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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Vee ah Norveigan!

I went and took a late afternoon bicycling tour of downtown Wilkes-Barre yesterday. And I have to say, as an avid cyclist, Mayor Tom Leighton has all but ruined the downtown for me and mine.

Where once I could ride those little-used sidewalks with my eyes closed, now I'm all but banished to the streets due to the heavy foot traffic. And there was a time not too long ago when I could dart right through the heart of the downtown in a minute flat, while now I found myself having to share the roads, too. Will it never end?

I neglected to snap a picture, but Blum Brothers is gone. Torn down, trucked away and never to be seen again.

Here's the new intermodel facility at street level.

I kind of paused there because at first glance, this scene reminded me of something from my boyhood years. Deja vu all over again, I suppose. Not sure. Perhaps Port Authority in NYC. Maybe Bridgeport. I dunno.

The new streetscaping is so long overdue, it's sick. And if we remember, an investigation by the staff and management of the now defunct Wilkes-Barre Online revealed that the city had pallet upon pallet of replacement pavers, and could have repaired those fast-fading sidewalks at any time since the Great Flood of '72. But for whatever depraved reason, the City chose not to.

I guess the vertical parking idea has been deep-sixed. And if it has been, I'm all good with that. The mere thought of drivers trying to back into the traffic on Public Square always made me fantasize about bidding on the towing contract.

Ah, never mind.

You simply have to check these pictures of Bowman Creek that Kayak Dude has posted on his site.

When my three kids were really small, we used to drive to Tunkhannock's very edge--Eaton Township, right there at the big steel bridge, and go tubing down the creek in inner tubes taken from the spent tires of tractor trailers. Big fothermuckers!

Sometimes it was kind of sedate. And many other times, it was a raging torrent of rushing water to be respected for the omnipresent danger that it was. Guess which one I preferred.

Anyway, we visited this spot when the creek was rain-engorged, even dangerous, and also while drought starved and lame. But never did I ever see the water level even near this low. Not even close.

So, with the frickin' fracking now a part of the local lexicon, where did the water go? Was it siphoned off for the purposes of hydro fracturing layers of sub-strata rock? Methinks, yes it has.

Keep an eye on this sort of stuff where you live.

Oh, and a camera on your person.

Yeah, some of you sent along snarky emails when I made numerous mentions of The Naked Communist. Yep, some objected to striking similarities I listed between the-then (?) long-term agendas of the Soviets and of the Democrat party right here in the fast-fading USofA.

Soviet infiltration? Sleeper agents spending decades living here among us and trying to dictate U.S. policy?

Wow! This Mark guy was off his rocker, you said.

From New arrest in Russian 'deep cover' case

An excerpt: According to the court documents, some of the suspects adopted phony identities, including those of dead Americans, and posed as married couples. The suspects engaged in secret communications including exchanges of bags, money drops and use of invisible ink, as well as more modern touches such as private wireless computer networks between specific laptops, the documents said.

A decrypted message from Moscow to two of the suspects said they were sent to the United States for "long-term service," one of the documents said.

"Your education, bank accounts, car, house, etc. -- all these serve one goal: fulfill your main mission, i.e, to search and develop ties in policymaking circles in U.S. and send intels (intelligence reports)," the document said.

Yep, you laughed, didn't you?

One of the main goals listed in The Naked Communist was to wrest control of one of the two dominant political parties in the U.S. for the purposes of manipulating legislation to the point of setting forth an accelerated societal decay in this country.

Seen much societal decay in this country lately?

Buy the book. But be warned, you might not like what you read. Especially if you're a registered Democrat.

Oh, and your apologies will not be accepted.



Monday, June 28, 2010

What good has he done?

I see Gort over at Gort took exception to my comments left at his site, and that's fair enough.

Here's what started the exchange--my comments regarding this stupid Kanjorski "defective" flap:

Non-issue, girls. It's simply a matter of the loose lips being faster than the aging brain. No biggie.

Then again, with that said, our gracious host would not be so bent-over apologetic if a member of that dastardly and evil, that no-good, scumbag-laced opposing political party--well beyond his years--went and said exactly the same words.

It's sad to say, but what we have here is a once-upon-a-time well-meaning poliblogger gone whole-hog party apparatchick.(D) Paul Kanjo can do no wrong, even when he goes "fumblemouth" for the umpteenth time?

Dubya must be scratching his head right about now.

Amazed, I am.

Honestly, nobody should have to put up with that in their own electronic back yard, so Gort fired back at me with the following:

The Blogfather agrees with me .

"Non-issue, girls. It's simply a matter of the loose lips being faster than the aging brain. No biggie. "Then he ripped me for being too partisan. This is from a guy who never has a good thing to say about the President and defends Bush's war's to this day. I hope he is eating well.

Look at my posts from the past 2 years and will you find that I have given more space to the Republican candidates in Luzerne County then the papers have. Such Bullspit.

Yep, I too received the email attacking Kanjo's comments from Barletta's campaign. And since I did not agree with their position, I chose not to make mention of it, even though I'm supposed to be a died-in-the-wool, hardcore Republican.

Interestingly enough, the hard-left local blogosphere rushed to defend Kanjo as soon as he came under attack by the Barletta camp. Tripping over each other, you were. While you may give Barletta some time and space, you'll do whatever it takes to see to it that he loses when it counts. And that's your prerogative. It's still a somewhat free country. Sort of. Almost. So go for it. Doesn't bother me except for the tiresome redundancy of the thing.

And, sure, I'll concede that local Republicans get a lot of exposure on your site, but the honest political animal will admit that 99.9% of them had a defective snowball's chance in Hell of getting themselves elected in this county. Again, no big deal.

As far as not having anything good to say about the clueless wonder currently occupying the oval office, what good has he done?

He and his advisers seriously underestimated the severity of the then-recession, now probably a depression. And they were on record as saying as much.

Oh, the economy is cyclical. It'll bounce back. It always bounces back.


Then they erred by funneling a trillion "stimulus" dollars to constituency groups, namely unions. And when that failed to jump start the economy, they invented a disprovable category all their own--saved jobs. Labor statistics supplied by the govmint suggest that the 10% unemployment rate is grossly inaccurate. And now they are promising a jobless recovery. Recovery? Recovery where? On Guam?

And exactly who was it that pulled the trigger on the September '08 October Surprise that secured his electoral victory over John McCain? Damn. We'll find out who really shot JFK before they ever let that untold story to leak out. The Bush economy was just fine until the economy had to be dealt a near death blow in the name of politics.

He promised to prosecute this Afghanistan war much more aggressively that Dubya ever did. But, the rules of engagement were changed meaning no more close air support, and the checklist that must be completed before any outgoing fire is allowed. Result...more KIAs. And how to fix it? General "Betrayus?"

And just because a group of people repeated the same lines until they finally believed them to be true, Bush Lied, War for Oil and all of that, it still remains to be seen that any of that bunk was true. When are we getting that oil? And what happened to the much-repeated story about how Bush invaded Afghanistan so that American oil companies could build pipelines across that country?

I still maintain that the howling moonbeams on the left told more lies about Iraq than Bush ever did.

When he's not playing golf, or embarrassing himself on the world stage, confusing Israel while incouraging it's enemies, or criticizing the United States at every turn, he's campaigning. I get 3-5 emails every week from Obama's Organizing America outfit.

And I think some of you people need to start religiously reading the foreign press. Not only does the foreign press think he's in over his head, so do most world leaders, former staunch allies and stated enemies of this country.

He has demonized industry large and small. He has made it more expensive for them to do business. And he still maintains that these Bush tax cuts need to come to an end at the end of this year. And then, he's still actively pushing this other economy killer--the Cap, Trade and Tax monstrosity. And we're wondering what's holding the economy back? It's called uncertainty, folks.

And then we learned that the CBO numbers on that so-called health care reform bill were kind of purposely tweaked so as to not seem so frightfully expensive. No lie there. More economic uncertainty. But still, we can't figure out why no one is hiring or investing. Beats me.

As I said going in, Obama had no resume, no experience, no private sector experience and no military service. All he had was Hope and Change. And now, all that we've got is to hope for a change and as soon as possible.

Facts is facts, and you people put a clueless wonder in the White House. "Yes we can" was a mirage. It's more like, "No he can't."

It's been 19 months. And I reiterate, what good has he done?


Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mickey D's, KFC and now Friendly's: Corporate Amerika killing unsuspecting consumers

This is what happens when clueless sophistes are allowed to dictate the agenda. Er, in this case, the restaurant menu.

Open wide? Friendly's Grilled Cheese BurgerMelt is even worse for you than KFC's Double Down

BY [sic] Rosemary Black


Thursday, June 24th 2010, 12:09 PM

Friendly'sBite at your own risk: Friendly's new sandwich contains as many calories as a woman needs in an entire day.

KFC’s Double Down is so last month, now that Friendly’s has weighed in with its own Grilled Cheese BurgerMelt, a towering concoction that’s even bigger, fatter and unhealthier than its rival.

The monstrous, multilayered sandwich is really three dietary sins in one: a Friendly’s 100% Black Angus Big Beef Burger placed between two whole grilled cheese sandwiches on white bread.

By comparison, the Double Down’s a lightweight, chalking up 540 calories, 32 grams of fat and 1,380 mg. of sodium in its two pieces of fried chicken, bacon slices and Monterey Jack cheese slices.

The newest Friendly’s offering features a staggering 1,500 calories, according to, along with 79 grams of fat and an impressive 2,090 mg. of sodium.

Do you have to taste it to believe it? SlashFood actually did, and found it to be an "embarrassingly pleasurable eating experience," with the grilled cheese "buns" oozing with the proper proportion of cheese and greasiness.

Nutritionally speaking, it might pay to schedule a visit to the cardiologist on your way to Friendly’s to pick up the new sandwich.

"This is insane and very irresponsible - just what Americans don't need," says Keri Gans, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. One of the new triple-decker extravaganzas contains as many calories as the average woman needs for an entire day.
"It contains more artery-clogging saturated fat than advised by health experts," Gans says. "And the amount of sodium is outrageous, exceeding by almost 600 mg. what is being recommended for the 2010 dietary guidelines."

SlashFood tasters conceded, "It’s going to be hard to eat another one of these without feeling significant guilt and remorse."

Unless, of course, you share. With maybe four junk-food addicts?

Um, the incremental indoctrination of Amerika is not flying under the radar anymore. If a national restaurant chain puts a 1,500 calorie burger concoction on the menu, why the media outcry? Why the macro response to the micro non-problem?

We know. We know! We know the deal: From this day forward, we are allowed to eat wheat germ, tofu, salamander caviar and salmon only. We got the oft-ignored message.

So shut the fu>k up already!

If the Friendly Ice Cream Corporation puts such a thing on their menu, why the leftist-inspired angst barely passing as reporting?

Truth be told, I was once employed by this outfit for 5 years, first as an assistant manager at a couple of sites and then later as a general manager of a high-volume store. And being that my speciality was the back-of-house, namely the development of, preparation of, proper storage of and the menu planning of all incoming products, I always found myself butting heads with those who had the final word on any and all menu changes.

To be blunt, I'm of the opinion that the menu at Friendly's includes little more than overpriced, under-valued and subpar products. And that's exactly why I was painted as being a naysayer when I worked for them for far too long. As for me, I want potatoes from Oregon, not some pre-packaged, reconstituted crap from south of the Rio Grande fast destined for the worst piece of equipment that was ever incorporated into a kitchen--the microwave.

And ignore this constant drumbeat about how you're supposedly driving up the cost of health care based on your lifestyle choices. That is so much bullsh*t, it stinks even in it's textual form.

The only reason the cost of health care has exploded, and the only reason the prohibitive cost of health care excludes so many of us is because those 535-plus two jackasses in Washington, D.C. have allowed it to become a pressing issue, a nightmare of a manufactured dilemma from which they will save us. In other words, they are prevaricating all over again.

So, what else is new?

As for myself, even though it does not excite me in the least, I'm going to Friendly's as soon as humanly possible to consume one of these grilled cheese burger killers. And I'm going to post the grotesque pictures when I do.

My point?

Leave us alone.

Allow us to live our lives without your constant browbeating as mandated by the out-of-control U.S. Fedrule Govmint.

The 4th of July is almost upon us, a day the producers of charcoal excitedly pencil in on their calendars year-in and year-out. And all of Amerika wll go bonkers on burgers, hoddogs, chicken, ribs, marshmallows and Allah only knows what else.

So, deal with it you mealy-mouthed children of the revolution.

And thanks again for pissing me off by way of what should be the mundane.


Oscar Mayer!

Party on!


Swimming at Nesbitt Beach?

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."--Voltaire

I enjoyed a week away from all of this localized electronic tomfoolery.

Personally, it’s all gotten very redundant for me. The banality of the partisan preaching to the choir is insufferable at times. The economic morass is deepening thanks to a lack of clear and concise leadership. And yet, those facts are still being fed through the ideological filters for our consumption.

A “jobless recovery?”

You’re serious? Run that by the jobless and see how upbeat they are about the supposed recovery.

Seriously, when you’re reduced to arguing for more tax increases simply because your political party inflicted them on one segment of society (for example: tanning salons, beer drinkers, smokers) and not another, your brain is clearly misfiring.

If the Republicans levy a tax increase, it’s bad policy. But when the further confiscation of our earnings comes at the hands of the Democrats, that’s a necessary step?

Please do not send me any more instant messages. Ever. And on that note, Facebook effing bites!

It’s like this flap concerning Paul Kanjorski’s latest verbal gaffe.

When a Republican goes and misspeaks, those words are etched on stone tablets and regurgitated forever more. Oh, but when someone from your favorite team goes and fumbles the oratory ball, well, that’s no big deal. He simply misspoke, you say.

Sorry, but the inconsistency of applied standards is the hallmark of the intellectually dishonest.

Want proof that the fracking will go forward and completely unabated?

Well, since both Phyllis Mundy and Karen Boback have both stepped forward and demanded more stringent oversight of the gas drilling, I figure it’s a done deal.

Why? Because I honestly feel that their fellow legislators in Harrisburg do not take the female members of the legislature as seriously as they do their male counterparts.

That’s the way I feel.

We are facing, what was it, a $1.2 billion budgetary shortfall? But our all-knowing lawgivers are not in favor of the proposed severance tax being paid by the oil and gas companies currently laying claim to wide swaths of our area.

I’m thinking that they are operating out of this parallel universe where oil company executives slip cash-stuffed envelopes to the elected and the appointed.

If I’m way off base in this belief, somebody explain this to me.

The City of Wilkes-Barre has posted some nifty pictures from the Murray Complex smokestack implosion.

Boy, has the Nord End landscape changed for the better. Quickly, too. And this from the mayor who only cares about the downtown?

Better rethink that oft-used bit of illogic.

Last Saturday I participated in the 11th annual RiverFest paddling event, my 8th such involvement.

In my denuded mind, this was the perfect event. Hot as hell, humid and nothing but brilliant sunshine firing back at me off of the muddied water. On a picturesque day such as this one, the river’s duality is only heightened for the paddling neophytes.

They see much of the splendor and the beauty and the plentiful wildlife that accompanies a trip on the river. Unfortunately, they also see what man has done to the river by way of unregulated industry, poor urban planning and outright neglect of the local environment.

The defunct coal mining industry added the Acid Mine Drainage to the devastating mix. Poor municipal planning and a lack of useful federal funding has allowed raw sewage to flush into the river for far too long. Urban sprawl has added ungodly amounts of waste water runoff so that even a modest rain event can transform a normally sedate and meandering river into a raging torrent of destruction. And they also see that too many of us use the river as the final resting place of tires, appliances and what have you.

From day one, when first I set forth to paddle this river, from that day forward I’ve always had one thought of any resonance about our river: We can and should do better by it.

If you don’t want pee in the pool, then stop peeing in the pool. It’s simple. And I like simplicity.

Once again, a heartfelt thanks goes out to Kayak dude for having us along in the U.S.S. Dude. Know what? Despite Wifey’s long-running protests, I means to have my own boat when next we shove off together. So as to make some room, I’ll get rid of a bicycle or two.

I do want to make mention of the fact that our newly-appointed River Common coordinator is all of 24-years-old.

Let’s see here, we spent $24 million in local, state and federal funding on that beautiful amenity, and then we put it in the hands of a kid? And a politically-connected kid, no less.

I don’t care how many of our disgraced local officials they sentence to home confinement, this hiring suggests that you still need the right surname to get an invite to the big public sector dance.

Knowing that when some local comes under the microscope of a local blogger some reader will likely call said local and make them aware of it, let us assume that our River Common kid is at some point made aware of my unmitigated audacity.

If he objects to my commentary, I would suggest that he contact me and make his case in text or in person.

Sounds fair to me.

As for RiverFest 2011, I do have a couple of suggestions.

I know we really want to push the ‘getting back to nature’ angle and all of that, but why not bring in some more attractions for the kids. Like, kiddie rides. I know they draw electricity and destroy the planet somehow. All of which has yet to be fully explained. But rides also draw people looking to treat their kids. I know, keeping with the theme, we could bring in hamster-powered rides. Ah, never mind that last thought. The P.E.T.A. freaks would have a collective stroke, something, by the way, that I'd like to watch on YouTube.

And I have to tell you, after paddling 15 miles in direct sunlight, with the temps approaching 90 degrees and with an elbow screaming out in pain with each and every swipe of the paddle, a cold, frosty one would really seal the deal once we make land at Nesbitt Park. Okay, 3 or 4 of them would put the icing on. Maybe 6 or 7.

Follow me here. Beer is brewed from agricultural products. So, in effect, the consumption of alcohol is yet another way of getting back to nature. The way I see it, beer is as green as it gets. So, having the temerity to correct Kayak Dude, I’m no tree hugger. Nope, I’m more of a hops and barley hugger.

Anyway, while sitting there at the river’s edge watching all of the fatigued and spent-looking first-time paddlers struggling to get up out of their boats and up the launch, I’m thinking that very many of them would greatly appreciate being able to immediately self-medicate upon future arrivals.

My grandson Zach was made an official River Rat. But since he’s too young to operate a kayak, he’s the first ever River Rodent.

Dude, you have no idea how excited he was to receive that official RiverFest whistle. When we got home and stowed our gear, he slipped that whistle into the mesh netting on the side of his river hat so as to not lose it.

We’ll be celebrating his 7th birthday next month, and he’s already got 3 events and 45 miles on his paddling resume. Perhaps 30 years from now he’ll be leading young paddlers down river while telling them the history of the river. As in, it used to be polluted. No!

Yeah, really.

Will RiverFest 2040 include swimming at Nesbitt Beach?

That's for us to decide.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Wyoming Valley RiverFest 2010

The propulsion is provided, so you might as well come along for the ride.

The accompanying music was muted by YouTube as part of this ridiculous copyright infringement squabble.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mellow ain't retired yet

The Scranton Times is reporting that "Federal agents are raiding Senator Robert Mellow's Archbald home and his district office in Peckville."

Check for updates on all of that.

The Murray Complex on Courtright Ave. is just about histoire. Amazing. What is that, like a 3-acre complex? And Stell Enterprises removed it from the landscape in a couple of weeks?

While Stell may have removed it from the neighborhood, it cannot be removed from my memories. You know the deal. If I had a dime, if I had a dime for every time grandma and I walked past that old factory while on our way to "Top Spot: Home of The Lulu" burger, I'd be leasing my entire 500 acre spread to Cabot Oil right about now.

Here's something our RiverFest river paddlers have yet to encounter: The old Eighth Street bridge meets the new Eighth Street bridge.

I ran into Carl Romanelli on Public Square and I told him to drop on by the Leisure Tavern tomorrow night if he could make it. Sorry, but us Zappa fans need to stick together. So, if he shows, then this becomes a blogger/candidate event?

Nah, the way I figure it, he's been as big a pain in the ass for the political establishment as have some of us well-traveled Internet raconteurs, so he's one of ours.

He runs with us.

Speaking of the Leisure and RiverFest, too, I was due a check yesterday that never arrived. I have yet to receive a sufficient explanation for that. I'm told it will be here today. And if it does not arrive here today, I am in a heap of trouble.

My 11 fingers will be crossed as the mailman makes his way up this smallish street.

Anyway, I am home early today and planning on doing next to nothing next to waging death and destruction by way of a CD-ROM game.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Leisurely Beer Summit

I just got off the phone with one of those bloggers from the Scranton area.

As I said on Facebook earlier today, I have a full day on Saturday, and I do not feel like hanging out with the pretend pretty people in any of the downtown bars that charge more for a draft than does New York City when a 5-axle vehicle tries to cross a toll bridge.

Harold, don’t sweat the homicide thing. While there was an isolated incident of the fatal kind at Liam’s last year, it’s a quiet corner bar where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came. Until that fateful night, that is. My son hangs out in there, and it really is a sedate place.

Anyway, what I told Tom was, I don’t want no road trips, or no glitzy locales or no pretty people. I want to hang at one of the Nord End neighborhood bars and that’s about it. So, at or before 6 pm on Saturday, I will be taking up residence at the Leisure Tavern right here in the Nord End.

It has a large enough bar, plenty of ESPN, a side room, a pool table and a jukebox. And have no fear, a few members of the WBPD usually take up a bar stool at the conclusion of the 2-10 shift. Well, have no fear unless you have outstanding warrants.

Leisure Tavern
553 N Pennsylvania Ave
Wilkes Barre, PA

Directions? Piss off!

Okay, for you Scranton types, 81 South to 309 North, hit Exit 2 (Center City W-B), take a left at the bottom of the exit ramp, right at the first light, left at the stop sign. And there you are--150 yards away. Hint: Neon sign.

Park across the street in front of Bloomsburg Metal.

Anyway, I’m told to expect Tom, Steve, Kayak Dude, a metallic silver robot, with D.B. Echo and Big Dan as possible/probable. Oh, and yours truly.

If we’re missing someone, give them a shout. And if I’ll failed to mention anyone who wants to get together and fix all that ails the world by somewhere thereabout midnight Saturday, drop me an electronic pulse.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Gasland on HBO

From the email inbox:

Dear friends,

In one week, America will tune in to HBO to see what happens when we allow gas drilling companies to run rampant in our towns. Gasland premires on HBO at 9:00 P.M. EDT on June 21st. Host a house party that night! We've got a toolkit for you, a new ultra-phenomenal website (going live this week), a "spark" (an embeddable mini-website), and this fantastic new trailer.

Please join us on Facebook and Twitter and tell your friends to sign up for our monthly e-mails here; we promise not to spam or sell addresses.


1.Tell your Representatives to support the FRAC Act here.

2. New Yorkers: Call your State Senator to advocate for the Englebright/Adabo Bill 518-455-2800.

3. Pennsylvanians: Demand a statewide moratorium. Tell your Representatives to support HB 2213. Find their contact info here.

Stop the insanity,
Josh Fox
Director, GASLAND

Monday, June 14, 2010

"No One Can Do More"

Ba-roke Oblahblah annoys me simply because of the sheer magnitude of his Pretender-in-Chief status.

Nancy Pelosi makes me want to beat the puppy senseless simply because everything she espouses would be beyond anathema to our founding fathers.

But Harry Reid?

This elected charlatan is to sound leadership what Mount St. Helens was to increasing property values.

This lightweight, this mental midget, this hopelessly partisan version of a budgetary grim reaper is no more qualified to be where he is than are Charles Manson and his murderous girls.

If what we truly want going forward is a prosperous and strengthened America, Harry Reid and his useless minions need to be made to walk the political plank.

Soon enough.


Beer Summit/RiverFest 2010

No matter what room I waltz into, I always believe myself to be at least as smart as any other person in the room. And while it may seem sort of arrogant, in most cases, I typically beleive myself to be smarter than anyone else in the room.

Perhaps it's embedded in the DNA, or it's the heredity angle all over again, but I've been this way ever since I realized starting in junior high and going forward that I could read exhaustive data I was definately interested in, and then retain just about all of that data forever.

Why is it that I know that the four WWII-era Iowa-class battleships displaced 46,000 tons sans the bulky ammo, but with the full compliment of sailors on board? Why? Because I consumed all of that in 1970 or somewhere thereabouts.

My Wilkes-Barre version of a grandfather used to brag about having a photographic memory. And true to form, my grandmother would quickly tell him to put a sock in it, while usually advising him that he never once laid a "clip to the lip" on anyone. Did he have some sort of weird knack? Got me. But from what she said, I'm fairly certain that he never really did pop anyone in the mouth.

Anyway, despite my self-perceived intellectual superiority, there is one day every year when I put that aside while paddling with my river mentor, Kayak Dude. If there's a more spot-on, reasoned, seasoned and methodical mind than his, I want to meet the owner of that brilliant mind.

He is measured, while I can be mercurial. He plans, even schemes, while I tend to react. He's an adult, while I can be anyhing but. And with RiverFest 2010 but days away, I guess I'll have to check my utter brilliance at the door when the paddles get to hitting the water.

Thanks entirely to KD, my grandson Gage (one week shy of his 3rd birthday) participated in this event in 2004. That was the year of the monsoon. And since then, my grandson Zach has two such trips under his belt ('08 & '09), and he's still a few weeks shy of his 7th birthday.

After this upcoming trip, I think Zach can make a legitimate argument for River Rat status being bestowed upon him. In addition, my nephew Mason (my dearly departed brother's only kid) has one such Susquehanna River adventure under his belt ('07).

But this year, unlike any other year, we've got this family flotilla thing developing.

First of all, KD has invited Zach aboard the U.S.S. Dude for a third time. And the plan all along was for Mason to paddle alongside us, but in his own rented kayak for the first time. And now I've learned that Mason's mom--my brother's widow--has also rented a kayak, as has her new beau. So other than having the pint-sized rodents along, this trip is as close to being a family affair as it will ever get. And I'm kind of jazzed about that.

Plus, Jen had a helluva time trying to a rent a triple or a tandem. She called all three of the advertised outfiters, as well as a kayak and canoe dealer here in Wilkes-Barre.

Finally, one of the outfitters affiliated with this event called her back and suggested that she rent a couple of single-seat kayaks, which she did. And while doing his business, he told her that almost all of the boats are spoken for. So, this year's event sounds like it's going to be well-attended. That is, at least the attendance in the middle of the river sounds as if it'll be on the uptick.

And with that, "Ramming speed, captain!"

I've got this budding Beer Summit breaking out. I think.

First of all, a partisan NEPA blogger and myself have agreed to get together after the paddling and the like has come to an end on Saturday. So, just for the hell of it, I called this other-worldly blogger from Plains and asked him if he wanted in. And he wants in.

So, I figure the next logical step is to ask the other local bloggers, readers and commenters if they'd also like to get togther on Saturday, swill a few beers, spin a few tunes and brainstorm so long as it doesn't hurt too much.

If anyone is up for this impromptu happening, let me know. The time and location are both still up in the air, but the city has been decided upon. And being that I love adventures, being that I absolutely love to go where practically no one has ever thought of going before, I'm thinking I should invite none other than WILK's Steve Corbett with the understanding that we are not going to be drinking any wheat germ and tofu ale, or praying at the alter of The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, or any of those other 60s drugged-out fu>k-ups.

Meet the bloggers, Steve. I promise, it won't hurt.

But I won't send that electronic pulse unless the participants are all good with that. I mean, if he actually showed up in all of his multi-shouting splendor, we wouldn't be able to hear the jukebox over him. Either way, if you want in, let me know.

As my petty, vindictive and physically abusive step-dad used to always remind me of, I'm all ears.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Remembering "history back"

I don't know that we--the W-B-a-net-sphere--need to keep beating up on WILK's Steve Corbett for very much longer. I made my point in a loud and grotesque electronic manner. And perhaps an unstated part of my point should have been as follows...

Much unlike him, I've demonstrated a propensity for being ahead of things, not behind them. Case in point, I blogged and then some years later they invented a term to describe such an electronic endeavor.

Ten years ago or so, I embedded the emails of people who both encouraged me as well as those who absolutely detested me. And then years later Blogger and other similar outfits enabled commenting by readers.

I introduced what is know known as the local blogosphere to embedded YouTube videos. And I also taught a few locals how to produce rather than embed said videos.

When all that was available on the Internet was the latest news from fledgling newspaper sites, I managed to spirit telling documents out of City Hall without ever having stepped foot into that hallowed place.

Most importantly, I also clearly demonstrated that a properly deployed $100 Kodak camera could literally devastate a local politico much faster than any 4,000-word diatribe ever could.

My point is this. Steve Corbett can call me a wanna-be journalist if that helps to stroke his gargantuan out-of-control ego that is likely headed to the Ego Hall of Fame one day. He can chastise me, belittle me and keep on reminding me that I am not what he once thought he was--a journalist.

But the undeniable truth is that I never once tried to pass myself off as a "journalist." In fact, if you've been reading this usual swill of mine since near it's inception, it's always been known as an alternative opinion, or an ersatz, off-the-wall and acerbic supplement of sorts to the local newspapers.

And if you long-time readers remember correctly, when Wilkes-Barre Online was first launched back before the advent of MySpace, Twitter, Facebook or, it included the highly visible disclaimer, "Pennsylvania's Most Punctuationally-Challenged Web Site," a clear reference to the fact that I was an unabashed slacker in both high school and college. I know I've gotten better at punctuating over the years, but my shortcomings in this area also suggest that I'd be a complete fool to declare myself a journalist.

Still though, for whatever reason, Corbett's ridiculous antics suggest that he perceives blogs to be some sort of threat to his imagined journalistic supremacy. And that's perfectly fine with me. But don't make the mistake of thinking that I believe myself to be anything that I am not. I'm just a guy with some skills, an attitude, a computer, a camera and the instincts of a certifiable genius by way of heredity.

But my original point still stands.

If Corbett was thinking important issues and breaking news just a couple of short years ago, if he was ahead of the curve rather than wastefully and foolishly taunting his "coal-cracker" of an audience with boasts of "I am a Mexican," and "I am a Feminist," he wouldn't now be rushing to the Marcellus Shale issue far too late to make a discernible difference.

But, hey. Why should you have to endure my "ego trip," while the words of others, namely Harold, are readily available?

Over at Circumlocution for Dummies, you'll find Mark Cour. He's been writing about this stuff for years. Seriously. And before that, he's been relentlessly fighting for a better Wilkes-Barre. He's a guy who won't back down in a tussle. Plus, he does his homework, and knows his stuff. Ask any reporter who's used his site as an unattributed source for an "exclusive" story. Oh, and he's been in this "blogging" game since before there was a word for it. Impressive.

Now, the way I recall things, an ego trip has to come from within. And I while I thank Harold for the overly kind words capable of making me blush, I also reiterate that I have always been on the cutting-edge of this electronic forum, something that Steve Corbett cannot make claim to in his chosen field of journalistic endeavoring.

He's the journalist. And I'm the lowly blogger.

He's the expert, he's the know-it-all. And I'm the wanna-be.

He's late coming to the natural gas party. And I've always been ahead of the curve.

And as my barely-educated grandfather said to me many years ago after a 3-on-1 bus stop fistfight went horribly wrong for me, "It is what it is, not what you might want to make of it."

And in closing, I'll put this one in the hands of my three or four readers.

Am I stroking my ego, as the Great Corbett would have you believe?

Or am I just stating facts?

Am I, as a blogger, a threat to his self-perceived and lofty preeminence?

Or am I simply providing an alternative voice?


Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Coal Street Spray Park?

As anyone who visits this Internet haunt of mine has to know by now, my grandchildren and I love to explore this city and this valley by way of bicycles.

When we first push off of the curb out front, very rarely is their a plan in place. Or should I say, a route. Rather, we saddle up and where the roads may take us, or where the portable police scanner leads us is anyone's guess.

While out and about, there are tried and true attractions that the kids are always willing to visit time and again. They love to visit heretofore unexplored playgrounds. They always enjoy being at the river's edge. The pursuit of another hoddog joint never does end. Lunch on top of the dike at the Forty Fort airport is always a big plus. But like their parents before them, they never get tired of frolicking in the fountain in the middle of Public Square on a hot day.

Which leads me to the following news tidbit...

Splashing-good times the goal for Coal Street Park in 2011

The excerpt: WILKES-BARRE – Councilman Tony Thomas Jr. would like to see some unfrozen water at Coal Street Park for children to enjoy during the summer months.

Thomas said Wednesday that he’d like to see a splash pool for kids installed at the recently renovated park by the time school lets out in 2011. The park already is home to a new ice rink.
According to Thomas, the city can install a splash facility, using unfiltered water, at Coal Street next year for about $150,000 that will accommodate 100 to 200 kids at a time.

“The kids always used to have water at Coal Street Park until the swimming pool was shut down,” Thomas said. “A splash pool will provide a place for kids to get cooled off and enjoy themselves.”

For a smallish city (six square miles), Wilkes-Barre is blessed with some fine parks. But what we really lack as a city is aquatic amenities. Sorry, but one swimming pool for 42,000 residents just isn't cutting it.

While I take no issue with the financially prudent decision to scrap the long-neglected pool at Coal Street Park, I also am on the record as saying it needed to be replaced in one form or another. And there is no more centralized location for a new and improved water amenity than at the new park at Coal Street.

Thomas and Butch Frati, the city’s director of operations, visited parks in Allentown to see the splash pools there. Thomas said Frati was skeptical about the idea until he heard what the Allentown officials had to say.

“They told us that splash pools are far more popular with the kids than swimming pools,” Thomas said. “And they are much less expensive to operate. Butch had his doubts before we went there, but he was overwhelmed.”

Frati said he went down open-minded, but had concerns about the concept.
“Once I saw it, I was very impressed,” Frati said. “I think it would be a terrific attribute to Coal Street and now we have to see how it will fit into the plans.”

Honestly, I want this to happen. And I would say unto the administration of my city to make this one happen.

While the new ice rink at Coal Street--home of the Penguins-- is a wonderfully unique attraction throughout this entire area, most toddlers don't lace up and look to cross-check anyone in to the boards.

And within throwing distance of this newly enhanced park are two housing projects, one of which I once resided in, and one in which I've done extensive work. And if there's one point I've had pounded into me over the course of my many years is that the poorest of the poor kids don't have much.

Now, don't be scared off by that fleeting reference to poor kids, which too often conjures up images of people with permanent tans. If you follow that link above, you'll see that a few comments attached to that Times Leader article were of the covert racism variety.

Be they white, black, brown or blended, little kids like the water. And even though a river runs through it, Wilkes-Barre needs more water.


*The pictures were taken at the Buck Boyle Spray Park in Allentown, PA.


The thing I enjoy the most about babysitting is that no one would dare suspect what I do to these defenseless little toad-like creatures.

Left to Right: Zach, Anonymous and Jeremy

I can mash them, crash down on them, trash their toys and carry on like a rampaging Zilla-god among defenseless children.

And yet, the only thing I have to fear is Children & Youth showing up and taking them into custody so as to increase C&Y's funding streams.

And if that happens, the ultimate defender of children the world over, none other than Jim Hayward will file suit against C&Y on behalf of "the children." There is nothing so exulted in the world of child-saving as that prince of fools--Jim Hayward.

Then again, if all that the children had to look forward to was Jim Hayward, they'd probably be jockeying for position at the ad-hoc gallows.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Gas Odyssey

Follow the link.

Here we have another movie about the Marcellus Shale invasion, but we've run into the dreaded "Embedding disabled by request" nonsense at YouTube, so you'll have to follow the link to see the teaser that comes in at 3:43.

From the YouTube page: A film by Aaron Price about the development of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale in the Southern Tier of New York and Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania.

World premier on April 16th, 2010 at 7:00 pm, West Middle School, West Middle Avenue, Binghamton, New York.

Anyway, just to pique your interest, Minority called this documentary "A Documentary the Left Doesn't Want You To See."

I kid you not.

The link: Gas Odyssey

Hey, before I head off to beat the grandkids, Entercom's Cathy Donnelly, subbing for a vacationing Sue Henry on WILK, had this to say today: "Boy! Is Steve Corbett getting beat up on the blogs."

And then, without skipping a beat, she went on to chastise the offending blogggers.

Cathy, listen to me tell it.

The Great "Corbett" is a self-promoting showman, nothing more. And no matter how this gas drilling brouhaha plays out, just as soon as it's off of Page 1 above the fold, Corbett will be off to the next issue he thinks he can ride to death in the name of Arbitron ratings.

He saves no one and nothing. He changes nothing. He is to making a difference what the Big Bang was to universal solitude. But please don't tell him I said that because his gargantuan ego does not allow for anything other than adulation, real or imagined.

That said, the meandering Cathy Donnelly is, bar none, my favorite fill-in host on WILK.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Siniawa Landfill

In early 2004, Daniel Siniawa, bought the long-shuttered and rapidly deteriorating Murray Complex in Wilkes-Barre, and told the Times Leader an “impulse led the Lackawanna County developer to bid on the 16-acre South Pennsylvania Avenue property, eventually buying it for $1.5 million.”

And then two years later we had this…

Posted on Fri, Dec. 22, 2006
W-B Area signs on to Murray Complex plan
Board OKs a tax increment financing plan for condos, shops and restaurants at site.

By JANINE UNGVARSKY Times Leader Correspondent

WILKES-BARRE – Voicing praise for the developers, the Wilkes-Barre Area School Board voted unanimously to approve the district’s participation in a tax increment financing plan to fund renovations to the Murray Complex.

Wilkes-Barre attorney Frank Hoegen, speaking for the Siniawa family – the Scranton-based developer of the $22 million project in the century-old warehouse space – said the condominiums, shops and restaurants would serve as a catalyst for further development.

“The Siniawas are going to borrow $15 million and pledge their properties as collateral. They are taking a huge personal risk to take a blighted area in downtown Wilkes-Barre and turn it into a showcase,” Hoegen said.

According to the resolution passed Thursday, the school district will join with Luzerne County and the city of Wilkes-Barre to develop a tax increment financing plan to fund $2.2 million of the debt for the project’s first phase. That phase calls for 55 condominium units and businesses that will generate an estimated $313,000 in taxes beyond the $20,000 the 480,000-square-foot site now nets the district.

“That increase will be created by virtue of the improvement to the property,” Hoegen said, “and the difference will be channeled to the (Luzerne County) Redevelopment Authority to pay the debt service on the loan.”He said the district will continue to receive the $20,000 in taxes it currently receives, as well as mercantile, transfer and income taxes generated by the property.

At the end of the 15-year term of the financing plan, the additional tax revenue will be split between the city, the county and the school district at a rate yet to be agreed upon, according to the resolution.

Luzerne County Commissioners approved participation in the plan earlier Thursday. Hoegen said the city is expected to decide soon whether to join in.

Project architect Alexander J. Belavitz said the plan is to “have the shovel in the ground” to start the project by late spring or early summer.

And then three years later we had this…

June 25, 2009
The walls come tumbling down
Demolition at former Murray complex under way; nearby condo-commercial project planned.

WILKES-BARRE – Demolition began Monday at the former Murray complex between Ross Street and Hazle Avenue.

Robert Sakosky, vice president of Daniel Siniawa & Associates of Dickson City, said he hopes all the dilapidated brick buildings to the right side of Ross Street will be down by the end of the year. The buildings have been deteriorating and the city and residents have expressed safety concerns.

“We are going forward with our project on the other side of Ross Street,” Sakosky said. “Those plans have not changed.”

The estimated $20 million project is multi-dimensional. Sakosky said Siniawa plans to build 55 loft-style condominiums, restaurants and will create 50,000-60,000 square feet of retail space on the site that once housed Murray’s Inn.

Sakosky said Siniawa is offering the Ross Street to Hazle Avenue side of the complex for sale. Once the demolition is completed, the property should attract more interest, he believes.
“If we can’t sell that side, then we will look at developing it ourselves,” Sakosky said.

“But we won’t do anything until we complete our first project, where Murray’s Inn was.”

A “for sale” sign on the property will remain up, Sakosky said.

“We really didn’t think it was feasible to do the main project with those deteriorating buildings sitting there,” Sakosky said.

Mayor Tom Leighton said the project is another improvement in the city. City Council approved an application for a $1 million grant from the state Department of Community and Economic Development for the project.

The Luzerne County Redevelopment Authority and the Wilkes-Barre Area School District have already approved the project and provided financial support. The redevelopment authority will loan $2.2 million for the work. The school district, county and the city have approved a tax diversion for the project to help pay off the loan.

The city entered into an agreement for the project with Siniawa 16 L.P. of Dickson City in July. Daniel Siniawa is the principal owner of the firm.

Sakosky has stated that once demolition ends, construction can begin, and he estimated the entire project would take between 14 to 18 months to complete.

The Siniawa group purchased the entire 16-acre complex for $1.5 million from Thomas Murray at a bankruptcy auction in March 2004.

Here’s my problem.

They’ve been demolishing that building for over a year now. Wait, allow me to expand on that.

They knocked it down a while back. They recycled what they could recycle from among the acres-wide and massive piles of rubble. And then the project came to an abrupt halt as the 2 pieces of heavy equipment working the site were removed from the site.

And since I drive past those piles of rubble at least twice every day, I’m here to tell you that the refuse removal stopped some months ago.

And now, we’re left with this bulldozed eyesore that has replaced the original free-standing eyesore. And a sign that reads: For Sale 570-356-2910.

All of which leads me to a few questions.

For starters, what is the status of this years-old project? 6 years, in fact.

When will the year-long demolition period transition into becoming a construction site?

Or should I say, is this project still on? Or has it been temporarily or permanently shelved?

And if it has been shelved, what is the current tax status of the property?

This “project” is now 6-years in and nowhere near completion. Er, nowhere near it’s beginning.
So, is it still an ongoing project at all?

And if not, what’s up with the Tax Incremental Financing status?

Personally speaking, that pile of rubble is starting to annoy me more than the original idiot magnet ever did.

And that T.I.F. thing is a bit rankling for me as well.

So, as always, V’ger needs to know.

What’s up with the Siniawa Landfill?


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Reading assignment

"The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people. God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."

Any idea?

"We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye."

Need another clue?

"We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost."

Hey, those were the words of the preacher who married your current Charlatan-in-Chief, one Jeremiah Wright.

The excerpt: A great part of America now understands that this president's sense of identification lies elsewhere, and is in profound ways unlike theirs. He is hard put to sound convincingly like the leader of the nation, because he is, at heart and by instinct, the voice mainly of his ideological class. He is the alien in the White House, a matter having nothing to do with delusions about his birthplace cherished by the demented fringe.

Still another excerpt: It is no surprise that Mr. Posner—like numerous of his kind—has found a natural home in this administration. His is a sensibility and political disposition with which Mr. Obama is at home. The beliefs and attitudes that this president has internalized are to be found everywhere—in the salons of the left the world over—and, above all, in the academic establishment, stuffed with tenured radicals and their political progeny. The places where it is held as revealed truth that the United States is now, and has been throughout its history, the chief engine of injustice and oppression in the world.

They are attitudes to be found everywhere, but never before in a president of the United States.

And, of course, the link: The Alien in the White House

Yeah, but he's always looking for some "ass to kick" in the private sector. He's always looking for the enemy that lies within the world community...namely, America.

Sez me. And plenty of others.

A resignation is in order. A resignation should follow the biggest lie ever told to the American public. A resignation for the most cleverly crafted, but the most false facade ever perpetrated upon an unknowing but adoring voting public. Oh, and after only 18 painfully inept months in office, that resignation would be long, long overdue.


Drill the Huntsville dam baby, drill!

This is equal parts sad and predictable. Nah, maybe not. Mostly predictable, I'd say.

Some guy just called WILK's Steve Corbett and tried to relay the experiences of some other guy who trespassed in order to snag some close-up pictures of a natural gas drilling rig. The caller said he read this story at Daily Kos. You know, he read it at a blog.

Being the single rudest host in all of talk radio, Corbett interrupted the caller and told him that he could not trust bloggers. He said you cannot count on the accuracy of bloggers because, as he put it, "we don't know who they are."

He went on to say that the accurate information comes from the print media and...wait for it radio. He also said that the caller and Corbett himself would have to be relied upon to stop the invasion of natural gas drilling companies. "You and me together, man."

I've been waiting for this for some time now and, quite frankly, I'm surprised it took this long for Steve Corbett to make this his issue, his fight, as if no one had ever heard of the Marcellus Shale threat before he made it his signature issue.

You can't trust bloggers. There, he finally went and said it. This from a guy who is not allowed to call his wife "my wife."

First of all, as far as the local scene is concerned, it was I, me, Markie the scumbag blogger that fired the very first Marcellus Shale shot in print.

Check the date of that post, Stevie? No, well it was posted on July 26, 2008. Back when you were still rambling on and on and on about being a Mexican.

And being that you've latched on to this issue so, so frightfully late, allow me to fill you in on the pertinent facts.

The oil and gas companies currently setting up shop in our region have been donating tidy campaign sums to politicos, would-be politicos and PA PACs for longer than you've been back from California. And dig this motor mouth, they've been sending contribution checks to both of our gubernatorial hopefuls for a while now.

And since our state legislators care more about their continuing fleecing of he taxpayers than they do those taxpayers, you can expect the lax regulation of the gas drilling industry in PA to continue. You can expect to see as minimal an oversight as possible so long as those campaign war chests continued to be filled by the industry. And you can expect to see a gas severance tax to be enacted immediately after Iran becomes our 51st state completely by choice.

And a moratorium on gas drilling until the environmental ramifications are fully ironed out? Until the infrastructure costs to local municipalities are reasonably assessed? Until emergency management plans are mutually agreed to, paid for in advance and then cemented in place?

That ain't happening, champ. None of that is happening. None of that is going to happen because it's fast becoming obvious that, except for Rep. Lisa Baker, the elected officials are putting their electoral needs before the needs of the people they are sworn to serve.

So, the natural gas drilling will go forward, it will most likely be a disaster for parts of this area, and then afterwards...only afterwards, will the self-serving politicians spring forth to save us from our newest environmental nightmare as the next election go-round draws near for them.

Sorry Steve, but it seems as if it's too late for you to save the world. Again.

But, if you had not been bashing on, belittling and ignoring bloggers at every availbale turn some 2 years ago when the very first claxon call went out, perhaps you could have latched on to this issue and alerted your vast talk radio listening audience while there was still enough time to stave off what now looks to be inevitable.

You can't trust bloggers.

Yep, that's what Johnny-come-lately had to say today.

What a fu>king maroon!


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ba-roke must go

Well then.

I see that the Party Animal-in-Chief has taken time out from his glitzy, star-studded parties, his nonstop partisan, online organizing, his pro-am (as if) golf forays, his indoctrination-like speeches to high school and college graduates soon to be unemployable in a "jobless recovery," and his hapless hoop dreams to take a tougher tone on all things British Petroleum. Hold on a second.


Yeah, the charlatan, this here pretender of yours, the man with no resume, the ultimate demagogue, the trainee Marxist, your end-all answer to the dreaded Dubya is looking for some "ass to kick."

I know that those of you on the left side of the political divide cannot own up to your egregious error in judgment, but I would dare say that even a 65-year-old Sir Paul McCartney has forgotten more about kicking ass than this imbecilic pretender to the thrown will ever know.

I know, I know. Y'all hated Bush. And after you worked yourselves into a frenzy on behalf of that half-wit Al Gore, you believed all of that pap you read and knew full-well that it couldn't get worse than the idiot bastard son.

Well, guess what. You were wrong. You were dead wrong. You were so obviously wrong, your ability to get much of note right from here on out is now in question.

You funked that up, didn't you?

Change you could believe in? Yes you did! Easily manipulated? Yes, you are. Yes, you did!

May a politically correct god-like figure forgive you.

Your fool told the Russians to reel in Syria's Assad. And then the Russians promptly shipped their most advanced surface-to-air missiles to Syria. And your fool said we could have a dialogue with Iran, even despite their budding nuclear program and their increasing antagonism towards any and all things Israel. And the chuckling Iranians then increased their clandestine shipments of increasingly accurate rockets to Gaza-based Hamas, as well as Lebanon-based Hizbollah. All the while, Oblahblah was still publicly pushing some inane and banal peace accord deal.

And now Turkey, increasingly radicalized, emboldened by Iranian aid and pissed at what they saw as Israeli assistance of a bloody Kurdish probe into their territory has tried to embarrass Israel by provoking a bloody confrontation. And while the world busily and foolishly condemns Israel, Iranian ships are sailing towards Gaza to provoke even more bloodshed in hopes of an escalation of hostilities. And as those Iranian ships sail towards Gaza, Turkish forces with one eye on Israel are currently mobilizing to Cyprus.

And the most trusted intelligence sources available only to paid subscribers are reporting that Osama bin Laden and his closest of terrorist idiots have been sheltered "in the mountainous town of Savzevar in the northeastern Iranian province of Khorasan" for the past five years.

Meanwhile, three German-built and nuclear-armed Israeli submarines are in route to the coastline of Iran, while the Israeli's are boasting that their in-flight refueling enhancements have made long-distance air strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities a distinct possibility.

And then we have the always saber-rattling North Koreans sinking a South Korean Corvette in contested waters while we can't figure out whether or not we need to forward-deploy an aircraft carrier as a show of force to the inferior North Korean show of force.

I could go on, but I'll stop.

With WWIII just one easy-to-make mistake away from breaking out all over the place, Ba-roke Oblahblah, at Spike Lee's behest, is threatening to kick some ass...BP's ass.

Is it too much to ask that he resign and return to his homeland, wherever it is?


Monday, June 7, 2010

A must-read direct from the wastelands

I've been scouting a few local sites that are this close to being drilled for natural gas. Zosh Road, Soltis Road and Peaceful Valley Road.

Basically, when the fracking gets well underway, I figured I'd slip into the woods, walk for a spell and capture some video from a decent vantage point. And then I'd share it with the lot of you.

Most of these bucolic sites are posted "no trespassing," which is normally meant as a way of warning hunters off of the lands in question. But with all of the negative publicity, and with the public's mood fast souring on Marcellus Shale drilling, I also figured that if I pulled such a stunt, I might be approached by less than receptive gas company employees. And I also imagined that some paid security agents may be thrown into the mix.

With those latter two possibilities thought through by me, I also came to the conclusion that if I were found out and things were a bit too heavy-handed, trouble might quickly ensue with some rent-a-thugs. Never one to back down from a scrum of any proportion, I figured the risks were well-worth the possible rewards.

If you've known me for any length of time, you know that if what you want is a fight, then we will fight. Not a problem.

And today I read this...Major drilling accident in NW PA. Cameras, media banned from site

So, if you're faint of heart, or not one who can handle yourself when the testosterone and adrenaline get to mixing in great quantities, you might want to think long and hard before you go trespassing on any gas drilling sites.

As for myself, I will not be deterred by any of this. Not in the least. And I applaud the guy who delivered this eye-opening report from the field. Or should I say, from the wastelands.

Stay tuned

The Energizer Dude

What's next, Kayak Dude: The Movie?

From the Citizens' Voice: River advocate takes up fight against drilling

The excerpt: An advocate for the Susquehanna River is encouraged by the recent naming of the upper Delaware River to a list of the country's most endangered rivers.

Don Williams, whose love of the Susquehanna and skill in navigating it earned him the nickname "Kayak Dude," hopes the designation will lead to a statewide moratorium on natural gas drilling until its effects on rivers and their watersheds are better known.

If and when they do make that movie, I'm hoping to do a cameo.

Wait a second, they already made an Inflatable Dam Documentary featuring none other than Kayak Dude, so perhaps we need a sequel. Maybe a prequel. Either way, I want some creative input when they recreate that still hotly-debated scene at the site of the Pittston raw sewage massacre. I'll be a technical advisor of sorts.

For the sake of accuracy, the question still begs, did he or didn't he drop the mother of all curse words that day?


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Raised on two wheels

Once upon a time, there was this Web site that garnered more than it's fair share of attention only because it dared to go where no one, er, where no Web site had gone before...into the local political scrum.

And during those heady times, this here author, photographer and local political provocateur extraordinaire had this steady sidekick who accompanied him no matter where he went. Well, that is to say, the steady sidekick trailed along behind said trouble-maker on his trail bike, the fabled "Blue Bike."

And the most unique thing borne of that period was that this little boy, Gage Andrew, literally grew up on the Internet, albeit, in pictures.

Left to Right: Taylor Kate, Gage Andrew and Zachary Bryce, June 2005

Truth be told, Wilkes-Barre Online was so widely read in this area, that while out and about on our many, many "bikeabout" adventures, people who had never before met Gage Andrew in person would recognize him and acknowledge him by name, simply because they were watching him grow up on the Internet.

How's that for unique?

But, some 5 years ago, Gage Andrew went and relocated to Knoxville, Tennessee, where he is currently fine-tuning his bicycling prowess. Here he is pictured with his 9th birthday present.

Happy birthday, Gage.

Pedal on, boy!


Scratch another one off "The List"

I ain’t felt like writing much of late. So I didn't.

I’ve been outside and working in this heat day-in and day-out. I think I got some Sun poisoning on my left arm. Either that, or like Poison Ivy or something. And while I could tell you that the heat and the like has drained the life force out of me, that would be a fib.

Truth is, it seems kind of silly to be commenting on anything as practically everything is currently going tits-up. What's the point in ranting and raving, while the edge of the precipice grows closer and closer by the day?

This one cracked me the funk up.

From the Times Leader: Penfield well blowout under control
PENFIELD, Pa. — A blowout at a natural-gas well in a remote area shot explosive gas and polluted water as high as 75 feet into the air before crews were able to tame it more than half a day later, officials said Friday.

The gas never caught fire, and no injuries were reported, but state officials worried about an explosion before the well could be controlled. The well was brought under control just after noon Friday, about 16 hours after it started spewing gas and brine, said Elizabeth Ivers, a spokeswoman for driller EOG Resources Inc.

Enron Oil & Gas, anyone?

This here natural gas blowout caused quite the stir on the Internet as well as local talk radio. Interestingly though, while the Gulf oil spill emanating up from 5,000 feet of sea water continues to gush away, the local gas blowout took all of 16 hours to contain.

Why? Because unlike the oil blowout in the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, it’s accessible.

This is what can follow when the enviro-commies* continually get what they want. No drilling on dry land--ANWAR. No, we need to drill 5,000 feet under the surface of the ocean. We need to make it as prohibitively expensive as possible. We need it to be as dangerous as possible. And we need it to be one mishap away from disaster at all times, all by purposeful design.

So, while the beaches turn black in increasing numbers, remember, the enviro-commies saved ANWAR. (???)

What a bunch.

*Communist Goals (1963) Congressional Record -- Appendix, pp. A34-A35 (January 10, 1963)

Ah, the list, originally published in 1958 by Cleon W. Skousen, is as follows. Scroll through it, give it some thought and keep tabs on how they (and now we) are doing. Or, should I say, see how easy it was to conquer us from within.

I recently had a high school teacher telling how he loathed capitalism, and also how he'd prefer some northern European form of socialism. That's a far, far, far cry from what the average high school teacher would be spewing just 30 years ago.

Funny, the U.S. once had the dominant socio-economic system until it started adopting aspects of the European-styled "welfare state." And now, just like "Europe: The Model," now we're going broke, too! Gee, I wonder why.

Sub-prime mortgages, anyone?

Sorry, comrades. But we cannot survive economically unless there are far more producers than takers. Europe is currently being incrementally crushed under it's own entitlement weight, it's open border immigration policy and it's fast-aging indigenous population.

Sound familiar?

The list...

Current Communist Goals, EXTENSION OF REMARKS OF HON. A. S. HERLONG, JR. OF FLORIDA IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES (Thursday, January 10, 1963)[Excerpt From "The Naked Communist," by Cleon Skousen]

1. U.S. acceptance of coexistence as the only alternative to atomic war.

2. U.S. willingness to capitulate in preference to engaging in atomic war.

3. Develop the illusion that total disarmament [by] the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.

4. Permit free trade between all nations regardless of Communist affiliation and regardless of whether or not items could be used for war.

5. Extension of long-term loans to Russia and Soviet satellites.

6. Provide American aid to all nations regardless of Communist domination.

7. Grant recognition of Red China. Admission of Red China to the U.N.

8. Set up East and West Germany as separate states in spite of Khrushchev's promise in 1955 to settle the German question by free elections under supervision of the U.N.

9. Prolong the conferences to ban atomic tests because the United States has agreed to suspend tests as long as negotiations are in progress.

10. Allow all Soviet satellites individual representation in the U.N.

11. Promote the U.N. as the only hope for mankind. If its charter is rewritten, demand that it be set up as a one-world government with its own independent armed forces. (Some Communist leaders believe the world can be taken over as easily by the U.N. as by Moscow. Sometimes these two centers compete with each other as they are now doing in the Congo.)

12. Resist any attempt to outlaw the Communist Party.

13. Do away with all loyalty oaths.

14. Continue giving Russia access to the U.S. Patent Office.

15. Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.

16. Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.

17. Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers' associations. Put the party line in textbooks.

18. Gain control of all student newspapers.

19. Use student riots to foment public protests against programs or organizations which are under Communist attack.

20. Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, policy-making positions.

21. Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.

22. Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to "eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms."

23. Control art critics and directors of art museums. "Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art."

24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them "censorship" and a violation of free speech and free press.

25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.

26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as "normal, natural, healthy."

27. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with "social" religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity, which does not need a "religious crutch."

28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of "separation of church and state."

29. Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.

30. Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the "common man."

31. Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the ground that it was only a minor part of the "big picture." Give more emphasis to Russian history since the Communists took over.

32. Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture--education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.

33. Eliminate all laws or procedures which interfere with the operation of the Communist apparatus.

34. Eliminate the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

35. Discredit and eventually dismantle the FBI.

36. Infiltrate and gain control of more unions.

37. Infiltrate and gain control of big business.

38. Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand [or treat].

39. Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals.

40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.

41. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.

42. Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition; that students and special-interest groups should rise up and use ["]united force["] to solve economic, political or social problems.

43. Overthrow all colonial governments before native populations are ready for self-government.

44. Internationalize the Panama Canal.

45. Repeal the Connally reservation so the United States cannot prevent the World Court from seizing jurisdiction [over domestic problems. Give the World Court jurisdiction] over nations and individuals alike.

They used to call it World Domination by the Soviets and their communist brethren. These days, they call it a One World Government. Sounds kinder and gentler, don't it?

No matter what they may call it, the economic power, the military power and the sovereignty of America has to be systematically done away with.

And just a cursory glance at the recent trends, ass-backwards legislating and our downward economic standing and such clearly suggests that the party is all but over, kiddies!

Embrace the lower standard of living.