1-9-2004 Mayor Tom's Secret Lab in Happy Culm Valley Revisited

Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform shall be declared permanently ineligible.--Major League Rule 21

Screw baseball! Based solely on his current appearance, I feel that Pete Rose should be permanently banned from the planet. It's not bad enough that he chose to slide on his face for three decades, but now that his body looks as if it'd explode if stuck with a pin, he has to go and find himself an epileptic barber?

There's no need to be raggin' on council or beatin' up on any mayor anymore. All we have to do is convince them that unspeakable horrors will be perpetrated right under their own roofs if they can't make this city chug along. Ya' just gotta know how to push the right buttons.

I just had to ask, right? My e-mailed question was "Do I really have to dress up for this inauguration?" The response was "Yes, you have to be dressed nice for Saturday, we want to see how good you clean up!" Man!!! I prefer the Rick Neilsen look myself. How 'bout the Elvis Costello look? Wendy O. Williams?

This process of joining a brotherhood is critical because firefighters are more like soldiers than civil servants. They work, live and bond like military combat units. Such bonding is a value that society appreciates in the armed forces, where even in today's reformed boot camp, harassment remains part of the making of good soldiers.

This excerpt is from a great piece in The New York Times that I was made aware of. You have to register to enter their site, but trust me, it's no big deal. Hazing and Heroism

WILK reported early today that we've got new police captains in place. Mayor Leighton was quoted as saying, "We're gonna make our neighborhoods safe." It's a breath of fresh air to hear our mayor profess that we can do better, rather than the past practice of claiming that crime was down as residents were getting used to gunfire within the city. Rather than sticking our heads in the sand, we're going to identify problems and tackle them with the available resources. You know, that's all that we ever asked of that last mayor before it became obvious that he wouldn't seriously address our complaints.

Anyway, here's the new lineup:

Wayne Cooney- Detective Division Capt.

Don Crane- Patrol Division Capt.

Tom Unvarsky- Operations Capt.

Lori Remensnyder- Crime Prevention Capt.

Cut me some slack on the spelling. No shortage of experience there. Now that we've got some responsible leadership, I'm sure these people will do a bang-bang job. Now can I do a police ride-along? I have experience thanks to the Plains Township Police Department. I want the 7-3 shift on a Saturday night. Bad boys. Bad boys. Whatcha...


I didn't even mention here that Walter Griffith Jr. had accused our two councilwomen of violating campaign finance reporting laws, because 1.) I didn't believe it, and 2.) even if they had committed some minor blunders, it would be completely pathetic to be making a federal case out of it simply to keep one's name recognition up until the next election go-round. Say what you will about our council folks, but I'd never vote for anyone hoping to replace one of them simply because he demonized them for four years without telling us how much he could bring to the fray.

The Voice reported today that Walter's accusations weren't even half-baked, they were totally groundless and good old Walt is is now offering apologies to both of them. Real smooth, Walt. Very slick. Way to go. And he's better qualified to manage this city when he can't even get his facts straight before accusing people of breaking laws? He should stick to calling WILK so that he doesn't have to mention his last name.

I knew that Tom Leighton was due to hold a meeting of all of his department heads this morning, so SNAKE and I decided the time was right to tour city hall free from an escort. We've all heard about the piled debris and such, so we decided to sneak a peak.

We snuck right past those chickies in the tax office and headed for the mayor's office. I know that our new mayor has his hands full right now, but I didn't expect to see so much of the former mayor's junk still lying about in city hall. We found this in the office right next door to the mayor's. You tell me, man. I was under the impression that he usually hid out at the DPW garage. Who knew?

Fort McG

I'm sure that I really don't want to know what that was all about.

We were always told that McG's desk was worse that Mount Trashmore, but after seeing it, it's no wonder the city lies in shambles. Could anyone run a city this size if this is what their filing system consisted of? Santa Maria!!!

McG's Puter

I know there's theater blueprints here somewhere. Ah, shoot! Screw the stupid blueprints already! Just build it. What??? To hell with the f**king state! Forget the f**king historical society? Service Electric cable lines? Who f**king cares? City Center's property? They've f**king got plenty. We only need a few feet of their f**king property. Now, do what you're f**king told! I'm the f**king mayor! Do you f**king understand me? You f**king f**k, stupid f**king, greedy, f**king unionized f**king employees! F**k!

Then, I made the mistake of returning to Mayor Tom's Secret Lab in Happy Culm Valley. You know, the basement. Word had it that the basement contained mostly unsightly horrors as of late. Where once only emergency supplies left over from the Cold War and a few thousand pounds of The Barney Inn's bar chips were stored by mayor McMobilize, now rumor had it that even the giant mine rats were afraid to venture down there. We were barely half way down the stairs when SNAKE asked me to reconsider this idea. I stopped, looked back at him, turned on my ridiculously large Maglite and told him to grow a pair. When we hit the bottom of the stairs and turned into the darkness, the stench was overwhelming and SNAKE retreated back up the stairwell to fetch my respirator.

I spend my usual work week in some of the most horrible subteranean passages imaginable, so I was completely unfazed. I had wandered about ten feet into the first corridor lined with stacks of wettened debris when SNAKE finally made his way back down those stairs. Suddenly, there was a rustling noise well ahead of me and SNAKE bumped into me as I had quickly applied the brakes. I narrowed the beam on the Maglite and searched the perimeter of the darkened hallway ahead of me. I could hear it, but I couldn't find it in the enveloping darkness. I reached into my back pocket for an illegally long blade as SNAKE was now suggesting that we should split. I told him to shut the muck up and he responded by burying a couple of knuckles into my shoulder. I threw an elbow back at him, but caught only air. These two Boy Scouts were very close to abandoning their quests for further merit badges and running screaming from the building like a couple of Girl Scouts that had just seen their very first snake.

The noise was not only growing louder and somewhat crazed, it was getting much closer. Finally, the Maglite found the source of it all and panic mode was declared. What we saw was horrible beyond all comprehension. Urine was now pooling in my cheezy sneakers. My mostly screwey life flashed before my eyes. It was whirling and spitting and drooling and making noises that would cause the most battle-tested demons to faint dead. It was chewing the head off of a crudely constructed doll that closely resembled Tony Thomas Jr. and SNAKE almost vomited into the respirator. It was none other than ex-mayor McPissed. Finally, we understood the abject horror that so many city employees faced all these years. To his credit, SNAKE beat me up those steps and out of the rear exit, despite my flailing at him and digging my nails into his back, but I did manage to get this pic when we had safely escaped city hall.

I'll never go back down into Mayor Tom's Secret Lab in Happy Culm Valley, no matter what any future administration does to that place.

It was awful

The horror. The horror.

It's finally over.

I gave some more thought to that best day/worst day of my life question. The best day, excluding family, is real tough. I don't know. The day when I finally realized that Godzilla really didn't exist? The day when I finally figured out how to skate backwards on hockey skates? The day when Denise XXXXXX awakened a part of me that had lied dormant during my first 12 years, or so? The day we escaped the clutches of an overly abusive step-father and came here to Wilkes-Barre? The front-runner at this point is June 6, 1976, when I escaped that hell that most people look fondly upon in retrospect and call high school.

The worst days. A few have come to mind so far. The day (the exact date escapes me, Summer 1972) that I managed to impale myself on the top of the fence at Guthrie Field. January 28, 1986, when I mistakenly woke my little son to watch the Challenger launch with me. September 11, 2001 obviously ranks right up there for very obvious reasons. Despite being horrified on each occasion, I never shed a tear on any of those dates. The only day that I remember that caused me to shed a tear was December 8, 1980. I was managing the annual Franklin's Family Restaurants Christmas Party, and after consuming approximately thirty gallons of beer, somebody told me that John Lennon had been shot. It didn't really register at that moment.

The next morning, as I sat there sipping coffee and nursing that pain directly behind my eyes; the realization of what had happened hit me and hit me hard while reading the newspaper. I, as had so many others, had been waiting patiently for ten years for the Fab Four to finally come to their senses and do what their legions of devoted fans worldwide wanted them to do. Sadly, thanks to one completely deluded lunatic and his gun, the Beatles were officially laid to rest on December, 8, 1980.

That was the day when the music really died.