2-3-2006 An e-mail from Wilkes

Slow news day. Ah, hell! There’s always somethin‘ we can haggle about?

Hayna? Or…Hayna, or no?

Acme Market ? Or…Ack-a-me Market?

Dandelions? Or…Piss-the-beds?

Company picnic? Or…Company pitnik?

Popsicle? Or…popsiggle?

Bicycle? Or..biciggle?

Derriere? Or…dupa?

Fecal matter? Or…caca?

I await your responses. Chochi Annie needs to know. Heyna, huh already!

From CNN.com:

GAZA CITY (AP) -- Tens of thousands of angry Muslims marched through Palestinian cities, burning the Danish flag and calling for vengeance Friday against European countries where caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad were published.

Angry protests against the drawings spread in the Muslim world. In Washington, the State Department criticized the drawings, calling them "offensive to the beliefs of Muslims."

In Iraq, thousands demonstrated after Friday mosque prayers, and the country's leading Shiite cleric denounced the drawings. About 4,500 people rallied in the southern city of Basra and burned the Danish flag…

Great. Now a couple of editorial cartoons have become the latest excuse for fomenting hate and calling for the destruction of other peoples. Is it just me, our does this religion instill perpetual rage in it‘s followers? Every fu>king day presents yet another opportunity--another excuse--to be outraged by something or other. The slightest perceived insult--another excuse--results in calls for revenge, death and destruction, or all-out war.

So what’s next? More hostages? More beheadings? Nifty. Burn down France again? Blowing up busses and subway trains is always fun. London anyone? How ‘bout Madrid revisited? Hold on. I got it. How ‘bout toppling a few more skyscrapers? Those are all justifiable responses to an editorial cartoon. (?)

And they wonder why we mock them.

I see the Citizens‘ Voice published a letter from Councilman Jim McCarthy regarding the effort to convert the Planter’s Peanuts administration building into a museum. I don’t feel like getting into all of that tonight, but here’s a link of local interest worth exploring. This site is expansive and includes tons of pictures.

We’ve reminisced on these pages many times about what we loved about Wilkes-Barre’s once glorious downtown, but rarely does Woolworths rate a mention. Growing up I spent as much time in the basement toy and pet departments at Woolworths as I did anywhere else in the old downtown. And Grandma always had time for lunch at the luncheonette. Burgers, fries, a Coke and then the banana splits. Remember the promotion? You picked a balloon from the inflated cluster at the hostess counter, your waitress stabbed it and then the tiny strip of paper contained therein announced how much the dessert would set you back. It could be $1.99, or it could be a penny. But you never knew until the balloon exploded.

Obviously I was easily amused as a boy. Whatever. Anywho, the following site is really interesting:

Woolworths Virtual Museum

Just in case you missed it, I linked to this site on the main page:

RC Theatres

Pennsylvania Theatre News

Wilkes Barre, PA - Coming Spring of 2006 The Wilkes Barre Movies 14 will offer stadium seating, rocking chairs, Dolby Digital sound, digital projection, game and party rooms as well as a VIP viewing area You can follow the progress of construction at the following link:

Sordoni Construction Cam

I really don‘t feel like arguing about the Café Metropolis either, but the following e-mail in defense of the club is definitely worthy of a look.

I will say this, if the owners are upgrading the sprinklers and complying in every other way, then, by all means, rock on! At least the kids will be properly protected from a fiery catastrophe.

Now all they need is a way to keep the Hitler Youth from blowing into town.

From the e-mail inbox I am current attending Wilkes University for XXXXXXX, and one of the major reasons I chose to come here was Cafe Metropolis. The place dwarfs anything in Pittsburgh (near where I am originally from and was accepted to 2 schools) and in the Cincinnati area, where I was also accepted to a XXXXX school. Several other Wilkes students here that I have talked to also stated that the Metro was a major part of their decision making process, and at least one person I know wants to leave for Philly because of the uncertainty around Metro and utter lack of anything else to do in downtown Wilkes-Barre.

The reason that the glass bottles are broken behind Metro all the time is from the Hispanic Grocery Store right by it. They sell Pepsi and Coke products there imported from Mexico in glass bottles.

Metro is amazing that it is even open. In Pittsburgh, all venues were bought up long ago by Clear Channel and have since mostly shut down. That city has some of the most talented bands in the planet, and it was voted the #1 music scene in the US last year, but there is nowhere that you can go for a show. It's quickly becoming a dead scene there, and everything takes place in the suburbs as far as DIY shows go.

Metro has managed to stay open for 10 years through the ups and downs in the DIY music scene. Many HUGE bands come through here. Just in September, Cursive choose to play here on a small club tour for a $8 show. They are a band that could have easily sold out a 1000 capacity venue in Philly at $15-$20 a ticket, but they choose here instead. The Toasters were the final show before the venue was shut down, and back in the ska explosion in the late 90's they were one of the top bands in the country. With them was a band all the way from Holland that was here on a government arts grant by their country.

Do the occasional fights happen their? Yes. But it is no different than any other club, bar, or venue in the country. That place was like a home for many youths, as well as many college students and area musicians. The place may have looked like crap, but inside it was always fairly clean and a very safe environment. And the place was not a home for skinheads, as you stated in a previous entry. There were the occasional street punk/oi! skins who attended, but those are non racist skins. What happened the night of the stabbing however was Nazi skins, aka boneheads, from New Jersey and Allentown showed up and started the fight with the non racist skins. One of my best friend's was there that night celebrating her birthday with friends and she called me about 10:30 or 11PM and told me about all the Nazis being there and the stabbing. Her and most of her friends were Hispanic by the way, so they were rather lucky they were safe through it.

Cafe Metro should be something that this city is proud of. It is all ages, DIY, they pay their taxes on everything they get unlike other area businesses in that area, they host shows 4+ nights a week, and is one of the greatest places to see a show I have ever been to. I've only been here about a year and a half and many of my best memories of this city have occurred there. If you are there drunk or otherwise intoxicated, you are thrown out. If you are spouting racist crap, you're thrown out. If you start a fight, you're thrown out. The people who work there are very nice and do a good job policing stuff within and around the venue. The people who attend shows also uphold the same ethic, and keep watch over each other. The place is a giant family, brought together by a love of music and the scene. Many nights I've seen Matt, Kev, and Donald outside cleaning up cigarette butts, trash, glass, etc. The alleyway behind the place is a dump, and I'm sure they could go there every day and clean up and it would still look like crap.

It would be nice to see it made safer in the area however. The downtown is finally getting streetlights, which is also a very nice addition. There's many shady places in the city where just walking around at night freaks me out. The drug ring in the hair salon was a nice start. My first night in town the two guys who worked the street tried to sale to me. Then about 3 minutes later, a massive hooker came up to me and asked if I wanted a "good time". I can't believe that the people and police of the city didn't know that was going on and took well over a year to shut down. Many nights I was afraid to leave Metro because of that going on beside it. I had my cell phone stolen right out of my hands by a crackhead behind there the night HORSE the Band played. Since the drug ring was busted, it has been much safer and a much better atmosphere in the area. Look at the businesses still open around Metro though. There's a pawn shop that sells obviously stolen merchandise, much of it still in the wrapping with Best Buy and WalMart stickers on them. There's a bong shop on the corner that none of the cops care about. There's a shady pool hall, an abandoned strip club, and Carmen's is still there open, even after being caught for dealing coke.

The city of Wilkes-Barre should have much more important things to deal with than nitpicking a club that has been it's current location for 8 years and never had a problem with inspections before. Matt said that he talked to a former building inspector, and much of what the city cited was not even applicable for them since the building is so old, such as the sprinkler system. It's required in new buildings, but not older ones where it would be cost prohibitive to install one. They however are getting it fixed anyways to shut the city up and make sure there is no other technicality's that they could be gotten on. Metro will live one, either in it's current location or a future one if it comes to that.

And to all the people thinking that the theater will help the city out a lot, it won't. People will not pay $10 to see a movie when they can go to the mall to the small theater there and see it for $4, or just wait two months and get the DVD. The movie industry is currently experiencing downturns in the theater market. The internet and DVD markets however have been very successful, and probably will take over much of theater markets in the coming years. Dinosaurs will die, and Wilkes-Barre will be stuck with a $30 million abandoned theater, or a theater that can't make money within 5-10 years. One new building will not fix major problems in the downtown. People will continue to go to the mall and other businesses around that area before they think of coming downtown until a real attraction opens in the area that will lure them in. Metro is an attraction downtown for many younger people, and when shows go on the grocery store by it, the gas station two blocks away, and the McDonald's three blocks away all get many people who walk there for food or a drink. There businesses are all very positively impacted by the Metro, as I see them full of people all the time between band's sets, and loosing it will hurt them all as well.

So in closing, everyone should support their LOCALLY owned and operated businesses. I buy cd's at Gallery of Sound and video games at The Videogame Store. I'd rather eat at a small diner than a chain restaurant. Sure I may pay a little more from time to time, but it is worth it to not be forking money over to Best Buy, EB Games, FYE, WalMart, Starbucks, and McDonald's that will only benefit some CEO hundreds of miles away. Take pride in this city, in it's music scene, and it's local businesses. These will help the city out in the long run, not another WalMart or Starbucks.

Thanks for reading this if you did read it all,

And there you have it. An e-mail from one of the kids that didn’t play hooky when the ‘portant stuff was being taught. I don‘t know, but Frisbee and Pull the Peg seemed real important to me way back when. It was a tough one trying to explain to the assistant principal how and why my cousin could end up with a compound fracture of his upper leg in the middle of Kirby Park when we were supposed to be eating lunch in Coughlin’s cafeteria. The gigantic buck knife wasn’t too easy to explain, either. Doh!

Although, I will take issue with this part of the e-mail:

And to all the people thinking that the theater will help the city out a lot, it won't. People will not pay $10 to see a movie when they can go to the mall to the small theater there and see it for $4, or just wait two months and get the DVD. The movie industry is currently experiencing downturns in the theater market. The internet and DVD markets however have been very successful, and probably will take over much of theater markets in the coming years. Dinosaurs will die, and Wilkes-Barre will be stuck with a $30 million abandoned theater, or a theater that can't make money within 5-10 years. One new building will not fix major problems in the downtown. People will continue to go to the mall and other businesses around that area before they think of coming downtown until a real attraction opens in the area that will lure them in.

Dude, I got 3 kids and 4 grandkids. My kids take in movies in Dunmore all the time, but now they’ll do so in downtown Wilkes-Barre. My grandkids are pumped and ready to enjoy the moving-going experience. I keep telling them we’re going to see movies as big as a house and they like the sound of that. Sorry, but watching a DVD at home does not compare to watching a movie in a theater. It never has, and it never will no matter how many watts we pump through the surround-sound systems.

The film industry is in a slump because the product has really sucked of late. With rare exceptions, we’ve been skipping the steady diet of movie remakes and the agenda-driven drivel that passes as filmmaking these days. “The Day after Tomorrow” comes to mind off of the top of my head. We can’t just escape reality for two hours and watch the world be leveled by a killer storm. (Cool.) No! No! We need Randy Quaid to lecture us about how we are destroying the Earth. Blah, blah, fu>king blah. Where’s that fargin’ remote?

Actually, our local movie market is underserved, hence, RC Theaters is coming to town. If they didn’t stand to make a profit, they wouldn’t be coming. The cineplex in Dunmore is too far away. The one in Edwardsville is ancient--certainly not state-of-the-art by any stretch of the imagination. And the theaters in the mall are akin to watching a movie in a closet.

In all honesty, there is much more going on in, and even more planned for downtown Wilkes-Barre than “one new building.” You know that. Plus, rising energy costs and the slowdown of the housing market will make urban settings attractive again before too much longer. The world’s oil supply is controlled by a collection of tyrants that are with increasing frequency rattling sabers. If people think $2.50-$3.00 is a lot to pay for a single gallon of gas--just wait and see what it’ll cost them when Iran, or Venezuela shuts off the spigots. Sprawl plus bigger and bigger SUVs plus increasing crude oil prices equals a return to an urban setting. You’ll see.

And what is a “real attraction” anyway? Seriously, tell me. What is a “real attraction?” If we made you Mayor, what would you do to attract people to the downtown? You’re not going to find a developer willing to risk his own capital on building a new mall a mile and a half away from the Wyoming Valley Mall. One Steamtown is enough in any given area. The baseball stadium and hockey palace ideas are already covered. Really? What would you do?

I suggested that a motocross track be created on McGroarty’s Holeplex site, but nobody frickin’ listens to me. My Frank Zappa museum suggestion was summarily dismissed by the Chamber folks. Nobody liked my spaceport idea. I’m fresh out of brilliant ideas.

You tell me, man. And remember, as mayor you are not allowed to print your own money. Consider the ever-present budget constraints.

By the way, RC Theatres is currently hiring for the following positions in the Wilkes-Barre area:

Assistant Theater Managers


Concession Attendants

Usher/Door Persons


(Note to college students: Free movies is one of the benefits being offered.)

From the e-mail inbox Hi. Please tell me the local hoagie barn in Ashley you were refering to was Vino's. If not you should give them a try, they have really great hoagies. In fact their tuna hoagies are just right Not the sloppy mess you were describing. Above all they are also fresh. They are on Blackman Street (is that Ashley?) across from the Skateaway. Give them a try if you havent already.

Nah, I absolutely love S&J Hoagies just off Main Street in Ashley. I think it’s located on St. Mary’s Road, but I’m not, like, totally sure. (Valley Girl speak?) I’ll check out Vino’s, though. If we don’t support our local businesses--we won’t have any local businesses.

Anyway, thanks for the heads-up.

From the e-mail inbox Hey, less than a week ago I asked you to include Penn State Wilkes-Barre site in your list of local higher education. IT IS THERE! Thank you so much and be sure that your site will be talked about all over the campus. Great place now!

Thanks again and you can count me as a supporting fan.

No problemo. Actually, that link should have been there since day one.

I think the kiddies at the Wilkes-Barre campus should have to study my site for an entire semester.

Call it Don’t let this happen to you 101. (HUM101)

In case you’re worried about me, my eardrums are just fine. Last night was a high-decibel A through Z adventure. Let’s see, I did Abba, Zappa, Sparks, Tenacious D, The Presidents of the United States of America, Talking Heads, Violent Femmes, XTC, Billy Idol, West Side Story and Ziggy Stardust.

That’s enough for one night, hayna?

Or no?

I’m gonna go watch a DVD. The theater is still a couple of months away. I think I’ll spin “Red Dawn.” No agendas. No moralizing. No lectures. Just some good ole’ American high school kids killin’ scores of marauding Russian soldiers. It’s called escapism. And escapism is what sells copious amounts of movie tickets.

Somebody get Hollywood on the blower.