12-23-2004 I still want a hula hoop

Bah, frickin' scumbug!!! Or somewhere thereabouts.

Let's kick things off by trampling all over the copyright laws. From today's Voice:

'Bomb' turns out to be video tapes

It may have looked suspicious, but one sniff from an expert determined it was harmless.
An innocuous looking package created some tense moments at Wilkes-Barre City Hall Wednesday.

Left on a park bench near the wheelchair ramp at the front entrance to city hall, the silver duct taped box looked suspicious but turned out to be harmless. Erring on the side of caution, police and emergency personnel evacuated the building and cordoned off the area.

"Sax,'' Kingston Police Department's bomb sniffing dog and handler Sgt. Michael Krzywicki, who was on vacation but arrived on the scene within a half hour of being called, had the situation in hand within minutes.

Sgt. Krzywicki said Sax knows his business. "I trust Sax with my life. He did his job and we knew the package was harmless. If it wasn't Sax would have indicated that by sitting down,'' Sgt. Krzywicki said.
After it was declared safe, Wilkes-Barre police ripped open the package to find videotapes and a receipt.

"It appears someone simply left the package on the bench. It may have been there since the morning, but a passerby noticed it and alerted the department this afternoon,'' Chief Gerry Dessoye said.

Chief Dessoye said he was grateful to Kingston police for sending Sgt. Krzywicki and Sax to assist.

The package and its contents were taken to the police department.

A duct taped box of videos left at city hall. Hmmm.

You want my opinion? TOUGH!

Somebody is going to keep f**king about until they finally manage to get themselves arrested for something. Somebody who? You might ask. Somebody who thinks they're too clever for the rest of us. Somebody who fancies themselves as an adult, but has the thought processes of a child. Somebody who strikes fear in the rest of us...right before they wake up.

Stay tuned, kiddies.

I did another...shopping walkabout today. And much like my previous trip downtown, I was in dire need of being rescued.

Yes, the handles of my dreaded Boscov's bag ripped again. Yup. There I was with six separate shopping bags and the Boscov's bag was the only one that had to act up. Again! So rather than face the monsoon and the gale force winds I decided to duck into a nearby eatery and call the adobe and request an air-sea rescue unit be launched. I was advised of the ETA and told to hunker down. 10-4. Brave shopper out! So here I was at the downtown eatery.

Allow me to prefice this exercise by saying that us ex-restaurant managers just can't turn it off. Whenever we wander into any eating establishment, the second we enter the door we are critiquing everything and anything of note. Well, at least those of us that were any good at managing restaurants.

I was immediately informed by a waitress that I could sit wherever I wanted. A good, quick greeting. I asked if I could smoke in there and I was told that I could. So far so good. I landed my bags, threw off my rain-soaked jacket, spread open the Voice and lit a Newport. Hint, hint. This particular customer will need an ashtray. Around the time my cigarette ash started to look as if it were laced with a Viagra knock-off, I started glancing around for somewhere to dispose of it. Why a table in a smoking section had no ashtray in the first place is what needed to be asked of the waitress in question. So, I settled on using a napkin as my ashtray. Whatever. I turned down the volume on my scanner and explored the Voice.

After exactly 13 minutes of wondering what the hell happened to the coffee I ordered, the waitress glanced over at my table and let loose with "Oh. I forgot your coffee." Finally, I had a cup of coffee sitting in front of me in some mug with a church logo on it. (?) I poured the two creamers into it and did not make an issue of the fact that two creamers would not be enough to make my coffee the way I like it. It would have been nifty if someone had bothered to ask before they spun and scurried away, but correcting inattentive waitresses is no longer my field of endeavor. And after only fifteen minutes, my grilled cheese sandwich finally arrived. Sorry, folks. But waiting fifteen minutes for a grilled cheese won't cut it in a restaurant with only three customers.

Time to munch. Now I needed somewhere to put out my cigarette. I tamped it out (so I thought) in the near empty creamer packet and turned most of my attention to the grilled cheese. After a few seconds, something smelled odd. Upon investigation, I found that the cigarette butt had charred through the creamer packet and had caused my napkin to start smoldering. No biggie. Nothing a few teaspoons of coffee wouldn't extinguish. The sandwich was just fine and the nine and a half foot pickle slice was awesome.

There was no medivac in sight as of yet, but the rain storm had tapered off to a great degree. I finished my coffee and paid my bill.

My point is this: These downtown merchants are constantly bemoaning the obvious lack of foot traffic in our downtown and constantly clamoring for help from anyone who will listen to them. And with all of the improvements to our downtown underway or about to get underway, the assumption is that the foot traffic will increase dramatically. And if the sidewalks do get crowded down there once again, are businesses that don't pay attention to the basics, won't pay attention to detail and can't anticipate the obvious needs of their customers going to build any repeat business?

If you can't get a grilled cheese and a coffee right, don't come crying to me when the customers just walk on by. And don't go crying to the city. The theater is twelve months away from drawing folks to our downtown. It's time to buck the f**k up. Good food counts for something, but bad service is a word-of-mouth death sentence in the hospitality industry.

And let it be noted that I did not mention the name of the business in question. It's Christmas, man.

Oh, yeah. And if you'd like a no sh*t assessment of your downtown restaurant operation, treat me to lunch. I don't eat much. And I tip well no matter how bad things may go. There's really no point in holding a waitress accountable for piss-poor management.

Since we've no place to go, let it rain, let it...

Back to the...long dormant forum page. Some of you people are going to make me crazier than I am now.

$52 TAX Questions -- OZ, 20:33:06 12/20/04 Mon [1]

Why cant the city take $1 dollar out of everyones paycheck per week? Why are the people who are making under 8400.00 dollars per year exempt from this tax? Everyone can afford 1 dollar per week.

We're talking about $52 per year here, payable in one lump sum. What about the folks who pay thousands of dollars per year for property taxes in one lump sum? Shouldn't they be allowed to make weekly payments, too? How about the folks paying retail taxes? How 'bout property transfer taxes? Then there's building perfit fees? Why shouldn't the folks paying for permits be allowed to stretch the payments out over the course of a year? Why not institute payment plans for parking tickets?

If anyone else tries to keep this non-issue alive, I'm gonna make a miniature doll with their likeness on it and start stickin' it with wifey's pins. Enough!

How about this...horrible news? According to the TSA, airport screeners will no longer be allowed to pat down anyone's breasts.

Well, screw that bullspit. Why bother? Forget about it. I don't wanna work there anymore. I'll keep my current job. What a freakin' rip, man.

I stopped by...city hall simply to touch base with someone right before the big Christmas holiday and the next thing I knew I was sitting in on a 1 p.m. press conference. Apparently, the city started tearing down that dog ugly rowhome on North River Street sometime today. And according to our mayor/realtor, that's a very marketable property. Good.

He answered plenty of questions about the financial ramifications and the for the most part, it sounds as if the city is covering it's ass to the best of it's abilities. But the mayor mentioned that the nasty Murray property up on Courtright Street is also being addressed by the city. Again, good. That massive property brings new meaning to the word "eyesore."

He also mentioned to the gathered reporters and myself that "doing things right" takes time. Time? That's perfectly fine with this nomadic knucklehead. Doing things right? Yeah. I'll vote for that.

As a matter of fact, I already did.

North River Demo Show

And I resisted the urge to blurt out some ridiculous, totally off-the-wall question during the middle of all of this.

"Mr. Mayor! What about the documents linking you to the growing food-for-used-oil scandal at the soup kitchen? Heh?"

I've been a good boy as of late. And Santa had better have taken notice if he knows what's good for him.

He sees you when you're sleeping

He knows when you're awake

Sue Henry's take on those lyrics?

"Sounds like a stalker."

We still luv ya, Suzie Q. Merry Christmas.

One more thing, kiddies. While at city hall today, I was informed by someone that Budokan is Cheap Trick's bestest album. It's hard to argue with that.

You gotta check...this out. Is Iraq a waste of our precious time, resources and American lives?

This email, originally posted on BlackFive.net: The Paratrooper of Love is a thank you from a Marine Gunnery Sergeant in Iraq.

Just wanted to write to you and tell you another story about an experience we had over here.

As you know, I asked for toys for the Iraqi children over here and several people (Americans that support us) sent them over by the box. On each patrol we take through the city, we take as many toys as will fit in our pockets and hand them out as we can. The kids take the toys and run to show them off as if they were worth a million bucks. We are as friendly as we can be to everyone we see, but especially so with the kids. Most of them don't have any idea what is going on and are completely innocent in all of this.

On one such patrol, our lead security vehicle stopped in the middle of the street. This is not normal and is very unsafe, so the following vehicles began to inquire over the radio. The lead vehicle reported a little girl sitting in the road and said she just would not budge. The command vehicle told the lead to simply go around her and to be kind as they did. The street was wide enough to allow this maneuver and so they waved to her as they drove around.

As the vehicles went around her, I soon saw her sitting there and in her arms she was clutching a little bear that we had handed her a few patrols back. Feeling an immediate connection to the girl, I radioed that we were going to stop. The rest of the convoy paused and I got out the make sure she was OK. The little girl looked scared and concerned, but there was a warmth in her eyes toward me. As I knelt down to talk to her, she moved over and pointed to a mine in the road.

Immediately a cordon was set as the Marine convoy assumed a defensive posture around the site. The mine was destroyed in place.

It was the heart of an American that sent that toy. It was the heart of an American that gave that toy to that little girl. It was the heart of an American that protected that convoy from that mine. Sure, she was a little Iraqi girl and she had no knowledge of purple mountain's majesty or fruited plains. It was a heart of acceptance, of tolerance, of peace and grace, even through the inconveniences of conflict that saved that convoy from hitting that mine. Those attributes are what keep Americans hearts beating. She may have no affiliation at all with the United States, but she knows what it is to be brave and if we can continue to support her and her new government, she will know what it is to be free. Isn't that what Americans are, the free and the brave?

If you sent over a toy or a Marine (US Service member) you took part in this.

You are a reason that Iraq has to believe in a better future. Thank you so much for supporting us and for supporting our cause over here.

Semper Fi,

GySgt / USMC


Always faithful. I hear that. Even if the faith of some of us back here at home has been shaken to some degree, the Hoo-ah! Dudes just keep on taking care of business. There are none braver than them. It kinda makes it hard to celebrate this holiday while knowing that they can't. Keep them in your thoughts.

Have a good one, kiddies. I'll be talkin' at ya in a couple of days.

Merry Christmas!

Good night now ladies and gentlemen
Good night now ladies and gents.
Thatís the end of the show, now itís time to go.

Good night now ladies and gentlemen
Good night now ladies and gents.
Thatís the end of the show, now itís time to go.

Would you like to do a number with me?
Would you like to do a number with me?
Would you like to, would you like to,
Would you like to do a number with me?