4-29-2006 Unplanned walkabout

Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to, only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer.--Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

I had myself one helluva rugged workweek, which included not only job sites fraught with unknown terrors lurking beneath each and every sole plate, but long hours and then some. Yesterday, just when it seemed as if I was going to punch out long before the Sun started heading over there on the other side of this big ball of mass confusion we call home, I ran smack dab into a train derailment. And you know youíre screwed when the residents with the train tracks just off of their patios are spilling into the street with the quizzical What the hell was that? looks on their faces. Rutro.

All said and done, by the time we got turned around and waded through the fast-arriving fire trucks, police cars, EMA vehicles, ambulances, media vehicles, school buses, suddenly trapped motorists and the hordes of curious onlookers flocking to the scene on foot, I had myself yet another long day. Forced overtime is a double-edged sword. It often sucks much worse than accidentally wandering into a heavily-wooded forest where some over-eager SOAR operatives are being taught advanced sniping techniques, but itís neat on payday. Well, thatís assuming that youíve survived it intact. Oh, and that the govmint decides to allow me to keep some of what I earned. In these respects, Iíd be smart to take my chances with the snipers given the govmintís stifling penchant for siphoning off every last penny they can. Not to worry, though. Some kid turned mulch specialist just in from south of the border needs my money more than I do.

Anyway, thatís what they tell me.

Gage throwing darts. Get back!

From the e-mail inbox Have not wrote into you in a while just wanted to offer my thoughts on an issue you raised. Do you really think city council will ever pass the redisticting? I mean i look at it like this. If i were an elected official, and i knew i had to run against two other strong candidates, would i really kind of vote myself off of the board, lets face it thats what two of these guys are going to do if they pass this one. On the other hand, I don't see how they CAN NOT pass these districts, i mean come on how many do we have to come up with? I see your supporting Eddie Pashinski, he seems like a nice guy, but i have to be honest its hard to get a hold of what he stands for, he is a very smooth guy however.

Wb. Twp

Saw you driving the Hummer the other day, gave you a honk, what no wave?

Zach wins an imported Matchbox knockoff

Sorry about the unintentional snub, but I get bombarded with shouts and whatnot while cruising the streets on the Hummer. Thereís the folks who detest me yelling less than flattering stuff. Then thereís the folks who approve of my insane efforts shouting all sorts of encouragements. Plus, youíve got the land yacht-driving women who get to freaking out at the mere thought of sharing their roadways with anything that does not displace at least 46,000 tons.

On an average day, I get barked at even more than those people who staff the local SPCA do. Maybe Iíll get me one of those iPOD thingamabobs and listen to self-help audiotapes while out and about. God knows, thereís certainly no shortage of people claiming that I need help. Dr. Laura ought to do nicely. How about ďMen are from Mars and Women are from Battlestar Emasculate?Ē Iíll mull it over.

Come to think of it, it might be a whole lot cheaper to simply eunuchize myself. A rusted scuba knife should do the trick. No more machismo. No more phallic worship. No more adventure. No more doing less than smart things just to say I did them. No more pushing the envelope. Iíll be just another metrosexual that fitís the mold of what those hairy-chested feminists think men should be. You knowÖa freakiní placenta-eating pansy boy.

Or maybe I should buck the current trends altogether and become a ruthless mercenary for hire and resort to killing people simply because their ancient book of rules over there doesnít exactly jive with the ancient book of rules weíve got over here. Sounds like some exciting derring-do to me, but itíd likely annoy the hairy balls off of those militant man-chicks. No matter. Odds are theyíll be too busy thrashing about on top of a genetically-mutated cucumber to even notice any of my genocides in the making. Have no fear, though--the United Nations will rush to stop me. Right.


Ebon lets it rip

At this point, the council has no choice but to accept the will of the people and get on with this much-stalled redistricting thing. And thatís why this unending hand-wringing on their part is starting to get on my last thoroughly-frayed nerve. And despite what some might tell you, all will not be lost in Wilkes-Barre if a few incumbents get shown the door, and we will not cease to exist if five council members get to looking out for the best interests of their neighborhoods.

Pick a councilman, any councilman. For the sake of this exercise, letís single out Councilman X from somewhere in the other end of the city.

How much time does he actually spend in my neighborhood? How many times has he walked the streets of my district after dark? Can he identify the curbs or storm sewers that need immediate attention up my way right off the top of his head? Does he know the problem properties, the problematic tenants, or where the loose dogs continually run from in my neighborhood? Is one patrol car enough in the Nord End, or are we in dire need of a saturation patrol now and then? Can Councilman X from Gordon Avenue completely appreciate the needs of my end of the town? Methinks not.

After the redistricting plan is fully implemented, my neighborhood will have a council member of itís own. And if a pressing issue suddenly presents itself, we can get on the blower with him and get him to investigating it. And thatís assuming that he wasnít already aware of it. I guarantee you that a council member hailing from the Heights does not understand what happens on Butler Street after dark once the warmer temperatures arrive. Conversely, I have no clue as to what itís like to reside in the Heights on most nights.

And as far as an infighting for future resources is concerned, the reconstituted council will have to sit down and prioritize the allocation of future spending initiatives. It doesnít take a rocket scientist to figure out which roads need to paved first, and it doesnít require piles of college degrees to ascertain where most of our policing needs to happen. The last time I checked on it, not a one of our council folks were either illiterate or even slightly stupid, so working together for the betterment of the entire city rather than making political hay in their own districts shouldnít be too difficult. You would hope, right?

And, no, I am not endorsing Ed Pashinski. I was trying to point out that heís a decent guy. Iím not sure who Iím going to vote for. After J.J. Murphy was forced to drop out of the political scrum in the making, the entire race to replace the outgoing Kevin Blaum became an uninspiring happening for me. Consider what weíve been treated to up to this point. Has there been any substantial debate of the issues at hand? Has any candidate really captured your imagination? Have any of them brought anything to the table that we havenít all heard many times before? At this stage of the lame game, Iíd like to see some mud thrown around just to see what these people are made of. This isnít as much a race as it is a popularity contest. And if Iím remembering our recent, ultra destructive past correctly, Tom McGroarty was immensely popular when he was swept into office.

Thing is, there are no political yard signs in front of this adobe. Iíll do my civic duty come election day. Iíll vote. And for now, I must leave it at that.

Stay in touch.

I definitely got my city events all buggered up earlier today. Donít ask me what sort of laced materials I was smoking, but I mistakenly thought the Cherry Blossom Festival was going down on Public Square. Fatigue can do that to a crazy person. As a result, we loaded the four grandrodents into the two Radio Flyer wagons and set sail for the town square. Needless to say, upon our arrival, an ďOops!Ē was about all I could offer to my stunned entourage. Not to be denied our fair share of the festival hoopla, we hoofed it over the bridge and joined the mass of humanity in Kirby Park.

Very cool

The festival was fun as always, but I have to say, the grandrodents were absolutely loving the new playground facilities. And when playgrounds happen to dominate the discussion, these are not your run-of-the-mill grandrodents. These kids are used to heading off to playgrounds far and wide every weekend on the elongated Rock Stomper. My kidís kids are probably the foremost authorities on all things playground in the Wyoming Valley. And when two of them get to crying and squirming rather than leave--weíre talking one kick-ass playground, here. And that rubber pad--that soft base on which to fall and bounce right back up--is simply awesome. Major, major kudos have to go out to whomever it was that put that package together. It is an awesome addition to Kirby Park.


Iím curious, though. Why havenít the newspapers made mention of it? Doesnít fit the ĎWilkes-Barre sucksí template? Whatever.

IĎve been drawing quite a few visits from internet servers in Washington, D.C. of late, and in particular, from one used by those mostly useless congressmen and their equally useless concubines. What might I imagine has drawn someoneís interest all of a sudden? What local issue comes up on these electronic pages quite frequently, but rarely, if ever, anywhere else?

UhÖthat brainless inflatable dam project, maybe? The public hearing is scheduled for May 1st right here in good ole Wilkes-Barre, is it not? And Paul Kanjorski would sure hate to be embarrassed in advance of the November elections, would he not?

Well, dig this, kiddies. Tune into WILK (980 AM) at 8:10 on Monday morning and listen to some people in the know discuss the proposed deflatable dam and the Susquehanna River in general with both Chia Kev & Lib Chick. And that means you, Uncle Paul.

Weíve heard enough inane drivel coming from the people whoís less than vast experience with the river is limited to driving over it. Itís high time we hear from those who paddle it, respect it and volunteer their time to see it returned it to what it used to be--a clean free-flowing river.

I know not of every eddy and boil worth avoiding, or every pristinely clean tributary worth exploring. I know some of the riverís surprisingly rich history, but not enough to ever dare call myself a River Rat. Iíve paddled a sum total of 75 miles on this river of ours, but on Monday morning youíll be given the opportunity to hear from those who have paddled literally thousands of miles on what needs to be restored to some of itís former luster--the Susquehanna River.

I know youíve typically got more pressing issues to consider, but unchecked pollution and the damming of such right on our shoreline is worth paying attention to.

Do you want a clean, free-flowing river? Or do you want a dam standing in the way of 80 or so sewage outflows?

Tune in.

The expensive headphones are in for quite the workout tonight.