6-17-2004 See what happens...

The line of communication hasn't closed and you know that.--Mayor Tom Leighton (to whom it may concern)

From Private Sector Dude's latset post:

The house at the lake is opened up. We got fishing all around, marshmallows, the beach, sandcastles, the boat, and relaxation. Mark, how about a trek up there one weekend?

Dude, you can count me and possibly a few others in. As long as it doesn't interfere with this recent invite from Kayak Dude:


I'm lofting a trial balloon here...any interest in joining my bro-in-law and I in a Triathlon? We need a hardcore biker who's already in shape now & could be in awesome shape in ~120 days. It's Saturday, October 9th in Wyalusing. The bike leg was 12.8 miles last year..all on paved roads and not too hilly.

I'm paddling a 5 mile sprint...my bro-in-law is running the last leg at ~4 miles. We can kick some a** and have some fun afterward. Your ride up & back would be covered. We'd go up Friday night...stay at a cabin right near the race site, come back ~mid Saturday afternoon (at the latest...I have to be back at my house by 6pm).

See what happens when you create a website! Check it out (links below) and mull it over.

Don (Formerly known as Kayak Dude)*******

I mulled this over for a few days and I was initially leaning against participating. Why, you might ask? Because I have never undertaken such an event and the unknown usually fills one with trepidation. If someone had asked me to partake of this event when I was twenty-five years younger, I probably would have jumped at the chance. At 45 years-old, I think it only natural that one would take pause when invited to any sort of endurance event. And then I got to thinking about it.

I already pedal approximately 75 miles each and every week. My four mile morning rides to work are fast-paced and include quite a few hills. My rides home from work are much more relaxed and are very theraputic in as much as they allow me to wind down long before I arrive back here at the adobe. My numerous weekend rides always include hauling the extra 35 pounds that Gage Andrew currently carries. I may not be able to qualify for a spot on the olympic cycling team anytime soon, but I'm much more athletic and possess much more stamina than probably 90% of the guys my age. So why not?

What's the worst that can happen? I could keel over and croak, in which case I won't know or care about it half way through it. And if I do manage to run out my life clock somewhere between Wyalusing and Cowtipville, consider how much fun some of our less intelligent hose dudes could have on the forum page. Wouldn't that be a f**kin' kick?

I could end up pedaling my ass off, doing the best that I'm possibly capable of and finishing dead last. I could cramp up and have to drop out thirty yards past the first turn right next to the big, red grain silo. Or, I might complete the trip only to find out that tons of guys my age managed to get to the finish line much faster than I did. But when it comes right down to it, not even one of those possible scenarios remotely scares me. What it amounts to is if you don't try you will never fail.

And since trying but failing does not concern me in the least, you can count me in.

Got that Don Dude? Er...Kayak Don? You can count me in.

I escaped the morass...

...that Wilkes-Barre is for a whole day. And upon my return to this shaken city, I posted my thoughts on my day away and skipped reading the thoughts of others who obviously need a bit more seasoning before ever considering a career in management of anything larger than a Saturday morning yard sale. And I did my part by joining my volunteer sidekick for a bit of median strip grass control last evening. And then I did a lengthy bikeabout very early this morning. And still, I could not bring myself to visit the confounding illogic, the mostly skimble-skamble thought processes, and the embarrassing hysterics no longer passing as a place where legitimate ideas are shared.

I visited the forum this afternoon and I was not surprised in the least by what awaited me there. All I can say to those of you that did the right thing and confronted our elected officials is, "What did you expect?" Did we really expect them to toss aside their Gameboys, throw up their hands and yell in unison, "I had no idea!" Come on! If you're not totally irrational, you had to see this as a logical first step in bringing this issue to the forefront and hopefully forcing it towards some amicable solution sometime soon. Some of the much smarter folks among us do understand that serious negotiations can and do lead to compromises in most situations. But to attend that meeting and then freak out on the forum page the very next day suggests that the nimble-minded wearing the Local 104 patches are doing the majority of the internet bitching.

And it does pain me somewhat to suddenly become Public Enemy #1 to a group that I had so completely supported for so long now. But I'm a big boy and I fully understand how quickly politics can turn on those who dare to go there, even those of us that have never ordered any campaign buttons. But I do have a bit of good advice for those of you whining away on the forum page. If you really want the general public to hold you in only the highest of esteems, if you if want to be known as heroes for the foreseeable future...Please stop sounding like a bunch of f**kin' pussies.

You've got elected union types and elected politico types, now work the system in place and stop freaking the f**k out.

I told one of your brothers who decided to divorce himself from this circle-jerk that I was going to refrain from responding to the mish-mash of gibberish that now dominates our internet forum page, but after scrolling through all of that bilge, I changed my mind. Who wants some?

A shot of reality -- We don't need seven, 16:13:26 06/16/04 Wed [1]

These council members need a good shot of reality already,what past experience do they have on public safety issues to make these decisions? And, if someone gets seriously injured or even worse are they going to take responsiblity for it OR put the blame on the fire dept. I do think it would be the latter of the two. What experience do any of those seven people have when it comes to saving people's lives? Lets see here, making hot dogs? NO. Teaching school? NO. Secretarial duties? NO. Mixing drinks? NO. Running a real estate business? NO. But they all seem to have all the answers because of following a budget. I have news for them, this was already budgeted for and they already have quite a savings from the men who already retired and were not replaced and all the concessions the firefighters just made. Lets see what half ass explanation will be given for this, lets face it they DO NOT care about anything but money, something they all should have cared about over the past eight years but now it has come full circle and they are scrambling, and the ONLY ones paying for it are the citizens and SOME employees. WE DO NOT NEED SEVEN CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS, WE DO NOT NEED ASSISTANTS TO ASSISTANTS (if the saving lives business must go barebones so can the mayors office, remember people ("We are all in this together") WE DO NOT NEED THREE HORSES (this is not England) WHAT WE DO NEED FIRST AND FOREMOST IS PROTECTION, lets put the safety of the people first where it should be and then lets take it from there.

Brilliance, this ain't. The premise here is that any elected leader who was never a fireman or paramedic has absolutely no right to any financial oversight over the departments they were elected to oversee. What this amounts to is a short-order cook claiming that the new manager, a former waitress, has no right to tell the short-order cooks what to do. In other words, it's f**king stupid and it also suggests that yet another anonymous poster knows not of what he screeches about. Note that the knucklehead neglected to mention that a former police chief of ours presently sits in one of our council seats. Nifty, little ommission there.

So what's his action plan to save this city? We reduce the size of council. We send Greg Barrouk packing. And we send one, or all of our horses to a glue factory. That'll work. Problem solved. Let the good times roll. Here is a clueless person telling us how the city should be managed. It's a shame a name wasn't attached to this inexperience on parade. If there was, we'd know who to never vote for, or who's employment application should be sent to the circular file without having been read.

Wait! It's gets much worse.

Chuckle -- Chuckles, 16:58:45 06/16/04 Wed [1]

I found it ironic for the mayor and council to sit in their lofty chairs and talk about sticking to a budget. I totally agree with that principal. However, I wonder how hard the administration looked at all areas when considering their cuts. I don't know Mr. Barrouk, he may very well be a capable person. Despite the fact that money was budgeted for his salary, is this position vital to the operation of the city? Which is another point to make. If it's not essential to the day to day operations of the city, get rid of it. When people look to buy a home or open a business, a main concern is for police and fire protection. Do we really need the added costs of a mounted patrol. Wake-up! Philly has disbanded their herd. Is that a sign of how backwards we really are in this town. Or shall I call this city a soon-to-be borough?

Ironic? How about chuckle-headed?

When people look to buy a home or open a business, a main concern is for police and fire protection.

Really? Then explain to me why the exodus out of this city continues and most of the folks fleeing this city are literally flocking to bucolic places with volunteer fire departments and townships that rely on the State Police for protection?


The Bottom Line -- A. Walker, 09:42:39 06/16/04 Wed [1]

Last night's council meeting opened my eyes with disgust. It was apparent to me that public safety takes a back seat the bottom line.

Al, while you certainly deserve mucho credit for posting your name, you have to consider basic economics here. Everything, mo-funkin', literally everything takes a back seat to the bottom line. Will we hire more cops and firemen, or will what we obviously need more of take a back seat to the bottom line? Will you be buying twin Hummers for the wifey and yourself, or will the bottom line advise against it? I get a stiffy when I wander into our new bike shop downtown, but the price tags quickly remind me of the bottom line. You can't spend more than you earn for very long without the bottom line coming back to bite you. Neither can I, and neither can the city right now.

We just spent eight years spending money we didn't have and now we're being forced to tighten our belts for a spell while we get this city on some firm financial footing. I realize that at times the tunnel seems so long it appears crazy to even think that a faint light might one day appear at the other end. What we need to do in the interim is to work together, do what we can to accelerate our escape from this annoying and frustrating period, and mostly forget where we've been, where we're currently at, and try to get to the end of that tunnel without alienating everyone else involved.

Just a few short months ago, your bretheran seized the initiative and seemed to be leading us toward that light we all seek that at one time seemed unreachable. And then, suddenly, we needed three men on every engine and all hell broke loose. Rather than loosing your cool, maybe you folks should be doing a bit of soul-searching. Rather than lashing-out with ill-conceived rants about effective management which most of you know absolutely nothing about, maybe you should be busily talking to your union reps about how to bring this situation to some sort of logical conclusion that works for all involved.

Standing at the back of council's chamber looking like wannabe Nazi stormtroopers on steroids won't amount to anything productive. And neither will freaking out on the internet. The bottom line, remember? This is a business thing. Implore your union folks and the elected folks to find some common ground. And stop posting on the internet before you think things through.

From the e-mail inbox:

*******"And while Knoebels may not be sexier than some of the other glitzy parks with the high-tech gizmos and the roller coasters that cause strokes, it capably provides what thrilled the generations that grew-up before the muckity-muck loopers were introduced."

You know it. We used to have Angela Park when I was a kid. To be honest Knoebels is really popular for parents. Because it is perfect for the little kiddies. Dorney and all of those have all the rides but a boy as small as Gage yet would probably not be tall enough for half of them! Knobels was money well spent.*******

I went to Angela Park once. This reinforces what I was alluding when I mentioned the smallish parks that once existed in practically every town in America that had a post office. We only went there once because it was too far away. It was just short of Hazleton. Why would anyone in Wilkes-Barre drive into the shadow of Hazleton just to ride a few rides when we could visit San Souci, Sandy Beach, Hansen's, or Rocky Glen? Ah, the good old days.

I'll take Gage to Knoebels for as long as he wants to go there with me. And if the day comes when he abandons that park for some other more advertised park 100 hours away from here, he will have to wander forth without me. But I'll be completely content knowing that thanks to me, Knoebels will always be his Sandy Beach. I may be off base to some degree, but I firmly believe that our earliest memories, the ones that cannot possibly be duplicated ever again, are the memories we grow more fond of for as long as we live.

All I need now is for Eddy Day to come out of retirement and appear at Knoebels the next time we call on Gage to blow on a paltry, few candles.

Some girls like to run around, like to handle everything they see
But my girl has more fun around and ya know she'd rather be with me

Me-oh my lucky guy is what I am
Tell you why you'll understand
She don't fly although she can.

Some boys like to run around, they don't think about the things they do
But this boy wants to settle down, and you know he'd rather be with you

Me-oh my lucky guy is what I am
Tell you why you'll understand
She don't fly although she can.

baba ba ba bada ba

Some girls like to run around, like to handle everything they see
But my girl has more fun around and ya know she'd rather be with,
yeah she'd rather be with, ya know she'd rather be with me

AHHya know she'd rather be with me