3-5-2006 What gives?

I think there are local television stations and newspapers everywhere who better start paying attention to these local blogs because they are a direct connection to their communities.--David Bohrman, CNNís Washington bureau chief.

The preceding quote was culled from this story--Blogging Locally--which was e-mailed to me quite some time ago. When I first read that line, I remember thinking something along the lines of, ďWow! Ainít I frickiní important--NOT!Ē

Iíve posted the following e-mail because Iíve received many just like it over the years, but this one asks for more than what sites I happen to read on a consistent basis.

From the e-mail inbox Mark

I am new to your site and read it along with the papers each morning. I read as many blogs as time allows but your site is the only one of a purely local nature. You mention plenty of items that end up in our papers. I was wondering what sites you read.

I noticed your site is never mentioned or linked to anywhere I go. The state politics blogs link to dozens and dozens of blog sites but not yours. Bloggers from this area never link to you. I also noticed you donít link to other blogs as all other bloggers do. It seems your not trying to find more readers and I find that odd. What gives?


The reason I never bothered to respond to the folks wanting to know what I read is because I am a voracious reader and I will read everything that time permits me to on a day-to-day basis. The list would be endless, but Iím sure it would surprise those that think Iím just your run-of-the-mill right-wing Republican apologist.

I am nothing of the sort and I treat myself to a steady diet of the hateful name-calling, paranoia, xenophobia in reverse, conspiracy theories, and less than fairly applied standards that the very best of the left-wing writers and bloggers have to offer. Meanwhile, I also read the best the bible thumpers, the isolationists, the protectionists, the racists in denial, and the ĎNuke Ďem all and let God sort Ďem outí ďpatriotsĒ leaning too far to the right have to share with all of us. Iím not sure if it makes me well-rounded, or just sickened by the whole bunch. Whatever.

Gage and homemade cinnamon donuts

Iíll read Jeff Gordon tribute sites. Aryan nation sites. Global warming sites. And anti-PETA sites. Iíll read sites about gummy penises. Sites concerning the latest on termites. Iíll read gay sites. And Iíll read sites authored by those that want gays stricken dead. I read Gort 42 and I read The American Check-Up, and if those two sites have anything in common, itís that they agree to disagree.

If reading was dope, Iíd be this areaís biggest addict.

Wilkes-Barre doesnít have much of a blogosphere presence, but my absolute favorite is reading my neighborís takes on things. I donít have to agree with what they have to say to keep on coming back, and they can even piss me off on occasion without my feeling the need to respond in most cases. Recently, a local blogger took to beating up on Rick Santorum because of his fund-raising prowess, as if Bob Casey Jr. wouldnít do the exact same thing if he somehow could. I thought that was unfair, but who cares when you consider that neither Rick Santorum nor Bob Casey Jr. probably give a flying funk about the lot of us. Those two excite me about as much as knitting does. But I digress.

In a cracked nutshell, Iíll read whatever time allows for. And if I may, I have linked to every local blogger that I know off by placing the NEPA Blogs link on my main page. And just in case they didnít notice or appreciate the timing involved with the appearance of that link, I slapped that link in place in advance of the spike in visits sure to follow that story the Times Leader did on me.

That link in no way means that I endorse what they have to say, I simply wanted those that wander by here now and then to know that Iím not the only one from NEPA babbling away on the internet. Give everybody a look see.

Why donít the PoliticsPA.com type statewide politico sites link to me? Got me. I imagine itís because those that have no interest in the goings-on in Wilkes-Barre are not likely to follow a link and read about one lunatics version of Wilkes-Barre. Itís either that, or they think Iím a clueless idiot not worthy of a mention. Either way, it matters not to me.

Why do I seem as if Iím not interested in attracting more readers, or, as a blogger would put it, in building more traffic?

Well, itís not that Iím not trying to as much as Iím avoiding the usual traffic building techniques. Hereís the disclaimer that has appeared at the bottom of my main page since itís inception on December 2, 2000:

Wilkes-Barre Online

is not-for-profit and is not affiliated with any political party, news source, government agency, taxpayer group, misguided environmentalists, or any single issue jerk-off group.

Iím not affiliated with anyone or any organization. I do my own thing and thatís the way itís been since day one. Now, if Iíd stick to one ideology or the polar opposite other, I could join groups such as the Young Conservatives of Pennsylvania (YCOP) and be linked to from all of the other YCOP sites from across the state. Iíd probably get traffic up the sphincter from like-minded individuals, but the only problem is that Iím not of a like-minded nature. Iím not a Republican apologist, and Iím not of the mindset that any Tom, Dick or Harry reciting some ancient scripture is the very best thing for American kinfolk since the advent of ribbed condoms.

I could go the other way, link to Lefty Blogs type sites and get plenty of visits from the folks at the other end of the political spectrum, but Iím not going to stoop to pretending to believe that a hostility bordering upon hatred of Christianity and Republicans in general comes even close to being progressive in thought. Iím not towing anybodyís well-worn line.

In my opinion, the blogosphere has devolved to the point where itís fast becoming a vast network of folks linking to each other, visiting each otherís sites and congratulating each other on their great work. If I ever need to reduce myself to that to be heard, my blogging days will come to an abrupt halt. I have no idea how many blogs there are that link here, nor do I care. Technorati rankings count for nothing when you have to gin up visits. And a blogroll amounts to little more than a public thanks for a mention from a fellow blogger who repeats the same talking points.

Taylor and the powdered sugar

Iíve said all along that a single web site cannot change the world. It cannot determine the outcome of national elections. And it cannot change the face of state politics. If thatís the case, why bother at all? My sole motivation for creating this site was to explore just what the hell was happening to my once proud city some five-plus years ago. When I started all of this mucking about, I really had no idea, but the blanks sure got filled-in in a big, big hurry thanks to the participation of many others who were equally concerned. I do happen to believe that the outcome of city-wide or county-wide elections can be tinkered with to some degree by way of the internet, but thereís no discernable way to substantiate that belief. Well, none that I know of.

Every once in a while I embed a site meter on the main page to get a feel for how many of my visits are coming from folks who are living far from Wilkes-Barre. They have been consistently sizable, so Iíve made it a point to post stuff that theyíd never see without living here. A good example would be the recent Times Leader editorial cartoon I scanned up to the site. Chances are that the folks from Washington, D.C., Seattle, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, England and Baltimore would have never seen that cartoon without subjecting themselves to the likes of me.

On occasion, Iíve gotten complaints from some for posting too many pictures of my grandkids on these various and sundry pages of mine. Fact is, those grandkids of mine have out-of-state relatives that donít spent near as much time with them as I do, so I post lots of pics for those far-flung relatives to tune in and check out. There have been some interesting side-affects though. On more than one occasion, Iíve been told by readers of this site that had never met Gage in person that he was ďgetting so big.Ē In other words, they had been watching him grow up on the internet. Weirdness, huh?

I write about Wilkes-Barre and her neighboring communities. The folks that expose themselves to my madness on a consistent basis either live here, originally hailed from here, or have some interest in what goes on here. A city official once told me that the AMBAC folks in NYC that guarantee our bonds read whatever they can pertaining to Wilkes-Barre as a way of following up on their investments, and that includes this strange web locale. Thatís nuts. And they probably think Iím nuts as well.

Iíll never be the blogger of the year. Iíll never get myself mentioned in Time magazine. Iíll never get a key to the city. Iíll never get rich because of my blogging exploits. And thatíll suit me just fine. Fact is, all I ever wanted was to draw attention to the fact that my city was slipping quite noticeably, and, in my opinion, we could and should have been doing a helluva lot better. And now that weíre poised and ready to do a helluva lot better, there are less and less reasons for me to continue doing what Iíve been doing in this really weird electronic void we call cyberspace.

Iíve been told that I should be writing books, but it escapes me as to what I should be prattling on and on about without some clear-cut inspiration. When I was a boy, we caught crayfish and chased the girls around the school yard until they agreed to drop their halter tops for five seconds. Iíve been told I should be a local columnist, but being limited to a certain template would take all of the fun out of this. Iím as objective as the next bent-over progressive, but Bush ate my children. Iíve also been told I should have been a journalist, but I canít punctuate to save my life. The C;130 gun, ships circled--overhead/ like vultures waiting--for--their prey to exhale: their last, breathes.

Thatís all bunkum when you consider that what Iím truly good at is pissing off just about everybody I encounter by way of the internet. In my mind, thatís my biggest claim to fame in these overly politically correct times. I thunk it, I typed it, Iíll defend it if need be, and if you donít like it take a flying internet leap to more friendlier, more agreeable electronic confines. It is what it is, it ainít nothing special and there it is. I realize Iím a jumbled mass of violently conflicting influences, but three broken homes in 16 short years will make even the moderately sane somewhat insane. I make no apologies for what I have become.

I blog.

Big whoop.

From The Citizensí Voice:

A new non-profit organization will seek private donations to help fund events for Wilkes-Barreís 200th anniversary this year and future celebrations.

City celebration gets boost

Entertainment? Cheap Trick on Public Square?

ĎBout time.

From The Times Leader:

WLKES-BARRE - WLKES-BARRE Ė An Easton man was arrested on drug charges at about 7:42 p.m. Thursday after a failed attempt to elude officers, police said.

According to police:

Carlos Cruz, 33, failed to stop at a red light on Kidder Street and an officer attempted to pull him over. Cruz fled, traveling on Interstate 81 south and eventually crashed on Spring Street in Hanover Township. Cruz fled on foot, but was apprehended after a brief pursuit.

Cruz was found to be in possession of suspected marijuana, cocaine and heroin. He was charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance and fleeing and eluding police.

Um, can we get Ron Felton on the racism hotline and inquire as to whether this routine traffic stop turned drag race would also amount to racial profiling? Donít bother calling any of those diversity honchos from the local colleges. Sh*t, man. Those people are being paid to spot evidence of racism when they peer into their morning bowls of Cheerios.

Great! Just what we fu>king needed. Yet another political party created to elect the unelectable.

Candidate dumped by Greens starts new party

February 28, 2006

John Murphy's search for a party that will accept his candidacy for his quixotic run for the 16th CD seat has taken another turn. Murphy was rejected by the state Green Party at its weekend convention. Rather than sit out the race, Murphy has decided to start his own party--the Pennsylvania Populists. Murphy is linking with the Maryland Populist Party, an entity created by Ralph Nader in 2004 to support his independent run for president.

"John Murphy has made Pennsylvania history today by launching the new Populist Party of Pennsylvania," said Chris Dricoll, chair of the MD Populists in an email circulated by Murphy. "Let me be the first to congratulate John and all the other newly minted Pennsylvania Populists for their boldness and advanced thinking."

As PPP reported earlier, Murphy was rejected by the Berks Greens. Murphy has listed endorsements by the PA Socialist, Reform and Libertarian parties on his website (www.johnmurphyforcongress.org). He has dropped the Socialist Party, but still claims that he "will have the formal endorsement of the Libertarian Party and the Reform Party." Neither party would authenticate that claim.

Attempts to contact the MD Populists were unsuccessful. Their web and email account has been suspended for non-payment (www.populistpartymd.org).

Donít give Walter any more bright ideas. Jeez.

From the e-mail inbox Thanks for calling me an interesting character, i flip flop more than John Kerry hahaha...ANY WAY....up her in "DA" twp. rumors were circulating about Reilly and his past....Was he really found guilty of the poll thing, or was that just a rumor? I remember slightly something in the paper about this a while ago, but i cant be for sure....you will have to pardon me, my memory is not what it used to be....As far as your truck goes however, that is mid night blue, it could appear black though....One more quick question for you....do you think the voters of the city are a little sick of Katsock running for everything all the time, i give her credit for running, but can the saying, " 30 times a charm" work for her?



Reilly? All I know is what WNEP reported, which was:

Wilkes-Barre police officers came and talked to Reilly and others, then sent Reilly citations for harassment and disorderly conduct Wednesday.

Whether they stuck or not is anybodyís guess. Consider where we live.

I donít care what anyone sez, that truck looks black to me, man.

Katsock? I doubt that the average folks pay close enough attention to be sick of her numerous attempts to get herself elected to numerous offices. What she has managed to do is build herself some significant name recognition. She got 37% of the vote against Kevin Blaum during her last attempt, so who knows? And to be honest, none of the Democratic hopefuls have anything on her in that respect, except for Brian OíDonnell. And whatís he running on other than name recognition, and his early promise to pander to senior citizens?

Big upset?

You never know.

Taylor again

NASCAR just black-flagged Kevin Harvick. Iím gonna snap soon.