Opinions need not be feared nor suppressed.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Gas Stock

I was there, man!

Peace, love, Pananas, live music, grumbling about fracking and all, I attended Gas Stock earlier today. Save for the free sex, the illicit drugs, the alcohol, the quarter of a million participants and even more drugs thrown in for effect, it was just like ruining Yasgur’s farm all over again.

Sort of.

After a miniscule two and three quarter hours of sleep, my alarm went off at 4 a.m., and Kayak Dude was here at the modest adobe shortly before 5:30 in the morning. And within minutes the two of us were standing at the water’s edge in Nesbitt Park.

We had an American flag, a Gadsden flag, an upside-down PA state flag, as well as a couple of Native American flags, the nations of which escape me now in my abject exhaustion. KD hauled that purposely disrespected PA state flag all the way to the Luzerne County fairgrounds, while the others made it only as far as Kingston Corners.

I can’t remember ever having walked as far as I did today. And going in, I figured it would be a great idea to travel as light as possible.

Back at the Nesbitt Park boat launch in the pre-dawn light, we were joined by none other than Herb from the No Frack Mountain blog. And we were joined but minutes later by the author of the Faces of Frackland blog, a freelance reporter. And in the parking lot of the former Kings Department Store waited both of Kayak Dude’s daughters, who I will not name.

And that was the entire crew, the six of us. And our entire crew did walk the 10, 12 or 14 miles (whatever it was) to the big anti-fracking event on Route 118 just a stone’s throw from Harveys Lake.

Down here in the valley, we got mostly curious stares from the folks we happened upon. KD was sporting the flag, and Herb was holding aloft one of those No Frack yard signs. And we did hook up with the Luzerne to Dallas trail at the trail’s beginning in Luzerne, so we went a few miles almost undetected. But once we emerged from the forest and trudged along the streets of Dallas, the honking horns from the onrushing vehicles did start to sound like an unending chorus.

So I got to wondering about why that was. Do the folks down here in the valley not care about the drilling, since it seems to be an issue for the folks in the more bucolic reaches? Or does the drilling just not resonate with them even though their water supplies emanate from those same bucolic reaches?

By the way, that Back Mountain trail is the best I’ve seen to this date. We owe the people that made that happen a huge debt of gratitude. Those are the types of amenities our politicians should be funding, rather than the grandiose monuments to themselves that seem to be all the rage. Quality of life, people. Quality of life.

Anyway, I found myself another place to bicycle.

We arrived at Gas Stock right around 11, although, I did not look at my watch as we arrived. At that point, the attendance was sparse and remained that way for a couple of hours. Being on call, I started thinking about how I was going to make my way back to Wilkes-Barre just before 1, and it was about that time that the crowd started to grow more noticeably dense. A few hundred, I'd say.

Still, there seemed to be a general feeling of disappointment with the lagging attendance from within the ranks of the serious activists and the like. Perhaps the allure of sex and drugs would have been a good selling point after all.

The musical acts performed capably. There was just enough food selections. There was no shortage of Marcellus Shale information booths. Crafts and that sort of dust-collecting stuff. And early on, before the people started streaming in to some degree, it seemed as if every other person in attendance was a blogger, anti-fracking and otherwise. All of which had me uttering the words…Blog Stock.

There were many recognizable names on hand. Anti-fracking coalitions were on hand, as were representatives from many of the anti-fracking blogs. Some were from New York state. A contingent from Dimmock made the trip. Some came from southeastern PA. And of course, NEPA was well represented. A few people approached me after recognizing me as that no good sumbitch from this here site. One guy remembered me from the blogger get-together in Pittston.

I met and spent some time with the author of Fracked. Same goes for his sister. Good people, both. And how could I not like people who came bearing burned musical gifts? Only I came away from Gas Stock with Zappa bootlegs and some Frank Marino in hand. Sweet.

I spent a goodly amount of time gabbing with Tim Mullen, a candidate for state representative from the Libertarian Party. And we agreed that it is an offense to our sensibilities to have both the Republicans and the Democrats openly working to deny ballot access to Greens and Libertarians. Obviously, Carl Romanelli’s name came up.

Honestly, I liked the guy. And I think most of what he had to say made perfect sense. So I told him if I could help, he should contact me. Unlike the remainder of the partisan hard-left folks that blog in this area, I told him I wouldn’t give him some space on this site only to shoo him away when it truly matters--when next we vote.

Just as soon as my four eyes spied it, I happily plunked down $2.50 for an “Impeach Everybody” button. Yep, impeach everybody, as in, those 535 plus two jackasses in Washington D.C.

Yeah, after we tell them to seek asylum in Haiti or else, then we get around to flushing that insidiously foul cesspool in Harrisburg. Sez me!

Some guy wanted me to add my name, address and all of that to a petition demanding a drilling moratorium. And he actually got a tad mouthy after I declined by telling him that his petition was a couple of years late. Call me mentally incontinent if you must, but I haven’t seen anything that suggests that a moratorium is even remotely possible until the ranks of Haiti get to swelling in a noticeable way.

A women associated with un-naturalgas.org sat with a few of us and excitedly encouraged us to commit civil disobedience by way of affixing anti-fracking signs to highways and byways and the like. Yeah, that’s real cute and all right up until the state trooper pulls up right behind you while you‘re busily defacing public property.

Overall, I’d say the event was not what the organizers had hoped it might become. And that’s a shame because a wide array of concerned people donated their time, their equipment and their property to the event. And in our case, that spry gang of 6, we donated our time, our sweat, and in Herb’s case, even a drop or two of blood.

It was apparent that both the hosts from and the regular callers to WILK radio that were making most of the anti-drilling noise were nowhere to be found. Big surprise there. I figure if it won’t help their ratings in some way, it’s not worth their time. Yet, some of these same on-air talk jocks accuse others of being in it (business) for profit, profit and more profit.

I did not see any TV crews. But I did spot the print types, scribes as well as photographers.

Amazingly enough, me, the guy proudly sporting the “Impeach Everybody” button managed to get a lift back to Wilkes-Barre with none other than State Representative Eddie Day Pashinski. He was on hand to show support for the goings-on, and he was the only elected politician from all of NEPA that I encountered.

And after hearing him discuss the many nuances of the gas drilling issue with the huddled folks that were more than eager to fill his ear, it’s clear to me that he’s well-read whereas this potential disaster in the making is concerned. Having known the guy for many years, it didn’t surprise me none.

Herb asked if I was going to take in the blogger/candidate soiree scheduled for September, and initially I kind of shrugged my shoulders. But after a moment or two of deliberation, I told him I’d go if he’d go so we could down some beers and ignore all of the assembled politicians eager for some free “press.”

I’ll hang out with the bloggers. And I’ll certainly partake of the frosty cold agricultural amusement aids. As for those glad-handing politicians and their smooth-talking handlers, I’ll ignore the lot of them just like I did the last time.

The thing is, I will whore for a politician only if I steadfastly, unequivocally believe in them. And if I don’t, then they too can take a collective flying leap off of Mount Haiti.

Getting back to the people that bothered to make Gas Stock happen, I do not think even one of them should be disappointed about any aspect of it. You can only do so much. You can only do what you can do.

And if the perception is that NEPA failed to show up in sufficient numbers, then NEPA ought not come crying to any of us when their wells or their reservoirs end up contaminated by methane or any of the other proprietary carcinogens the outsiders feel they need to pump into our layers of shale by the millions of gallons.

If the politicians will not put even a temporary stop to it, and if the residents cannot invest even a single afternoon in the future of their potable water supplies, then there it is. Whatever it is, or whatever it turns out to be, some of us did try.

As for Kayak Dude, he sure knows how to tap into my unbridled spirit of adventure. First he had me, an aquatic novice, paddling thirty miles at a clip. And now he’s gotten me to practically walking to the moon and back. What might he have in store for me when next we feel motivated?

Well, he hinted earlier today that when next we get to sporting upside-down flags, protest banners and what have you, our adventure together just might be of the bikeabout variety. And if you know me at all, you already know that no arm-twisting will be required on his part.

As Ed Pashinski said to the folks who had his ear earlier today, “We need more people like you. You people are engaged.”

That we are. At least, some of us are. A paltry few.

And the way I see it, the apathy of the many should not dishearten or dissuade the engaged few.

Dude, thanks for the most interesting of days.



Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Donald John Williams said...

He showed up later in the day.

Anonymous said...

Admittedly the attendance was sparse but I attribute that, in part, to the fact that the venue - Luzerne County Fairgrounds - is huge. As such, even a larger crowd would have looked small there. It is better to go to a smaller venue, and closer to population hubs, to obtain the feel that a lot of people care. Those there did of course, but those watching from their newspaper-reading armchairs do not.

Tom Borthwick said...

Absolutely awesome post!

zorcong said...

Hey 8:34...perhaps an apology or a retraction is in order.

Deedee said...

We had this event to raise awareness and that is just what we accomplished. Look at the newspapers. It was not about how many people showed. You can't lead a dead horse to water.

zorcong said...


None of you need to explain this to me, or justify it in any way.

I was good with it as it was, no matter the numbers, or whatever barometer was used to measure it's strength or eventual success.

I completely appreciate the overall effort, as well as the sacrifice of the many people who bothered.

Relax, paople.

D.B. Echo said...

Thanks for the post. I wish I could have been there!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Markie, you guys and gals went above and beyond what was expected of anyone.

Once again, you and yours outdid yourselves. And I've come to expect nothing less when I visit this site.

Way to go.

zorcong said...

Where Kayak Dude goes, trouble (Markie) follows.

Interpret that as you will.

Big Dan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Big Dan said...

And my daughter's boyfriend and his buddy were playing guitar and bongos on the benches there.

Big Dan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Big Dan said...

Among ourselves, we felt the location had something to do with the sparse attendance. Any thoughts on that by anyone? We thought the perfect place would've been the new WB walkway by the river. Then a lot of people could've walked there.

Big Dan said...

My daughter's boyfriend, who played there, missed the entrance twice and had to call me on the cell phone. So there's an average person having trouble locating the place.

Anonymous said...

I think the low turn out says a lot. Those that are interested, read blogs or listened to talk radio are a minority in all of this. People just don't care. Just because a few people scream loud doesn't make them correct nor the majority.
Even those that have been interested in the past have taken less interest in most topics.
Mark Cour sometimes goes weeks between postings. Gort may go days without a post and then post a paragraph and Yonki's blog has been more cut and paste features than really any of his thoughts and insights. Over time people just get busy with life and lose interest in things they really have no control.
There are very few comments on blogs anymore. Except for Big Dan who can't seem to put a coherent thought down and posts 15 responses, there are rarely more than a few comments.
As far as talk radio. They may have a few thousand listeners and they have the same callers from day to day, sometimes from show to show.