2-19-2005 Alpha Battery

Lemme see if I'm reading this right. Practically everyone connected to NASCAR is mad at Kevin Harvick because he's a big meanie on the track. He's aggressive and in this "Heather has two future aids patients for parents" day and age, aggressiveness is a male trait that is simply repulsive and no longer permissable. Even for the "good ole boys" at NASCAR. Or the good new sissy boys.

One of the reasons Dale Earnhardt wanted to bring Harvick up from the Busch series ranks was because, as he said at the time, Harvick's driving style reminded him of himself. Earnhardt was known as "The Intimidator" for a reason. Or reasons. The little things like crumpled fenders, flattened quarter panels, donuts on the door, love taps as hints, and nifty things such as bump drafting at speeds approaching 200 miles per hour. Earnhardt was a throwback to the good old days of NASCAR known for drivers mixing it up on the track and then calling it hard racing afterwards. Earnhardt was the most popular driver in the sport, and remains so a few years after his untimely demise. He loved to trade paint and we loved him for it.

Yet...Harvick is being called the bad boy of NASCAR racing for doing nothing more than the guy he replaced did for a living. Jimmie Johnson is upset with him for spinning him out and messing his hair during a race. And Joe Nemechek wants to punch him out. Joe Nemechek? Who?

Many have mistakenly referred to Kevin Harvick as being one of the young guns of NASCAR, but he drives more like the good ole boys than the honest to goodness young guns currently making a racing name for themselves. Consider Johnson's hissy fit. He's a young gun. No doubt in my mind. He wants to drive 500 miles, have no one block his way, have no other driver contest his track position, have no contact or near contact with any other cars, finish up front, and collect lots of championship points. He's a f**king Matt Kenseth wannabe. A Kurt Busch protege. Another young gun that wants to run 500 miles without as much as suffering a single scratch to his pretty little race car. And come tomorrow, one of the many young gun pussies will sneak up behind Harvick and spin him into the wall. Why? Because there's no place for big meanies in NASCAR anymore. As a matter of fact, there's no place left anywhere for big meanies anymore.

The young guns want a kinder and gentler NASCAR. A no contact NASCAR. An ad-driven NASCAR that frowns upon boys being good old boys. Racing for girlie men, if you will. How utterly lame.

I hope Kevin Harvick gets one of those pretty boys to sliding on his f**king roof tomorrow.

From the e-mail inbox A man walked into a supermarket with his zipper down. A lady cashier walked up to him and said, "Your barracks door is open." Not a phrase that men normally use, he went on his way looking a bit puzzled. When he was about done shopping, a man came up and said, "Your fly is open." He zipped up and finished his shopping. At the checkout, he intentionally got in the line where the lady was that told him about his "barracks door." He was planning to have a little fun with her, so when he reached the counter he said, "When you saw my barracks door open, did you see a Marine standing in there at attention?" The lady (naturally smarter than the man) thought for a moment and said, "No, no I didn't. All I saw was a disabled veteran sitting on a couple of old duffel bags".

SON OF A BITCH!!! You promised me you wouldn't tell a single soul. Thanks a lot! That's the last time I'll frequent your place.


More ridiculous hysterics from the activist folks who very consistently and very publicly demand that this city be improved, but then resist and denounce every single legislative initiative to deliver that elusive improved city in which to live.

"Who is government to tell me how many adults should be living in my rental unit?"

Citizen's Voice

W-B law will force landlords to name tenants

By Heidi E. Ruckno, Staff Writer 02/19/2005

Next week, Wilkes-Barre plans to enact a long-debated rental ordinance that requires landlords to register their tenants with the office of code enforcement.

According to Assistant Solicitor Bill Vinsko, the intent is to get a handle on who is living where, and to make sure they are properly taxed.

"We're just trying to make sure we know who is in our city," Vinsko said, "and we're also trying to assist landlords in getting respectable tenants and respectable people in our city."

According to Vinsko, the ordinance requires that all landlords get a license and that rental properties be inspected bi-annually.

The city will be broken up into two zones (the same zones used for recycling) to ease the workload of the building inspectors, Vinsko said. Rental properties in zone 1 will be inspected in odd numbered years, and rental properties in zone 2 will be inspected in even numbered years.

Councilman Jim McCarthy said the challenge is keeping track of properties that turn over frequently. According to the ordinance, the code enforcement office must be notified every time there is tenant turnover in a city apartment.

McCarthy, who first proposed this legislation in 2002, admits the names on a lease do not always match up with the names of those who actually live there. However, he is content to let the building inspectors sort all that out.

"Well, basically I guess it's up to the inspectors to handle that," the veteran councilman said.

Planning and Development Director Butch Frati said even though it means more work for members of his department, the ordinance is necessary to make sure rental units are up to code.

"In my estimation it's a giant step in the right direction," he said. "I think people are more afraid of it than they really should be."

Frati said the ordinance is just a way to protect good landlords from bad tenants and good tenants from bad landlords.

Many landlords, however, have publicly stated their opposition to the new legislation. One, for instance, is longtime critic of city politics Ambrose Meletsky.

"In the first place, they infringe on my rights as a property owner, pure and simple," Meletsky said. "Who is government to tell me how many adults should be living in my rental unit?"

Meletsky feels the new ordinance, which also regulates the number of unrelated adults allowed to live under one roof, is unconstitutional. He said government entities have no right to tell him how to manage his own affairs, and that giving the city the names of his tenants violates their privacy rights.

"I own the property. If I want to close the front doors and the back doors and leave this property vacant for the next 20 years that's my right," Meletsky said.

Here's what I don't get. If you buy a house in this flailing county, your rights to privacy are all but over with. The selling price, the transfer taxes and your then taxpaying history are all public record and easily accessed by anyone at all who wants to see them at the county chromedome forever more. Plus, the Citizen's Voice feels free to publish your name, address and back taxes every two weeks or so when the county decides you're due to lose your property yet again at yet another sheriff sale. And if that's not invasive enough, you can go to the Times Leader web site and find out what anyone's properties are assessed at by searching their stupid and incomplete property assessment data base. Seriously. About the only thing a property owner can keep secret in this 'open secrets' of a county is where he hides his old Hustler magazines, or where the wifey stashes that vibrator that's supposed to be good for relieving chronic neck pain.

And then there's this newly enacted rental ordinance first proposed by council (gender neutral) person Jim McCarthy. Judging from some of the reactions we've gotten from the folks who like to collect rent from others, you'd swear that McCarthy was proposing the creation of a secret police force complete with neo-Nazi death squads, and an official looking letter from General Murphy suspending the need to acquire a search warrant before battering front doors down. The front door goes splat, the teen-aged girl is yanked from the shower at gun point, the kitty get stomped to death, mom gets her head pinned to the kitchen counter, dad gets his head cracked, and in walks a murderous looking cutthroat dressed in black demanding to see "your papers." Jim McCarthy wants to know exactly who lives in our rental properties? This is Waco, Texas all over again. This is the next Ruby Ridge waiting to happen. I say we buy a cubeload of barely processed cow dung, and take down a federal building. Who's with me, man?!!!? Ambrose, you wanna drive the getaway hybrid?

Where is it written that the folks renting to others, and the folks renting from others should be allowed to fly completely below the radar screen, while the folks who proudly own and properly maintain their properties should be exposed to every possible invasion of their privacy? And why should the folks living in the many barely legal rental properties that traditionally use the hell out of our fire and police departments be allowed to cloak their identities from any body, government or otherwise? If some dump down on the corner is a freakin' bullet magnet, I wanna know who lives there. If Code 18 seems to be the norm' at said house, why the hell shouldn't we be privy to the identities of the latest tenants fresh from the Jamaica section of Queens? Who the f**k is Ambrose to suggest to us that his rental property will have to remain an enigma above close scrutiny to it's property owning neighbors, while those very same neighbors should have all of their privacy rights suspended only because they chose to own rather than rent?

"Who is government to tell me how many adults should be living in my rental unit?"

Know what? F**k the government. I wanna know. And so do lots of other folks in this city that are so sick and tired of rental properties repeatedly generating the great majority of the crime.

The ultra-destructive reverse-gentrification rule of the absentee slumlords is about to come to an end and the city will be much better off for it. And the squeaky folks such as Ambrose can take their dear tenants supposed privacy rights and jam 'em up his rear orifice. If need be, let's hire plenty more building inspectors and start taking our neighborhoods back one freaking building at a time.

Ambrose, your silly objections have been duly noted.

Now piss off.

I took a spin downtown this morning to welcome home the boys from Alpha Battery. This was my plan. I would take a few pics of the boys passing by in the buses, and I would take a few pics of the locals cheering them on. Then I would slip away, hit the beer distributor, and try like hell to blow one, or both of my eardrums by subjecting them to unfathomable volume levels of guitar-dominated music provided by some bitch-slapping, mo-funking bad ass headphones. Grow up? Get bent!!!

So I parked on State Street since it was all but abandoned. After exiting the vehicle, I quickly got to wondering about whether the city tickets parked cars on Saturdays. Since I couldn't remember, I pumped the three coins I had into the parking meter. 55 cents equals a whopping 40 minutes of parking? Jesus! There's something to be said for biking, heyna?

I was surprised by how cold the persistent wind felt, so I headed over to Dunkin' Donuts to visit those folks with the permanent tans and grab a very large, very hot coffee. And as I approached that retail concern, one Mayor Tom Leighton had exited his truck/car and had the same idea as your goofy internet scribe. I tried to yap with him, but he had his hand shaken and his ear filled for a spell. We entered the donut emporium together, and as soon as we neared the counter trying to yap just a tad, his hand was quickly shaken and his ear was filled again. Much to my surprise, he paid for my coffee and we tried to gab again while heading for the exit. Guess what happened. Yup. A handshake and the introductory giggle quickly followed by, "Hey. Mayor Leighton..." This was freaking futile. He was headed off to park his car/truck thingie at city hall and told me to visit him at the bandshell. I knew he'd be hanging out with all of his political cohorts, so I decided against that. Instead, I wandered aimlessly around Public Square checking out all of the people that braved the cold and the wind to welcome home our local heroes fresh from the Middle East.

At first glance, I was a bit disappointed with the turnout, but I later learned that the majority of the folks waiting to cheer on our troops were waiting on the other side of the Market Street Bridge. That wasn't as much a crowd as it was an endless sea of red, white and blue interspersed with smiles, tears and anticipatory cheers.

Anywho, I wandered about checking out the folks on the Square. There weren't organized groups on hand for the most part other than the Coughlin High School Cheerleaders. From what I could gather, the folks that showed up there were mostly families and couples. Your average Joes and Janes. The folks that make this country what it is. Or was. Thanks to my trusty companion, Mr. Police Scanner, I was able to follow the latest on where the convoy was as soon as it hit Bear Creek. And they were right on time. By my Timex, they hit the Square ten minutes past noon.

Their buses were led by a lengthy parade, and quite frankly, I've never seen so many freaking fire trucks in the same place at the same time before. And I've never heard that many air horns going freaking apesh*t at the same time either. I fear the city will be sued very soon by numerous folks suffering from significant hearing loss. Wilkes-Barre's brand new fire apparatus, Ladder 1, just about led the way, and I imagine most of the folks in attendance had probably never seen it before. It's a big sucker for sure.

Ladder 1

After what seemed like ten thousand and seven fire trucks had passed and rumbled a few brick veneers loose, the buses finally rolled onto the Square and the good folks gathered there to welcome them waved at, clapped for and saluted the boys staring back at them from their comfy seats in those Martz buses. I was standing on top of one of those concrete planters, so I had absolutely no problem making eye contact with those guys in the buses while giving them a thumbs up signal. It's weird that I could feel so good about something as simple as making eye contact with someone I've never met and probably never will meet.

Alpha Boys arrive

As the buses were rolling on by, one of the mayor's sexier assistants informed me that we would be riding over to the armory in Kingston in an armada of Wilkes-Barre police cars. We? Me? I was kinda shocked and I just nodded my head. Me? I just came down here to get some pics and then peel off to the beer store. The armory? Okay. What the hell. Sounds like a plan. And then the police cars started rolling on in. I did a double take. Holy frig! You'd swear that a black Trans Am with Sally Field hanging out of the roof had just sped right through the center of the Square Park headed for Texarcana. Bandit!!! You no good, side-windin' scum sucker!!! I'll get you you sumbitch!!! Somehow, I can only imagine Lt. Beavis barking those threats over my police scanner.

Bandit! You sumbitch!!!

And just as advertised, the flotilla of police cars came to a halt and the sexy mayoral assistant herded all of us into the cars. I ended up in the back seat of a blazer type police vehicle, but if it had a cage, there was no way I was gonna fall for this armory spiel. I'm sure I've done something really stupid while under the influence, and you'll never take me alive! Nice try! Then again, why would they come for me in force at the parade of a lifetime? Hmmm. I climbed in the back seat and closed the door.

And wasn't this an interesting road trip being herded into a vehicle with city councilmen I have recently taken a liking to busting on. Maybe they weren't going to arrest me afterall. Maybe the plan was to pull behind the Sterling Hotel and have the council boys beat me senseless with imported rubber dog sh*t until I promised to convert this web locale into a Laurie Partridge tribute site. Wilkes-Barre? Outstanding debts? Politicos? Ya got me, I could frickin' care less. I love you, Laurie Partridge. Nope. Forget it. No sudden detours were forthcoming. It was the armory, or bust. Whew!

So we crawled along as the folks lining the streets waved to us. And being pinned against the driver's side rear window, plenty of folks were waving to me. Not wanting to seem too ignorant, I found myself waving back at them. At some point I started wondering why these folks were not dispersing. I assumed the buses carrying the troops were way, way in front of us, but after taking a quick backwards glance, it hit me that the buses were behind us and I was sitting in the middle of a parade. That's right. The newspapers said they were going to do one lap around the Square. While they were circling the Square, I piled into this vehicle only to find myself leading the troops to their final dismissal.

I found this to be an amazing development. How does a useless idiot like myself find himself being waved to by an adoring public only after agreeing to follow the important people to the big gathering? If only these people knew they were waving to someone who's only feeble claim to fame is his ability to spell most words correctly, the fact that he owns a cheezy and overworked domestic camera, and the ability to cycle experienced bike cops into submission.

No big thang. I guess the worst that could come of this is to have some impressionable young kid from Kingston to return home and inform his parents that one of those Wilkes-Barre cops is uglier than Freddy Krueger himself. Sorry. My fault. I'll take the hit. Nobody told me I was going to be one of the semi-featured attractions. Whatever.

The assembled crowd on the other side of the bridge was enormous. It was something to see for yourself. I'm glad I somehow made my way over there. I kinda dropped the ball whereas pics are concerned, but I was amazed by the massive turnout and was just kinda sitting back and taking it all in until we arrived at the armory.

Chocolate cream pie anyone?

And what can you say about this homecoming stuff. This is the second time I've witnessed such an event this month, and it's electrifying if nothing else. I didn't know anyone in this returning group, but being surrounded by folks just waiting and dying to dive into a loved ones arms is plenty exciting whether you've got a personal stake in this game or not.

Sgt. Fisher

The Alpha Battery boys filed into the armory and stood at attention while some short speeches were made, and some spiffed-up toddlers were being lifted well above their mom's shoulders. Some folks stood on folding chairs to capture some decent pics and video, while others held their cameras and camcorders above the heads of the folks in front of them and flashed away. Two nearby twenty-something girls held each other around the waist and balled away like babies short one jar of Gerber's.

Mayor Tom Leighton himself welcomed our returning troops home after summoning a doctor for some felled person and before we knew it, the long overdue and eagerly awaited "DISMISSED!" order was given and the hug-fest was on. HOO-AH!!! It's all over. They were called to duty and they did it. And now they're home.

Despite wanting to hoof it back to Wilkes-Barre, I was advised by the sexy assistant to hang in there and wait for the police escort, and I actually behaved myself for once. We rolled back to city hall and went our separate ways. My vehicle was neither ticketed, nor towed. Imagine that. Whatever.

On the way back, I noticed that the mayor seemed genuinely pleased with the turnout and such, and he had every right to be. For it's part, Wilkes-Barre had done it's returning troops proud with a bunch of help from our neighboring communities. This was not an event that should be audited afterwards by publicity whores seeking any elected office they can snatch. This was an event that had to happen one way or another. This was a once in a lifetime event. Much like a day I recently spent in Nanticoke, this was history. This was neat. Another wave of troops has returned from overseas and they now know full well that their sacrifices were greatly appreciated by all of us. That is the way it should be.

The final formation gets the crowd whoopin' it up

And me? Well, I wanted nothing more than to take a couple of decent pics and make a hasty retreat to the beer distributor. But thanks to one sexy mayoral assistant, I got to witness yet another historic homecoming event. And I was able to wave to my legions of adoring fans. Er...um, something like that.

So, now I'm left to my own devices, and it's high time that I mix some alcohol with some distorted bar chords over-dubbed to the point of absurdity. Get it? No?

Hysteria? Def L________?

Lets' rock!

We done good today. Feel good about that.