1-2-2005 2005: Progress, not promises

Happy New Year!

Well? Did we all get plastered and make a complete spectacle of ourselves Friday night? I didn't recognize any names on the scanner overnight, so I'm assuming most of us survived yet another New Year's Eve totally unscathed. That's a good thing.

Me? I stayed here at the adobe and watched the televised proceedings from the comfort of my WILK/Bartuska recliner. We had two of the grandkids tucked away in their weekend beds while their parents headed over to the boy's haunt for a bit of New Year's excess with friends and semi-friends alike. And not one of them went and got themselves arrested. Very good. Well, some chickie ended up in the emergency room after practically inhaling a bottle of Yeagermeister. But other than that-the young'uns done good. I suppose.

It's amazing I didn't pass out from shear boredom while watching the Ashlee Simpson-led entertainment on ABC. Talk about a rock 'n' roll yawnfest. First off, she's enough to get me to following an ABBA cover band all over the country. Or starting a 1910 Fruitgum Co. cover band of my own. Whateveeeeeeeeer!

Then she introduced some band of kids that had their ball caps sideways, their hoodies pulled up and their drag-ass size 56 pants cleaning the stage behind them. Three chords, no guitar leads and some squealing does not a lengthy career make. It was like Josie & The Pussycats meets the Beastie Boys. No big thang. Somebody has to polish theater posts for a living.

Then I had to suffer through Mr. Pretend Punk himself, aka, Billy Idol. This guy can pose with the best of the 145-pound bad asses. He clenches a mean fist and he can snarl away much like a Rotweiller that has encountered defenseless toddlers. But he rocks about as hard as the Archies would if they weren't cartoon characters. At this point I had had about enough of this limp-wristed swill and switched over to Jay Leno.

And after a commercial or two, he ups and introduces Motley Crue. BANG! Here we go, boys and girls. Finally! A professional rock 'n' roll outfit. Give me a distortion pedal, or give me death! No more of the rock 'n' roll Punt, Pass and Kick kiddies. Fran Tarkenton and the boys will take it from here. And they didn't disappoint. And if rockin' good and hard wasn't enough, about 3/4s of the way through Girls! Girls! Girls! Vince Neil looks back at Tommy Lee behind his kit and screams "TOMMY! HAPPY F*CKING NEW YEAR!" Rutro. NBC, meet the FCC. A guitar solo quickly followed. And after a comedy troupe's goofiness and some more commercials, Neil and the boys returned for some Dr. Feelgood. Twang that bar! Give me some feedback. Now rip that neck up!

Oh, yeah. What's up with these cowpoke dudes that played on Ashlee's snorefest. My kid told me their names once, but I forgot them quick enough. Save the horse, ride the cowboy???

Are these the same guys the Blues Brothers stole that bar gig from? The Flying Hee Haw Brothers? Wasn't that it? And who the hell mixes distortion pedals and banjos? Is nothing sacred anymore? Save the sheep, ride yer sister.

Happy Cowpoke New Year!

This is a freakin'...hoot right up there with Michael Jackson's having denied that he altered what's left of his face.

According to many in the press, this disasterous tsunami presents to the United States a chance to prove to the affected Muslim nations that we are a caring nation, and not the Great Satan some purport us to be. Yup. If we cough up a half billion or so and spend months on the ground over there, many Muslims might come to change their opinions of this country. Yeah, that'll work. About as well as waging a war in the Balkans to save the lives of countless Muslims from ethnic cleansing did. When it's all said and done, it won't count for spit. It won't.

The prevailing attitude amongst too many of the world's flailing countries as well as the useless twerps at the United Nations seems to be that we, as the world's most prosperous nation, owe them almost more than what we've managed (that's managed) to amass. Coming from us, donations are not viewed as generous philanthropy. More likely, our seemingly endless charity is seen as being well, well overdue.

Sure, it is possible to change a few hearts and minds over time, but the Jihadists, the agenda-driven editorialists and the anti-U.S. U.N. will see to it that our efforts are poo-pooed as soon as they've run their logical course. We're fighting a public relations war we can't win so long as we find ourselves being the enemy of the envious. We're facing the coalition of the zero-sum gamists.

Take a very long look at this picture. Do you see what I see?

Diego Garcia Unaffected By Tsunamis

Australian Broadcasting Corporation

December 28, 2004

The key United States military base in the Indian Ocean has been unaffected by the tsunamis which have devastated parts of Asia, The Washington Post has reported.

Diego Garcia, a British territory about 1,500 kilometres south of India, hosts about 3,200 U.S. military personnel and civilian contractors and many U.S. long-range bombers and Navy ships.

Lieutenant Colonel Bill Bigelow, a spokesman for U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii told the newspaper the U.S. base was apparently safe.

"There are no reports of any damage there," Lt Col Bigelow said.

Check this useless...twaddle I snatched from the internet:

Environmental activists are shamelessly trying to exploit last week's earthquake-tsunami catastrophe in hopes of advancing their global warming and anti-development agendas.

Two days after the tragedy, the executive director of Greenpeace UK (search) told the British newspaper The Independent, "No one can ignore the relentless increase in extreme weather events and so-called natural disasters, which in reality are no more natural than a plastic Christmas tree."

Friends of the Earth (search) Director Tony Juniper told the same British newspaper, "Here again are yet more events in the real world that are consistent with climate change predictions."

A spokesperson for the Indonesian arm of Friends of the Earth told the Agence France Presse, "We can expect in the coming years similar events happening as a result of global warming and therefore help and prevention are the responsibility of the Northern countries as well."

So, now continental drift can be attributed to global warming, too? Tectonic calamities that have occured since the advent of the single-celled ancestors of man are now "known" to be caused by my kid's excessive hair dryer use or our kerosene heater? SUVs are causing massive earthquakes? How is it that these enviro-buttslammers still retain any credibility at all? How?

Surf's up. Yikes!!!

Scary Tsunami Pics

This one came via...the e-mail wire last night:



Commissioner Vonderheid Highlights 2005 Agenda

Today Commissioner Vonderheid released his 2005 Agenda for County Government.

“The $23 million budget deficit that we inherited in January of 2004, forced me and our administration to focus primarily on getting the County’s financial house in order this year. We have made great progress on that front – reducing the 2004 deficit by $6 million, trimming nearly 150 employees from the rolls and cutting taxes $3.2 for 2005 – and we will continue to work hard to make the financial picture even brighter in the coming years. With this significant progress on the County’s finances, I look forward to devoting more time in 2005 to working on economic development and quality of life initiatives that will make Luzerne County an exciting place in which to live, work, and play.”

“If 2004 was about fixing the past, 2005 is about building a brighter future for the County,” Commissioner Vonderheid commented.

Commissioner Vonderheid concluded with, “I ran for county commissioner to help create an environment that encourages private sector investment and creates quality jobs, not to argue about where a county agency should be located or how best to polish the courthouse marble. I’m confidant that the residents of Luzerne County would rather have my energies directed toward initiatives that will improve their lives and the lives of their children – and now that we’ve passed a balanced budget, a 5-year strategic plan and implemented dozens of money saving internal cost controls, I can focus on the promises I made when running for commissioner.”

“I’m confidant that Greg Skrepenak shares my vision for a better Luzerne County and with his help, I’m certain that we’ll be able to achieve the goals I’ve set out today.”

In 2005, Commissioner Vonderheid will work with Chairman Skrepenak and Commissioner Urban to achieve the following:

· Construction of the East and West Side Riverfront Projects – under the County’s leadership, in the late spring of 2005 construction will begin on the most important public amenity in Luzerne County since the Wachovia Arena at Casey Plaza – the Riverfront. Beginning with the Public Gardens near the courthouse and proceeding to the remaining parts of the Wilkes-Barre River Commons and the Riverfront and River bend Parks in Kingston, this $30 million investment in tourism and our quality of life will be completed in 2007 and will open the door to a spectacular new Riverfront park with easy pedestrian access, walking trails, amphitheater, and boat dock.

· Job Creation – early in 2005, the County will join with the Commonwealth and local leaders to announce several important job creation projects that the board of commissioners and its staff have worked hard to finalize during recent weeks, creating hundreds of quality jobs for Luzerne County residents.

· Capital Construction Projects – The County is actively supporting numerous economic development projects throughout the County, including the South Main Street and Theater Project, the Sterling Hotel Revitalization, the Drifton Softball Complex, new Back Mountain and Mountaintop Recreation Complexes and Downtown Pittston revitalization efforts. In January, the Board of Commissioners will hold a hearing with area developers, non-profits, elected leaders and municipalities to prioritize additional projects for 2005, and to work with our county’s Federal and State legislative delegation to leverage local dollars for additional funding.

· Municipal Cooperation Commission – In 2004, I announced a municipal cooperation commission to encourage our neighboring towns, cities, and boroughs to share resources and save taxpayer money. In 2005, the Commission will embark on a focused program to assist local municipalities through cooperative purchasing and contracting, leveraging regional services and providing grant writing and best practices expertise.

· Valley Crest – in 2005 the board of commissioner will identify and begin what will surely be a multi-year plan to end the taxpayer subsidy of this important safety net for county residents. I am confidant that with the help of the Valley Crest Task Force a solution will be reached that ensures that residents in need receive care and that those paying the bills will be protected from any and all unnecessary costs.

· Skill Training Funds for Luzerne County Residents – by working with the Council of College Presidents and the Luzerne County Workforce Investment Board, the Luzerne County Board of Commissioner will work to create a pilot program that allows eligible Luzerne County residents to receive skill enhancement scholarships to be used at any one of the area’s colleges and universities. The scholarships will be awarded to eligible participants who choose to study a targeted industry skill.

· Passenger Rail – in 2005 Luzerne County will formalize a relationship with Lackawanna and Monroe Counties to ensure our participation in the NEPA to Hoboken Passenger Rail Project.

· Forty Fort Airport – in early 2005 the Board of Commissioners will end the current Fixed Based Operator (FBO) lease and create a separate authority made up of experienced residents committed to exploiting the benefits of the Wyoming Valley Airport.

· Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport – construction of the new $60 million terminal will be completed in fall of 2005 and with enplanements up nearly 12% in 2004 and new service by Northwest starting in the Spring, AVP is poised to finally become the gateway and economic engine our region needs to continue to grow and prosper.

· Countywide Parks & Recreation System – in 2005 the County will study and determine the viability of creating a countywide parks system, by pulling together all multi-municipal parks under one management system; therefore reducing the cost of maintaining and program these critical public amenities paid by local municipalities and at the same time enhancing the amenities and programming options.

This message has been authorized and paid for by the Todd Vonderheid Today Committee.


This letter to the editors...of the Leader caught my attention:

Wants firetruck auction postponed, offers eBay assistance

Dear Mayor Leighton and City Council Members:

This is in regards to the firetruck sale where the taxpayers lost $8,800. I am asking you to postpone the scheduled auction for Jan. 2005. If you would like, I will help you establish an account on eBay, or one of my representatives can also help you.

Many items that can be sold may bring more money on eBay than having an auction. In addition, I would like to know what you are going to do about the lost money and what action will be taken against Chief Lisman. I think it will only be right to put (proceeds) toward fixing the roof on the Northampton Street firehouse.

Robert Kadluboski

You know, my thoughts on this issue have run full circle and I am in complete agreement that we could turn a bigger profit by employing eBay rather than holding a local auction. So much so, in fact, that I am prepared to hold an internet auction of my own. I looked into opening an eBay account, but they wanted credit card info and the like, and they can kiss my infected wart if they think they're getting any of that from moi.

Not one to be denied, I will auction off my goodies without eBay and I will donate the proceeds to the city's general fund. If the elected folks won't take the bull by the horns, I will.

The first items I will put up for bid are footer nuts & washers from the city's historic Holeplex project. Yessiree! These are the real McCoy here, kiddies. They are the only nuts & washers from the Holeplex project known to exist and come complete with a notarized letter of authenticity from McBuildahole & Associates Destruction, er, Construction Company.

I will set the opening bid at $100. Bid high and bid often. Your city is counting on you. You can e-mail your bids directly to me and the winning bid will be announced two weeks from today. Thank you and may Allah bless your heinie.

Going fast

Thank goodness I'm all growed up these days. If not, I might have to ask the author of the letter how the city could lose something it never had in the first place. I just might. And I would also have to point out that you'd have to be much lower on the Bell Curve than your garden variety hamster to need help setting up an eBay account. To offer assistance for such a less than demanding chore smacks of childishness, if not outright stupidity.

And what action will be taken against Chief Lisman? Hmmm. Why, I think the letter writing should spell out exactly what he has in mind. Should a leaky tube of plastic cement be placed in his shorts right before an important business luncheon? How about a mountain bike trek through Rickett's Glen State Park right after we remove his bicycle's seat, but leave the seat's post in place? How about shaving his head and tattooing the cover of a Nazareth album on his scalp? That'll fix 'im. How 'bout if we shout profanities at him while reminding him that we have a concealed 10-80? That one sure seems to be in vogue these days. Or how about if we just shut the f*ck up already and allow the guy to do his job? Jeez. There's a radical thought. Nah. Way, way too progressive for these backward parts.

Whatever! It's a new year, but we're still being treated to the same tired banalities from the same tired sources.

I'll tell ya what. I honestly believe the Holeplex washers will bring in a pretty penny. But I'm not nearly as optimistic about the nuts. From what I'm seeing, there's certainly no shortage of nuts in Wilkes-Barre.

Christmas with U2?

Hello hello

All I wanted was an Indiglo

It's everything I wished for you know

Except you gave me something I can't see, see


Okay. Time for my medication.