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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.



Anonymous said...


Try 102.3 the mountain.

Might make your days in the dark more enjoyable.

Anonymous said...

Ya gotta love Corbett. He yammers on about how he wanted to move back here. He always leaves out the fact that he got his ass shit canned in California. If he didn't he would still be there.

D.B. Echo said...

Mark, I'm sad to hear about the demise of the Block Party. This was a genuine piece of Americana, something that had once been downright common but now has become all-too-rare. I was glad to see you and your neighbors carrying on the tradition, and I was glad to be a small part of it last year.

And the more sinister conspiracy-minded parts of my mind make me wonder if maybe there are reasons why you're not getting a response on your permit request. (Errr, is it someone official who is not responding to you, or is it your neighbors?) Perhaps you have stepped on the wrong toes, or not stepped on the right ones, or failed to grease certain palms. Whatever the case, it's a sad situation.

Did you happen to be at a certain local supermarket this morning? I stopped in there to pick up some kitten food and spotted the distinctively-colored truck of a certain business in the parking lot. Every time I see one of those I wonder if it is you.

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Gort said...

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.

Tom Carten said...

From "Things At King's," the best blog ever to eminate from one of the many segments which make up the many-segmented North Franklin Street:

>>>If you know how to properly operate the obituaries, you already know I’m still running loose out here somewhere. 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.
--Mark Cour<<<

Mark is the self-described “Blogfather” of the local scene, perhaps the earliest and most influential of the political voices using up electrons in his attempts to move the city forward. Some agree; others do not. But it was nice of him to mention me.

I do this radio program aimed at the visually impaired and homebound; we read the newspaper’s local items, columns of interest and, of course, the obituaries (also known as the Irish Sports Page). I think: “I’d rather be looked at than viewed,” or, “There lies the atheist in the funeral parlor, all dressed up with no place to go.”

A passing in the family always brings up issues. It’s not that issues are created by the passing, but simply they were a layer or two underneath and with the passing they have come to the surface – for better or worse. Sometimes they are good: memories and stories we can now share. But they might be old resentments.

Now that Mom, Pop, Sis or Bro are gone, almost anything can happen. “Where did *this* come from?” someone asks. It didn’t come from anywhere; it was always around, but hidden under the family rug.