"Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have. The course of history shows us that as a government grows, liberty decreases."-- Thomas Jefferson
The wonderful children from G.A.R.F. went after my daughter’s car again. Yep, but this time with paint.
And the content of the messages left on the vehicle were purposeful in that they make it blatantly obvious that they were delivered by current and/or former members of the G.A.R. girls volleyball team.
It seems the oafishness has been replaced by outright criminality.
This decision took me by complete surprise.
From the Times Leader:
WILKES-BARRE – The city zoning hearing board Wednesday approved the opening of a massage parlor on a 3-2 vote and on Rock Church’s relocation to the city on a unanimous 5-0 vote.
Zoning board members Hayden White, William Breslin and John Bergold approved the application of Sung Yang to open a massage parlor at rear 533-539 Scott St. The business will be called Myung Dong, which attorney Stephen Greenwald said is the name of Yang’s hometown in Korea.
Board Chairman John Yencha and member William Harvey voted against the application.
City zoning director Leon Schuster said Yang received special approval to open a massage parlor within a 1,824-square-foot portion of the building. He said the area is zoned C-4, which is heavy commercial.
Approval was given with the condition that the owner and all employees will be licensed massage therapists once the state begins issuing licenses in 2010.
Greenwald said his client and her employee are both licensed massage therapists, but they are not licensed by Pennsylvania because the state does not issue those licenses. Yang’s license was issued by the City of Philadelphia, Greenwald said, and the employee holds a license from New York State.
Greenwald called it a gray area, but he said both employees have hundreds of hours of schooling and training.
And then there’s the following from an earlier Times Leader article:
WILKES-BARRE – The attorney representing a woman wanting to open a massage parlor in the city is hoping the proposed use doesn’t rub people the wrong way.
Stephen Greenwald said Wednesday his client – Sung Yang – and her employee are both licensed massage therapists, but not by Pennsylvania because the state does not issue those licenses. Yang’s license was issued by the City of Philadelphia, Greenwald said, and the employee holds a license from New York State.
The proposed business would locate to the rear of 533-539 Scott St., near the Chicken Coop restaurant, Greenwald said. The business will be called Myung Dong, which Greenwald said is the name of Yang’s hometown in Korea.
City zoning director Leon Schuster said Yang has applied for special approval to permit the establishment of a massage parlor within a 1,824-square-foot portion of the building. He said the area is zoned C-4, which is heavy commercial.
“The applicant needs special approval because the city zoning ordinance does not allow nor deny that use,” Schuster said. “It’s impossible to define every possible use that comes through the door, so the zoning hearing board must approve it.”
Schuster said property owners in the vicinity of the proposed business have been notified of Yang’s intent. He said anyone opposing the business can attend the zoning hearing meeting and offer testimony.
Greenwald said the city ordinance requires massage therapists to be licensed by the commonwealth, however the state won’t issue licenses until 2010.
“It’s kind of a Catch 22,” Greenwald said. “The city requires a license that the commonwealth doesn’t even issue. But both of the therapists are licensed by other entities.”
“As it is now, this is not a licensing issue,” Schuster said.
So, it seems as if we’re going to have us a massage parlor here in Wilkes-Barre. But if you know anything at all about the proposed location, it’s highly unlikely that any potential customers will ever be able to find it.
If you pay attention at all, you know damn well this is likely to get the they’re-ignoring-our-neighborhoods crowd sharpening their political axes all anew. And sure as all hell, the e-mail inbox was the recipient of a few messages from city residents who were bend out of shape with this news. Oh, and a couple from city residents who always seem to be bent out of shape about darn near everything.
Here’s an example of what I received. Since this particular e-mail contains slander and accusations of criminality in absence of the proposed business and it’s employees and owner, I will not identify the author.
Was that fun or what? It’s filled with wholesale inaccuracies, but it’s nonetheless fun in a hysterically sad way.
Just for the sake of fairness and accuracy, let’s do this.
Is Leighton so hard up for tax money that he is allowing bars and massage parlors and what next to plop down and take over our city? Yes. But not in their developments [sic] or neighborhoods.....Oh no, ours!
Somebody had better take a little trip over near East End and figure out exactly where this place would be situated. Fact is, it’s not in anyone’s neighborhood. More correctly, it would be nested in, hidden behind a row of existing businesses and tucked up against a fenced-off wooded hill. And from that exact location, accounting for traffic, it’d take you ten minutes on foot to reach what anyone could accurately call a neighborhood.
But why let the indisputable facts get in the way of a good politically-driven they’re-ignoring-the-neighborhoods rant.
Another problem. It’s obvious from this example that some of us are projecting criminality upon the prospective operator of said message parlor before she even gets the keys to the property. Judge, jury and executioner all in one. And, as an elected and/or appointed official, there’s properly no quicker way of getting the city sued by assuming what ought not be and what cannot be assumed. That’s where criminal background checks come into play. That’s where the folks who understand the legal nuances and such make like adults and do things the right way, rather than just shooting from the hip all the time.
And after some investigation on my own, I have learned that the criminal background check came back completely clean. Yes, it appears that no business previously operated by Sung Yang had any stain of criminality on it’s permanent record. So, the ill-advised hookers, pimps, perverts, imported slaves and what have you rant falls hard on it’s face in this case.
Okay, so the lady’s record is clean. On to the next problem for those of us that act and think like adults on occasion, namely, the 5 members of the zoning board. Ready? There are no city ordinances forbidding the operation of a massage parlor within the confines of the city. Perhaps we need one or want for there to be one, but there is not one. So we can’t use that against her.
Currently, at least until October of 2,010, massage therapists are not required to be licensed by the State of Pennsylvania. So, there’s no legal precedent that can be used against here there.
There are a few requirements that needed to be addressed. Going by the zoning rules on the books, said massage parlor would have to be situated at least 1,000 feet from any schools, churches, residences or adult book stores. And in this case, those requirements have been met, since the proposed location is not in violation of those requirements.
Long story short, at least based on the City of Wilkes-Barre’s legislative and zoning wherewithal, this lady is within her rights to operate this business where she hopes to operate it. And to haphazardly assign assumed future criminality on her or her employees part, or to act prejudicial in any manner or form while denying her said clearances would subject the City to legal blowback in the form of a formal appeal.
An appeal, by the way, that the city would have clearly lost in court. And fighting appeals in court costs money. And if you’re in a no-win situation, and since the city coffers are not presently overflowing with cash, why deny the necessary zoning permit in the first place?
So, beating up on the mayor, city council members or members of the zoning board at this point will accomplish nothing whereas this particular massage parlor is concerned. It’s unfair and completely unearned.
The rational, the adult way to approach this is to demand that City Council pass an ordinance banning future businesses such as these from ever operating in this city. And if you’re not dead-set against businesses such as these from operating in the city, pay attention to the much more important, more pressing issues.
The thing I want to know is, will they have a drive-through?
That’s the scoop on my dong. Or Myong Dong. Or, whatever the hell it is.
Now you know.
I received some really bad news by way of that Outlaws Motorcycle Club drug raid and the subsequent news reporting and the like. The bad news was that my brother’s long, long longtime sidekick seems to have been one of the principal players in this illegal enterprise.
As I mentioned before, my brother Ray passed away in 2007. But over the course of his entire lifetime, his steady sidekick, his blood brother if you will, was Ron. As kids, teens and later adults, they were inseparable. As sprats as young as 7 or so, they used to spend practically every weekend fishing together at my lakefront property at Harveys Lake.
But growing up in the Fort Apache housing project they did, and going to the bottom feeder schools they did, they were running with a really, really, really tough crowd most of the time. To say that these two kids could defend themselves would be an understatement of epic proportions.
Ray managed to stay out of trouble, but that could be directly attributed to two things. The first being luck, and the second being the unequivocal knowledge that I would have beaten him within an inch of his life had he ever gotten himself in any sorts of legal difficulties. In these respects, Ron wasn’t so lucky. In my opinion, Ron had no real forceful parental figures, no real mentors and no protectors.
When Ron was 18, he got himself arrested and convicted on some rather weighty charges. During some kind of drunken altercation on New Years eve, he stabbed a guy. I’ve heard two versions of this story, his, and the official law enforcement version. And no matter what version I choose to believe, I firmly believe that he could not afford to pay for an adequate defense.
Ron did his 6 years or so (I forget exactly) and he was eventually paroled. And amazingly, he didn’t look any worse for wear. He still had the boyish good looks…he still looked like a much cuter version of “The Beave” from Leave it to Beaver fame, only all grown up. And Ray was thrilled to finally have him back in the mix.
But as far as I was concerned, he was different. He wasn’t nearly as happy-go-lucky as he previously was. And, much unlike the old days, it was much more difficult to conjure a smile from his then more stoic face. Plus, the prison-life aftereffects, the garish-looking tattoos and the alien dress and demeanor gave me reason for pause. While he said he was flying straight, and while Ray wholly believed as much…I had my doubts. Mostly, I just worried about him having a criminal relapse of some sort.
Basically, I always like the kid and I still do. But it pains me to see good people all twisted and contorted by their environment and piss-poor parenting into being something far, far less than good people. While it may sound like an excuse on my part, it’s not, Ron is a direct byproduct of that dysfunctional environment that was his boyhood.
So, being that Ron is now pushing 40, and being that he’s got priors in and above the range of aggravated and felonious assaults, I’m thinking he’ll next be eligible for parole as an old man.
And I figure that since Ray was cremated, it’ll save him the trouble of having to roll over in his grave.
My heart is heavy.
Oh, yeah. The very latest from the exploding and now oft-burning Marcellas Shale fields at The Susquehanna River Sentinel.
Yepper. Hurry up and lease your land for the purposes of drilling for natural gas. Odds, are, you won’t get killed in any resulting explosions or fires if you stay back far enough.
Good luck with that.
The reports are not true. I am not running for any elected public office, nor did a file to do as much. One phone call to the voter’s services office will prove as much.
Although, if I was running, I figure my biography would be a good place to start:
I know what y'all are thinkin‘. Why in hell would I want to vote for some lonesome redneck going by the name of Mark?
Have yer bitches fetch ya a couple of cold ones, "cause I's a fixin' to tell ya why.
I was sitting here spying all of this here corruption from those elected rich folk in Luzerne County, and I reckoned, Hell! I could do that! And then, after a couple of twelve-packs and a shot or two of cough syrup, I got a hankering to know what Jesus would do. And near as I can figure, I'm a thinking he'd up and run for office.
So here I is, Lonesome Redneck Mark...your candidate for Luzerne County Judge.
I may be a simple man, but I ain't no goll dang stupid fellar either. I know them there other candidates and their well-heeled city slicker lawyers will be fixin' to dig up all sorts of dirt on me. So, rather ‘an shockin’ the pants off y'all later, I's a thinkin' we get all of my warts and such out in the open and right from the get-go.
Besides, anybody down here in the lower end of the trailer park will likely spill their guts for a thirty-pack of Schlitz, so I figure it's best to be honest.
My problems started many years ago, but I want everybody to know that I'm all better now. Besides, if I was go cotton-pickin' bad to the bone, then why in tarnation would Opal still be fetching me beers for twenty odd years now? That hot 'lil bitch!
Anywho, when I was a sprat of 7 or so, my Uncle Jiggy took me out behind the tool shed. He said I needed educatin’ and he meant to educate me. And educate me he did.
After that bit of schooling, I couldn't walk right or sit down for damn near a week. And he told me to mind my tongue. Yep, he warned that if I told anybody he'd tell Uncle Hoot not to let me drive the old paint van up the fire roads anymore. And, hell, I just couldn't go on without my steady fix of heading up on the mountain with some moonshine and my sexed-up first cuzzin. So I kept them private lessons to myself.
Still, I knew darn well that Uncle Jiggy shouldn't have been jamming things where things ought not be jammed, lubricant or no. And I found myself gettin' all ornery and mean like. Weren't too long after that when I started shootin' squirrels and then hackin' them to pieces with a hatchet.
One time, I knocked a woodpecker down with a single shot, and while it was squirming and squealing real good like, I hit it with some butane and my Zippo. And I hate to say, those sorts of shenanigans made me feel real good like. Real good, not like one of those sissy boys from the city that'd likely run screaming at the sight of a rabid possum.
On the 4th of July 1968, one of the neighbors went and called the sheriff's office after I took Cuzzin Pete Swickle's lawnmower to her coon dog. Wasn't much of a dog, you know, with three legs and all. And she was a bitch anyways. Always braggin' about how she finished high school and all. Braggin' about how she had most of her teeth, and how she had one of Johnny Cash's guitar picks and all. I don't believe her no ways anyway.
She got hers. Yeah, she went and showed off her yoga skills one too many times when Hoby and the boys from the gun club upped and raped her for like a day and a half.
So this here sheriff's deputy went and took me before this here sissy of a judge who said he was gonna get me the help I needed. And he spoke real peculiar like. You'd think judges, with all their fancy degrees and all that educatin’ would be able to speak proper English, ain't it? Dang fools.
So, the judge sent me up to this here hospital run by the State of Pennsyltucky. Real official like. And the doctors in that there place said they knew what I needed. And the way it's told on that Wickipedia thingamabob, that newfangled internet place of truth, I was the first juvenile in the history of these here United States to receive shock treatments.
Can't say I liked 'em much. They got me to bitin' through my lip, my eyeballs to bulging damn near to Toledo and pushin' up this here boner I could not hide no matter how hard I tried. Though, the nurses always seemed all amused by it and whatnot.
When the doctors said I was all better, they sent me home to mama. And for a spell, things went real good like. But right out of the seventh grade, my sixth or seventh step-daddy run me over with a backhoe while I was fillin' my Zippo. Sparks commenced, and my face caught on fire. And then, Uncle Jiggy run off the porch and put it out with a rake.
Then, just to make all certain that the flames wouldn't reunite like, my drunken step-daddy from the step-daddy-of-the-month-club backed over me with that there very same backhoe. "No sense takin' no chances," he said, as he started beatin' on mama with a hammer for me being plumb stupid enough to get in the way of his stolen farm machinery.
Mama never seemed to mind his beatings until that day when she yanked the 30-odd-6 off the gun rack and sent him to meet his maker. Boy, did that sucker bleed. Never seen a head wound go like that. I even got me a picture.
And to make a long, exciting story kind of short, then I growed all up.
And when the Swickle brothers hooked me up with a fake GED after I fixed their grand pappy's busted still, I went to Sorber Mountain Community College, where I majored in drinking, chasin’ skirts and this here so-called academic detention.
Since I am no longer on parole, and since I stopped drivin’ the main roads when I'm drunker that all hell, I'm askin' fer your vote. And since Opal here can spell a lick, you can expect regular updates on this here high-tech election site of mine.
Did I mention that Opal is one hot 'lil bitch? I swear, if you saw her riding that mower in her underwear, you'd envy the likes of me and mine. Of all my 7 sisters and 5 step-sisters, she’s the one fer me.
Far as this here politics goes, I ain't no god damned Communist, I ain't no border jumper, I ain't no damn fool Obama sissy and I can put a bullet through an aged hippie's eye at 100 yards. Well, provided there ain't no stiff breeze foulin‘ things up. Oh, and provided that the hippie hisself is stoned and not movin' about none too much.
So, drop on by and shoot the politics breeze with me. You can find me sittin' in my underwear behind the barn, with a beer in hand and shootin' at squirrels like I always was. And since I'm the one beggin' fer your vote, the warm beers are on me. Bring the kinfolk down and let's shoot a few.
So kwitcherbelyacin and vote for me...Lonesome Redneck Mark.
Them there's my thoughts.
Paid for by The Committee to Elect the Criminally Insane.
The latest on the genealogy front. A couple of days ago, I received a picture of my father’s sister, my Aunt Jacqueline.
They tell me she was once both an actress as well as a model. And that picture would do nothing to cast an doubts on any of that. One pretty woman, for sure. I wish I could have known her.
Oh, and since I’ve grown beyond frustrated in these pursuits, I’ve asked these people if they’d be interested in trying to find my father, or find out what became of him.