75.8 billion study: Diet and exercise is the key to weight loss.

Average weight of Americans drops to 250 lbs.

Global cooling blamed for citrus crop failure for third consecutive year In Mexifornia and Floruba.
Japanese scientists have created a camera with such a fast shutter speed they now can photograph a woman with her mouth shut.

Abortion clinics now available in every High School in United States.

Senate still blocking drilling in ANWR even though gas is selling for 4532 Pesos per liter and gas stations are only open on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Massachusetts executes last remaining conservative.

Supreme Court rules punishment of criminals violates their civil rights.

Average height of NBA players is now nine feet, seven inches.

New federal law requires that all nail clippers, screwdrivers, fly swatters and rolled-up newspapers must be registered by January 2030.

IRS sets lowest tax rate at 75 percent.

Floruba voters still having trouble with voting machines.

PS--To the e-mailer who nastily said I’m too long-winded, I don’t blog, per se. I don’t cut, copy, paste and then add a paragraph of my own thoughts to the mix. I do not Google subjects so as to pretend I know everything. Good or bad, talented or not, I write.

So there!