5-12-2006 Am I a centrist?

Does the nature of blogging lend itself to extreme partisanship?--Anonymous post on some vapid public forum Web page.

Does it? It sure seems so, but why single out bloggers when the “mainstream” press is clearly divided upon strict ideological lines? And for that matter, so is the so-called “alternative” press.

The thing is, stifling racial, tribal and political discord seems to be the rage these days, and it’s global, not merely limited to the United States. Well, that is, the Europeans seem just fine with their legalized everything approach to life, so, being stoned half the time does not lead to divides of any sort. Oh, and the marginal countries being ruled by bloated tin-horn dictators are typically whipped into nationalistic frenzies hating the evil bogeyman…us, so, the residents of those countries get along just fine until the U.N. peacekeepers show up manning trucks filled with free foodstuffs, and all sorts of machete hell breaks out.

Face it. No matter where you go, people are killing other people simply for having the wrong pigment, the wrong last name, the wrong tribal affiliation or the wrong fictional book of religion. In this country, we eschew gray and pick either black or white as the truth of all known matters. But, for the most part, we don’t chop of anyone’s limbs, or anything.

Does the nature of blogging lend itself to extreme partisanship?

Maybe. Probably. But, so what? We’re only following the example of damn near everyone else. There’s bed-wetters, right-wingers, tree-huggers and bible thumpers. And who cares so long as nobody causes a murder, or gets to slashing tires like those Democratic party operatives did in Ohio just before Diebold stole the last election for Damien‘s first-born son.

If you happen to blog, are you too partisan? Do you have a single centrist bone in your body, or did a Limbaugh or a Franken appear to you right next to a burning bush?

Are the Democrats the problem? Are the Republicans the program? Or is the clear lack of cooperation, compromise and love of country over love of the party the problem?

As for myself, I have no idea what I am other than mish-mashed since birth.

Works for me.

From the e-mail inbox Mark -

Thanks for the laugh on the following comment:

"No barn animals in Wilkes-Barre? Lemme get this straight. I can have a 150-pound dog. But I can’t have a smallish goat? My Rottweiller can eat your toddler, and that’s allowed. But, my goat might eat some neighbor’s lawn, and that’s a problem? Yak droppings would be unacceptable in an urban environment. Yet, horse droppings scattered all over the city is proof that the police are doing their jobs?

Besides…what the heck are we supposed to do for sex?

Whatever. City council must be getting bored again"

Just saw it this morning. Thanks for starting off my day with a good laugh!

You know, I have to admit, I cracked myself up with that one. It’s somewhat soothing to know I wasn’t alone in that regard.

The last time I checked, I thought we were trying to negate the horrible consequences that the drug trade delivers to not only this city, but this entire area. Then, I crawl out of bed only to read that city council is going after…I dunno, yaks and whatnot. When you find that sort of thing staring back at you from the morning paper, it gets you to wondering if you’re really conscience just yet.

Gee whiz. I’d really hate to annoy any member of our council, but, historically, for lack of anything better to do, they typically get to banning that which matters the least. No cruising on the square? Apparently, that tough ordinance did the trick based on the lack of cars in the downtown after 5 p.m.

Sorry. I’ll stop. If I keep on going on like this, the gentlemen from the hill will be firing off an e-mail my way. Sorry. Just hackin’ on y’all.

I’m headin’ out to the barn to try to get my rocks off.

New streetlights

From the e-mail inbox Hi Mark. Yes, I am one of those native Wilkes-Barreans who checks in on what’s happening in the W-B. I enjoy your site and your blog entries. I think what makes you a good writer (what makes anyone a good writer) is your honesty. I don’t always agree with you, but I appreciate the way you tell it like it is.

This is not meant to be a negative letter, but I can tell you from experience that most of us do not wish we could be back in Northeast Pa . We left for a lot of reasons. Better opportunities, better quality of life, and more social activities, to name a few. All of my family still lives NEPA, but I would never move back.

Many of the things you are pushing for in W-B (and I applaud you for that), are what we have found in places like Philadelphia and Baltimore. Many of the throwbacks to the “good ole days” are still alive and well in centuries-old neighborhoods that still have family-run corner stores, local bakeries and shoe repair shops. This, in addition to the biggest and latest national chains. We live in walking distance to restaurants, stores, museums and theaters. And if we don’t feel like walking, it is just as easy to take the train or bus. Of course we have crime, as all cities have their “bad” sections. But, I feel much safer walking down the streets of Philadelphia than I do in Wilkes-Barre.

I don’t know if Wilkes-Barre will ever be transformed into the image that people like you and Mayor Leighton have for it. I don’t wish you ill-will. I hope it does. But, I think the biggest problem with NEPAns is their closed-mindedness. That attitude is probably the biggest reason why I left.
Good luck! I will continue to read (and occasionally make fun of) your daily updates.


Thanx. I’m not sure that I’m a good writer, but I think I’ve always kind of said what was on my mind at any given time. And that has attracted near as many readers and such as it has dismayed folks hoping to turn me into a hood ornament. I think it’s always been readily apparent that I could care less what anyone thinks, but there were those days when only the hate e-mails motivated me to seek out the word processor when I otherwise wouldn’t have.

You’re not coming back? Why!…you!…Son of a…

I have to admit, your description of living in the bigger cities does sound good. Then again, I’ve visited many of them many times over and found myself most content when the car, bus or truck I was riding in eventually headed out of town at the end of the day and rumbled back towards Wilkes-Barre. I thoroughly enjoy visiting big cities, but that’s about it.

From my smallish adobe--on a bicycle--I could make my way to the top of the mountain overlooking the entire valley inside an hour. I can pedal my way to Harveys Lake, take in some swimming, and then head back home long before the sun even thinks of setting. I can walk to town in minutes. I can walk to any of our major attractions within a half hour, including the big, bad arena. I love being in this small city, even if it’s the “big city” by Luzerne County standards. As for the crime, I know my city and there is no place that frightens me after dark. Although, that is not to say that I wouldn’t be ‘packing’ depending on where I was going. These days, you do need to pay attention to your surroundings no matter where you are. Truth be told, I’m always armed, with a built-in redundancy. I remember my Boy Scout lessons well: Be prepared.

But, I think the biggest problem with NEPAns is their closed-mindedness. That attitude is probably the biggest reason why I left.

That has me intrigued. Care to expound upon that?


Those who know me well will attest to the fact that I always say that I’m surrounded by a bunch of hammerheads. No matter what happens around here, it’s shot down in the minds of the people even before the feasibility studies are done. Remember, before it came to pass, even the proposed arena had many shaking their heads in abject disbelief. This is Northeastern Pennsylvania, mind you. Nothing will work. Nothing will change. And nothing will dissuade us from our comfortable feeling of prolonged nothingness.

Well, guess what. The arena did work. Some things did change. But still, while Wilkes-Barre has suddenly become a magnet by which economic development finds it’s way, a large segment of the populace is still hesitant to believe in anything currently under construction. As far as I’m concerned, the mayor was correct. This city and this area did need a pep rally--an “I Believe“ booster shot. But sadly, he was roundly booed afterwards for asking people to dare to believe in their own community. Silly mayor.

Whatever. I’m starting to piss myself off.

Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate it. But…the “closed-mindedness” comment has me begging for more. You are there. I’m still here. I can’t pretend to fully know what you might be alluding to. Care to fill me in?

Stay in touch.

Thanks and all, but I’m done with the 121st race. Spare me the tirades posing as e-mail.

As I said, I’m voting for Ed Pashinski and nothing more needs to be said. A local blogger derided him by calling him “a swell guy,” as if being a swell guy counts for nothing in this era of self-serving career politicians.

Excuse me for saying so, but the last “swell guy” I voted for was Tom Leighton. And the one thing Leighton and Pashinski have in common other than their personal demeanors is their overriding concern for their community. Leighton connects with people and so does Pashinski. And in my mind, that’s because they are still “of the people.”

Vote for those who seek a new career if you must. But once again, I’m going to vote for the guy who needs not a new career. I’m voting for the one guy who wants to make a difference.

The “swell” guy.

Plug it in

Take it easy.