12-9-2005 Quick quiz

Just in case you missed it, the Leader is reporting that someone made off with Mercury 4, a space re-entry vehicle of some sort. I believe it was launched into a low-level Earth orbit by NASA in 1963, recovered after aplashing down in the Atlantic Ocean by the U.S.S. Hornet, and then forever enshrined at Pete Bielecki's scrap yard immediately after it's months-long decontamination process was completed. Although, I could be wrong.

Anyway, I heard the funniest thing come over the scanner airwaves much earlier today. A dispatcher from 911 was explaining to one of our Copper Dudes how Mercury 4 had gone missing all of a sudden, and then used the following line to dispatch said officer to the scene of the latest call:

"Apparently, the spaceship has landed at 51 Mineral Street."

Having to deal with customers and all, I didn't catch anything after the dispatch. But, I didn't hear McGroarty's emergency alert sirens wailing away. And WPUU did not break into the local talk radio shows with any directions to the nearest civil defense bunkers. So, I left to assume that our responding police officer was not confronted with any little green men demanding to be taken to our leaders.

Gort! Klatuu! Leaders! Tilbury Inn!

I had me one of those wonderful work days yesterday whereby you leave the house when it's dark, and then return home well, well after dark. And this is supposed to be our slow season. Yepper. Breakfast at 5 AM, and then an impromptu and less than amazing supper at 8 PM. Passed-out on the parlor floor by 10PM. And then Wifey poked me quite a few times at 1 AM and pointed me in the general direction of the upstairs bunk. Again, this is supposed to be our slow season. (?)

Plus, I'm told I have to work twice as many hours as I normally would tomorrow only because both Christmas Eve and Amateur Night happen to fall on Saturdays later this month. In other words, the holidays are rapidly zooming in, and I'm gonna have to pay for it. Is that any way to treat your long-time employees? You never get a teeny tiny break, not even for a holiday? Production first and foremost no matter what, and all other priorities are rescinded?

Yeah, I'll crawl out of bed tomorrow and put on my happy face as far as my customers are concerned. But stay well out of my way otherwise, because I'm going to be in the foulest of moods, and you really don't want to push my buttons come late afternoon. My "mental instability" will be on clear display iffin' anyone gets to wronging me in any serious way. Sorry, but Dr. Nancy, my new shrink, isn't helping me in any significant sense. Sad to say, tomorrow will be what I like to call a "hair trigger day." Hopefully, some heroin-addicted crud will snatch a bulky purse right in front of me, and almost immediately afterwards, I'll be feeling some much-deserved, almost euphoric relief. And since I'm wearing cut-off and well-padded industrial work gloves these days with the built-in velcro wrist braces...I won't even bust up my knuckles, or sprain a wrist.

There are those days when the much-vaunted private sector ain't all it's cracked up to be. Right about now, I am not a contented and mindless worker bee. In fact, my lazy eye is beginning to wander towards those classified ads.

Call me crazy (most do), but I thought that slavery was abolished a long, long time ago.


Did anyone happen to crunch their 'spensive automobiles this morning? I didn't. Nah. I warmed up that aging carbuerated beast, slapped it into four-wheel-drive mode and off I went. The city's streets were treacherous this morning (overtime), and plenty of the vehicles I encountered were slidely all about. But not mine. Mine kept itself kinda straight all the way to work. Then again, I used to bring empty commercial vehicles in excess of 26,001 pounds in much worse weather conditions all the way back from the farthest-flung remote outposts of Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania. So driving from one end of this valley to the other end ain't gonna be turning my knuckles white any time soon.

Being that some kind of serious storm was bearing down on all of us last night, I couldn't bare to watch the local television weather geeks. If I've seen it once, I've seen it a Brazillion times. The top story on Newswatch 16 at 6? Why, let's go to the back yard and check-in with an obviously aroused Tom Clark. Why is it he always has both hands in his pants pockets when the atmosphere goes nuts on us? Are his hands that cold, or is there another story that needs to be told? Nevermind. My "mental instability" is definately getting the best of me today.

I visited Beale's Bites today only to learn by reading the reader's comments that the newsfolk call ultra-snowy conditions "french toast" weather. You know the deal. That's the phenomenom by which normally rational folks get to fist-fighting over the last gallon of milk, the last two loaves of bread, or the next-to-last carton of cracked eggs at the local grocerama as the impending white death from the sky trudges on towards their particular longitudinal and latitudinal hangout of choice.

Now, I can't help but to ask, but, was last night a "french toast" event for y'all, or did you maintain at least some modicum of sanity and dignity? Was it milk, bread and eggs on your way home? Or did you hit the local seafood shop after grabbing a few lottery tickets at Turkey Hill? Be honest. Was it some frozen egg rolls, a tiny jar of sweet & sour sauce and a USA Today? Or did you slog it out one aisle at a time with the frightened senior citizens for some "french toast" foodstuffs? I really want to know.

If you must know, I stocked up on the vital stuff long before the white stuff started flying in earnest. I did. I was ready for the worse that that bitch, Mother Nature had to offer. I was. I was ready. I was once a Boy Scout and I believe in being prepared. I got the 30-pack of beer, the cigarettes and the pizza long before the crunchy water started wafting Earthward.

And what say you? What did you grab on the way home?

French toast?

Just when we thought it was safe to forget the abject misery that was our most recent past, and get on with embracing what looks to be an exciting future for this city...further needless political chicanery lurches forth and latches right onto our last horribly-disfigured gonad.


This is as completely grotesque as it is disturbing. What the f>ck is this? The last desperate, mostly slipshod act of resistance coming from those who cannot admit defeat and cut their losses? Or is it an attempt to recoup $11,056 in damages by seeking "monetary damages for emotional distress and attorney's fees?"

It really doesn't matter to me who the latest activist happens to be. I'm just sick and tired of spreading open the morning papers only to read that Wilkes-Barre is being cast in a negative light yet again. I'm sick of it. I'm sick of the condescending bullspit offered up as contemporary activism. And I'm thoroughly sick of malcontents imbued with their own short-sighted version of leadership subjecting the rest of us to tiresome political donnybrooks of their own making, and quite often, for their own imagined benefit.

I'm not singling out anyone in particular here. I'm just sick up to here with all the folks who offer us little more than nonstop tumult and chaos after we finally, that's finally, went and elected ourselves some responsible leadership. Enough already. Embrace the future. Get on with things! Figure out how you can enjoy a Newport 100 in the new theatre without getting caught and tossed onto Northampton Street by the cigarette police. Christ! (He's still legal the last time I checked) Chill out!

My quick quiz on all that really matters:
(You will be graded on this)

Open or league bowling?

Lennon or McCartney?

Laurie Partridge or Marsha Brady?


Dick Tracey or The Shadow?

Hotwheels or Matchboxes?

Pitch or Uno?

Lazarus or Pomeroys?

McCrory's or Kresge's?

Ringo Starr or Pete Best?

Wonderama or The Soupy Sales Show?

Burger King or McDonald's?

Sean Connery or Roger Moore?

Lance Link: (Super Chimp) or Johnny Quest?

Tyco or Aurora?

Giants or Jets?

Coke or Pepsi?

Yankees or Mets?

Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots or Spirograph?

Batman or Superman?

Electric football or tabletop hockey?

Lost in Space or Star Trek?

The Paramount or The Comerford?

The Bugaloos or H.R. Puffinstuff?

Imported or domestic?

Gilbert Grape or Clueless?

Beatles or Stones?

Constant tumult or progress?

You tell me, man.

The following e-mail might be of some use. If not to you, maybe to someone near and dear to you.

From the e-mail inbox December 9, 2005

Governor's Homepage

Taking Action to Help Pennsylvanians Stay Warm

Snowfall across Pennsylvania reminds us of the need to check in on our neighbors and make sure they are safe and warm this winter. We want to make certain those who are most vulnerable and most in need of help have what is essential to cope with the cold days and months ahead.

That's why I'm renewing my call to the legislature, which I first made in September, to provide state funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

In addition to asking the federal government for more federal funds to make sure our poor families and our seniors are protected this winter, I have asked the legislature to authorize up to $18 million in state funds $15 million for LIHEAP and $3 million for HEMAP to support our efforts. There is legislation in the General Assembly that, if passed, will allow us to expand LIHEAP as I requested.

We need the flexibility to spend up to $15 million to support the federal LIHEAP program. This will be even more critical if the federal government doesn't provide sufficient resources.

Already we've approved more than 158,000 applications for LIHEAP assistance and we've committed nearly $38 million. But we need to make sure we have the funds to serve all who need our help.

Additionally, under our StayWarmPA initiative, we set up a toll-free customer service line 1-866-550-4355. Our staff already has assisted 1,500 callers, helping them to obtain LIHEAP funding or other community outreach services.

There's also a website http://www.virtualtours.state.pa.us/newsletter/listrak/remote.html?ltk=mbHHbSVXK7423AHvYbTkiQ1gmmugaEzxYf0Z20cxhG7Q where you can find answers to important questions, handy local reference numbers as well as tips to improve the energy efficiency of your home.

We've distributed approximately 400,000 informational flyers to local and community organizations across the commonwealth. We've reached out to church organizations, United Ways, AFL-CIO, Red Cross, NAACP, AARP, school districts and mental health organizations to make sure all of our needy residents know about the help that's available.

We've also made sure our various state offices, from Public Welfare to CareerLink to driver licensing, have the information and can direct people to our toll-free number for help.

Local volunteers have been mobilized and we've scheduled dozens of weatherization training sessions for them from now through mid-January in every region of the state. This statewide network of volunteers is prepared to go door-to-door to check on our seniors and others, provide communal warm spaces and other services.

At my request, a number of the utilities have already expanded their consumer assistance programs, which help customers who have difficulty paying their bills. And all of the major gas and electric utilities have made it easier for customers to restore service by waiving deposits and cutting their reconnection fees.

We'll continue to work with these companies as many Pennsylvanians struggle with mounting energy costs.

All of these actions are critical to our efforts to protect our residents this winter. We all have a role to play in making sure those who need our help stay warm.


(The Gov)

Christmas '05

I gotta go. Wifey baked enough frickin' Christmas cookies today to end all hunger from here on out, but she's kind of beat and she's got two riled-up grand-rodents hacking away on each other. I'm gonna pop a DVD into the imported DVD player and draw them away from her.

Godzilla 2000? Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles? Froto? Nah, I've got the winning ticket. They absolutely love Arnold.

No "Girlie Men" tonight.