2-19-2004 49 Davis Place

No nation has ever gotten rich by forcing its citizens to pay more for domestic goods and services that could have been procured more cheaply abroad.--Bruce Bartlett

I don't think that city council has thought this City Hall weapons ban through completely. If we attend a council meeting, what are we supposed to do with our weapons? Leave 'em in the car so some crud can steal 'em? I don't leave anything in any car I've driven. I once had a car broken into downtown and the only thing in plain view in that car was a Bic lighter. I replaced the driver side window and bought a new lighter. On another occasion, someone popped open the trunk and lifted an aluminum softball bat. So leaving weapons in the trunk isn't a reliable option. We could leave our weapons home, but wandering through the downtown after dark completely unarmed is another unacceptable option.

If we want to attend a council meeting in the future we should head down there with nothing more menacing than a ring of keys? City Council is putting our lives at risk. How about if we amend that proposed ordinance banning only weapons deemed to be offensive in nature? If I learned anything from the Boy Scouts, it was that "Be Prepared" was some damned good advice and I always am prepared. And consider how often the residents speaking before council become somewhat irate. What if Joe Average Blow loses it, hops the railing, and quickly pounces on the Council Chairwoman? Would she rather that I have my baton on my person, or not? Mr. Blow could be carrying a baton too, but with no security system in place to prevent that being the case, wouldn't it be safer if everyone; good, bad and ugly were carrying something just in case?

Until that day arrives when we have ample cops on patrol, and adequate street lighting, you won't catch me wandering around with many empty pockets. I won't become just another a crime statistic. Guess I'll have to skip their meetings from here on out.

The long dormant Wilkes-Barre Ice-A-Rama may have a future afterall? I realize we've got much to fix, but repairing that wasted amenity makes sooooooo much sense here in Hockey County. I can't make it happen, and I'm not sure who can, but I hope someone can. Lace up those Bauers boys. Even us geezers may yet get a chance to hockey fight.

I spent my day yesterday at 49 Davis Place. The NIT folks condemned this property after the neighbors complained quite loudly about it. And for good reason too. If you can fill a hopper with cat dung, you've got a serious health risk on your hands.

I was involved with a couple of these structure "clean-outs" before and the conditions inside of those structures was horrific at best. You come away thinking that the former occupants were the lowest possible common denominators. Human debris, if you will. Someone always asks the question: "How could people live like this?" You got me by the short ones.

When you arrive at one of these nightmare properties, you are quickly accosted by the neighbors. Sometimes, for obvious reasons after entering these structures, you're even treated as if you're their conquering heroes. But you're warned by those neighbors as to just how completely horrible it is inside of the offending dwelling. Yesterday was no exception. No sooner did I crawl out of the truck, a neighbor was cooing from across the street: "Just wait 'til you see it in there." And in we went for the inspection.

Granted, it was awful inside. This home was reduced to being a gigantic cat pan. It was gross for sure, but I headed back outside to suit up thinking about having seen worse. Then the neighbors filled in some more of the details. An elderly woman lived there and it was claimed that she was losing her mental faculties a bit. And she had thirty-seven cats. It looked it on both counts. But rather than my usual reaction of looking down on the former occupant, I wondered where the hell her relatives were while this situation was obviously spiraling out of control? Where the hell were they?

How could a longtime resident be reduced to lying on a mattress in the middle of a room surrounded by piled cat droppings and empty cat food cans? Maybe she was losing it, but somebody failed her, and failed her miserably. Rather than being grossed-out by the utter filth I was stepping over, I was appalled to think that someone could be allowed to wallow in it for so long. How did this happen? My elderly neighbors quickly came to mind and I promised myself that if any of them ever started acting strangely, I would make it a point to check up on them for their own welfare.

Thanks to the inaction of someone unknown to me, here I was bagging every worldly possession of an elderly woman and tossing them into a hopper. I found that to be a dis-stressing undertaking and it should have never come to that. Keep an eye on your neighbors, folks. They might need your help without even knowing it.

You know I snapped a lot of pictures, but many of them are just too gross to post here. An entire empty room used as a cat pan? A bathtub used as a cat pan? Kitchen cabinets used as a cat pan? The kitchen used as a cat pan? Ceilings were collapsed. There was two inches of ice covering the bathroom floor. The basement was flooded and stacked with filled city garbage bags. Why not put them out on the curb for pick-up? There were two refrigerators well stocked with completely rotted perishables. Roach droppings all over the walls. Did somebody fail this lady, or what?

Middle Room

We took everything out of there, including the floor tiles. That's the only way to effectively neutralize the overwhelming stench, but it's going to need repeated applications to accomplish that goal. The only exception was a picture of Jesus hanging on the wall. None of us wanted to be the guy to throw Jesus into a hopper.


The kitchen counter was so deplorable, we didn't even try to clear it. We took a sledgehammer to it. Unreal.

Kitchen Counter

Built-up ice, cat poop everywhere, and a collapsed ceiling. Just what every kitchen should include.

Kitchen Floor

Still...all of this was mild compared to the last clean-out I was involved in. Then the trusty sidekick and I headed down into the flooded basement. I threw on the waders and waded in. It was narly. What I never considered was that the basement was a large cat pan too being that it was flooded and said poop was out of view. But as I wandered to and fro, basically, I was stirring the pot. And when it got stirred up enough, the stench suddenly became so overwhelming that I started to puke. I retreated to the kitchen. The sidekick then donned the boots and took his turn down there. I was treated to listening to a guy cursing from within a tightly fitting respirator. Normally, this would be funny, but I was still dry-heaving and not very amused.

After nine hours of this, I finally made it home and requested that wifey burn my clothes. And I took an unusually long shower. And I had no appetite at all despite having skipped both breakfast and lunch. Get me a friggin' beer!

49 Davis Place. F**k that! If you even suspect that something like this is going on anywhere near you, investigate things a bit closer, or demand that the city do so. The how, or the why doesn't matter. No one should be reduced to living like that.

This just in from Kayak Dude: North Branch of Susquehanna 'River of the Year'

From the e-mail inbox:

*******In the Beginning

In the Beginning, was The Plan.
And then came the Assumptions.
And The Assuptions were without Form.
And The Plan was completely without Substance.
And The Darkness was upon the face of The Workers.
And they spoke amongst themselves saying "It is a Crock of Sh*t, and it stinketh."
And The Workers went unto their Supervisors and sayeth, "It is a Pail of Dung and none may abide the odor thereof."
And The Supervisors went unto their Managers and sayeth unto them, "It is a Container of Excrement and it is very strong such that none may abide by it."
And The Managers went unto their Directors and sayeth, "It is a Vessel of Fertilizer, and none may abide by its strength."
And The Directors spoke amongst themselves, saying one to another, "It contians that which aids Plant Growth, and it is very strong."
And The Directors went unto the Vice Presidents and sayeth unto them, "It promotes growth and is very powerful."
And The Vice Presidents went unto The Prresident and sayeth unto him, "This New Plan will actively promote the growth and efficency of this Company, and these areas in particular."
And The President looked upon The Plan and saw that it was good, and The Plan became Policy.

And this is how "Sh*t Happens!"*******

John Kerry And John Edwards both have obviously taken a page from the "It's the economy, stupid" playbook. To hear them tell it, the War on Terror should be handed over to a couple of detectives, while we "put every American to work." The last time I checked, the unemployment rate was 5.5 %. How much lower could it possibly be? 94.5% of Americans are gainfully employed and that's offered as proof that Dubya is presiding over the worst economy since (insert latest dubious claim)? This weak economy nonsense needs to be debunked. And these two "class envy" warriors need to be deloused.

And Kerry's contention that the War on Terror should be put on the back burner, or handed over to the U.N. is frightening? Even if we never suffer another 9/11, if the rest of the world starts imploding around us, the resulting fallout would crush our economy, and stifle our entire way of life.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, if the terrorist threats aren't systematically eliminated, there might not be an economy, stupid.

What do you think will happen to your stock investments after a more devastating terrorist attack happens?

I ran into another one of those "Fightin' Phils" fans who has already claimed the N.L. East crown for 2004. Don't count your termite nymphs before they molt, fellas. We lost Greg Maddux, Javy Lopez, and Gary Sheffield. It's obvious that Maddux' skills were fading. Javy has been replaced by a real up-and-comer. And J.D. Drew seems like a nice fit in a still dangerous line-up. Plus, 1st Base, a glaring weakness for Atlanta since Fred McGriff went bye bye, will be manned by one of Richmond's best hitters. Don't stick a fork in us just yet.

12 straight division titles proves that the Braves know how to reload on short notice. And they've still got the best general manager in baseball. The thing I find the most interesting about the Braves obvious cost-cutting program is the fact that their new owner, AOL/Time Warner, a gigantic conglomerate, somehow cannot afford to keep Javy Lopez on the payroll. Wanna venture a guess as to what the CEO earns every year? Whatever.

A couple more weeks to go. Play ball!

I went down to Police Headquarters today and signed the release form so that I can go on a police ride-along. By signing that form, I am releasing the city from any liability in the event that anything bad happens to me as a result of that ride. Hell! Something bad could happen to me just by heading to Rite Aid for some new toenail clippers. If I'm going to go wandering around all night as I so often do, I'd rather do it flanked by two of our copper dudes than alone.

They tell me I'm gonna roll with the two man anti-crime unit. It sounds interesting already. Expect a full report.

Gotta go