4-7-2005 They arrest criminals, don't they?

Electric Light Orchestra? Or Tower of Power?

Trust me, the very last thing I ever yearned for was a freaking cell phone. The way I see it, if you can't get a hold of me, I'm probably better off for it. I guess I've had one on my hip for about three years now and I've probably received ten calls from wifey and the kids during that entire time. I'm kinda freakish in a sense. Well, in many respects, but we'll leave that to Ethel to diseminate. I'm freakish in the sense that I don't want my family bothering me when I'm at work. Unless somebody near and dear to me is being loaded into the back of Medic 5, leave me be, okay? I've got important sh*t to do.

No one dares call me and inform me that we need bread and toilet paper while I'm toiling away. And no one dares to call me and tell me some mundane fact that can wait 'til I get home. And on a somewhat similar note, I have no need for answering machines, or especially those limp-wristed caller ID boxes. The need for call-waiting totally escapes me. I never activated the voice mail gibberish that comes with my cell phone. And I've never felt compelled to send anyone a text message by way of cell phone. If you need me, call me. If I answer, I answer. If I don't, I don't. If you're a sped, I'll hang up on you. The only reason I bought a cell phone was because the chicks at work page me at the mere drop of a hat. BANG! Done.

When I originally purchased my odd looking cell phone, it's factory setting ring tone sounded as if R2D2 was being gang-raped by a herd of short-circuited toaster ovens. So I invested an hour of my time and figured out how to change the ring tone. It had so many songs pre-programmed into it, for a nanosecond, I thought I had died and gone to Napster.

99% of the noises and tunes the good folks at Nokia had built into it sounded as if they either belonged as part of the soundtrack of the next Godzilla vs. The Dioxin Monster flick; or an XXXXX-rated boy on wild boar porno film made in Bangladesh. But I eventually happened upon Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries." (In case you're wondering, a valkyrie is an edible double-donger imported from Norway.) Now here is a tune I could stand to be interupted by all day long. This is one of those rarest of tunes I wish I myself had composed. It ranks right up there with Beethoven's "9th," Devo's "Uncontrollable Urge," Talking Head's "This must be the place" and Zappa's "Brown shoes don't make it." So, to make this already needless exercise shorter, every time my cell phone rings, I'm picturing the "Air Cav" blowing the smithereens out of a tiny village whether there's any Vietcong at home or not.

Here's the part where I get around to bitching.

I don't need, nor do I care to know what song you may have downloaded from the freaking internet to use as your cell phone's official ring tone for the next five days or so. I really don't want to know. Yet, seemingly everywhere I go, there stands someone directly in my path flipping open their phone as if they were Captain Kirk and saying something to the effect of, "Check this out."

Oooo! Carry on Wayward Son. Way cool, man. (?) Wow! Detroit Rock City. (??) Whoa! Master of Puppets! Did you do that all by your lonesome? Awesome, dude. (???) Yowza! The original MTV theme! I can't freakin' take no more! I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy! What? Muscrat Love? Keep your freaking distance, okay? And, no, I don't want to go camping with you.

So there it is. If you must have Peaches 'n' Herb filling the air all day, I don't wanna know about it. And heavy-metal MIDIs that sound as if they were banged-out on a Fisher Price keyboard? You've got to be f**king kidding me. Call me, curse at me, or throw a Rolling Rock bottle at my head, but please...please, keep your latest cell phone adventures to yourself.

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

RUTRO! Some frustrated folks in Arizona are trying to protect the sovereignty of The United States of America. That's a big, big no-no for the anti-American, why-can't-we-just-do-like-they-do-it-in-Europe, A.C.L.U. groupies. Read on, kiddies.

Kevin Lynn's Thoughts


The perfect recipe for chaos: mix guns, testosterone, darkness, righteous fervor, and borders. In Arizona scores of "volunteers" are patrolling the borders looking for illegal aliens. Theyíre coming from all over the Southwest; many summoned via the internet to be part of what they call the Minuteman Project. Volunteers will generously do what the US Border Patrol canít do, patrol the US borders. Last year alone they captured 1.1 million illegal aliens, but many millions more found their way across the 2,000 mile southern border. This has been going on for decades, so why the sudden interest by the unpaid set? Seems a security warning stated the obvious: terrorists might want to sneak where so many have passed before. We play a delicate game along the border. We have hundreds of agents looking for illegals, drug smugglers and others. But we want illegal aliens here. We must. Otherwise weíd keep them out. Hey, we put a man on the moon. The fact is, we need illegals. They pick our fruit and mow our lawns and do all manner of tasks we either wonít do or canít afford to do. And weíve always faced the infiltration threat. The government assigned an extra 500 agents to walk the line, but that wasnít enough for some people. So we have Minutemen. The Border Patrol isnít happy. "Now we not only have to look out for aliens and drug smugglers, now we have to look out for these untrained civilians who are unfamiliar with the landscape," said one agent. The Minutemen claim their "help" is helping. The number of illegals apprehended is down, which suggests fewer people are trying to cross. "No one's crossing and that was the goal, to show the government that if we have people out here no one's going to cross," said Chris Simcox, Minuteman field operations director. This is a disaster with a ticking clock. Vigilantes donít work over the long haul. Already these so-called sentinels, wandering in the dark, have tripped the sensors designed to detect illegals. So instead of chasing real bad guys, the Border Patrol is responding to false alarms. Sooner or later one of these yahoos is going to kill someone. We should leave law enforcement to the pros and leave the amateurs where we belong. Second-guessing from the safety of the sidelines.

Injustice? Or some overdue justice?

Vigilantes? Yahoos? I'm a firm believer that policing ought to be left to the police. But in this case, it's become obvious that our politicos are paying scant lip service, if that, to the policing of our wide-open borders. And I find this as being unforgiveable in the aftermath of the devastating 9/11 attacks.

But I fail to see how the Minuteman volunteers are doing anyone an "injustice," as Kev put it. Is it an injustice to the folks sneaking across the border illegally to assist in rounding them up like so many wild animals? Illegally, Kev. Illegal. Look it up. They arrest criminals, don't they? Well, that is, unless they're illegal aliens here to plunder the public welfare agencies of the border states. As if they're not! We've already got politicos in California fighting to allow these "illegals" access to social security benefits. Kev, get your f**king fat head out of the cozmic utensil, flush it and make sure you put the seat down.

The fact is, we need illegals. They pick our fruit and mow our lawns and do all manner of tasks we either wonít do or canít afford to do.

HUH? ...we need illegals. We need illegals? This is your typical socialist mindset here, kiddies. He has no concept at all of how capitalism works. Illegal aliens suppress wages. That's all that they do. I repeat, that's all that they do. Kev is so far out in left field, he needs a telescope just to see the stadium.

Check this out. As recently as, say, three years ago, there wasn't the sizeable and growing Latino presence that there currently is in this area. Nowhere near. Now, Kev couldn't possibly know that. He lives at Harveys Lake, where the overriding concern of the protection association seems to be how to keep the rest of the world out of Harveys Lake. Kev reads sh*t on the internet and repeats the stuff that keeps with his anti-American leanings. The only illegal alien he ever ran across was on his television. But not all of us live in a well-insulated coccoon.

In my chosen profession, mulch just happens to be one of my biggest enemies. For one thing, it attracts the pest I'm trying to do away with, and for another, it makes my job much, much harder to do when piled abnormally high as is usually the case. Us average folks usually tend to our own yard chores. But there are plenty of upscale neighborhoods in these parts where your average homeowner hasn't laid eyes on anything as revolting as soil in a couple of decades. That's what the gardener is for. Oh, and that's what the landscapers are for. Playing in the soil and the mulch. And that's also what the termite guy does.

And being that piled mulch and I don't get along so well, who might I spend significant time talking to every Spring? Yup, you got it. The dreaded landscapers. They always listen to what I have to say, but they rarely, if ever, alter their usual routines. That is, they dump another ton of fresh mulch every year and rake it over the top of the previous years tons of mulch. F**kers!

On only the rarest of the very rare occasions were the landscapers I talked shop with anything other than white males. They'd nod. They'd agree with me. They'd seem sympathetic. And as soon as I drove away, they'd dump their new ton of mulch. But about three years ago, the landscapers were becoming more and more of the variety that don't speak English. And so were the laborers, the schlubs pouring the new sidewalks. And "No habla" seemed to be an increasingly common refrain coming from the guys humping the bundles of shingles up onto those roofs.

Just a couple of short years ago, all of these laborer type positions were filled by white guys and quite a few black guys. But a funny thing happened on the way to the job site. Those hard working guys expecting a decent day's wages were replaced by guys who speak very little English and will work like crazy men for minimum wage. Here I am just a couple of short years removed, and I'm just about the only guy working in Millionaire Acres that speaks English. How and why did that happen?

Did the white guys and black guys decide en masse that being a common laborer was suddenly well beneath their dignity, as Kev would have us believe? Or did the contractors and owners of landscaping firms find themselves an illegal labor pool that will work for significantly lower wages? I know the obvious answer to that question, and so do you. But it's a shame that WILK's bloviater extraordinaire has no freaking idea what the answer is. He seems to think that the guys with the tool belts and the band saws all traded in their 'spensive tools and became computer programmers almost overnight. Yup. We won't work with our hands, our legs and our backs anymore. We all want to sit right next to an air conditioner and spit demeaning insults into a microphone. Work? Physical labor? Screw that! That's what the illegals are for. Right, Kev?

No, Kev. The dirty little non-secret is that the great majority of them are in this country illegally, and they drive down wages. That's what they do. And everybody knows it except for yourself. And since both of our political parties seem completely content to allow the illegal invasion to continue, you can't even blame this one on Bush. Bummer. Sucks, heyna?

Sooner or later one of these yahoos is going to kill someone.

I'll tell ya what. Try sneaking over the border into Syria, or Russia and see what happens to you. A welcoming committee? Welfare benefits? Social security goodies? A job waiting for you? Nah. It'd be more like a few dozen tracer rounds whistling right past your ear until you turned tail and ran. Or died.

They arrest criminals, don't they?

A three-part series about parking meters?

Whatever, man. Sure, it's a big deal that Wilkes-Barre's parking meters lack state certification. But that depends on who you're talking to. I don't give a flying farg at all. But then again, I never park illegally. Never.

And while the majority of the folks on WILK (Sadly, including Suzue Q herself.) were bitching about parking meters, bitching about parking enforcement guys, and generally bitching about what their lack of personal responsibility had done to them once upon a time...parking meters don't bother me in the least. I pump coins into them and then I go CD hunting. And when I return to said parking meter, it's always obvious that I dropped too many coins into the thing. No ticket. No parking enforcement. And no calling SAYSO, or agreeing with anyone as completely objectionable as Kev. Isn't that neato? I learned that trick about thirty years ago and never shared it with anyone until today.

We had Kevin Lynn going off half-cocked on the radio yesterday by suggesting that parking anarchy should be the order of the day in downtown Wilkes-Barre as a result of the Voice story. But it'd probably be to your advantadge to ignore his useless, hysterical rantings and heed the advice of a borderline adult. Drop some freakin' coins into the thing and give it all nary another thought. Park legally. I dunno, it seems to work for me.

And to be quite honest, I don't give a hoot about the plight of the college kids. McGroarty is histoire, and the new mayor bent over backwards for these kids when the city installed new "four-hour" parking meters for them, and them alone. This ain't quantum physics here, kiddos. If a quarter gives you twenty minutes of legal parking and you're headed into a two-hour class, how many quarters will it require to assure yourself that a ticket is not in your immediate future? If they can't get an A on that short quiz, maybe both Kings and Wilkes ought to consider upping their academic standards just a tad.

There is ample parking in our downtown, but it isn't free. And as soon as folks get that through their thick skulls, life will be so much more simpler for them. And they may never need to subject themselves to something as inept and needless as a stress test. You want free parking? Go to Misericordia. Gas is free, right? Want free parking? Walk the half-mile or so from your parked car all the way to Sprawl-Mart. Exercise is a good thing. Even if it's something as lame as walking. Want free parking? Go to that over-priced mall. It'll leave more parking spots available for the rest of us that can actually afford to drop a few quarters into a parking meter without getting our imported thongs all in a knot. See ya. Good riddance.

Who was it that said, "Don't sweat the small stuff?" The dude was obviously a genious. As for me, I like simplicity. And believe it or not, obeying the law (no matter how tiresome or mundane some of them may seem) keeps my existance kinda simple. And if I had to venture a guess, I'd say that the folks that bitch about parking rules are the very same people that have nothing but contempt for speed limits, yield signs, reduced speeds in school zones, coming to a full stop at a stop sign and treating other drivers to a bit of courtesy.

Some other learned person once said, "Civility is the lubricant of society." And rather than picking on some parking enforcement guy paid to issue tickets, or paying any attention to a radio talk jock calling for anarchy; why not just chill out, slow down and take care of business.

If you can't figure out how to properly operate a parking meter, you might want to consider sticking your head in the oven, blowing out the pilot light and counting to one gazillion until you cheer up. Or grabbing Skrep's brown bag and running.

Have at it, man. Rant and rave and rant some more. Knock yourselves out. Make yourselves sick. Me? I've got a hulking pile of quarters to waste.

Ain't no big thang.

More often that not, I hate it when the press goes ga-ga over some high-profile news story, or court case. O.J. Simpson, Scott Peterson, Michael Jackson, Terri Schiavo, The Pope...these sorts of stories become an unstoppable leviathon until an even bigger, better news story comes along. And then the ad nauseum cycle starts all over again.

But this Nambla thing, this Michael Jackson court fight has me both stupified and mesmerized at the same time. How could someone who literally had it all squander it all so fast and find himself accused of what he's been accused of? How? Forget his 'nose of the month club.' Forget his Clorox baths. These tales of pedophilia coming out of California are so bizarre, it's hard to imagine someone so utterly rich and powerful having put himself in such a position. If he's of completely sound mind, I'm a leg-less, Belgian belly dancer.

I don't watch much television, but ole, pale Michael has me tuning in to Greta Van Susteran's nightly round table of famous trial attorneys and former judges. And with each passing show, it seems more and more likely that the King of Pop himself might just be going down for the count. I am amazed. Who cares? Not me. He'll probably go and hang himself with some kid's Spiderman undies long before he'll ever see the community showers at San Quentin. And the resulting race riots will significantly boost CNN's ratings.

Anyway, I was sitting here last night listening to the analysis of the latest damaging testimony, and I had my right leg tucked underneath my left leg with my right foot stuffed into that place in the WILK/Bartuska recliner where only crumbs and lost coins go to die. And there did come that point when my right leg got pissed at me due to the lack of blood flow and whatnot. No biggie. It's easy enough to get a leg off of one's back. So I shifted my weight just a tad and slipped my right leg out of the recliner and onto the floor in front of me. And no sooner did my right foot hit the floor, the pain registered and I let out with a robust AAAARRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!

I immediately lifted that foot so that my eyes could do a quick assessment of what the heck was going down only to see a staple sticking out of my tiniest toe. We're not talking desktop stapler staple here. We're talking about one of those quarter-inch staples that normally call a staple gun home. ARGH! What the f**k!

And it was not embedded in my toe as if someone had held a staple gun to my toe and let loose. It was as if one of the staple gun goblins was running loose inside of my body and decided to staple a Britney Spears poster to the inside wall of my tiniest toe. ARGH! There were the two prongs of the staple sticking out of the toe and the head of the staple hidden from view by what was left of my tiniest toe. ARGH! Again...what the f**k!

I reached down there and grabbed hold of one of the staples prongs in an attempt to sort of twist it out of my toe. ARGH! Wifey was amazed and the blood was flowing red much like a Tom Makowski budget. I grabbed the other prong and tried shifting it the other way. ARGH! So I stopped and just sat there in stunned amazement. What has Sue Henry and Bartuska Furniture done to me? Was this planned? And how the hell was I supposed to get this intruder out of my toe without crying, or begging for help from Medic 5?

911: Medic 5, Thompson Street on a call of a man down with a staple in his toe.

Not! There was no way that was going out over the airwaves of Luzerne County. I'd never live that one down. And I'd never be able to show my face at any firehouse again. So I decided to flatten the thing out and gently pull it out of my tiniest toe. ARGH!!!!

So I did it. I yanked the damn thing out and now I think I know what it feels like to have a baby. ARGH! Wifey was spying this entire scene from her comfy perch and as soon as the staple was extracted, blood started spurting out of what now looked like a vampire bite on the tiniest of toes. And I quote: "That's freakin' gross," as she turned to look away.

Luckily, I finally got the bleeding to stop a full hour after my usual bedtime and dragged ass most of today. And it sure felt good all day long while rubbing against the side of that steel-toed boot. It hurts like hell right now, but the worst is obviously behind me. But what of my free recliner? Dare I get all comfy in that chair again while watching Michael Jackson's entire life imploding before my very eyes? Will I ever be able to enjoy a DVD again while in constant fear that my free recliner might be biding it's time before impaling me again?

Is someone liable for all of this? Pain, suffering, emotional trauma, and loss of consortium suddenly comes to mind. Should I call the notorious "Do 'em & Screw 'Em" law firm, or should I call WILK's management directly and demand an out-of-court settlement approaching something along the lines of 4,000 free CDs? Or should I just sit on the floor from here on out while watching the Phillies finish a full fifteen games behind the Braves?

Whatever. If they do convict Michael Jackson, maybe they oughta just staple his toes together and call it even. Or staple something or other.

Trust me, that's punishment enough.

Gotta go.