1-26-2006 Humped many doorknobs lately?

What was the coaches assessment of his totally inept team in that recent Dodgeball movie? I remember now.

It's like watchin' a bunch of retards tryin' to hump a doorknob.

Sorry, kiddies, but that would aptly describe the performance of our county commissioners on most days.

From today's Citizens' Voice:

The county election board, comprised of the three commissioners, postponed picking a machine last week so they could further research the issue. Information received since that time indicates the board cannot wait, Vonderheid said.

A meeting will be held Friday or in the early part of next week to make the selection.

“The most important thing is we purchase a machine that can count votes and has a level of security we’re all comfortable with,” Vonderheid said. “We can’t lose that money. That would just be irresponsible.”

The board specifically wanted to know if the federal mandate to implement electronic voting for the Nov. 7 general election also meant the machines must be used for the May 16 primary election. The board also discussed leasing machines in May and then making a purchase for November.

The county is required to have the machines in place for the May 16 election, according to a Jan. 20 memo from the Pennsylvania Department of State. Failure to do so would jeopardize the county’s Help America Vote Act funding, the memo said.

Guys, guys, guys...what the fu>k already? The Help America Vote Act was passed into law in 2002. It's not like we weren't given fair warning. Now we've got three months to go and still no voting machines. Do any of you guys own a frickin' Day-Timer? Ever heard of delegating some of your research duties? Sorry there, fellas, but from where I'm sittin' this smacks of a bunch of Mickey Mouse bullspit.

How many newfangled voting machines do we need to purchase? I forget, and I'm not gonna go Googlin' to find out. How many do we need? Like, 100? 200 perhaps? Can we even get that many machines in place before the May 16th primary? If so, what are we gonna do? Have 'em UPSed overnight? Humped many doorknobs lately? Sure seems like it. Jesus H. Christ!

Y'all gotta do better than this. I know politicos hate being compared to the much more efficient and profitable private sector, but in the real world this sort of ridiculous snafu gets your ass fired. Follow me here: Let's say I gave you two years to procure 200 high-tech widgets. And let's say I gave you $2,000,000 with which to acquire said high-tech thingamabobs. And after the passage of those two years you up and tell me you couldn't get it done??? Guess what happens next? See ya, Bucky! Don't let that sexually-confused security guard pinch your ass on the way out!

I voted for VonderTodd and I know he's a bright individual. I did not vote for an offensive lineman. And I did not vote for the Republican odd man out of the decision loop. But I expected a helluva lot better from this bunch. I really did. Would I vote for any of them during the next election go-round? Probably not.

That is, not unless they start doing better than this.

I thought the aged green monsters of ours worked just fine. But Al Gore & the boys went and engineered "proof" of corruption all over the place when they lost a close election. Hence, the Help America Vote Act of '02. But a harbringer of future scandals to come is the fact that the same crew of sore losers cried fraud during the very next presidential election cycle. And they demonized Diebold (evil big business?) for supposedly electronically "rigging" votes in favor of the Republicans. In other words, when the chadmasters in the national Democratic party lose, it was fixed.

How 'bout a Help the Democrats Get Their Sorry Sh*t Together Act?

The Green Monster

The first time I posted that pic, some of you good folks questioned my choices for the school board positions. I did not respond at the time, but let's give it a rip here today.

School directors? Like, who gives a flyin' funk? What are they gonna do? Have a sudden change of heart, climb out of the wet side of the teachers union's bed and lower your taxes? Ain't happenin', kiddies. It's really sad to say, but the federally-manipulated education system in this country has become a bottomless money pit increasingly recognized for it's diminishing returns. Children? The parent's wallets? Who cares so long as the teacher's unions continue to gobble up the great majority of that ever-expanding taxpayer pie.

Vote for me. I'm committed to delivering quality edcation.

Blah, blah, blee, blee, fu>kin' blah. Just raise the freakin' taxes again and spare me the windbag routine.

Sez me.

Early this afternoon I suffered through my first and last photo shoot. That is to say, my last photo shoot iffin' I pretty much stick to not getting myself arrested. Who knows what the future holds. If I get a serious hankerin' for jammin' kittens into blenders--all bets are off.

But this photo shoot experience was, well...it was queer. It was almost unsettling. Why in God's (oops) name would anyone wanna spread open the morning newspaper only to find my ugly mug? C'mon, man. I don't wanna be held responsible when all of Northeastern Pennsylvania lets loose with a collective puke. Then again, it might help to boost the average scores of the drunken dart league pros down at the corner bar. I dunno. I got no need for this kind of attention. All I need is my pitchfork, my home-brewed mystery swill and for my step-sister Opal to meet me out back of Uncle Jiggy's tool shed when I get to feelin' all ornery and suchlike. (Sorry, but having a split personality really does suck. Enough with Lonesome Cowboy Mark.) I just don't understand the need for the photo. And how do you pose naturally when the photgrapher's breath is steaming up your glasses? Dude, like, back off, man. You gotta fuggin' zoom button on that high-falootin' gizmo, or what? Whatever.

Anywho, as part of this Times Leader interview and pending story on local bloggers, I agreed to pose for what seemed like a few thousand photos. I imagine your average blogger would probably chew their last gonad off to get themselves this kind of publicity, but I ain't your average blogger. I do what I do. If people feel the need to take a glance at it every once in a while, so be it. And if they stop at some point, maybe I'll write a book, or something. Plenty of clueless idiots have had books published, so why not me? I'm almost as idiotic as the very best of the idiots. I could do idiocy. Some say I already do.

Fact is, I was blogging before the word "blog" became a part of the lexicon. The very first time I heard that word was when a Times Leader reporter called and wanted my reaction to the fact that a previous version of this web locale was deleted by the host due to a complaint from a local resident. My what? My blog? I've been perpetrating my personal version of madness upon the good folks of this city since December 2, 2000. Somehow I've managed to rub a lot of people very raw and for which I truly do not care. Much more importantly to me, I'm made a helluva lot of friends along the way. If I hadn't started all of this I would have never had kayaked 75 miles on the Susquehanna. I would have never had done ride-alongs in police cars well after dark. I would have never had experienced the thrill of an election night victory that I did every thing I could think of to secure. I would have never even thunk of sitting on a fire engine and chewing the fat with the folks that run into burning buildings rather than away from them. I would have never come to learn just how completely professional and dedicated the first responders on the city payroll are. I would have never come to know and like some of those that report the local news. And I probably never would have believed that one person could help in some small way to actually make a difference.

The Scranton Times once wrote of the publisher of GrassrootsPa.com: "Meet the man who nearly blogged Specter out of office." And there are those in this city who have said that I blogged Tom McGroarty out of office all by my lonesome. While I know that to be grossly unfair to the countless volunteers that donated their time and money to oust our former mayor, I know my efforts on the internet certainly didn't help his chances of being reelected to a third term. And I take great pride in that fact.

Putting bald, fat, bitter, unemployed, clueless, mo'fu>ker and sockcucker aside, I've been called many things during all of this blogging muckity-muck. I was called the Matt Drudge of Wilkes-Barre. Someone said I was the local Rush Limbaugh. Someone else called me the Jonathan Swift of NEPA. A fellow local blogger once referred to me as "The Blogfather." My personal favorite was when I was hailed as the local version of I.F. Stone. Dammit, kiddies. Y'all need to get a grip on all of that glowing endorsement stuff. I'm just a guy who does exactly what everybody else does. I read the two local newspapers, I watch the six o'clock news on the video advertising box, I listen to talk radio and then I react to the parts I didn't really like, or didn't agree with. We all do that. The only discernable difference is that I share my thoughts with anyone who dares to know what they might happen to be on any given day. You know...I'm an idiot.

Frank Zappa once said of rock 'n' roll journalists that they were "...people who can't write interviewing people who can't talk for people who can't read."

I'm fairly certain that if I changed a word here and there that bitch-slappin' quote could easily apply to blogging. This ain't rocket science. I'm not reinventing any hyper-velocity impact shielding here. I just type.

I've pretty much heard it all. I'm a non-conformist. I'm an all-purpose gadfly. I'm too acerbic. I'm a caustic sumbitch. I'm a maverick. I was sent here to rape the minds of those normal folks. Alfred E. Newman is my real father. I have an agile mind. I should have been a journalist. I should have become a writer. Nah, I'm simply the equivalent of an ex-military brat that had so many wildly different influences growing up--I don't even know what I am, or why I am the way I am. We're talking about a guy who absolutely loves both Frank Zappa and Ronald Reagan. How is that even possible? It's not. Well, not in this completely polarized universe.

Look, I have no idea what Jon Fox is gonna write about me, my blog, or local blogging in general. And if the photo makes you toss your Aldi cookies, it's not my fault. That was his idea. I hope he does a nice piece about the entire lot of us bloggers that do what we do in NEPA. I hope he doesn't try to twist anything I had to say to him, because I spoke freely, openly and honestly. We shall see.

King of the local bloggers?

Yeehaw! Opal, you hot lil' bitch! Fetch me a goll-danged beer!!!

From the e-mail inbox Dear Mark: Read your response, appreciate your comments. Couple of items FYI. Call up Mr. Peanut on the internet if you want to be buried in Planters/Mr.Peanut memorabilia/information. There's a ton of it. Including info on the Club. As to the Knox disaster, it did have a marked affect on industry. I know you're from Connecticut, but did you know that industry suffered when the "clean" Blue Coal shipments were halted to big industries all over the nation, and abroad? King Coal was what got American industry on it's feet, and kept it running for a half century. Check the record. Without King Coal we'd still be burning logs. As to Mr. Peanut, I'm thinking about having a "Finnegan's Wake" for him. We'll march down South Main (from Daggobert, where Obici first boiled his peanuts), dropping off a pack of peanut everywhere Obici sold them, down to the Square...maybe forming a Congo line...maybe singing "We Shall Overcome"...and take on of those cast iron statues of Mr. Peanut and plant it next to "The Worm" statue somebody donated to Wilkes-Barre years ago. As to why I didn't bring up Mr. Peanut 20 years ago, you must remember Nabisco only shut down that office a few years ago, and only a couple of years ago turned it over to WB for a buck. That's when I first suggested we make it a museum. Can't do something with something we don't own until we own it, y'know! Anyhow, Altria (now owner of Planters), Parade magazines "Save Our History", and others are now expressing interest it in. I'll keep you posted on developements. Some surprises might be in store.

Jim McCarthy
aka "Councildude" (who reads everything, including five newspapers a day..and even listens to that guy on the radio with the screw loose- occasionally [that's where my late Father finished his 55 years in radio-tv locally]}.

I understand how coal fueled the industrial revolution. A few years ago I posted something about what it was like to grow up outside of a scarred coal mining area and then find yourself thrust right into the middle of one. Because of that, I ended up trading e-mails with a Rhea Malone who was real big into the coal miner stamp push. She provided me with many, many anthracite mining links to explore. Sadly, she has since passed away. But I think I'm somewhat up to speed on the coal mining industry that went tits-up the year I was born.

As to Mr. Peanut, I'm thinking about having a "Finnegan's Wake" for him.

Dude, I'm French. Francais, oui? What in hell is a Finnegan's Wake? When you cut yourself shaving, do you bleed green?

Those iron statues of Mr. Peanut? There ya go! Why can't we get a hold of those and put them on the Square somewhere? Somebody must know who has them. I think Thom Greco has one of them. As for the rest, ya sure got me by the you-know-whats. I want one near my star.

As to why I didn't bring up Mr. Peanut 20 years ago, you must remember Nabisco only shut down that office a few years ago, and only a couple of years ago turned it over to WB for a buck. That's when I first suggested we make it a museum. Can't do something with something we don't own until we own it, y'know!

I didn't mean to suggest that you had failed us whereas this "historic" building is concerned. I meant more along the lines of the entirety of the movers-and-shakers community. Be they city politicos, county politicos or the Chamber, the historic value of what once surrounded us seems totally lost upon everyone until the work orders for the wrecking balls get sent. The only time I hear anyone worrying about that sort of thing is when it might stand in the way of someone's vision of progress. For the life of me, I'll never understand how that Fell Tavern got flattened. And for what? A grassy lot?

Anyhow, Altria (now owner of Planters), Parade magazines "Save Our History", and others are now expressing interest it in. I'll keep you posted on developements. Some surprises might be in store.

I don't know, dude. Seems a bit late to me. If someone can pull it off and open a museum, that's all fine and good by me. But it can't be dependent upon the city's coffers.

The guy with the screw loose? OH! Him. He's a stooge.

Stay in touch.

From the e-mail inbox Markie,

Kurt...is....a...looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooon. I think he must be in cannabis withdrawl or his drum circle has left him for a younger and better smelling hippie.

Chia Kev? That's comedy gold right there!

I also think your critique of Cafe Metro is a bit off. What kind of people would let their kids go there? Me...and....I found out today.....the mayor. Maybe he doesn't know his kid hangs out there. Dust off your Dead Boys t-shirt and wander over there some time. You might be surprised...or be asked to leave.

Sez me.


P.S. I will not tell XXX about our clandestine encounters behind the shovel rack in Uncle Jiggy's tool shed. What happens in the shed stays in the shed.

Hey there! Go easy with the tool shed talk. She may not look like it and she may not sound like it, but Opal can read dang near as good as any second-grader. You're gonna get me skinned alive.

As far as Club Rude Boy goes, I don't care who's kids hang out there. All I know is, I can punch a helluva lot harder than any of my three kids can. And it is for that reason alone that you'd never see the likes of them in there. I taught 'em all about the inner workings of democracy, but I also taught them never to expect any of it in this adobe. It was painfully simple to follow. I say no and you don't go. And if you do go, consider the fact that you can't out-run me.

My kids had a few friends who got caught up in some of that alternative culture nonsense. And I used to bust their stones every chance I got. Who the hell is gonna hire a circus freak, Charlie? Who? Tell me who, Charlie? It took him a while, but he found out who wouldn't hire him. And lo-and-behold, gone was the green hair, the excessive body piercings and the hip-hop rags that were supposed to pass as clothing. Now he's all growed-up, gainfully employed and the circus is no longer interested in him.

A few years ago we were having a big party at the adobe and we invited this certain lady, and her daughter whom we had never met. The daughter declined the invite and I inquired as to why. Turns out, Little Miss Goth was too self-conscious about her appearance to go mixin' it up with any of those normal lookin' folks. What the heck is that? You're either a goth chick, or you're not. You're either happy with looking like a vampire, or you're not.

And these skinhead dingleberrys!?! Dad, I'm gonna be a quasi skinhead, okay? Sure, son. Right after I hold your head under the water for fifteen minutes.

Sorry, but I read that kids were hangin' out in that club when they were as young as 13-years-old. And that's perfectly fine with me provided that they weren't my kids. Once they were growing beyond our control to some degree, that's when I kinda turned 'em loose. There's the world, kiddies. Go and get it. And I didn't even pray.

But with that said, my son was the only person at his grandfather's viewing sporting a pink mohawk. And I was not happy about it until some guards brought his first cuzzin' into the funeral parlor sporting handcuffs and shackles. At that point, the pink mohawk didn't bother me near as much.

Parenting is a gas, ain't it? You do what it think is right and then hold on for dear life. Basically, it's a crap-shoot.

Dead Boys? Don't get me to pulling those vinyl LPs out. It'd be days before I'd even think of leaving the house again.

Surf Punks anyone?