Opinions need not be feared nor suppressed.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Split Estate

Split Estate…The Documentary

Imagine discovering that you don't own the mineral rights under your land, and that an energy company plans to drill for natural gas two hundred feet from your front door....
Trailer (3:15)

Community Action (4:43)

Drill baby, drill!


From the desk of Renita...

Luzerne County Republican Party
41 S. Main St. Ste. 14
Wilkes-Barre PA 18701
570-208-GOP1 or lcgop@luzernegop.org

For more information, contact:
Renita Fennick 570-208-4671 or 239-8851
Jim Schule 267-825-2889

WILKES-BARRE – Voters in Luzerne County and surrounding areas will have a chance to meet their Republican candidates and find out how they stand on the issues at a unique forum on April 9 at Genetti Hotel & Conference Center.

“Issues & Eggs” hosted by the Luzerne County Republican Party, will feature local candidates who are running for federal and state offices along with the endorsed candidates for statewide offices.

A panel of local journalists will ask candidates questions on federal and state issues. Those in attendance may submit questions to be posed to the candidates.

Congressional candidates who will attend include Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta, who is unopposed for the Republican nomination for the 11th Congressional seat; and three candidates who are vying for the nomination in the 10th District -- Dave Madeira of Luzerne County; Tom Marino of Lycoming County; and Malcolm Derk, Snyder County.

State candidates who will attend include Steve Urban, 14th Senatorial District; Frank Scavo, 22nd Senatorial District; State Rep. Karen Boback, 117th Legislative District; Tarah Toohil, 116th; Terrence O’Connor, 118th; Rick Arnold, 119th; Bill Goldsworthy, 120th; and James O’Meara, 121st. State Sen. Lisa Baker has a prior commitment in Harrisburg.

Jim Cawley, the Pennsylvania Republican Party-endorsed candidate for lieutenant governor, also will attend.

“This is unique because it’s more than your typical meet-the-candidates event that political parties hold,” County GOP Chairman Terry Casey said. “It’s not just a handshake and a meet-and-greet. People who attend will be able to ask tough questions and our candidates are ready for it.”

The only contested primary race among the local races for Congress and state office is in the 10th where three candidates are vying for the opportunity to challenge incumbent Democrat Chris Carney in the fall.

“This could be the only chance for voters in the 10th to see all three candidates in person, answering the same questions,” Casey said.

Even though most of the candidates are unopposed in the primary, Casey said it is important for most voters to get to know the men and women who are seeking to represent them in Harrisburg and Washington.

“Republicans are discerning voters who don’t just give candidates a pass because they are seeking the party’s nomination,” he said. “They often feel very strongly about certain issues and they want to at least know something about a person before they cast that ballot. They often want to look them in the eye or shake their hand. This is their chance.”

The forum begins with a breakfast buffet at 7:45 a.m. with the program starting at 8:15 and running to 10:30 a.m. The event is designed to attract retirees, one of the biggest voting blocs, and to give people a chance to attend before heading to their workplace.

Tickets cost $20 each and include a breakfast buffet. Tickets may be purchased at Luzerne County Republican Headquarters, 41 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, or online at

The Viking was sacked

WNEP reported this morning that Kevin Viking Lynn at WILK was “let go.” And during it’s noon news segment, WILK announced that as of “April the 12th,” John Webster of Rock 107 “Daniels & Webster” fame will be joining WILK.

As soon as I caught wind of this still developing news, I called WILK and asked the producer of the Sue Henry Show, Bosco, if this meant that WILK would be resurrecting Webster’s long-mothballed “Learning to spell with Darnell” blatant racism as comedy bit. Bosco said he had no idea what I was talking about. So I apologized and hung up.

If you’re unfamiliar with that old Daniels & Webster mainstay, Darnell would have to pronounce, spell and then use a chosen word in a sentence. It went something like this…

Anus: The cops were looking for a couple of guys who robbed the liquor store, and I told them--anus.

So, I’m thinking when Webster dons a pair of headphones at WILK and sits behind that zircon-encrusted microphone, he ought not level any charges of racism at anyone.

So my old buddy Kevin is unemployed once again. I’m not going to beat on him here today, since I got tired of beating on him long, long ago. But the guy was interesting in that he absolutely despised all things uniquely American. And you couldn’t ask for a more hard core Democrat apologist. His entire shtick was Democrats excellent/Republicans evil. The worst kind of intellectual dishonesty.

Kevin and I had a perfect record. Every time I called his on-air shows over the years, it always devolved into a screaming match that would end when he would abruptly hang up on me. Boy, could I get under his skin and fast. Something I’m very, very proud of to this day.

During a show many years ago, he claimed that all of the area bloggers were blogging anonymously. And he called the lot of us (back then it was a few of us) cowards right over the airwaves.

So I called him and told him he didn’t have his facts straight, something that would always get him to showing his fangs in an instant. He argued the point with me and demanded that I identify even a single local site that was not written anonymously. I told him, not only was my name affixed to my site, but so was my much-adored glossy, my kids pictures, my grandkids pictures, as well as my mailing address.

Stupidly, he couldn’t concede defeat. He told me with a skeptical and scowling tone that if I was so completely brave, I should identify myself right there on the radio. Not a problem, I told him, and spelled out my first and last names by shouting at the top of my lungs each and every letter. And he took exception to my shouting and started shouting back at me, which made me shout even louder. It was beautiful.


My goal was always the same, to get him so riled up that he’d deliver the F-bomb he was so enamored with right there on live radio. And I’m sure he came close a few times. Knowing his love of the F-word, he had to have come dangerously close.

And after he hung up on me, he mumbled about how nobody looks at blogs anyway, and something else about how bloggers hide in their basements with their computers.

So, just to be even more annoying to the aged and flailing broker of Peace, Love & Drugs, Drugs and more Drugs, I sent him an email to make him aware that my site at the time had generated well over 500,000 hits in less than two years.

And I also invited him to meet me over a bagel and a coffee.

Predictably, he never replied.

In conclusion, I never liked him. I never respected him. And I will not miss him.

On the brighter side, now he’ll have plenty of time to go golfing with all of his buddies currently under federal indictment.

And since Kevin always offered up a warm and prehensile mouth for his messiah, Barak Oblahblah, I will conclude with a quote from none other than the all-knowing one.

“One job lost is one job too many.”


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Let the Primary games begin

Things are definately heating up out there, kiddies.

From the email inbox:

Bill Goldsworthy
For State Representative, 120th District

For more information: 570-237-1810
On March 23, 2010 the State House of Representatives passed HB2279, the General Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2010-2011. The price tag: $29 billion, a $1.2 billion increase over the current year. At the same time, Gov. Rendell is projecting a $525 million shortfall this year.

Because of last year’s budget debacle, lawmakers are trying to avoid the embarrassment of going 101 days without a budget by this early passage of a spending plan.

But doing it early is not the same as doing it responsibly. This is more of a spending plan than a budget. A budget requires a serious calculation of revenues and the common-sense approach of spending within one’s means – just like Pennsylvanians must do when they work on their own household and business budgets.

This $29 billion spending plan includes federal stimulus revenues of $2.76 billion. That’s a one-time gift. What happens next year? And the year after that? Relying on stimulus money to support future state budgets sets up Pennsylvanians for some serious financial problems. Once these funds are depleted, the state will be forced to deal with a multi-billion-dollar funding gap.

We all are aware of the looming state pension fiasco. Any responsible budget should address this problem by creating a reserve fund. It does not address the problem at all; lawmakers are just delaying the inevitable. Putting this issue on the backburner means an even bigger financial burden down the line for taxpayers.

So why did Phyllis Mundy vote for this $29 billion disaster? Does she think voting on a budget early makes up for doing so irresponsibly and without regard for the future?

Now more than ever, we need a responsible spending plan. We need lawmakers who are committed to representing the taxpayers and looking out for Pennsylvania citizens now and in the future. We need to bring spending under control and stop ignoring the looming pension crisis. It’s not going to go away just because we refuse to address it.

We need to avoid duplication of services and we need to eliminate per diems. We need elected officials who will work to lower taxes.

We need better than what we have right now. But most of all, we deserve better than what we are getting.

Is this fun or what?



I hesitate to use this word, but I find this underground explosion that injured 2 PPL workers and a responding Wilkes-Barre police officer intriguing.

The link: Probe of underground W-B blast goes on

I find it intriguing because in my chosen profession, while it may fade into the background more often than it should, the safety component of the job never does go away.

Those PPL guys who were injured had probably lowered themselves into underground vaults a thousand times. They probably were doing what they had done correctly a hundred times over. Yet, something went horribly wrong on that job.

I imagine that, for most people, safety is something they never have to think about once they arrive at work for another mundane day. Integrity and honesty and professionalism and experience are all important, but not many people who get paid to sit in a cubicle have to keep the safety aspect of things tucked neatly into their minds all day long.

Recently, at a regional training meeting, we were treated to pictures of another job gone horribly wrong.

Somebody went and augered through a high-pressure natural gas line. And the resulting explosion destroyed numerous homes, garages, barns and ancillary buildings, and the blast radius was something like a quarter mile by a half mile. Burned black, it was. A state route was shut down as was a major highway. And not a single trace of that somebody was ever found.

With that said, some years ago I had spun a gas-powered auger right through a natural gas line that was connected to a private residence. Right after the soil stopped smacking me in the face, the smell hit me. Not to be overly dramatic or anything, but this newly augered hole in the ground was in very close proximity to a well-traveled thoroughfare. So if one passing motorist had flipped a lit cigarette out of a vehicle…a major explosion would have quickly followed.

Before the home owner ran up the street, she called 911. And then the parade started. The fire department rolled on up. And a technician from the local gas company was on scene within 8 minutes, excavated the ruptured line and tamped out the leak. Then an entire crew of gas company workers arrived. Then a supervisor of theirs got there. Then one of my nervous supervisors. And then another of my nervous supervisors.

In my defense, the gas line was less than ten inches from the surface of the soil. And natural gas lines are not supposed to be sitting so shallow. As a result, the utility did not try to hold my company accountable for this most unwanted of events.

But it’s good example of why you should never take anything for granted, why you should never eschew safety because of your vast level of experience, and why you should call Pennsylvania One Call before you disrupt any amount of soil, even 10 inches worth.

And it needs to be noted that they guy who was vaporized in the high-pressure gas line incident was the property owner, and he simply sought to auger some holes for a new fence he planned to erect. But he failed to have the utilities identify the location of the subterranean and sub-slab utility lines, and it cost him his life.

So, if you’ve dropped a bundle on some building materials from Home Depot, and plan to press on with any do-it-yourself projects that involve any soil disruptions at all, do the smart thing, do the safe thing, and have the utilities mark the lines beforehand.

Or as they used to put it in their radio ads on WILK, before you bore, auger, drill or dig, call 811. Do it.

That’s all I got.


Monday, March 29, 2010

We shall see

What feels like many moons ago, I was standing on S. Washington Street while taking pictures of a few over sized footers that were being poured for the then-promised movie theater in downtown Wilkes-Barre.

And a couple of fingers gouged my left shoulder in borderline hostile fashion, while a familiar voice coming from behind me said, "What do you think, tough guy?” That voice was being emitted from the oft-flapping lips of our former mayor. So, in direct reference to the supposed construction of the theater complex, I asked, “How are we going to pay for this? We don’t have the money to pay for this.”

He shot back with, “It’s being built, isn’t it?” I repeated the former of my first two promptings of him. And he then repeated those same exact words, “It’s being built, isn’t it?”

As I holstered my camera and right before I turned my back on him for the final time, I muttered, “We shall see.”

And in no time at all, we did see what was what. Or what wasn't to be.

As we all know, that theater project never progressed past the pouring of those huge footers. Footers that ended up costing the taxpayers of this city $5.3 million dollars that went unpaid until the next administration of the city retired those overdue debts.

That mayor was big on ideas, but he was woefully short on the execution end of things. But more importantly for Wilkes-Barre and it’s then fast-fading fortunes, he was financially irresponsible. That’s being too kind…he was financially reckless, as evidenced by the record number of Tax Anticipation Notes he needed just to stay afloat during his regrettable eight-year term.

But he was doggedly consistent in one respect, in that he was demonstratively disdainful of anyone who dared to challenge his self-acclaimed utter and profound brilliance.

Enter Markie.

All of which sparks this internal feeling of being eerily familiar when compared to the self-absorbed and equally self-indulgent Obama administration, whereas this coming health care boondoggle is concerned.

I would ask the same of him, how are we going to pay for it?

Well, the Congressional Budget Office said this and the Congressional Budget Office said that and on and on he’d likely wax smugly poetic with that trademark self-assuredness of his.

But I’d still have to press on, because those CBO guesstimates are based on a flourishing economy, and with the unemployment numbers being halved over the first five years of the ten years of the health care reform period. In essence, they were the best-case scenario numbers. So the best guess they’ve got is that, if all that currently ails us is fixed in very, very short order, it’ll cost us a trillion dollars during the first decade?


So, with the massive escalation in debt during his first two years coupled with the even faster escalating debts over the course of his legacy-building program, the debt service of the United States will approach that of a pre-Falklands War Argentina.

And for those of you not real familiar with that egregious miscalculation, Argentina had so crippled it’s own economy in such a similar fashion, it felt it needed a nationalistic war of appropriation so as to distract the populace from the all-encompassing futility of their own predicament.

And despite Obama’s obvious disdain for those that elected him but who cannot figure out why at this maddening juncture, I would still have to ask: How are we going to pay for this?

And the only honest answer would be that we’re not going to be able to afford this. Not without a rationing of health care at some level of the system. Not without higher taxes. Not without a hasty and destabilizing exit from Iraq, and possibly Afghanistan, too. And not without a serious scaling back of federal spending.

In the end, we’ll be forced to pay far more for far less, and we’ll have no one to thank for it save for the financially reckless false prophet-in-chief who is noticeably disdainful of those who are seriously taken aback by his foolhardy financial brinkmanship.

I say again, we shall see.

Exit Markie.


Pic: My grandson Zach putting on his Piranha Face. Don't ask.

Enjoy the wet side of the bed

Two days off in a row. Man, I could get used to this. And with eight more to go, I'm feeling kind of chipper right now. Upbeat, you could say. My daughter Peace and her better half are here. And my amazing grandkids, Gage and Taylor are here.

Sorry about my glum outlook immediately following the big blogger soiree. Well, not really. It's just that, I'm not completely stupid. I'm not stupid enough to believe that any of the hair cuts with suits would ever touch base with me again, or any local bloggers for that matter, if we were to deliver to them some consistently stinging rebukes of their stated positions. They'd drop us like a hot botato (Wifey's English).

Sure, they attended the event. Sure, the turnout was amazing. But I honestly feel they were there expecting most, some or all of us to be suddenly starstruck into writing glowing reviews about them and their platforms. With the country spinning it's way down the bowl and into the aged sewer systems we cannot afford to upgrade, you could say I'm becoming increasingly jaded. And not easily impressed by even the very best of the glad-handers.

And another thing. I've developed some measure of respect for the elected and the appointed I have publicly chastised in the past, but who still bothered to cordially approach me in public. Off the top of my pointy head, former Wilkes-Barre City Administrator J.J. Murphy, former City Council Person (gender neutral bullspit) Jim McCarthy and current County Controller Walter Griffith come to mind. I ripped 'em every now and again, but they shot right back at me. Good stuff.

And at this event on Friday night, there was one elected official who could have approached me, but chose not to. Actually, I made it a point to sit right in front of him for a half hour, making as much eye contact as I possibly could. This was his chance to tell me why I've been woefully wrong about his performance all along. And I would have been willing to listen to his pitch. But rather than touching base with me right there in person, I got a Facebook "friend" request from his wife over the weekend. Now, what am I supposed to make of that?

And what's this utter nonsense about needing a bodyguard to fend off the likes of Frank Scavo just because he's a Tea Party stalwart? That's patently absurd. Last we checked, Frank had no criminal record to speak of, much unlike the folks who have influenced or who have advised our president over the years. Christ! I could bench press Frank Scavo. Ease up with the cheap attempts to marginalize those who do not agree with you. Ease up with that laziness.

And as a seasoned veteran of these various and sundry blogging pursuits in question, I say with some certainty that if you really feel you need a bodyguard to hang out with the minuscule NEPA blogosphere, you're probably in the wrong business. But I will say this, your chosen bodyguard was easily approachable and quite likable. Seems like a really smart kid.

I'm really torn on the coming Leighton/Yudichak election scrum. I think they're both likable and commendable in many respects. I think Yudichak has given a good showing of himself. But I believe that what Tom Leighton has done here in Wilkes-Barre has been remarkable when directly compared to any of his recent predecessors. Remarkable. So I'm left to wonder how I, as a resident of Wilkes-Barre, would benefit more by the eventual result of this race. Do I vote to send Leighton up the political ladder, or do I vote to keep him right here in Wilkes-Barre?

As for the attention and the press looking to interview us local bloggers, I suppose that those of us that have been typing away for years and years on end do deserve some accreditation of sorts for being so tireless in these pursuits. Some of us have been doing our necessary homework, attending the events, taking the pictures, delivering the occasional "exclusive" and providing a differing perspective than that of the press for a long, long time.

No matter why we bothered, now matter why we still bother, we bothered to bring plenty of local issues to the forefront, some before even the local press caught wind of them. I don't know that all of that should command respect. But it does get you a free hat pin every once in a while. Oh, and a brief mention in the newspapers.

Wait, I did get the VIP passes to see the Beach Boys at Kirby Park right up in front of the stage. And the accompanying free food and drink, too. And the taunts, the attempts at intimidation, the middle fingers, the SUV/bicycle chases, the profanity-laced exchanges, the chest bumps and all of that good, good stuff. Yes, blogging all these years has had plenty of stuff coming my way. Not all accolades, of course.

Funny thing, though. While the place filled to it's limits with Democrats looking to rub elbows with a blogosphere heavily-laden with Democrat apologists, there was the Luzerne County GOP honcho, Renita Fennick, leaving the place with a handful of voter registration cards of Democrats looking to change their party affiliations. A precursor, I suppose, to the coming electoral sh*t storm that promises to be a political Katrina-like event for plenty of elected Democrats on November the 2nd.

The Democrat super majority thought it was smart and necessary to be antagonistic towards the voters. And soon, it'll be the voters turn to get all antagonistic on their soon-to-be expelled asses. That's assuming that more and more of them won't simply walk away from the oligarchy that is Washington, D.C. in 2010.

Anyway, even though I was initially put off just a tad by the entire event, it was a good time despite that god-awful band making me want to implode right on the spot. (Jeez, and we thought Tim Grier seizing control of the jukebox at Mark's Pub was about as bad as it could get.) It's a matter of a degree of separation for me. If we're going to party with the politicos, then are we going to feel free to beat them unmercifully over the head by way of our keyboards when the need arises? I'm still collating with myself on that question, but I seriously doubt it.

So, do we in the local blogosphere really have some power in these fingers of ours? Have we finally arrived? Have we finally been recognized and afforded some long overdue measure of respect?

Or are we getting a bit too cozy with the enemy?

Whatever. Don't much matter to me on most days. But the way I see it, you're either a part of the problem, or you're a part of the solution. And for those of you seriously considering sleeping with the enemy, enjoy the wet side of the bed.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

The "Beer Storm" gone wrong

Yes, I attended the previously unheard-of face-to-face encounter between the tireless, under-appreciated people that drive the local poliblogging scene and the multitude of folks that simultaneously love and hate them--the candidates, the elected and those paid quite handsomely to shamelessly promote them no matter what. And yes, I’m rightfully embarrassed to admit as much.

Here’s the link:

Candidates meet the faces behind the screen names

Gort deserves some major kudos for making this improbably gathering of oft-colliding political planets to happen at all. I know the Citizens’ Voice story lists Gort and Joe Valenti of Pittston Politics as equally guilty co-conspirators in this instance, but Gort reaches out statewide on a continual basis, while Joe seems to be limited to covering all things dominated by Italians, i.e., Pittston (a long-forgotten third-class city not frequented very often by the smarter folks) and the thoroughly forgettable boroughs on it’s nondescript periphery.

Gort, I think you either outdid yourself, or the large crowd in attendance last night serves as a testament to your growing Internet popularity.

Personally, while I did enjoy myself for the most part, there was much that I did not enjoy.
For instance, a county commissioner who stood eye-to-eye with me for damn near a half hour, but who did not have the testicular fortitude necessary to confront me about my many scathing comments written about his “See no evil, hear no evil” performance while “serving” under the rotunda dome, while the county has for, for lack of a getter term, gone insolvent.

And now he wants us to send him to Harrisburg to fulfill the duties of a do-nothing Lieutenant Governor? Do-nothing? Sounds eerily familar.

Fat chance.

And once again, as evidenced by the reporting, I was burned by the media.

Not that I have a problem with the Citizens’ Voice’s Elizabeth Skrapits. I talked to her at length out on the sidewalk while we enjoyed (yes, enjoyed) a cigarette. She’s smart, well-versed on the breaking issues of the day, totally likeable, and cute to boot. I could hang out with her without an invite. I mean that.

And, boy, is she well-versed on the still developing Marcellus Shale drilling boondoggle. I pointed her in the direction of one Kayak Dude, a self-avowed and tirelessly persistent tree-hugger she claimed to have already met.

But, as is always the case, when talking with the people that rush to print, expect them to use only your most provocative comments. This wasn’t my first brush with them. You’d think I’d know that by now, to not come off as being controversial, judgmental or skeptical belong all belief.

And I reiterate, I have nothing her, or with anything she reported. To be perfectly honest, she was someone I could share a few beers with. But I did say what she published: “Basically, they just want to use us.”

They, the candidates and their staffers, were looking for some cheap and adoring press.
And I’m still shaking my fattened head at West Pittston Mayor Bill Goldsworthy‘s mystifyingly weird attributed quote: “…he came ‘to meet the people behind the screen names‘."

Um, like Joe Valenti, Mark Cour, Steve Albert, David Yonki and Tom Borthwick? Those people hiding the behind the proverbial curtain?


Are we still sticking with that long-misguided notion that political bloggers are too, too completely afraid to reveal their true identities?

Stick a fork in him…he’s done and permanently grounded in West Pittston. Right where he belongs.

I do have enhanced respect for Dr. Joe Leonardi, who made it a point to chit-chat with me, even though I had once severely rebuked, in print, his for-profit weight-loss program. You have to admire a guy who can suffer the sting of your very pointed arrows, and then glad-hand with you afterwards.

It’s an outright shame what the Republican party did to him by withholding any and all financing when he sought to the topple the most arrogant and self-serving congressman this side of California…Paul Kanjorski.

Thank you, Joe.

And to be perfectly blunt, I have to wonder, once again, about the now-questionable courage of upstart, bomb-throwing bloggers who openly fantasize about your physical and violent undoing in electronic print, but then shy away from you when the rubber meets the road.

Dude, you either have swollen gonads, or you do not.

Work on that.

I do feel bad about bugging out of there the way I did, but that live band, that was just too much to for me bare for very much longer. That was too much to ask of any self-respecting fan of music and the folks who craft such things.

Now, let’s cover the exploits of the reporter from the Times Leader who quizzed me at length about my blogging pursuits, past and present. He claimed that his newspaper is going to do some kind of in-depth story about the local blogosphere. Coming soon, I was told.

And that’s all well and good. And while he was cordial and all, he really struggled with the spelling of this site’s title, namely, the first word in that goofy, ill-advised title…”circumlocution.”
Now, allow me to get this perplexing development straight.

He’s the acclaimed journalist and I’m the trainee, the hopeful wannabe purported to be wallowing away in my pajamas? Whatever.


Sound it out, for Allah‘s sake.

And Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton awarded me with my third city-themed hat pin. And, true to my nature, I had to bust his stones by pointing out that, while I’ve unequivocally supported him for six or seven years on end, all that I‘ve received for my troubles is these 3 hat pins.

But I'm all good with that.

I told John Yudichak flat-out that a vote for him coming from me would be a vote to keep my current mayor well-grounded right here in Wilkes-Barre. And after he chuckled, he said, “I can live with that.”

And I also asked him what happened to the persistent “heir apparent” rumor whereas his long-expected ascendancy would one day unseat Congressman Paul Kanjorski.

He said he has “3 beautiful daughters,” and he would rather serve the likes of us as well as his daughters from Harrisburg, rather than from the more distant Washington D.C.
I can respect that.

Anyway, in conclusion, this will probably the very last event of these sorts that I will ever attend. Hanging out with bloggers, like-minded and otherwise, sounds like a doable plan. Idiots all, no?

But openly courting the oft-meandering and always hollow affection of the political hopefuls, the well-entrenched hierarchy and the summoned, attending press is not something that makes me feel as if I have any last vestiges of credibility intact.

I mean that not as an indictment of any of the organizers of, or the folks who excitedly attended this well-attended event. More pointedly, I mean that more as a statement that immediately followed much introspection on my part.

If what they’re looking for is positive press, they should try earning it, rather than counting on it simply because they made a big fuss over me.

Ain’t no big thing.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Countdown to Gage & Taylor

Work, work, work and work. That's all I seem to do anymore.

Although, it should be noted that work is now considered an out-dated concept in this fast-flailing country. Why, if I had my sh*t together, I'd be a card-carrying Democrat sitting here waiting on my thrice-extended unemployment benefits. Or my electronic welfare transfer.

In less than 24 hours (I hope), I will be on vacation. More accurately, I will be enjoying what they now call a stay cation. In most cases, Americans eschew a traditional vacation for the stay-at-home variety because they're broke, unemployed, about to be foreclosed upon or all of the above.

But in my case, I'm staying home for a week because my first-born, Peace Rebecca, her hard-working, devoted husband, Scott (who sucks at fantasy football) and the firstborn grandkids, Gage Andrew & Taylor Kate, will be arriving in Wilkes-Barre direct from Tennessee sometime on Saturday.

In a word, I'm excited. I'm excited not by the breaching of the distance that divides us, or by the many months that have passed since last I had laid eyes on them. I'm excited because, in my mind, they'll be back where they belong...with me.

For those of you not new to my usual madness, you'll remember Gage as the first toddler to ever grow up on the localized Internet. Literally.

Before he made his escape from Pennsylvania, his picture and his blog-recorded exploits appeared on the local Internet more often than did the mainstream press. If I had a dime for every time a complete stranger recognized him and acknowledged with a smile and a hello, I'd be able to bribe every Democrat congressman this side of the Silver Springs bath houses into voting against ther own self interests again. And much unlike what has gone on of late, they'd all be bribed with my money, not your money taken from you against your will, and without your consent.

Smarmy? Yeah, perhaps.

But this is the lead-in to an event I'm supposed to attend tomorrow night, wherein the self-appointed preachers will preach to the loving and adoring choir, and then the loving and adoring choir will preach back at the self-appointed preachers. And the end result will be that being easily-led will score some serious, but vacuously hollow popularity points with the like minded. And believe it or not, in this long-depressed and long-repressed culm pile, they call that being progressive. As if.

One other aspect of that event will be the schmoozing with the elected and the folks hoping to be elected later this year. To be honest, except for the few, I have no stomach for talking to the elected about much of anything. The Fedrule Govmint is expanding, out of control and bankrupt. The State of Pennsylvania is down $2 billion in revenues from 2008 to 2009. And all of the locally elected, 'cept for the rarest of the rare--the ethical--are headed off to the hoosegow.

Seems to me that the best thing I have going for me in the hours ahead is the arrival of the amazing grandkids, Taylor & Gage. And I'm all good with that. Real good.

Speaking of the NEPA Choir event, I talked to Mayor Tom Leighton earlier today and he said he's in, but only from 5-6 pm. Sorry, but he has another event to attend.

As for the local choir boys, I'm looking forward to hanging with them.

Why? Well, because we put ourselves far out there. Good, bad, indifferent or insufferably unintelligent, we do what the faint-of-heart anonymous don't have necessary the gonads to do. We paint a target on ourselves.

We blog.


Monday, March 22, 2010

The day after

Just got home. And one of the news links I ran across says that states all over these fruity plains of ours are lining up to challenge, in court, the unconstitutionality of Obama's health care legacy stunt.

Here's one...

AP HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett is planning to join a legal challenge to federal health care reform legislation.

Corbett's spokesman Kevin Harley said Monday that Corbett is working with counterparts in several other states. The suit will challenge the constitutionality of the bill. It is not clear where the challenge will be filed.

Harley says more details will be released later Monday.

President Barack Obama is preparing to sign the bill that passed the U.S. House last night. The U.S. Senate is due to start considering a companion bill shortly.

Corbett is a Republican and is running for governor of Pennsylvania.

Damn straight!

As a right-leaning blogger in NEPA, I fit in with the local blogosphere like a one-legged sprinter with flaring hemorroids at the Olympics. So when I made my way through the localized electronic buzz just now, I was expecting to read about all of the wonderful things that await us now that the Fedrule Govmint has upped and seized control of even more of the flailing private sector.

But no. No grandiose statements about the coming utopia. Instead, I was treated to post after post commenting on the racial epitaphs and the like that were hurled at Democrat legislators by the lowest of all possible pond scum, parasitic protozoan life forms...the Tea Party folks.


And some even stated that, as the misguided few go, so goes the remainder of the right-leaning herd, which is preposterous. It's as glaringly stupid as stupidity gets. Painting with a wide, wide brush they are. I'm guilty as charged, I suppose. Hang me. Try it.

Gee, I can't recall anyone from the opposite side of the political aisle saying hateful, mean-spirited and ill-advised things about George Bush, Karl Rove, Condi Rice, or Clarence Thomas. No, only the right-leaning are filled with apoplectic invective. (???)

As a card-carrying fiscal conservative and social centrist, I can promise you that I have not called anyone the big, bad "N" word since the very late 60s. Now, allow me to explain before you call the word police on me.

That was right after I was beaten nearly delirious by 3 brothers and slashed with a knife for daring to be a white boy walking home from school too close to Liberty Street. Not something the homegrown locals had to worry about in Wilkes-Barre, Forty Fort, Dunmore or Glen Lyon.

Different time, different place, same end result...39 sutures at the Griffin Hospital emergency room. A new pair of glasses, and a beating from my evil step-dad for being a "pussy." 6th grade in Western Connecticut. Not to worry, though. Michael King, 3 years older than me, twice as big and 10 times as strong exacted a goodly measure of revenge before he got shipped off to reform school. Back in those days, they grew those kids real big in Maine.

And I have not called anyone the "F" word that rhymes with maggot since the mid 80s. But I think that all gay coworkers should understand that when they decide to up and squeeze the left cheek of a straight coworker, all bets are off. I'm no law enforcement professional, but I'm quite certain they could have charged me with aggravated assault on that one. Never happened again. And being that it more of less amounted to beating on a ya-ya-laden girl, I almost felt bad afterwards. Almost.

So spare me the ill-advised broad brush characterizations. Spare me the ridiculous untruths. And spare me the insulting guilt by association. Now try telling me about how Obama made it possible to reach Nirvana by tonight. Oh, that.

Yeah, that.

I will also admit to once calling a guy a communist, but he said he was a liberal. And later on, I called some bloke a liberal, and he corrected me by saying that he was a progressive. And after Obama & Co. lead this flat-lined economy to ruin, what will the progressives call themselves then?

This just in...from the Luzerne County GOP...

March 22, 2010

WILKES-BARRE – The Luzerne County Republican Committee has released this statement regarding the passage of the health-care reform bill by the U.S. House of Representatives on Sunday night:

It is clear to us that the "D’s" that follow the names of Congressmen Paul Kanjorski and Chris Carney stand for "deal makers."

We now see that both men forfeited principle and their role as elected officials in a representative government to further their own political goals. They ignored the will of their constituents in a last-ditch effort to salvage their congressional seats.

As each new detail of this legislation is exposed, we learn that this massive document is not just about health care as the American people were told. The backroom deals contained in this bill are astounding: special deals for some states; regulations on student loans; preferential treatment for some financial institutions; and promises of special favors.

This is disturbing on any level but is especially disconcerting to those of us who live in Luzerne County and have been bombarded for more than a year with revelations of quid pro quo governance by our elected officials.

We stand united with our Republican candidates and remain committed to our mission to restore honesty, ethics, accountability, reform and transparency to government at all levels.

Terry Casey is Chairman of the Luzerne County Republican Party.
Contact: Renita Fennick 570-208-4671 or 570-239-8851

Damn straight!

Today I invited a certain mayor I know to a certain blogger night out event. He sounds like he's in, but not for the entire evening. We shall see about that.

As for the fast-approaching Beer Storm, I do have a few issues that need to be resolved before my advance team can sign off on the site.

First of all, the seating arrangements. My photographer, my biographer and my spokesperson want to be seated together. And near a non-tinted window.

Secondly, my 3 bodyguards want to bring me in through an entrance/exit not accessible to the general public and far away from the always lurking paparazzi. They want to "wand" all of those Marxist-crazed bloggers. And they want free drinks.

Thirdly, any pictures taken of my entourage or myself must be approved before being taken. Autographs are strictly forbidden. And at no time can the jukebox be activated by anyone other than Gortimus Maximus, myself, or our spousal units.

And lastly, but most importantly, remember that despite my well-earned reputation, I ain't been convicted of nuthin'.

Fleet of foot, I am.

And then some.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

"Deem" this!

It’s been a rugged two weeks.

They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But in this case, what didn’t kill me boosted the sales of Icy Hot medicated patches.

Isn’t it interesting to learn that some salaried Luzerne County employees collect enormous stipends for being on call. Didn’t one of you folks out there tell me that the unions were not “the” problem? They may not be “the” problem per se, but they are a huge part of the problem.

And binding arbitration? Do municipalities large and small everywhere a favor by doing away with it all together.

I have been on call for two consecutive weeks, and so far, I have not collected as much as a penny. And the only way I will earn anything is if a customer calls and demands that we pay them an off hours visit. Then I would be collecting overtime pay that I want absolutely no part of.

As you all know, Lackawanted county commissioners A.J. Munchak and Bob Cordaro were both indicted on a list of felonies too completely long to list here. And so the race to cop a plea begins for our neighbors to the north.

I heard a caller on WILK say something to the effect that we, as residents of NEPA, should be ashamed of ourselves, and for our area. That’s hogwash.

What were we supposed to do about the persistent rumors that to secure meaningful (government) employment in this area, you had to know, or you had to blow somebody. I can’t subpoena anyone. You can’t keep county employees under surveillance 24/7. Other than paying strict attention, loudly and relentlessly voicing our concerns and attending meetings, what were we supposed to do about any of the deep, dark, well-kept secrets?

So we’ve got the big health care reform vote today. Big whoop. I can’t even keep up with the fluidity of the thing anymore. This thing changes more often than a teenage girl afflicted with severe peer pressure syndrome (S.P.P.S.) And with bribes and not-so-veiled threats flying all over the place, I’m sure the bill has morphed into something else since this time yesterday.

And these Democrats, man, what of bunch of spineless opportunists they are for trying to pass an unpopular bill by proposing that they pass it without even bothering with a formal vote. They would “deem” it to be passed so that they would have some plausible deniability in place afterwards? What chicken sh*ts.

Follow me here, anyone…anyone who tells you that’s how our system of representative governance was meant to work is a party apparatchik. What, from impromptu, ad-hoc disorder comes order? Think about it. If it’s that much of a possible boondoggle in the making that it becomes law without a single name attached to it out of fear of retribution from the voters, do you honestly believe it’ll be the best thing since sliced wheat germ bread? I’m not buying it.

Despite the CBO estimates, guesstimates and blind shots in the financial dark, it promises to bring us higher taxes, higher deficits and Big Brother sporting a lead-laden imported stethoscope.

Remember Big Brother? Remember how he and his were something to fear, to dread right up until George W. Bush relinquished the keys to the White House? Now they’re trying to tell us that we’re all sure to go tits up without Big Brother’s warm and affectionate embrace.

On Friday, WILK’s Kevin Lynn called the ongoing debate over this reworked and patch worked and bribe-driven health care takeover as “ridiculous discussions.” And sadly, his is a mindset shared by millions of Americans. Resistance is futile. You will be absorbed into the entitlement-seeking Borg.

Even though nobody knows with any certainty what today’s version of the bill includes, it’s good for you. So shut up. Shut up and pay your taxes. Well, those of you that still do, that is.

If this amalgam of nonsense passes later today, we are in for one wild ride to the November election. Strap yourselves in, kiddies.

And if I happened to be a member of any Secret Service detail responsible for the safety of anyone involved, I’m be a tad worried for my own safety. If this late-term abortion of a thing passes, even the gun-toting separatists might leave the relative safety of their remote compounds looking to fight (in their minds) tyranny.

While it might be provocative to say as much, when the representatives no longer represent their constituents, gun play just might become a part of the equation. And if that were to come to pass, then the tyrannical in Washington could “deem” a bill that outlaws private gun ownership. Isn’t that what it’s been reduced to? Legislating fixes to their legislative mistakes? Be it blatant, or be it soft tyranny, tyranny is tyranny.

Where once my grandmother paid Dr. Harris for her monthly visit with a crisp twenty-dollar bill and a well-polished Macintosh apple, now the rigmarole that is an expanding government bureaucracy needing to further expand the government bureaucracy passes as health care. And all thanks to the federal government’s intrusive intervention in the first place. I repeat: They legislate fixes to their legislative mistakes.

I'm afraid that before too, too long, we'll be transitioning from Dr. Obama to Dr. Phibes.

And to the fellow who ripped me a new one via the email inbox, dude, the cost of the Iraq and Afghan wars is a specious argument. And not one that should be directed at me.

I understood full-well when we rolled the Abrams M1/A2s into Iraq that with economic power comes military power. And that an economic decline equals a proportionate military decline. So I knew that a protracted and costly war was the very last thing we wanted there. Because, if we suffer a significant military decline, that will only prove to further embolden the too-many-to-count crazies of the world that Obama is currently coddling.

So to charge that I wasn’t worried about the treasury when we went to war, so I should clam up now that I strongly suspect that this health care reform fiasco might equally squander the grossly depleted treasury…that’s bunk, pure and simple.

But, nice try and all.

The way I see it, we’ve got 8 months until the overdue and necessary correction to the gross overreaction at the polls when last we voted.

Can’t wait.

Oh, assuming you still have one, a job, make sure to work plenty of overtime because you’ve got to pay for Obama’s obvious legacy-building.

Good luck with that.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

From the email inbox

The following excerpt from an email came from the Corey O'Brien camp...

From The Hill.com:

"8 primaries where bailout support could make a difference"--By Aaron Blake

3. Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) — May 18
There’s a lot that could bring down Kanjorski, but if he goes this cycle, the bailout will have plenty to do with it. Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O’Brien is running the most competitive primary challenge to an incumbent Democrat in the country, and the bailout has been front-and-center. Unlike with other bailout supporters, though, Kanjorski has actually defended his vote. And perhaps he has no choice, as the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Capital Markets. We’ll see how that turns out. If he makes it through the primary, the general election won’t be a cinch either, with 2008 opponent Lou Barletta waiting in the wings.

Could the young upstart actually knock off the gruff, old incumbent? Or will Lou have to do it?

I'll use my Yoda voice for this one...

Lou will! Lou will!

This just in from the Luzerne County GOP...

Registration Drive Meeting
Wednesday, March 17, 5:30 p.m.
GOP Headquarters, 41 S. Main St., Suite 14
Wilkes-Barre PA

The meeting is open to all interested Republicans who have ideas for or are willing to participate in the first of our two-part “EACH ONE REACH ONE” Spring Registration Drive.

The drive will be held throughout Luzerne County on Saturday, March 20.

Bring your ideas, suggestions and enthusiasm for boosting our Republican membership.

Chairman is Walter Mitchell

This one was edited so as to protect an identity...

Hey buddy, long time no talk to.

Just wanted to respond to your recent post on the number of engines in service. The only engines in service when the manning is at 12 are engine 1 at hq, ladder 1 at hq and engine 2 at hollenback. Rescue 7 is currently being used as engine 2 because of an accident to engine 2. That along with the two ambulances is the only thing in service.

Thanks, I didn't notice that Rescue 7 got dinged up.

That always amazes me, that our apparatus is involved in so many MVAs. There's probably a lot of things that go unnoticed by me during a busy, trying day, but firetrucks with lights and sirens firing away is not, is never one of them.

Playing chicken again, were they? Those silly, silly four-wheelers. When will they ever learn?

By the way, I got my hands on one of the fliers your former coworkers were distributing to the residents throughout the neighborhood surrounding South Station.

Lame, man. Very, very lame.

Hey, Gage and Taylor will be hitting town on the 27th, so feel free to stop on by if you're interested. Those two take after me in that they've got some serious capacity for remembering things they deem to be important.

And as you know, you are their #1 Hose Dude, hands down.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Parade post mortem

15 pounds of candy later...I am a thrice decorated veteran of the St. Patty's Day parade wars. And trust me, this parade business is not for the faint of heart. We were lined up in our group by 1:17 pm and then had to wait until 3:21 pm before we could roll forth into the waiting hordes of candy-seeking rodents (kids).

And what was it I wrote? Why do we bother? And what do we get out of it? I'll tell you what I got out of it yesterday, 2 smiling people yelled something or other about "Wilkes-Barre Online," and 1 of the former mayor's myrmidons flashed me a smart-looking finger. Guess which finger.

The attendance was noticeably off, but there was no surprise in that considering that the meteorologists were warning us about a promised Katrina II. The wind was such that I am now stuck with approximately 235 coloring books until next we call for a parade. We did toss a few, but the steady and robust wind was blowing them back at the truck and the cops aren't too keen on giving the kiddies a reason to run out into the procession of moving vehicles.

Oh, yeah, thanks to the Citizens' Voice for providing 250 of the bags they use to protect the newspapers during periods of precipitation. We'll use 'em next time.

I need to respond to one of the comments left by a reader.

Kayak Dude is a proud, self-avowed tree hugger. And tree huggers do not eat Cheerios. And the way I hear it, I'd guess that Kayak Dude probably prefers Wheat Germies with hand-picked berries to any General Mills product.

But I could be mistaken.

And this one...

David Yonki said...
I was thinking the same thing last night as I drove home from, like you, a 6 day work week. Don't get me wrong, after 11 months of unemployment I wasn't complaining but I was looking at my Sunday edition (not yet posted yet) as a chore. I was wondering who was out there. When I got home I checked my e mail and found a note from a stranger/fan in Rochester, New York. Said he read LuLac because he grew up in WB and wanted a connection. That told me that someone is out there and Kman's comments notwithstanding, we do serve a purpose. As the kids used to say in Creative Writing class: WRITE ON.

When I was still at the old site, I used to get pounded with hits from people who had left the area in search of meaningful employment, but kept up on the latest news from the area. More often than not, they'd say that they read both of the daily newspapers, and then my site to get yet another perspective, especially the political goings-on in the city. And this was especially so during the McGroarty years and the immediate aftermath.

As far as the work vs. blogging thing goes, it was pointed out to me many, many moons ago by a friend that we could tell if I was severely agitated and the like just by the writing style of the posts. As he correctly pointed out, my vocabulary expands as my moods worsen. Not sure why, but he pointed to example after example.

So, if I'm in a killing mood, expect something like...fractional divisions thereof in pedal-depressed panchromatic resonance and other highly ambient domains you sons of Beechnut Gums!

Weird, I know.

Then again, a former Times Leader once told me it's probably not a good idea to post anything at all when I'm angry. Advice I have heeded many times over. Sorry, but I'm as mercurial as I am acerbic.


frackmountain said...
Mark,I started my first blog (short poems, photos, essays)(qazse.com) for many reasons - some known to me, some not. One reason I did so was akin to an ancient ancestor drawing his take on life upon a cave wall - the will to express myself. I think that is a human need which has been factoried out of many. We all have talents but few venues. Another reason would be validation - to be regarded by other writers as legit. I have posted less and less at qazse over the past year. It is a lot of work even for the short pieces I do. My computer is slow, comments must be answered, visiting other blogs, commenting there, I type like a baboon, I read very slowly (dyslexic),... When I posted daily there was also ego involved. I attained a page rank of 5 and wanted to push it to a higher level. I'm rambling...

Anyhow, it has only been lately that I have come upon you, Dude and DB, as a reader. You are all talented and provide insights I would otherwise not glean. I think what you all have in common is you care. And maybe that is the bottom line.

(Don't feel it necessary to post daily. Few print media full-time people can put out a column each day. I just think it would be a shame to loose your take. I know you turned me around on Leighton.)

(PS to Sentinel, same goes out to you.)Probably overstepping my bounds,


I was not suggesting that anyone should consider walking away from their sites. I think my most pertinent questions (thinking out loud in text) were the ones about why we feel the need to do it, and what is it that we get out of it. Stuff that has to vary from person to person.

I think that collectively speaking, we all add some sorts of insights every now and again. Sadly, too many of them seem to be rejected or mocked along strict party or ideological lines.

I honestly wish all that blog would divulge, maybe not where they work, but what they do. I find it much more interesting when someone writes what they write based on their experiences in the workplace, rather than what they may have read on the Internet somewhere. It kind of fills in some of the blanks as to why they feel the way they do on a given issue.

And I agree, we do have some quality writers in these electronic parts who shall go nameless so as to not alienate everybody else not nominated.

I'm glad you came around on Tom Leighton. He's done a ton of good for this city in only 5 short years, and he is probably capable of much more. What I like the most about him is he is not given to pandering. He does not shy away from making unpopular decisions. And that's why he gets so much grief.

As for Kayak Dude's terse comments left here, the following arrived via the email inbox...


Had some water problems in basement and was outside when you called. Was just bustin' your yayas with my comment to "Why bother". In the end...to sit by and do nothing is not an option. Plus...I am Kayak Dude. I do not take that role lightly.

BTW...I heard all this high water has reopened the Knox whirlpool (a little) near Pittston. Just letting you know ahead of time..could be a little tricky in June.

Yeah, I know, you're Kayak Dude, the only super hero with a Bedazzled cape.

To be honest, I'd prefer to go hard right around that island and stay well clear of that little whirlpool. Those box cars have been submerged in that mine for over fifty years. And with the couple still above ground reduced to piles of rusted rubble, I can only imagine how little is left of the box cars entombed just under the bottom of the river.

If and when the Knox Mine starts drinking water by the millions of gallons per minute again, I don't want to be sitting atop it idly discussing all things Chief Muckamucka, you know?

So, as that fateful and near forgotten pinprick on the map fast approaches, I say we go ramming speed and hard right.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Big Mac Attack tax

To listen to some hot-air filled politician babble on about how they are going to “fight” childhood obesity is akin to listening to me go on about how I plan to personally alter the Earth’s orbit. Simply put, it’s all misdirected hogwash.

Back when I was suffering through college, I took a course called “Nutrition & Menu Planning.” I also attended a seminar on natural supplements, which was more of a warning than it was an endorsement. I still have the college textbook that I refer to every now and again, as well as the literature from the seminar. During my restaurant career, I was involved in the creation of new menu items, while the caloric counts and nutritional values of menus were just beginning to be force-fed into the public’s consciousness.

My final exam for that aforementioned college course was the devising of a six-month diet for a medically-challenged elderly woman that would result in the loss of at least one pound per week, but not significantly more. I aced it. Interestingly enough, I once lost 52 pounds in 4 months, and all by my lonesome.

I’m not saying to you that I am some kind of PHD food researcher. But what I am saying is that I understand the nutritional aspects of foodstuffs far, far, far more than 99.99% of the politicos waxing poetic about how best to combat childhood obesity.

For this exercise, pick a governing body, any governing body. School board. The administration of a municipality, or it’s health department. And worst of the worst, state or federal level politicos and their pathetic minions.

As was done in NYC, when they ban trans-fats or the use of salt in menu planning, they are either prevaricating or flat-out stupid. And when a school board orders the removal of sodas from vending machines in schools, the same bit about prevarication and stupidity applies.

First the Food Police attached sin taxes to alcohol. And they tried to turn McDonald’s and fast food in general into an edible pariah to be avoided at all costs. And now, as part of the foolhardy War on Obesity, they are suggesting that pizza, soda and only Allah knows what should be taxed at higher levels than those, ahem, “safe” foodstuffs. Again, the hatred for and disregard of big business as well as small shines through the veneer.

There’s one of two things at work here. They either honestly believe that they can remake America into their skinny image (yeah, right!), or they just want to tax certain incrementally criminalized food items and behaviors at higher rates. Neither of which will transform the tubbiest kids, the “husky” kids, into kids needing the “slim” cut jeans. Ain’t happening.

As if all of America would suddenly eat less of it’s favorite food--pizza--simply because of the attached sin taxes. They’ll do without a lot of stuff thanks to Obama‘s demonstrated lack of focus, but pizza won’t be one of those things. So, in effect, by attaching sin taxes to pizza, the result would be making the lives of average Americans just that much more costly and hard.

And soda? Allow me to speculate. What, are we supposed to drink nothing but bottler water throughout the entirety of our formerly free lives? Says who? The bottled water lobbyists?
Listen to me tell it…soda is not making your kid fat. Pizza is not making your kid fat. And Big Macs are not making your kid fat. Inactivity is making your kid fat. A lack of physical activity is the key to all of this now oft-repeated harangue.

Take my example. I loathe the colder months. I absolutely hate them. Freaking annoying, they are. And every winter, my weight increases. And then, when the termites get to swarming as the Mercury rises, my weight steadily decreases. Now, why is that?

Do studies show that we tend to eat less pizza and drink less soda pop during the warmer months? Are Big Macs better in the Winter? Not at all. Exercise is the one barometer by which all other factors are correctly judged. Stay active, stay thinner. Stay on the couch, stay on the heavier and heavier side.

All of which leads me to this…after they tax the hell out of all of the foodstuffs we enjoy, and America is still considered to be obese due to inactivity, what then?

Sin taxes for flat-screen televisions? Sin taxes on home theatres? Sin taxes on Play Stations? Sin taxes attached to personal computers?

This is so much hokum, it approaches complete sophistry of thought.

As is always the case with consumers in a truly free society, they will decide what they want, when they want it, and in what quantities. And no self-serving, smart-sounding politician turned make-believe nutritionist is going to alter any of that.

If we’re fat, we’re fat. So either get used to it, or do something about it.

But as for these would-be menu planners who hold elected offices, tell them to stick to something they actually know something about, assuming that they do know anything even reasonably noteworthy.

Yeah, the country as a whole would be better off if they’d just stick to graft, nepotism, cronyism and group sex with their interns. Tell them not to tax us profligately every time we have a Big Mac Attack. Tell them to eat their fu>king Big Mac Attack tax. Tell them to stuff it.

Sez me.


Why bother?

I'm ready to roll in the parade. I've got 15 pounds of candy. I've got 250 coloring books. And I've got 2 grandsons, Zach and Jeremy, eager to toss all of that good stuff to other kids massed at the curbline along the parade route.

Since I just concluded a six-day work week, and since I've got another one due to start less than 21 hours from now, this parade thrown nto the mix means I'll be going quite a stretch without a real day off. With my season, termite season, off and running, now the battle requires that I keep my head in the game as much as keeping up on the physicality of the thing.

For instance, at the tail end of a six-day week late yesterday afternoon, a complete fool in White Haven sent me spiraling off to a very, very dark place. This is a place that causes the Markie of old to reemerge, the Markie that pummeled people just for kicks. And these days, that's simply a byproduct of being tired both mentally and physically. As I said, I need to keep my head on straight, to stay focused on the pay day prize. Thankfully, the boring ride from White Haven to Wilkes-Barre caused the overactive adrenaline pump to go into sleep mode.

During stretches such as these, it's a real chore for me to write. All of which makes me wonder about small town bloggers who post their brilliant utterances on a daily basis no matter what. No matter what. What am I to make of that? They've either got too much time on the their hands, no job, or they are devoted to an endeavor with highly questionable returns.

And I've always wondered about that, that motivation. On a case by case basis, why it is that people bother? I've questioned my own motivation in print at times, and so has another die hard known as Gort. Sometimes I wonder if some are blogging with an end result in mind. As in, the people that keep on banging a certain entitlement drum to the point of absurdity.

Or the people who promote union membership as if it's the end-all of all known end-alls, as if there are 77 virgins waiting for new brothers at the union hall. Or the (insert political party or ideology) are evil drum-beaters. They paint as dastardly villains those with a differing construct, and with a flair for the vitriolic, but at the end of the day, what did they accomplish other than preaching to the choir?

One of the greatest compliments I received about my electronic scribbling came from a guy up Wyoming way. He said something to the effect that, despite being labeled as a poliblogger, the thing he enjoyed about my older, now-mothballed site was that when he clicked on the favorites link to my site, he knew he was headed into uncharted waters.

One day it was the mayor that caught my ire, the next day I was reminiscing about trying to make each other puke down at the corner playground when I was a sprat of 8, or my fantasizing about being a redneck drinking warm home-brewed beer out back of the chicken coop in my underwear. (Opal! You hot lil' bitch!) After the political demise of our previous mayor, and after I got past the single mindedness of purpose, he said he never knew what he was in for. And he liked that.

A couple of years ago, Nancy Kman at WILK speculated about why bloggers blog, and in no uncertain terms. As part of her "Blog this!" tongue-lashing, she painted folks such as us as life's losers, the kids who couldn't get a prom date, and other mean-spirited speculation along those lines. I think she was doing what a lot of people in the accepted media did back then by dumping on the newer form of media. With corruption at work no matter where we look around here, talk radio and bloggers have become allies to some degree, albeit begrudgingly.

In response to that ill-advised rant, I wrote that the differences between bloggers and talk radio hosts are very few. They work, they play, they read too much, they generally live life, and then they reflect on all of it. I was of the firm opinion that one of us local boys set her off, but I never once remembered to ask her about it when I had her ear. But never say never.

Hey, Nancy! Who or what set you off that day?

Over the years, the one word that was always associated with my efforts was "prolific." But last year especially, that was clearly not the case. And during the holidays, it occurred to me that I went and bothered to dump the old site, I bothered to create the new site, and then I didn't bother to write much of anything. 100 or so posts for me is like taking a year off.

So after the new year, I promised myself I would bother to write again. And still, I'm not exactly sure why I feel compelled to do any of it. But as you can see during the past week, there is a direct correlation between the number of posts and the number of hours I have to work. The point is, I am no longer one of those bloggers who will blog no matter what. Work comes first, family comes second, you get the drift.

So after all of this needless circumlocuting, I am left to ask, why do you people bother? And what makes a person blog as if by rote? What's the reason for the 'another day, another post' mentality? And lastly, what do you get out of it? Why bother?

And with that, I'm off to the car wash.


Friday, March 12, 2010

The Wilkes-Barre Wall

My first stop this morning was in the Parsons section of the city. And there did come that point, judging by the chorus of wailing sirens, that the entirety of the WBPD was trying to get back on the lead lap. And according to the Times Leader, three nice fellows from NYC are in custody after an early morning shooting up Parsons way. No, I did not hear any gunshots.

Near about two hours later on WILK came "Linda from Parsons" live on my digital pocket radio blaming the current administration of this city for the shooting, crime in general, societal decay and "the outsider scum" who may or may not have committed the shooting.

Outsiders? Scums? Much more often than not, that's not-so-cryptic code for inner city blacks.

In case you didn't know, "Linda from Parsons" ran against the current mayor during the last election dust up, and she is married to a sitting county commissioner. And after her rambling tirade, I thought to myself, she's running for mayor again, which is neither here nor there.

Honestly, I fail to understand how our administration or any other administration for that matter can deny access to the outsider drug-dealing hordes while there is a thriving demand for illicit drugs in this area. As I have been known to say, where there's demand, there's supply. And until the demand wanes to a great, great degree, we should expect the occasional mass arrests, the steady occurrences of overdoses and the subsequent shooting events.

And to blame the mayor for this (the mayor that bolstered the ranks of the police by 21 officers...almost one and half platoons) because--allegedly--the building codes are not being enforced, well, that's insufferably imbecilic poppycock.

As much as I can't believe I could ever be persuaded to think as much, it might be time to legalize drugs. Let the users kill themselves if need be. Allow the state to tax and regulate the flow. And take the gun-toting marauders out of the equation entirely.

Or, you could adopt the moronic belief that City Hall should keep those, ahem, non-whites out of here, that City Hall should built the 9th wonder of the world...The Wilkes-Barre Wall.

This one has me concerned...

The link: Leighton, firefighters clash over staffing levels

The excerpt: WIILKES-BARRE - Tensions between the city and its firefighters left the negotiating room at Thursday's City Council meeting as each side continued an ongoing debate over reducing minimum on-duty staffing as part of the city's effort to rein in escalating overtime costs.

Over four days, firefighters have protested and passed out fliers bemoaning the city's decision a week ago to trim minimum staffing to 12 firefighters from 14 to keep the department from exhausting its overtime budget by May. As part of the reduction, the engine based at South Station goes out of service when minimum staffing is in effect.

City officials have remained silent on their position as they engage in negotiations with the firefighters' union, International Fire Fighters Association Local 104, to end the impasse. Last night, Mayor Tom Leighton outlined the city's position as one spurred by an effort to pare down overtime costs that city no longer afford.

Ever since the fire fighter's union endorsed then-candidate Tom Leighton, and then agreed to concessions with his newly seated administration, it's been a grudge match almost ever since. The mayor will not deficit-spend, and the firefighters say they need additional manpower. Personally, I'm tired of it.

During the Leighton years, we've reduced from 5 fire halls to 3, and from 4 fire engines to 3. As of today, we have 3 engines, Ladder 1 and Rescue 7 in service 24/7. The only reason I agreed with the decision to downsize to from 5 to 3 fire halls and to 3 engines was because they would be strategically placed...north, central city and south. But now, with the possibility that only two engines could be in service at selected times, I think that's putting public safety in doubt.

I did not bother to try to touch base with either the mayor or the union honcho, because, as the newspaper put it, there are ongoing negotiations afoot. So, I doubt anyone would be very candid or frank with me.

And I was once told by that union honcho that the decision to man each engine with three men rather than the customary two that was the 'norm less than 5 years ago was not the straw that broke the camel's back. But ever since that became a requirement, there has been this constant cost/benefit tug of war going on between the firefighters and the administration.

But now, now I'm wondering if that should remain in place. If the administration goes through with the force reduction, we'll have 3 men on 2 engines at any given time. But if we went back to 2 men on each engine, we could put the 3rd engine back into service 24/7 with the same amount of men on duty.

Now, the firefighters will tell you that having 3 men to an engine enhances their personal safety while dealing with a structure fire. And indeed it does. The question is, can we afford to staff 3 engines at that level 24/7?

Still though, I ask you, what's better from a self-centered public safety perspective? 6 men on 2 engines? Or 6 men on 3 engines?

This just in...breaking news...

The Citizens' Voice has undeniably linked Gort to...

No, that's not it. Try this one from the email inbox:

Hello All,

The next blogger meetup will be Friday March 26th at Rooney's Irish Pub 67 S. Main St. Pittston, PA 18704 starting at 5PM.

I scouted out the place today and it's perfect for us. There is big bar area with tables off to the side and plenty of free parking across the street where the Tomato Festival is held. It's easy to find just drive north on River Street from W-B and it's on the left. Mapquest it. The DJ doesn't start until 8:30PM so we won't be blasted out. The menu looks good with everything from sit down dinners to bar food and munchies. For those who want to light up a smoking station is right outside the front door.

Please let me know if you can make it. I need your help to invite various candidates for the upcoming primary election plus our readers, commenter's and lurker's. I'll get Elizabeth to put it in the Citizen Voice Political Notes next Monday.


Yeah, but will they allow the use of throwing stars on their dartboard?

Y'ger needs, er, Y'ger wants to know.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

The watcher won't watch?

I knew better. I really, really did.

We have this election year phenomenon wherein new political blogs appear in the months before we vote. And at first, the great majority of these blogs purport, er, pretend be all objective and what not. And then the long-planned October surprise is delivered in hopes of helping their preferred candidate.

And we also have the blogs that have a declared mission from the very get-go of smearing one candidate in particular from day one. That anti Barletta blog comes to mind, Stop Barletta dot com, or some equally lamed-assed address. It's like watching the movie The Dead Zone play out on the Internet sans the climactic ending. You know, moon battery.

Anyway, battle-tested blogging veterans such as myself as well as a few other locals can sniff out these short-lived blogs at 1,000 yards. And that's why, for the most part, they almost never make it to any blog rolls.

So, when the WILK Watcher blog first appeared out of the Internet ether back in January, my not-long-for-the-Internet-underworld alarm went off. Which means I figured this blog would not be around long enough to graduate up to any blog rolls.

Still though, I couldn't resist a permanent link in hopes of driving traffic to what I hoped would be a daily rant on all things WILK, i.e., the two grumpy, bitter old men and the two blond chicks from the sticks. But instead, all that we received were periodic bursts of "writing" and at a 6th grade level.

On it's face, this is not news, nor is it a surprise. But I do think a precedent has been set here locally with this short-lived sad sack of a blog. In less than two months, the heretofore unknown author of the blog supposedly dedicated to following the travails of WILK's on-air staff upped and announced..."But I have officially stopped listening as of today."

The self-appointed watcher refuses to watch? The watcher won't watch? This was his/her/it's idea in the first place. What the (insert favorite variation on your basic F word)???

I swear to Allah, on average, new blogs have the life expectancy of an adult male Hershey Kiss. Un-freaking-believable.

From today forward, any new blogger interested in being permanently linked to should have to submit at least 3 non-blogger references, current and past employment records, a certified mental health evaluation and a nominal processing fee.


Scratch that mental health exam requirement. That'd likely get me dumped from every known blog roll. Never mind.

Speaking of new blogs, last night the Marcellus Shale drilling issue dominated the discussion on Steve Corbett's 3-7 pm show, when a lady calling from Dallas told Corbett that he could get himself up to speed on frickin' frackin' by visiting Frack Mountain.

Corbett seemed real interested and had the lady repeat the address. So I imagine that plenty of people spent last night camped out on Frack Mountain.

Good for him.

The following came via the email inbox from the Luzerne County GOP...

Issues & Eggs
Friday, April 9
Gus Genetti Hotel & Conference Center
77 E. Market St., Wilkes-Barre

Buffet Breakfast 7:45 a.m....Program 8:15 to 10:30 a.m.

· Forum for all Republican state & federal candidates
· Come on out to meet our candidates & learn more about how they stand on important federal and state issues.
· Moderators from local media will conduct the forum.
· Guests will have a chance to submit questions.

That's really cool and all, but it got my glow plug-armed insanity pump to immediately kick in.

If this was a Democrat-sponsored event, it'd be called Egg Whites, Wheat Germ & Issues.

If it was a Libertarian Party get-together, it's be Less eggs & Issues.

If it was a Tea Party LLC. protest breakfast, it's be Eggs, Green Tea & Issues.

And if it was a Green Party deal, it'd be Egg Bong, Issues & Munchies.

I said it was insanity going in, didn't I?


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bring your own eggs

I will be driving a company vehicle in the St. Patty's Day Parade on Sunday. This will be my 3rd year in a row, it's grown by leaps and bounds, and I enjoy it. Wifey accompanied me the last two years, but she says it's boring and wants out this year. So a couple of the grandsons are going to ride with me, a first for them.

Plus, The City of Wilkes-Barre's Annual Cherry Blossom Festival is slated for Saturday, April 24th & Sunday, April 25th, 2010 from 11am-7pm. That's always a good time provided that the weather cooperates.

If you want to take a shot at egging me during the parade, here's my divisional lineup...

Division #7, sponsored by Luzerne Optical Laboratories, LTD, RM Recovery

Walker/Float/Vehicle Line-Up Location: right side of South Main Street, adjacent to the Volunteers of America parking lot

1. Luzerne Optical Laboratories, LTD. Sponsor banner
2. Wilkes-Barre Hardware Bar, Giant Balloon – Pot of Gold
3. Northeast PA Miners – 1-2 vehicles, 10-20 people
4. Uptown String Band
5. First Baptist Church Wilkes-Barre – fire truck, motorcycles, cars
6. US Census 2010 – 1 vehicle, 6-10 people
7. NEPAMoney.com – 1 vehicle, 4 people
8. Nationwide Car Sales – 1 float
9. RM Recovery Sponsor banner
10. Tom Bretz & Son – 2 antique fire engines
11. Kraft Foods – 1 float, 15 people
12. Rolling Angels 4 Armed Forces – 20 motorcycles
13. Hall’s Auto Service – 8 vehicles
14. J.C. Ehrlich – 1 vehicle
15. T. R. Customs Car & Truck Club, Avoca – 1 vehicle, 5 people
16. NEPA Paranormal – 1vehicle, 10 people
17. 109th Artillery Heritage Association – Carey Giadosh – 2 floats, 3 vehicles, 10 people

Good luck with that. But remember, I could drive that truck right through the crowd in pursuit of you iffin' you happen to get lucky and hit me. Chicken arm.

By the way, NEPA Paranormal? What in tarnation is that? Man, I never figured Art Bell would have a big following in this area. But come to think of it, there ain't much normalcy going on in NEPA. Well, that is, unless you consider rampant corruption normal. Ghosts in the parade? we shall see. Well, not really.

I talked to two local bloggers on the much ballyhooed cell phone today. Two in one day. That's a first for me. It seems we're going to have one of these blogger soirees and soon. Or as I had mistakenly referred to them, we're planning another Beer Storm.

If you've got a weak stomach, leave the police scanner off when that night arrives.

This one was forwarded to me...

From: "NEPA Tea Party, LLC." dan@nepateaparty.com

Subject: Reminder: Kanjorski Healthcare Picket

Hello Everyone,Don't forget about the Rep Kanjorski Picket taking place today (March 9) from 4pm - 5:30pm outside the Stegmaier Bldg in Wilkes-Barre.

For further information, visit our webpage and click on the events tab located in the top toolbar. Bring home made signs!
Bring friends!

Thanks, NEPA Tea Party, LLC.
Dan McGrogan
Luke Shook
Norm Wahner

I didn't know we had a local branch of those boisterous Tea folks. Although, that name, NEPA Tea Party, LLC., that sounds like a business, like an importer of fine, exotic teas or something.

Got me, man. I'm pretty much limited to Turkey Hill's orange tea myself.

You know, I figure if you could smoke tea so as to make yourself hallucinate and all, this Tea Party uprising would be a strictly democrat phenomenon. I mean, didn't all of those no-good, lazy-assed hippies turned congressmen once experiment like all hell with dried banana peels? I dunno. It just seems as if republicans are more apt to drink fermented weeds while bemoaning the loss of St. Dale from NASCAR. That sort of thing.

Ah, tradition.


Monday, March 8, 2010

GOP Youtube channel


The Luzerne County GOP now has it's own Youtube channel.

The link: Luzerne County GOP

Yup, just name one of those dastardly, evil republicans, and there they are on video. I swear, it's enough to put you off of your wheat germ and tofu omelet.

I hear the Luzerne County democrats are working on podcasting, but in their sorry-assed case, it'll be done from within the walls of a few state correctional facilities.


The loss of tradition in America: perception or reality?

I really don’t have time for this today, but since I’ve been challenged, here’s a few morsels coming right off of the top of my pointy little head. Oh, if you're wondering where this is all coming from, read the comments attached to my "Preparation H principle" post.

“…the perception of a loss of tradition vs. its reality?”

Perception? Wrong, dude.

My problem…How do you demonstrate a loss of tradition to someone who's probably never experienced those traditions in the first place?

Where should we start?

First of all, families survived on one income meaning moms could stay home and nurture their children. These days, the kids are stashed in warehouses all day while mom earns enough money to cover the profligate levels of taxation.

Interestingly enough, the best day care providers, the grandparents, are also warehoused in nursing homes, so a huge part of the old ways, the old days, the old country and what have you are lost because the grandparents cannot spin those yarns for the kids.

Speaking of the kids, in my day, the kids were respectful and knew how to keep their yaps shut. And they also understood that cursing was forbidden. And they said silly little nothings such as, “Yes, sir” and “No, ma’am.”

Kids back then had school clothes and play clothes. Today, too many of the kids have one set of clothes--the gang banger garb. Prison garb, if you will. They used to bitch at us about tucking our shirts in. Today, you can’t get them to tuck their Fruit of The Looms in.

To settle a disagreement during the Brady Bunch days, you needed only to form a fist. These days, you need to empty a full clip into somebody of a differing perspective, before they empty a clip into you.

Their used to be a social stigma attached to being 19-years-old, single and having 4 kids. These days, that’s increasingly the ‘norm, and welfare has become a way of life for too many. The ultimate safety net became a way of life.

Civility and courtesy are no longer taught to the young, and are no longer expected from the adults.

Young folks are taught to despise the church. While I am not a church-goer (far from it), I can’t help but to wonder what our society would be like if our kids were still having the Ten Commandments drilled into them.

And speaking of Sundays, because of the now repealed Blue Laws, society no longer has that slow, quiet day every week by which to slow down and cool off.

Unions used to protect the blue collar worker. But now, thanks to JFK‘s lack of foresight, all that unions do today is make the cost of governing and educating prohibitively expensive.

Nudity and cursing were not a part of the pop culture. Now, I cannot avoid that sort of unneeded stuff while hanging out with my grandkids. These days, it’s all over the television, in the movies and in our devolved music.

Neighbors not only knew one another, they looked out for each other. These days, they’re too busy making love to their PDA to even notice they just backed over the neighbors dog.

People didn’t trade spouses like kids used to trade baseball cards. Back then, a family consisted of two parents of the opposite sex and their children. These days, all bets are off.

Strangers were kinder to each other. Today, it openly pains people to even acknowledge the people they pass on a sidewalk.

Unborn children weren’t destroyed on a whim.

A gentlemen would relinquish his seat for a woman. Gentlemen would open a door for a woman. When did you last hear that word “gentlemen” uttered? It’s a lost art, being a gentlemen.

The last time I opened and held a door for a woman, the tattooed, pierced circus side show act bit my head off by yelling, “I’m not a f**king cripple.” Maybe not, but she looked like a mental cripple.

Self esteem was not awarded to children, it was earned by children.

Young men proved their manhood by way of pumping iron, joining the Marines and that sort of thing, not piercing their ears, dying their hair purple, jelling their hair and tattooing razor wire on their arms.

Older men proved their manhood by earning a living, keeping their noses clean and staying with the same woman for decades, warts and all.

When the “old man” raised his voice, his kids stopped dead in their tracks and took notice. These days, that same raised voice could get Children & Youth knocking on your door. For that matter, half of America’s children have never met their fathers.

Kids did chores. Then and only then did those kids earn their allowance.

Kids were taught to respect the police, not the other way around as it is now.

And in my day, if a cop delivered some kid to his parents, you knew after the cop left the strap was coming out. These days, the parents will defend the actions of their perfect little angels.

Once upon a time, people did not arrive at job interviews looking like refugees from a war zone.

You ate the freshly cooked food that grandma put on the table. There was no debate. There was no democracy available to children. Today, they eat prefabricated, microwaveable garbage.

Television networks did not openly suggest to impressionable children that being heterosexual is an old-fashioned concept.

Everyone ate meat, potatoes, a vegetable and bread. And we were all skinny! Well, except for that fat kid in gym class. Today, everyone is all obsessed with their caloric counts, their good cholesterol counts...and everyone is borderline obese! Figure that out.


Dude, please do not force me to post a Part II. Just listen to someone who was where you were not, growing up in America 45 years ago or so. There is no perception going on here, there is a clear loss of tradition in this country.

Whether you want to admit it or not, and whether you can believe it or not, America used to be a kinder, gentler, safer, slower, more respectful place.

If we’ve progressed at all as a society, I fail to see it.

Anyway, thanks for getting the blood pumping again.