12-14-2004 Downtown days re-visited?


From today's Times Leader:

Now showing: Some action on W-B theater project

Placement of fence marks beginning on work to make demolition site safe.



WILKES-BARRE - Contractors on Monday erected a chain-link fence along South Main and Northampton streets to keep the rubble in and the curious out.

The new theater project is under way with selective demolition coming soon - and the last thing the city wants is someone to get hurt.

The 14-screen theater complex will sit at South Main and Northampton streets and include parking and retail/residential space.

I've heard all of the boobs...and their abject negativity, but the time has arrived when we need to put our most petty differences aside and rally around our long-struggling city.

If some of us would spend less time pointing out how we can't jump start this city, and start convincing folks that maybe we actually can; maybe we'd pull it off in the end. The theater project is finally, finally a reality. The Labor & Industry Building is being built. The Hotel Sterling project has suddenly sprouted real wings. And the promised riverfront mecca is but a couple of years from being completed. Throw in some new streetlights, new sidewalks, tons of interest in our downtown, and the funding necessary to significantly augment our police force, and I'm thinking we're really on to something, here. Heyna?

Well, gee whiz. They raised a tax, the cost of a parking ticket, and a few permit fees to boot. So freakin' what? It's gonna take a few bucks to finally turn things around, and thankfully, we have nine elected folks that realized as much. It sure beats having a mayor that bragged about lowering taxes while unpaid debts in this city rivaled the highest of the legendary culm banks that once dominated the horizon.

I can't help but to harken back to last week, when Linda Stets was screaming in public that Tom Leighton will never be re-elected in this city. At that very moment I thought to myself: We'll just see about that one, cyanide buns, won't we? It takes all kinds, I guess. The good, the bad and the self-appointed taxpayer activists. Inasmuch as I can't wait to help write their sure-as-sh*t political obituaries one fine day, it sure is gonna be a heap of fun watching them squirm while Wilkes-Barre begins to rise from the ashes.

And I'm really getting tired of reading that some folks would rather shop in Pakistan than downtown Wilkes-Barre, only because of a tax that amounts to less than one dollar per week. It seems that we have no shortage of mental incontinents running loose in these parts. To listen to them tell it, they'd rather drive to say, Scranton, than support their own city, or their own valley. Some folks whine on and on and on about the lack of progress in our immediate proximity and then they turn around and whine about the cost of progress when it finally becomes possible. I say, to hell with them. If they need to commute out of the valley to purchase a new poncho, the chances increase that they'll be crushed by a tractor trailer with brakes older than Joan Collins. Oh, well. Bummer. I'll be a walking to downtown WIlkes-Barre with the grandkids in tow. Rest in peace. Although, based upon their actions while still breathing and bitching; I consider that possibility as highly unlikely.

Kresge's pizza is not coming back. And neither is Percy Brown's. I doubt that we'll be enjoying fresh roasted peanuts in the Square Park again anytime soon. And I seriously, seriously doubt that Woolworth's luncheonette will ever be duplicated. The good old days of shopping at Lazurus with grandma are gone, but a new chapter is about to be written. And still they bitch.

I find it unfathomable that some of us absolutely refuse to embrace the new beginning, but I for one will not miss them when Gage and I are wondering aimlessly in a busy downtown Wilkes-Barre with full shopping bags cramping our style.

So, as it turns out, I'll be watching Alien 5 in downtown Wilkes-Barre afterall.

Tom Leighton will never be re-elected in this town?

We'll just wee about that, won't we?

By the way...my doctor pronounced me "good to go" today. So if ya want to take a shot at the formerly ailing ribs, take a freakin' number. We'll get to you in time.

Former Holeplex

I snagged these two...letters to the editors of the Voice. I just had to.

Tackling jogger was a sign that cops are too aggressive

Recently, a 71-year-old black man was jogging on Coal Street in Wilkes-Barre when he was stopped and tackled by police. The officers almost broke his arm, all because of an incident at Sherman Hills. This man was not bothering or hurting anyone.
It is obvious that the police are becoming more aggressive with innocent people or minimum offenders. Perhaps some of them are taking steroids. They look like super-muscle cops with shaved heads and sunglasses on their faces all the time, and they will never admit to being wrong.
Before the mayor gets money for more cops, he should get the ones he has to stop harassing innocent people.
Jeremy Smith

Why is it that whenever some resident alleges that the cops used excessive force against him, there are always those who accept those charges at face value? Why is that?

I swear, if a cop tickets me, I might as well contact the press an allege that he stole my Pog collection before punching me squarely in the Adams Apple. A percentage of the populace will surely accept my yarn as being the truth. Face it. Cops are meanies. Especially when dealing with anyone that posseses a much better tan.

Nefarious conduct on the part of the citizenry? Nah. No way. Cops are meanies.

And what's up with this steroids gibberish? The last I heard, the cops were all grossly overweight and did nothing but scan the papers looking for donut shop grand opening ads. Now they're accused of looking like "super-muscle cops with shaved heads and sunglasses on their faces all the time." So, if they look like Drew Carey, they get their ya-yas busted on. And if they look like they just shipped out from Camp Pendleton, they get their ya-yas busted on. Why is it again that I should want to study criminal justice?

We shouldn't stoop so low as to question the judgement of a 71 year-old man who habitually jogs in a known high crime area well after dark, should we? Nah. Probably not.

The cops should be able to tell who's who and who's not in a known high crime area well after dark. That's what we pay them for. To be 100% correct 100% of the time. Just like all of us. (?)

Are we crazy about the death penalty, or just crazy?

In John Grisham's "The Pelican Brief," an attorney general (interestingly enough from Texas, where the executioner has job security) argues that a certain death-row inmate should be given medication to make him lucid before being lethally injected. If he's mentally ill, how can he be executed?
The AG explains that his illness can be controlled with medication. Just give him a little shot to make him sane, then give him another shot to kill him. It could all be very nice and constitutional.
Will Pennsylvania emulate Texas?
Is stupidity more dangerous than insanity? A London newspaper questioned how 59 million voters could be so dumb as to vote for George Bush. That does seem to be an excessive amount of dumb people. Maybe the election was rigged.
I once read that even insane people are able to plan.
Is what Bombs Away Bush has done to Iraq stupidity or insanity?
Bob Singer

Whatever, man. I once read that even insane people are able to form complete sentences.

Ah, shoot!...one more. Tsk! Tsk! on moi.

Fifty-two dollars a week is not too much to pay for services

(Okay. So something is amiss there.)


This is in response to all the hoopla over the occupational privilege tax being increased to $52 from the present $10. I think $52 per year is a fair amount to pay for the police and fire safety from which everyone who works in the city benefits, no matter where they live. Think about it. Fifty-two dollars is only a dollar per week, which everyone can afford, no matter what their income bracket is. Everyone blows $1 or more a week.
I live and work in the city, and I'm in favor of the increased tax.
C. Coledo

Ahah! So I'm not the only person this side of Seletski Cemetary that can not only afford this increased taxation, but eagerly awaits it's passage and implementation. It doesn't take Inspector Clouseau himself to get to the bottom of the fact that Wilkes-Barre needs to reclaim it's streets. And to do such a thing requires cops and the money to pay them.

The discombobulated council haters and the nattering nabobs that cheer them on can continue to carry on as if this tax will lead to post-traumatic taxation syndrome, or some such sh*t, but I and my growing brood will be much safer here in the Nord End after the tax finally comes to pass.

Walter, Christine, Ambrose and the rest of the howling gnomes; the political equivalent of Ishtar, can keep their panties in a knot until the King Biscuit Flower Hour is reprised in it's entirety as far as I'm concerned. They can yak and yak and yak all they want, but in the end they'll be wrong. Again.

Say whatever disparaging word that you will about the democrats in this city, but the republicans in this city act as if ineptitude is something to strive for.

Funny how that works.

When that tax goes into effect, I'm going to celebrate by gittin' near nekkid and blasting all 320 Ramones songs without coming up for alcohol. Yikes! That's almost a full hour of ear-shattering tunes and I will not be held liable for any crumbling foundations afterwards.

Nuthin' to do and nowhere to go-wo-wo...

The chickies at work...put together one humdinger of a Christmas party last week. No, I said "Christmas" party, not "Holiday" party. The folks at the A.C.L.U. can muck off, okay?

Seriously, our girls deserve a shout out for a job well done. Our company will pay for one helluva local Christmas party, but our staff is comprised mostly of annoying party poopers. But still, knowing full well what they were up against, the girls pressed on and delivered a nifty event just the same.

The party was catered by a local concern. The eats were fine and dandy from what I heard. (Too much dead animal for this strange bird) We had munchies up the fargin' whazoo. Soft drinks, (RATS!) munchies, Christmas cookies, Rudolph and Yukon on the video screen, tunes and a bit of Dirty Bingo. Oh yeah, and everyone had some wrapping paper to mangle.

And one of our company's owners drove up here from Allentown at the last second to wish us his best during the Christmas season. Oh, and he did have bonus checks, too.

Whatever. I just wanted the chickies to know that I appreciated their efforts.

It was cool for sure.

All I want for Christmas is...

Santa's boney knees

Santa seems to be on a diet.

From the dreaded...e-mail inbox:

Subject: Illegal immigrants in Canada

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The flood of American liberals sneaking across the border into Canada has intensified in the past week, sparking calls for increased patrols to stop the illegal immigration.

The re-election of President Bush is prompting the exodus among leftleaning citizens who fear they'll soon be required to hunt, pray and agree with Bill O'Reilly.

Canadian border farmers say it's not uncommon to see dozens of sociology professors, animalrights activists and Unitarians crossing their fields at night.

''I went out to milk the cows the other day, and there was a Hollywood producer huddled in the barn," said Manitoba farmer Red Greenfield, whose acreage borders North Dakota.

The producer was cold, exhausted and hungry.

''He asked me if I could spare a latte and some free-range chicken. When I said I didn't have any, he left. Didn't even get a chance to show him my screenplay, eh?"

In an effort to stop the illegal aliens, Greenfield erected higher fences, but the liberals scaled them. So he tried installing speakers that blare Rush Limbaugh across the fields.

''Not real effective," he said. ''The liberals still got through, and Rush annoyed the cows so much they wouldn't give milk."

Officials are particularly concerned about smugglers who meet liberals near the Canadian border, pack them into Volvo station wagons, drive them across the border and leave them to fend for themselves.

''A lot of these people are not prepared for rugged conditions," an Ontario border patrolman said. ''I found one carload without a drop of drinking water. They did have a nice little Napa Valley cabernet, though."

When liberals are caught, they're sent back across the border, often wailing loudly that they fear retribution from conservatives. Rumors have been circulating about the Bush administration establishing re-education camps in which liberals will be forced to drink domestic beer and watch NASCAR.

In the days since the election, liberals have turned to sometimesingenious ways of crossing the border.

Some have taken to posing as senior citizens on bus trips to buy cheap Canadian prescription drugs. After catching a half-dozen young vegans disguised in powdered wigs, Canadian immigration authorities began stopping buses and quizzing the supposed senior-citizen passengers.

''If they can't identify the accordion player on The Lawrence Welk Show, we get suspicious about their age," an official said.

Canadian citizens have complained that the illegal immigrants are creating an organic-broccoli shortage and renting all the good Susan Sarandon movies.

''I feel sorry for American liberals, but the Canadian economy just can't support them," an Ottawa resident said. ''How many art-history majors does one country need?"

In an effort to ease tensions between the United States and Canada, Vice President Dick Cheney met with the Canadian ambassador and pledged that the administration would take steps to reassure liberals, a source close to Cheney said.

''We're going to have some Peter, Paul & Mary concerts. And we might put some endangered species on postage stamps. The president is determined to reach out."

@@@Joe Blundo is a Dispatch columnist@@@

Well, the terrorists and the illegal aliens may be sneaking into the country. But the real long-term dangers to the country are sneaking out. Ya gotta take the good with the bad, I suppose.

I swear...this chick looks real familiar to me. I don't know, but I'm thinking meteorologist.

I could be mistaken.


That's a keeper.


Talk at ya later