2-14-2007 The Great Crunchy Water Storm of Ď07

I just returned from a walkabout here in the Nord End. It was quite the chore to hoof it through the four or so inches of piled hail, plus the snow layered in there like cheese in a pan of lasagna. Didnít take one city block before I abandoned the sidewalks altogether and walked down the middle of the streets. Didnít matter, werenít any motor vehicles no how.

The Nord End business district on N. Main St., from Courtright to Maple, was hustling and bustling. But it was all foot traffic and nary a car. The mailman was also walking right down the middle of the street. Excepting for the circling plow truck, you could just about walk down the center of the streets with your eyes closed. Iím thinking itís a good day for a bikeabout, since the streets seem to be mine and mine alone.

A few pics from early this morning:

Last night, both WBRE and WNEP were in full, hysterical snow emergency mode. Full alert. We might get appreciable snow one time this entire winter and everybody goes near berserk. Hey, everyone got to hankering for some snow of late and now they got it. And now that they got it, theyíre carrying on like a bunch of screaming girls during a sťance at summer camp. To be blunt, I felt embarrassed for them.

Let me figure out what part of this drill I didnít already know. Um, the roads will get all mucked up so we should lay low, we should stock up on everything we would normally horde for an all-out nuclear war, stock up on your prescriptions, if you must go out--be careful and tune in for updated weather forecasts every three minutes or so. Run towards the camera's lights and buy lots of milk and bread. Tune up the snow blower, or snow thrower, or whatever it is that they call those needless things these days. Grab a half-ton of rock salt. Kiss little Jamie on the lips just in case the house collapses. The end may be near. Oh, woe is us!!!

Me? Sure, I prepared for the incoming onslaught of crunchy water. I got me some bread, smokes and beer. And near as I can tell, we just might survive this catastrophe.

I loved the interview WNEP conducted with Mr. Penndot Plow Guy. According to him, the roads would be paved soooo much better iffiní us silly and ignorant folks would stay off of the roads. Get the hell out of his way and the roads will be more then passable.

Well, thatís wonderful and all, but this is coming from a state employee who is likely carrying 300, maybe 500 unused sick, personal and vacation days. Being lectured to by a public sector employee is akin to having a trophy wife explaining the benefits of a hard dayís work.

Now letís lecture the clueless state employee.

Listen here Bucky, if the snow is piling at a rate of an inch an hour and has been for the past 48 hours, the very last thing most supervisors in the public sector want to hear is ďI canít come to work today.Ē Every time, with very few exceptions, the snow gets to piling, we in the private sector are expected to risk life and limb for the good of the company. So, put the thing in gear, plow the roads, throw back a coffee or two and keep your unimformed gibberish to yourself.

(End rant)

There was a time when I was sympathetic to those arguing for equal ballot access for all comers. The argument seemed to make sense to me. Why should only those positioning themselves as either Democrats or Republicans be given any preference over those from a fringe political party? On itís face, it hardly seems fair.

Over time I came to realize that for the sake of stability and continuity, elections at any level of government could not be turned into free-for-alls that would only serve to further cloud the multitude of already clouded issues, as well as allow unqualified candidates to sneak in under the radar of a thoroughly diluted vote.

Put simply, there has got to be some limit, some screening process in place for the purposes of electing our representatives. While I know there are some who would vehemently disagree with my opinion on all of that, they will never dissuade me from my staunch belief that out electoral process cannot be allowed to devolve into a three-ring circus, sans the clowns.

As it turns out, those who would so vehemently rail against my stated position on equal ballot access are, through their own actions, making my argument for me.

Council critics consider runs

According to the story published in the Times Leader titled ďCouncil critics consider runs,Ē weíve got three ďactivistsĒ in this city that went to the voter services office to acquire not one, but two different nominating positions for both council and mayor.

Why would a person considering a serious runÖthatís, a serious run at an elected office have to take possession of nomination petitions for both council and mayor? Thereís one reason and one reason only: To make spectacles of not only themselves, but of our entire electoral process.

A serious, bona fide candidate would know what office they aspired to climb to long, long before they ever bothered to pick up any nominating petitions at all. But to turn a local election into a guessing game, a shell game if you will, is to make sophistry of the whole shebang. And by turning any minute part of our electoral process into a three-ring circus they make clowns of themselves.

Now, I must ask you, do you really want to vote for a clown?

A serious candidate for elected office would conduct themselves in a dignified manner, not hoodwink the public as part of some twisted self-aggrandizing hoax. Sorry, but politics should not be subject to self-fulfilling pranks coming from those who seem incapable of comprehending that they are literally disenfranchising themselves.

The electorate will vote only for candidates that appear on the surface to be productive, rational members of society that seem to have something substantive to offer. But to cloak your political intentions from the very get-go is a clear signal to said voters that you are not worthy of a vote, as well as incredibly, destructively impulsive.

For example, I wouldnít vote for one of the council hopefuls from South Wilkes-Barre if he promised me 77 virgins and a carton of reusable cigarettes. Very rarely do I agree with anything he has to say. I reject out of hand his austerity as policy approach to all that ails us. I think he makes much adieu about non-issues all too often. If he were to be elected, I see him as an obstructionist. With that said, since he doesnít reside in my voting district, it doesnít matter what I think about his perpetual candidacy.

But, he is currently running for a city council seat and so far, he has conducted his nascent campaign in a dignified manner. While he may or may not attain his goal, he understands that to the play the political game successfully, one must adhere to the rules of decorum. And when compared to the needless shell games some others are currently treating us to, he deserves kudos for that.

So, should any Tom, Dick, Harry Houdini or Charles Manson have completely unfettered access to the ballot? Based upon what Iím seeing in this city, methinks not.

Sorry, but if all youíve got to offer the electorate is your haphazard, counterintuitive and self-aggrandizing bamboozlement, all dozen or so members of the lunatic fringe party eagerly await you with open arms and plenty of marijuana.

Themís my thoughts on that.

From the e-mail inbox Why do these Guys:

Click on me

Remind me of these guys?

Click on me, too

Iím thinking itís because there isnít one discernable difference between those two groups. Kindred spirits in the ongoing War on Despotism. (?) Well, that is to say, they see evidence of despotism on every box of frozen waffles, but theirs is a most noble pursuit as seen by their disaffected brothers in arms. Look, not everybody can be near the apex of the bell curve, somebody has to bring up the bedraggled bottom.

We may be polar opposites on plenty of issues, but weíre of a like mind on this one.

From the e-mail inbox Hi Mark,

Enjoy your blog. Check out the photos someone put up about WB at the city-data forum. It's a good forum. Lots of discussion about WB etc. there.

Pics, pics and more pics of Wilkes-Barre

Take Care

Thanks. Somebody takes as many pictures as I do and thatís saying something.

Damn! Reusable cigarettes???

You know, if I could get some financial backing for that idea, I could get rich and quick. Reusable cigarettes: Economical, user-friendly and eco-friendly too.

Make checks payable to: That Blog Bastard Inc.

Blizzard video taken wearing a tank top. Juvenile, or just plain nuts?

Later

Wilkes-Barre declares state of emergency

Interstates closed in Lackawanna County

Commissioners declare state of emergency in Luzerne County