12-8-2003 N.O.T. in Wilkes-Barre

I voted for what I thought was best for the country. Did I expect Howard Dean to go off to the left and say, 'I'm against everything'? Sure. Did I expect George Bush to f - - - it up as badly as he did? I don't think anybody did.--Presidential pretender, John Kerry, in a Rolling Stone magazine interview

There's a real statesman, heyna? Even if you're a diehard "pull the straight party ticket" democrat, you have to admit that the blowhards currently seeking the democratic nomination are a mostly uninspiring bunch. It's no wonder some democrats are trying to draft someone as devisive and shrill as Hitlery with this putrid bunch bungling along embarrassing themselves.

I thought the DPW guys did a pretty good job of clearing the roads during the recent snowstorm. See what can happen when city employees are allowed to do what they know how do without Command 100 looking over their shoulders, or wedging his way into one of their orifices? Sure, some of the side streets were icy and whatnot, but overall, the roads were passable for once. Get this. My son was visiting a friend on Courtright Avenue on Saturday night and managed to get his car stuck in a snow bank. While he was trying to rock the car back and forth and get it rolling again, some lady, much older than I, came out on her front porch and proceeded to give him the death stare. I find it interesting and troubling how, the older folks get, the easier is it for them to find fault with very young people. He's 21, so he gets the death stare for spinning his tires on ice. (?) If he was 41, or 51, that lady probably never leaves the warmth of her parlor.

After quite a few minutes of the Vulcan Death Stare, she finally starts chirping up with "You had better not hit my car." The boy smiled and told her not to worry. Then she resorted to threats with "If you hit my car, I'm gonna call the cops." Again, the boy smiled and he told her he was close to getting the car loose." The urge to go "DUH!" had to be overwhelming for him. Then she started advising him as to what to do. Then, another threat of a call to the police." Finally annoyed, the boy told her "Relax lady! I drive for NASA!" With that, she had a one woman freak out session and wandered back into the house. I drive for NASA??? What the muck??? I laughed out loud when I heard his blow-by-blow account of this incident. I'm sorry to say it, but he definately takes after his dad. Poor kid. You have to consider that he grew up in a household where stuffing is referred to as "wet bread" and ice in known as "crunchy water." What have I done?

Can someone explain to me why Walter Griffith audio clips were just played on WILK during the top of the hour newscast? What is this? Are the members of the media so easy duped? Mayor-elect Tom Leighton proposed today...what say you Walter? Yesterday, the Voice did the same exact thing, giving free political ads to folks cleverly posing as watchdogs in between elections. Mayor-elect Tom Leighton announced today... what say you Christine? The logic escapes me. Leighton was elected, while Walter and Christine were not. Why is it that we need the folks that were not victorious at the polls to critique the actions of the folks that were? I'll tell you why. Because Walter and Christine seek out the media. They are not watchdogs for any of us. They are candidates biding their time until the next election and using the eager media to build some name recognition.

I don't care if they have their say. I don't have a problem with them expressing their opinion. What I do have a problem with is people who pretend to be the champions of the taxpayers, who supposedly hold the feet of the elected to the fire in the stealthy hope of one day replacing them. Let's be honest here. The Wilkes-Barre Taxpayers Association has lost all of it's credibility as long as it continues to be used by one of it's own to one day be elected. And then there's Walter, calling the press whenever he decides to pull the rake out of the garage. Residents all over this city are cleaning their immediate environs, but Walt thinks that when he cleans a gutter, his actions should amount to a $12,000 income boost.

You know, not all of us working to improve Wilkes-Barre's sagging fortunes hope to be reimbursed for having done so. Some of us do it for the good of the city. (Corny sounding?) Some of us do it to benefit ourselves. What this city needs, now more than ever, is more folks that simply want to live in a great place and less phonies that have an angle on how to benefit themselves at the public trough.

What do you think of Tom Leighton? What do you think of what he envisions for Wilkes-Barre? Why not ask Tom Baldino? Or, how about Terry Madonna? Mike Lombardo? Lou Barletta? Steve Barrouk? Larry Newman? Judd Shoval? Tom Torbik? Alan Finlay? Ed Rendell? Nah. That requires some iniative. Christine and Walter are always readily available. And Walter contacted the state's auditor general to investigate our council members, all the while hoping to one day claim one of their seats.

In the coming months, some of us are going to be working very hard behind the scenes to improve this city. Others among us will be working very hard in front of the cameras to improve this city. Decide for yourselves what their utimate goal might be. It's not very difficult to see through these phonies and the last thing that Wilkes-Barre needs in it's immediate future is more phonies.

In my mind, progress simply means living in a robust city once again. Some others have different agendas while they espouse much the same message. Beware of them. We cannot afford to elect too many more mistakes.

Who is the hapless mental patient that sent this e-mail along?

*******How come you don't ever mention how much money Kathy Kane takes in? You should look into her empire.*******

Dork! Tou tell me! How much money does she take in? Listen to me tell it! Ready? I don't give a flying farg about her bank account. Go to www.google.com and type in "class envy" you loser. Gee! How much money does she have? Tens of thousands stuffed under the cocktail table? Millions tucked away in the old laundry chute? If the size of her SUV has you troubled, get down to the voters services office, sign up, and kick her behind. What's your point?

Does she have a lot of money? I hope so. Does she have more than me? Wait! I see your point. I believe it's called jealousy. The way I see it, if you were at all satisfied with your own probably paltry existance, you wouldn't be looking to hack on hers. It doesn't matter how much money she has, because if bad things happen to her, we're not going to get any of it, so you can stop hating her.

Look inward and find something that might make your life brighter. Here, I'll try it. Does Kathy own a Strat? A Flying V? I thought not! Does she have three unopened copies of Frank Zappa's "Shut Up & Play Yer Guitar?" Does she own a copy of the bootleg with the laminated cover depicting Frank totally awash in his personal harum? Can she even attempt to appreciate the sonic beauty of the Repo Man soundtrack? Has she ever even heard it before? Does she still own the very first LP she ever purchased at the corner drug store? Does she own all the Beatles original singles re-issued on picture discs? Dude! Find something that can make you happy and stop worrying about who might have, or who might earn more than you do. Or buy a handgun.

You don't have to be an NCAA football fan to appreciate this headline. Go Trojans!

I managed to capture Tom Leighton's ear for five minutes today and it is official. J.C. Ehrlich will be adopting those two grassy median strips on Penn Ave. behind St. Nicks and the post office. No more weeds the size of trees on that thoroughfare anymore. In all likelihood, I'll probably be the only one mowing and trimming them before very long. Most folks just don't have the energy to follow through on projects such as this one, but I do. So please, if you're flying down Penn Ave. while I'm mowing the darn things, do not throw your empty Snapple bottles out of the windows anymore.

And then there's this. We've got motivated disparate groups all over the city cleaning whatever it is that they've got the manpower to clean. They do well, but for the most part, the scope of their various projects is somewhat limited by their available resources. What if? What if we all banded together in masse and also had the resources of the city behind us? What if, instead of five of us, or ten of us raking, pruning and sweeping; what if twenty of us, or thirty of us showed up somewhere to remove a bit of the blight that stains our beloved city? And what if the city itself offered us whatever we needed in the way of equipment to make that happen? Does that sound like a plan?

That's the plan. I have the Mayor-elects word that if we swoop down upon something within the city's limits that needs some serious cleaning, pruning, mowing, edging, painting or whatever the hell might need to be done, the equipment owned by the City of Wilkes-Barre will be at our disposal. That is one helluva plan kiddies.

Well? Who's with me? Who wants to organize? Who wants to spend a few hours every month making a real difference? The only limit to our achievements would be the limits of our own imaginations with some serious equipment behind us. I'm picturing an army of residents ready to roll, but I may be a bit too optimistic. I'm picturing a regular turnout that will dwarf anything previously seen in this city. I'm picturing T-shirts, pictures and a web site. I'm picturing a group that will dare to volunteer like no other city residents have ever dared to volunteer before.

What do you think? Are you interested? Interested in seeing to it that trash, overgrowth and broken glass is forever removed from this city? If you're ready to make a difference, e-mail me now. If we get enough support from residents, this will not be a group that needs to elect officers, or one that needs a spokesman. Our mission will not be to get our names published. Our mission will be to clean the City of Wilkes-Barre.

E-mail me. One hundred folks would be preferable, but if only ten decide to sign-on, so be it. Ten people can easily make a difference. I decided that if we do this, we'd need a name for our group and a nifty acronym. This part is a bit tougher than it might seem to be.

Wilkes-Barre Residents For a Better Tommorrow?

Let's see here, WBRFBT. Nope.

The Wilkes-Barre Resident Volunteers?

TWBRV. Yikes!

On and on I went with this. Then I got to thinking about what our targets would be if we actually got this group up and running. Trash and weeds. Weeds the size of trees. Overgrown weeds. Overgrowth. Overgrowth and trash. Not in Wilkes-Barre. BANG!


No Overgrowth, or Trash in Wilkes-Barre

That's about as nifty an acronym as you'll find after D.A.M.M. (Drunks Against Mad Mothers). Actually, that was one of mine too.

So, who's in? There's no limit to what we could accomplish if we had access to a city dump truck, a bobcat, chain saws, or whatever else we might need. It would sure be more exciting and more fulfilling than grabbing a few neighbors and filling your green yard waste cans together. Together, we could accomplish so much.

Lemme know. This city could use as much help as possible right now. Let's do it!


I gotta go. The Battlestar Gallactica remake is on the Sci-Fi network tonight, and I so love my sci-fi.

How I came to admire Arthur C. Clarke by the tender age of twelve years-old, I'll never understand, but I'm so glad that I did.

Need a release? Read "Rendezvous with Rama."


P.S. E-mail me