11-28-2005 Sodom-on-the-Susquehanna?

I have a pertinent question, but I'm not entirely sure who I should ask it of. Whatever. Here goes anyway:

What funking part of this painfully simple program don't you get?

From yesterday's Party Animals column in the Voice:

Access to the information at no charge? No problemo. Happy I could help those of us not normally prone to bouts of brilliance. Click on the following link, scroll to the bottom of the page you'll find yourself at, click on that identically worded link, make sure you've got 33 pages of pager in the printer, turn on the printer...and print the entire 2006 budget free-of-charge.

Click here for a detailed copy of the 2006 budget

Now, seriously, was that so hard to follow? Talk about a frickin' non-issue turned into some free press. Jeez!

The way I see it, only a woefully ill-informed "critic" would pay $33 for something that is readily available--absolutely free of charge--and then make a whole bunch of noise about it. 33 freaking dollars? Jeez oh Pete! I got my copy of the '06 budget without toting a single dime anywhere.

One more time: Do you really want to put these people in charge?

By the way, I managed to obtain copies of the 2002, 2003 and 2004 budgets absolutely free from cost, and that was well before the city bothered to build a web site. How'd I do that?

33 bucks?

Un-freaking-real, man!

Well then, looky here what I found at WILK's web site:


It seems today that everyone has a blog. We already knew that every person has an opinion. Now that opinion is put into words and sent out into the ether we know as the ‘internet’ and everyone in the whole world can see it. It’s amazing how the written word can say so much without a person-to-person contact in the mix. Read the blog and you get a feel for the person. But what happens when that person is unveiled?...when the man or woman behind the great Oz comes out from behind the curtain? I can tell you that it can be quite jarring.

Please read the remainder of this screed borne of frustration with someone or other here. It's not too long-winded. Actually, most talk radio jocks specialize in short, controlled bursts of insults sent your way...right before they terminate your call.

Blah, blah, Bush ate my children, blah, blah, NEXT CALLER!!!

I've typed it before and I'll type it once again:

You can't hang up on us in this forum.

Sucks. Don't it?

Check this snippet of a story at the Standard Speaker's site I went and snagged:

Black Friday in the Hazleton area began hours earlier, with shoppers heading in droves to the Wal-Mart store.

Lines of vehicles – their headlights gleaming – snaked up Route 93 and onto Airport Road in a scene reminiscent of the baseball fans heading to the “Field of Dreams” in the closing moments of the storied movie.

At around 5 a.m., would-be shoppers jockeyed for parking spaces as early birds emerged from the bowels of the giant store, their carts brimming with electronic goods.

Call this sweatin' the really small stuff if need be, but if I was somehow reduced to any of this utter insanity--I'd never, ever admit to it. Nail me repeatedly with an aluminum bat, or douse me with a highly flammable preparation and let the Zippo work it's magic--I don't care. No matter what you might have heard, I was not there.

Standing in line all night long while the temperatures plunged and the winds whipped up all for a deeply discounted Tommy Hilf>cker purse?

Is it any wonder the rest of the world thinks we're all off our rockers?

From the e-mail inbox Yeah, Hollywood has been engaged in a seemingly never ending stink fest. Adam Sandler movies. That's all one needs to say. But unlike the writer of that article I agree with the industry analysts who say the market is changing to meet the demands of the consumer market and its technology.

The "direct to home video" products have been increasing exponentially since the 1980's and the advent of the DVD format has now ensured that 2/3 of the revenue earned by the big 6 is from the "home" market. It must be hard for the bean counters in Hollywood to ignore the facts when shareholders are demanding profits. The next tech trend (downloading a movie with an expirable license) is expected to do even more harm to the theatre industry. But the tech geeks are still working out the hardware details and that may create a stay of execution. If only for a little while.

But none of this is really news. Old news at best. I tried arguing this with the former administration but was told that the finest minds of the Chamber of whatever were so "on the ball" that a lowly fireman couldn't possibly be right. And so, when the second theatre project was announced I simply deleted all of the information from my computer. There wasn't any point in fighting another losing battle. I guess I'm getting soft in my old age.

I plan to use the new theatre. I will encourage my friends and family to do the same. And I will pray that the downtown will see an economic rebirth that will help hold the line on taxes, raise the average family income, and thwart the cultural downward spiral that our city has been suffering for too long.

But I won't be surprised if it fails. I will be disappointed. It's strange to have so much hope for a thing that I don't have any faith in. A paradox, huh? So as I see it the only way to ensure the theatre succeeds is to make it succeed. We (collectively) need to make a conscious decision to absorb the theatre experience rather than waiting for the DVD release or illegally downloading a movie from the net. That's asking a lot from such a flawed community. And as you know, stranger things have been known to happen. Let's hope it happens for this project.


I know. I've read quite a bit about how Hollywood and theater owners are agonizing over what their next logical step should be. Lowly fireman? I guess. Well, that is until someone is slumping out of a second story window while a fully-involved structure fire rages but a few feet behind them. I know you're a common man in the great scheme of things, but don't sell yourself short.

On a very brief aside, check out the documentary Paper Clips that is currently making the rounds on the 117 or so HBO channels. I'll not bore you to death with any details. Just give it a chance. But what do I know? I'm one of those insidious blogger scoundrels hiding behind the curtain. (Hee! Hee!)

It's strange to have so much hope for a thing that I don't have any faith in. A paradox, huh?

It is. It's messed-up. But as long as we're still holding out hope, that suggests that we still think we have a chance of succeeding. I think.

So as I see it the only way to ensure the theatre succeeds is to make it succeed. We (collectively) need to make a conscious decision to absorb the theatre experience rather than waiting for the DVD release or illegally downloading a movie from the net. That's asking a lot from such a flawed community. And as you know, stranger things have been known to happen. Let's hope it happens for this project.

And there it is. Do we really want our downtown to flourish and thrive again? Forget the residents of this city. Folks scattered across this entire valley get to reminiscing about trips to Public Square with their long-departed Grammas, or their dear ole' Moms. They often go on and on and on at length about the once-dueling movie theaters, Lazurus, Planter's Peanuts, Percy Brown's, and maybe even a slice or two of Kresge's grungy-looking pizza. Oh! If only we could re-visit those days of old. Well, it looks as if we're going to get a second chance as far as going to 'town' is concerned. The biggest question being, did we learn our lesson the last time we turned our backs on downtown U.S.A. and drove off in pursuit of some crowded retail sprawl somewhere?

I'll see you down there. And I hope that very many of the countless folks that openly yearn for a second chance at what they absolutely loved doing during their formulative years are right on our heels.

Despite the traffic swirling around the middle of Public Square, the downtown is a slow-paced experience. We can startle the pigeons. We can throw them shards of raisin bread. We can lounge on a park bench wih a Sunkist soda in our hands while the grandkids run through the fountain over and over again. We can wander in and out of stores to our heart's content. And we can lazily saunter away from whatever it was that had always drawn us there a mere five minutes before the next installment of the Alien, or Star Wars series is set to roll.

We either make it succeed, or we stop whining about missing the good ole' days in downtown Wilkes-Barre. And I don't think it's about what we adults miss as much as it is establishing traditions for our kids and grandkids that they will carry forward in their hearts and their memories.

We should take in Alien V together. It shouldn't faze you too much to see gallons upon gallons of blood spurting all over the place. You're a "lowly fireman." You're used to it.


From the e-mail inbox "After the passage of many years, I came to realize that our low-income, hand-me-down existance was not her fault entirely. Sadly, she passed into the next place before I could explain to her that the hurtful things I said to her so long ago were the product of abject frustration, rather than a thoughtless condemnation of her tireless efforts at delivering a somewhat normal life to her three welfare kids. The guilt thing lasts a really long time".

"But after reflecting on all of those trying moments for many, many years now, I have come to realize that my Mom--Dorothy Kirwan--knew that I'd be okay in the long run. She knew."

I didn't know your mom, but I believe you are right. She did know. If she didn't, she would have never told you to look after your brothers and sisters. She knew you were the strong one. And don't beat yourself up over how you gave her attitude when you were younger. Kids do that. And parents always forgive since their love is endless - you should know since you are a parent. Also after reading it all, I feel your attitude may be why she knew you were the strong one. As you said, she knew you disliked that lifestyle. You expressed it to her all the way through. It sounds like she was proud you wanted and also accomplished a better life for yourself. Take care.

I do get a bit too personal at times while blogging, but I sincerely could care less about what insights I may provide into why I am the way I am. The thing is, I'll never be persuaded against my belief that my only parent deserved a much better deal during her very short life. And I know damn well that she deserved a helluva lot more understanding and patience from her oft-frustrated first-borne. She was a meek God-fearing person who rarely had a contemptable thought for anyone other than her well-deserving ex-husbands.

The guilt thing? I guess it's always going to be a part of who I am. But, "Boy! She sure couldn't pick 'em!" adequately describes where life's sometimes bumpy road led her to. She married three times, and each of the resulting divorces led her to a place much more meager than the preceeding one. And, frankly, I still can't stand what the three of those obvious maroons ultimately reduced her to.

I've been married for 27 years now, and quite often people marvel at the longevity of such a thing upon learning as much. And very often they'll ask of me what the secret of my marital success has been. My standard joke goes like this: "I have the best friggin' headphones money can buy."

But the truth of the matter is, I will never do to my only wife what my Mom's husbands did to her.

It just ain't happening.

From the e-mail inbox Dear Mark,

Thanks for the mention. I had Pastor Bobby answer your question on the Damnation Ministry.com site in the Letters page.


November 26, 2005

From Mark in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania:
Q. Assuming I'm not going to be tossed into the burning pits someday soon, will I be allowed to blast some Blue Oyster Cult tunage in Heaven? Does God rock?

A. Assuming a lot there, aren't you, my friend? So many people just assume that somehow, against all odds, they are assured of a place in Heaven. Well, I have news for you: Just living in that papist/zionist-infested Sodom-on-the-Susquehanna is enough to guarantee an eternity in EVERLASTING FLAMES! As for the rest of your question, I can tell you is that ALL cults are evil schemes of SATAN HIMSELF, and will only get you a hotter spot in HELL. And God IS the ROCK, the Rock upon which our faith is built. By the way, surely you know enough not to eat any oysters which have turned colors; you keep doing that, and you'll get to HELL a lot faster. I'm sending you my pamphlet Wilkes-Barre: Gateway to Hell. As you may know, my early years were spent in that Romish city, and I consider that time a foretaste of EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT.

Alright! Fine! I'll dispense with my mostly evil ways and show up at that cloud-supported Berlin Wall armed only with some bootlegged Bay City Rollers Unplugged! No! No! No Flamin' Groovies for this heathen. I never once got drunk and plugged a few innocent civilians with rifle shots from the very top of the local clock tower, but who am I to argue with the "ROCK" that thunk up termites all by his lonesome, while Noah was on the blower bitching about the blueprints he lacked.

So much for all of those good deeds I did before I got kicked out of the Boy Scouts! So much for not stealing when it would have been so darned easy to do so. (Forget the packs of stolen Razzles. I was, like, ten-years-old.) Then again, is there a statute of limitations in Heaven, or isn't there? I tied my eight-year-old sister to the back of my bike once. I admit as much. The road burns faded long ago and she laughs about that incident these days. Has that less than thought-out temper tantrum been expunged from my record, or will eternity amount to my being tied to the hind end of a Banana seat?

I'm think I'm getting screwed to a great degree, so I'm gonna start leaning way to the left and see to it that all religions, other than Islam, are done away with forever more. I don't care if I'm a low-life cretin worthy of being cast into the burning pits of tar-laced bile, I'm not going to allow myself to be judged by anyone other than the 'centrist-minded' local talk radio show host.

And be warned. If what God really wants is a protracted legal battle all the way to the depths of hell, Ramsey Clark is gonna come a calling on those well-guarded gates armed with a few subpoenas right quick.

No Blue Oyster Cult in heaven?

Yeah, well, we'll just see what the A.C.L.U. has to say about all of that! Won't we?

I have this feeling that my luck is none too good
This sword here at my side don't act the way it should
Keeps calling me its master, but I feel like its slave
Hauling me faster and faster to an early, early grave
And it howls, it howls like hell

I'm told it's my duty to fight against the law
That wizardry's my trade and I was born to wade through gore
I just want to be a lover, not a red-eyed screaming ghoul
I wish it'd picked another to be its killing tool

Black blade! Black blade!
Forged a billion years ago
Black blade! Black blade!
Killing so its power can grow

There's death from the beginning to the end of time
And I'm the cosmic champion and I hold a mystic sign
And the whole world's dying and the burdens mine
And the black sword keeps on killing 'til the end of time

Black blade! Black blade!

I'm crashin' the gates!