4-25-2004 The Great Filth-Squashing and resulting Brew Storm of '04

After Gage and I completed our weekly pilgrimage to Oh Yes this morning, I made my way through the local newspapers and stopped dead at the Voice article about the non compos mentis PETA folks protesting outside of some pet store I've never heard of before up there at Wilkes-Barre Township's sprawlfest. I thought to myself, "Man. The stupid sh*t some people worry about. Jeez!"

I found it interesting that while many of us volunteered our time yesterday in an effort to make our communities much more pleasing to the eye, the PETA screwballs were wasting their time with such an inconsequential undertaking. How does that old song go? I'd love to change the world, but I don't know what to do? I have an idea. How about if the high school teachers and college professors stop pounding their personal agendas into these impressionable kids and try teaching them some geography, or the importance of voting? Or how about a bit of "American History Since 1865" that does not teach that every foreign policy decision ever made by the United States was somehow tainted by racism? Now, that's a radical thought.

"Professor Light Loafers, what was behind the decision to drop two atom bombs on Japan?"

"It was clearly racism, Poindexter. No doubt about it. Let's move on. Turn to page 117 of "You can trust the Communists" and we'll review the section on how to stage your own protest. Remember, your parents may love this country, but it's all lies. Lies. Your government is lying to you."

Whatever. So, I explored the Voice further only to find a letter to the editors taking my employer to task. Again, the stupid sh*t that folks people worry about!?!

Exterminator ads are tasteless, insensitive

Ehrlich Pest Control has been describing itself on billboards and in the local yellow pages as "The 911 of pest control." While the slogan is sufficiently ambiguous to be intended as a reference to the emergency telephone number rather than to the September 11 terrorist attacks, I believe that the use of those numbers in an advertising campaign is both tasteless and grossly insensitive to the grieving families of the victims and to the members of our armed services who have been killed or wounded in our ongoing war on terrorism.
Strike those ads, Ehrlich, and find a less offensive strategy to market your services!

Kenneth D. Hines

Be reminded, though I may be more opinionated than General Patton himself, I in no way speak for the staff, management, or the owners of J.C. Ehrlich Inc., "The 911 of Pest Control."

One oft-repeated line comes to mind here: "I'm offended." And if I'm offended by anything, the entire world has to hit the brakes and make the necessary corrections that I, or he as it may, demand. I'm offended nearly every single day by something or other, but that's what happens to folks that live in communities that are insulated from the real world. If this guy had a drug dealer living on the corner, debris strewn practically everywhere and was surrounded by reverse-gentrification every time he rose from bed, chances are that he wouldn't be horrified by something as completely innocuous as a f**king billboard. A guy that would suffer a panic attack if his favorite vircon-encrusted cocktail fork turned up missing.

The real kicker about this nonsense is the fact that Ehrlich very rarely advertises at all. We don't need to. We dominate the market because we have more than enough staff on hand to respond quickly to practically any scenario thrown at us. Hence, the "911" connection. When any of us dials 911, we are expecting a rather rapid response to our emergency, whatever it may be. You can expect a rapid response from Ehrlich, whatever your situation may be. The "911" pitch in our scant advertising very accurately describes what we're about and the services we provide. You can call one of our competitors and leave a message on their machine, or you can call "The 911 of Pest Control." You can call the best, or you can call the rest and hope for the best.

Wow! I like that. Maybe I should be working in advertising.

You can call the best, or you can call the rest and hope for the best.

Anywho, I was a good boy, was I not? I resisted the almost overwhelming urge to challenge Mr. Hind Section to a bit of hand-to-hand ultra-violence behind the Sheetz out there in la-la-land. Old age is mellowing me out, albeit, very, very incrementally.

There were many disparate groups scattered across the city yesterday volunteering their time to help make the city just a bit cleaner than it has been in a long, long time. The papers reporting of yesterday's events failed to impress upon their readers just how many people were out there working up a few blisters. The Parsons Lions Club was not mentioned as well as the city's Crime Watch folks. The Credit Union folks in the former Neddoff's restaurant were out, as well as our contingent from Ehrlich. One of the leaders of "Dare to Care" helped us Ehrlich types before leaving to lead her shadowy anti-debris troops in battle on our Nord End streets.

Work up a few blisters

There is one difference between all of the assorted groups cleaning whatever part of the city they cleaned and us Ehrlich folks. We Ehrlich employees got paid to do what we did yesterday. That's right. Ehrlich paid it's employees to give something back to our community. Which is not to say that their efforts were not voluntary to some degree. They had the option to be there, or to decline. So did I.

And if we remember correctly, our local Ehrlich office closed down one day last summer and paid all of it's employees to clean Kirby Park right before the 4th of July festivities. Despite how completely upsetting our lone local billboard advertisement may be to some bored guy, Ehrlich is spending money in an attempt to give something back to the community that supported it for so long. Many other local companies may have donated some money to yesterday's events, but Ehrlich donated money as well as plenty of sweat from it's employees. This was not an effort to drive sales, or draw mucho attention to ourselves, this was an effort to give something back to our community. If we had recieved some attention from the press, that would have been perfectly fine with us. As it turns out, we did not, but we'll be maintaining those two grassy medians on Penn Avenue for the remainder of 2004.

One other volunteer was a big part of our efforts yesterday and as things turned out, we would not have been able to pull it off without his assistance. Yup. Larry again. As I envisioned things, what should have started out as a small homemade, ramshackle trailer hauling a couple of rakes and brooms turned into a vehicle exceeding it's gross vehicle weight by about 10,000 pounds. If there was a weigh station on Penn Avenue, Larry would have been screwed. There's a very short list of names of people that go out of their way to improve their city. Schultz seems to appear on nearly every list.

We were promised lots of additional manpower, but no-shows seemed to be the order of the day. Being that we ended up with only half of what we expected in terms of manpower, only one of those two islands we had hoped to cover were covered. Undaunted, we did what we could and the other one will just have to wait. We did recieve tons of logistical support from the city. Basically, we recieved every single thing we had requested. This was the first time out on the city-wide volunteer circuit and we learned enough to make the next one go even smoother. And there will be a next one.

We're always quick to stomp on our City Hall folks, but as far as I'm concerned, J.J. Murphy did all that he could possibly do to assist us in our quest to improve a small part of Wilkes-Barre. One caveat though. It is too difficult to get in touch with either J.J., and the mayor himself on most days. It might make things such as this run a whole (not hole) lot smoother if the executive branch grew by one employee. If we're going to be a progressive city with all sorts of great volunteer programs going on, we need much better and quicker access to the folks asking us to get involved. Playing "phone tag" only makes things must harder to coordinate.

We didn't need assistants to the assistants while the city was going down the proverbial drain. But now that we're well on the road to recovery and trying to coordinate all sorts of positive programs, an assistant to the assistant might be a real good hire right about now.

A few more blisters

Progress. I could get used to this.


This is funny. The city provided us with two city dump trucks, provided that Larry, a city fire fighter who is insured to operate them did so. During the latter stages of our median strip assault, some crud slowed his vehicle to a crawl and yelled at us, "It's about f**king time!" I'm sure he thought we were city employees. At that point, most of us were a bit tired, which caused a few of us to fire back with some very salty language and threats of some much-needed physical abuse. Needless to say, he did not respond to our rather boisterous requests that he turn his vehicle around and join us on that strip. Darn!

So, another median strip awaits me and those foolish enough to follow me. That is, provided that I can actually get in touch with who I need assistance from at City Hall in a timely manner. We surely need lots more Indians, but it seems as if we need one more Chief.

All in all, yesterday was a great day for Wilkes-Barre. One of the first of very many to follow.

Thanks Gracie. I owe you one. Lemme know.

Our "Hose Dudes" negotiated a new contract with the city, even though their contract went into arbitration a while back. There are some concessions involved, which Tom Leighton was looking for all along while trying to get the city back on sound financial footing. A press conference is scheduled for tomorrow, so I'll back off and allow the new mayor and the members of the fire department to spell it out for ya'll.

As I was reminded of yesterday by a former councilman who still works at City Hall, the governor of the state doesn't just throw money at cities and then hope that they invest it wisely. Those municipalities seeking major state aid need to present a cogent plan and demonstrate some modicum of fiscal responsiblilty. I already understood as much, but I was wondering about something in the aftermath of Rendell's visit.

How many cities are there in Luzerne County? Let's see, Rendell gave a ton of money to Hazleton. Rendell gave a pretty sum to Pittston. Rendell delivered a monsterous sum to Wilkes-Barre. Are we missing anyone here? Are there any other cities in Luzerne County? Nanticoke, anyone? What about Nanticoke? I mean, if I lived there, in the wake of Rendell's foray into the county, I'd have to be wondering what happened. Where's our booster shot? Do they have elected officials working to better than deteriorating city, or it is a commune of sorts? And I gotta tell ya', when I wander through that city, I find it extremely hard to believe that that city is home to a long time Congressman, one Paul Kanjorski. Dan Flood and Michael Kirwan he surely ain't.

Vote for me: My hometown is a decaying mess.

Allow me to guess. The same argument that is currently being made for Arlen Spector will be made when Kanjorski faces some real competition next year. He's been there sooooooo long, we shouldn't dare replace him with some newbie with no clout. We need the senority and all of the pork that it entails. Kanjorski has done diddly squat for Wilkes-Barre and he's done even less for Nanticoke. If I resided there, I'd be calling for his hide, much less his political career. He did bring in $9 million in pork funds. Remember? His family members spent that money developing the water-jet technology never to be heard of in these parts again. Enough with him. His ancient hourglass is quickly running out of sands.

Does Nanticoke even have a mayor and a town council? If so, if I were them, I'd be laying very low right about now.

Ah, this is way cool. It's been promised for quite a while, but I see Sue Henry finally got her web site up and running. It's been a long time coming. Much like a Red Sox World Series appearance that didn't cause suicides throughout the Boston area.

Eagles fans! Dig this sh*t. Ready? Eli Manning. The Jints now have a quarterback rather than what you've got. A running back that throws every now and again.

This is insanely difficult. Name the only major league baseball player that participated in the Little League, College, and Major League Baseball World Series'.

Here's a hint. He did not play right field for Noxen Area.

After the big clean-up yesterday, Gage Andrew and I did about ten miles on the Rock Stomper in search of other folks doing their best to make Wilkes-Barre a bit cleaner. We wandered across this always approachable guy who bares an uncanny resemblance to our new mayor removing built-up muck and such from the gutters outside of Barney Farms along with his wife and a friend.

Lead by example

What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Or, at least, that's what our new mayor prescribes to.

Gotta roll.

Wasn't it a wonderful thing the good folks at Service Electric did for us by scrambling the entire dial? It has become somewhat like work now to find a baseball game on the video advertising box.

Enjoy your blisters.