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5-28-2004 Once anathema, always anathema.


It will probably be my last journey, and I want to pay my respects.--D-Day liberator James Derexson at the WWII Memorial.

The Postal Dudes were kind enough to adopt one of those median strips on Penn Avenue, so last night, my partner in crime and I had only one to mow. And mow we did.

When we were just about finished, I wandered out into the center of the street where those huge yellow lines are painted and worked to eradicate some sizeable mounds of dirt that were hosting some sort of vegetation those Green Party folks would probably smoke. I kicked all of the mounds loose and then ran the mower back and forth over them to disperse them as far and wide as possible. Then this fembot-looking sedan pulled up next to me and some guy announced to me that I had just fired a rock through his window. Judging by the 21 million shards of glass scattered all over the interior of the car, I assumed he was telling the truth and advised him that he had better back his car out of the middle lane as cars were zooming by. Right after that advice passed through my lips, two escapees from some rustic (rusty) trailer park brought their pick-up truck toting a gun rack and rebel flag to a dead stop right behind the Sino import.

Right on friggin' cue-the F-bombs were launched from the inbred driver with the John Deere cap on. "Wut the fugg are ya'll doin ya fuggin' stupid fugg!!!? Fuggin' gonna cause a wreck, ya..."

It was at that point that my adrenaline pump suddenly kicked on and I felt the need to immediately interrupt the father of his nephew with a rather pointed retort. I think it was "F**kin' drive away while you still can you f**king asswipe." And away he went towards the nearest mud bog event, or cow-tipping championship. Who knows?

Much to my surprise, the guy with the broken window up and yells "You broke my window and now you're calling me an asswipe???" Apparently, with so many cars zooming by as if the pace car had just peeled off into Corba's Beverage, the little dude never even heard those rodeo wannabes who might have been about ready to bend him over the nearest log. Ooops!

Always being able to think quickly on my feet, I told him I was the new city administrator and if he had a problem with me-I'd have him arrested lickity-split on some trumped-up internet kiddie porn charges. Actually, I waved to my sidekick to come on over and he called the copper dudes so a police report could be filed.

Being a Third Class City still struggling through the very first year of the lean-and-mean (broke) post-McG era, we had more police calls than policemen on duty, so after a brief wait the wronged DEP dude headed for police headquarters to make the report.

Please note that there is not one shred of evidence that I was responsible for that shattered (and I mean freaking shattered!) car window. I think Larry did it.

Anywho, if you're trying to set a new land speed record on Penn Avenue and a discarded beer can or something suddenly penetrates your windsheild and gives your wife a really nifty-looking tatoo on her forehead...

...that was Larry.

But the grass is cut.


I cut this,...

...the latest morsel of good news for Wilkes-Barre, from today's Voice:

Skrepenak and Vonderheid presented Wilkes-Barre City and the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Business and Industry with a $2.5 million ceremonial check, which is actually more like an IOU. The county's overall contribution represents about 7 percent of the $19 million project.

So far, the Gov came up with $5.87 million for the long-promised downtown theater and now the Commish Dudes have promised to kick in $2.5 million. It sure seems as if I'll be watching the newly released "Alien V" in good ole' downtown Wilkes-Barre afterall. I'll be so giddy at that point-I'll probably roast my own peanuts and feed 'em to those annoying sh*t machines more often referred to as pigeons. Who says it can't be again what it once was?

Here's another snippet of that Voice story:

Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton and Steve Barrouk, president and CEO of the chamber, accepted the check. "We're going to have a downtown that no one will recognize in five years," Leighton said.

Barrouk said the chamber's development corporation is finalizing the architectural work and securing the remaining funding.

The city also will make a significant investment in the project, but there has been no dollar amount announced to date.

Cooper Carry Inc., Alexandria, Va., and Quad Three/Springwood Group, Wilkes-Barre, have been retained by the chamber and are preparing the schematic designs for the South Main Street Revitalization Project. It is expected to break ground in September.

I find that to be somewhat confusing. If the development corporation... is securing the remaining funding, then why would the city have to make a significant investment in the project?

I need a bit more 'splainin' on this one.

The majority commish's have now promised to invest $2.5 million in downtown Wilkes-Barre, so you can be sure that our minority commish will have his panties in an uproar as soon as the newspaper bundles are launched relatively close to where they are supposed to be delivered to.

We all know that the county has some serious financial issues of it's own, but this $2.5 million is money well spent. And so is the $20 million bond floated to ensure that the riverfront development project actually comes to fruition. These bucks are being invested in our quality of life, our long neglected infrastructure and our future as a viable and bustling city. Politicos are notorious for sharing their "vision" with us while pandering for votes, but we rarely, if ever, see them stick their necks out one iota to convert that vision into brick and mortar.

Kevin Blaum & Company had a vision and now nearly everyone I know is a hockey fan. If Vonderheid and Skrep had delivered $2.5 million for the construction of an arena yesterday, Steve Urban and his always vocal cohorts in the audience at the next commissioner's meeting would be hopping mad. If this city is ever going to rise again, it's going to require money and a handful of forward-thinking folks to make that happen.

During our recent rust-belt past, progress was measured in how many grants we recieved to conduct study after study on how to get from here to there, with "there" being a vibrant and attractive locale for outside investment. Guess what. Those outside investors never came a calling. Despite all of our begging and all of our useless studies, nothing ever seemed to break our way. Why would anyone want to rescue us when we we're doing a single thing to rescue ourselves from our robber baron past that cast a shadow over this place for generations? Oh, how things have changed.

Now we've got some leaders not afraid to make the bold moves and force outsiders to finally take notice of Luzerne County and Wilkes-Barre City. I honestly believe we are on the cusp of some exciting times for Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. I really do. We've got some young folks at the top of the political food chain that are much more astute than their predecessors that mostly mailed it in, or mailed it to their campaign contributors.

Rather than perpetually propping-up some veteran congressman who's biggest claim (?) to fame is that he saved Tobbyhanna and the Veteran's Hospital every two years, maybe we should be rallying around the folks that are making some bold strokes to try to save Wilkes-Barre from it's mentally incontinent past.


And then there's this...

...complete f**king nonsense that Walter Griffith thinks is a good idea. Or, a good way to get himself elected to something or other.

We're going to have 37 referendum questions every time we go to the polls? I have a question. Why bother to elect anyone at all if we're going to "mob rule" by referendum?

Should we cut the salaries of future council types? Maybe. Maybe not. Should we cut the next mayor's salary? Stay tuned. Should council recieve free health care benfits? I'm about to bang the gong on that nonsense.

But check this from the Voice story:

In addition to the salary and benefit questions, a separate question will allow voters to propose ordinances through petitions.

A final question will give voters the chance to repeal ordinances through future referendums, including ordinances relating to capital projects, appropriating money, levying taxes or emergencies.

Or in other words, what Walt has proposed is gridlock that will put this city out of it's torturous misery. With this nonsense posing as a form of government, hockey would have never come to Luzerne County. With Walt leading the way, a trip to Target or Chuck E. Cheeze would mean an hour commute. With Walt leading (?) the way, the only movie you'll ever see in this city will be the one you rent. If you follow Walt down this ridiculous path, the moniker "Former Coal Town" will aptly describe this city until Jesus finally does get good and pissed and kindly puts us out of our misery.

What Walt seeks is consensus rather than leadership. What Walt is suggesting is that we should no longer trust anyone with our hard-earned money and our precious livelihoods. What Walt wants is to see folks that can't find New York on a map deciding the future of this city. Walt wants to manipulate the system to the point where only the long frustrating stagnation and the disappointing status quo would be all that we could expect. What Walt envisions would secure our status as a forgotten podunk struggling to shed it's negative image.

If you honestly think the folks calling SAYSO should determine whether proposed capital projects should go forward or not, you are not someone thinking things through.

Ya' wanna cut the council's salary? Wouldn't that be fun? Wanna lay a bitch-slap on the mayor's salary? Wanna stifle this city?

Walter's petitions, taken as a whole, are exactly the thing we need to avoid like Sarin gas right now. He sought elected office and he was quickly dispatched by the voters of this city. And now he wants to run the entire show despite never having been elected. If you sign anything this self-serving snake oil salesman is carrying, Wilkes-Barre's suddenly enticing future comes right back into doubt.

Once anathema, always anathema.


From Neal Boortz:

ON THE WRONG TRACK

Someone just called to tell me that there is more money being spent in the United States on breast implants and Viagra than is being spent on research into Alzheimer's prevention. You know what this means, don't you? This means that around the year 2020 this is going to be a nation of elderly women with perky boobies and elderly men with huge erections ... and nobody will have any idea as to what to do with them.

From the e-mail inbox:

History Test

Do you remember?

1. In 1972 at the Munich Olympics, athletes were kidnapped and massacred by:

a. Volga Orbit
b. Sitting Bull
c. Arnold Schwarzeneger
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

2. In 1979, the U.S. embassy in Iran was taken over by:

a. Lost Norwegians
b. Elvis
c. A tour bus full of 80-year-old women
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

3. During the 1980's a number of Americans were kidnapped in Lebanon by:

a. John Dillinger
b. The King of Sweden
c. The Boy Scouts
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

4. In 1983, the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by:

a. A pizza delivery boy
b. Pee Wee Herman
c. Geraldo Rivera
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

5. In 1985 the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked and a 70 year old American Passenger was murdered and thrown overboard in his wheelchair by:

a. The Smurfs
b. Davy Jones
c. The Little Mermaid
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

6. In 1985 TWA flight 847 was hijacked at Athens, and a U.S. Navy diver trying to rescue passengers was murdered by:

a. Captain Kidd
b. Charles Lindberg
c. Mother Teresa
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

7. In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by:

a. Scooby Doo
b. The Tooth Fairy
c. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

8. In 1993 the World Trade Center was bombed the first time by:

a. Richard Simmons
b. Mark Cour
c. Michael Jordan
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

9. In 1998, the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by:

a. Mr. Rogers
b. Hillary Clinton, to distract attention from Wild Bill' s women problems
c. The World Wrestling Federation d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40
10. On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked; two were used as missiles to take out the World Trade Centers and of the remaining two, one crashed into the US Pentagon and the other was diverted and crashed by the passengers. Thousands of people were killed by:

a. Bugs Bunny, Wiley E. Coyote, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd
b. The Supreme Court of Florida
c. Mr. Bean
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

11. In 2002 the United States fought a war in Afghanistan against:

a. Enron
b. The Lutheran Church
c. The NFL
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

12. In 2002 reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and murdered by:

a. Bonnie and Clyde
b. Captain Kangaroo
c. Billy Graham
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

Nope, .........I really don't see a pattern here to justify profiling, do you?

So, to ensure we Americans never offend anyone, particularly fanatics intent on killing us, airport security screeners will no longer be allowed to profile certain people. They must conduct random searches of 80-year-old women, little kids, airline pilots with proper identification, secret agents who are members of the President's security detail, 85-year old Congressmen with metal hips, and Medal of Honor winning former Governors, and leave Muslim Males between the ages 17 & 40 alone because of profiling.

Let's send this to as many people as we can so that the Gloria Aldreds and other dunder-headed attorneys along with Federal Justices that want to thwart common sense, feel doubly ashamed of themselves - if they have any such sense.

As the writer of the award winning story "Forrest Gump" so aptly put it,

"Stupid is as stupid does."

********

I'll see you in the Healing Field.

Nite