5-14-2006 Who invented the calendar, anyway?

Last night I took in a well-attended surprise party inflicted upon Dave to note the arrival of his 50th birthday. The big 5-0, baby! Like it or not, there are those who will say that Dave is now an old coot. I must disagree most vociferously.

Dave is my sister-in-law’s husband, and despite our getting off to a very, very rocky start some years back, we’ve come to like each other. Well, I shouldn’t speak for him, so let’s just say I like him. In my mind, what’s not to like? He’s a hard working guy, a devoted father and husband, plus, he generally knows how to have a good time. He’s average. He’s cool. He’s good people. He’s exactly what this country needs much more of.

An exhaustive video slideshow of his entire life was put together and played for the entire crowd, and I couldn’t help thinking to myself that I’d skull wifey with one of her zinc-encrusted frying pans is she ever inflicted such a stealthy thing upon me. One minute I’m on a bicycle, and the very next I’m surrounded by people giggling away at a picture of me playing a Flying V with a burning cigarette in my fret hand and a beer bottle hanging out of my mouth? I mean to say, we all take really, really inspiring photos when we’re well on our way to consuming a case of Rolling Rock all on our own, don’t we?

Look, here’s the picture of Mark recording “Save the Beavers” in our kitchen. No, that’s not a toaster oven, that’s the mixing board. And, no, that’s not a ancient washing machine of some sort, that’s the drum kit.

Remember this one? There’s Mark pulling some healthy girl’s shirt up over her head at a party.

Next we have the pictures from the legendary strip volleyball game.

I’m telling you, I would skull her.

Not that I’m ashamed of myself or anything, I used to run with a crew of crazy people, but we definitely knew how to have us a good, yet depraved time. How many minutes can you keep a wide open beer tap in your mouth without losing it? Wanna take a shot at the record? That’s what I thought. You’re too completely sane to join in any of my reindeer games. And we mostly didn’t hurt anyone who didn’t already need a hurting laid on them. Well, mostly.

While there’s certainly no denying that I was a crazy person when I was much younger than I am now, I mostly kept my nose clean enough so as to not land myself in a federal penitentiary. Well, mostly. And even if I was ever to be deemed to be a lackluster lowlife by the lot of you, I could easily do what everyone else seems to be doing these days and blame it all on my troubled and bumbled upbringing.

S’not my fault.

Despite all of the alcohol-fueled and now legendary exploits of mine, the thing that gives me great pride is the fact that through it all, I somehow managed to raise three kids who are hard-working, respectful of those they meet and generally try to do the right thing in most respects. They are not lawyers, or judges, or billionaires--they’re just good people. And if crafting rodents into being good people is good enough, then I’m all good with that.

Then again, maybe wifey managed all of that in spite of my needless adventures of the psychotically unstable and whatnot. The way I see it, if you party hard enough and long enough without getting pummeled to death, or arrested for something very similar coming on your part, sooner or later you ought to wake up smart and suchlike. Seems like it.

I dunno.

Maybe it’s not such a good thing if your crowning achievement in life is being known as the “toughest skinny prick” this side of State College. And, no, being a bad-ass at playing quarters, arm-wrestling, and willfully enduring tummy-punching marathons and such will likely never win me many prestigious awards from whoever they are that offer frivolous things akin to that, but it is what it is and there it is. Too late now.

If that day arrives when the calendar clearly states that I am 50-years-old, I don’t want no surprises inflicted upon me. In fact, it’d probably be stupid to herald the arrival of that unimportant date when the very 50-year-old in question mostly acts and thinks much like the gangly sophomores at Coughlin do. Well, mostly.

Again, I dunno.

In the event that I never arrive at the big 5-0, neither fret for me, nor take too, too much pleasure in my sudden disappearance from this life. There’s really no repressed hostility, or major regrets going on here. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve had my fair share of good times and then some. If you only knew. And judging by the threadbare existence of many others toiling away in abject poverty on this vast globe of ours, good times is good enough. Why should I complain, while so many others would gladly trade places with the likes of me? Face it, we, as Americans, really have nothing legitimate to complain about on even our worst of days. Thank your lucky stars for that.

Or something like that.

Anyway, Dave got himself a big, big surprise last night, and we had us one humdinger of a party.

So what’s changed, other than a number?

Party on, dude.

Party on, dude.

Rather than debating the future of the river without having ever experienced the river, why not get yourself out there on it and see what it’s like to navigate an 18-mile long stretch of a free-flowing river?

Trust me, you wouldn’t be sorry if you did.

Wyoming Valley RiverFest 2006

Saturday, June 17, 2006

June is River’s Month and what better way to celebrate, than to join in the RiverFest!

The Wyoming Valley RiverFest is an event that seeks to raise environmental awareness, to encourage education and to foster community involvement in the Wyoming Valley Watershed.

Our RiverFest program includes opportunities to canoe or kayak on the Susquehanna, explore river side trails, and learn more about the Susquehanna’s wildlife, water quality, history and heritage.

RiverFest 2006 begins with a morning canoe/kayak trip from West Pittston to Wilkes-Barre and continues with a River Festival in Wilkes-Barre’s Nesbitt Park. An afternoon canoe/kayak trip leaves from Wilkes-Barre with the second riverside festival in Canal Park, West Nanticoke.

“Come and celebrate at RiverFest the beauty, splendor and historical significance of a regional treasure, the Susquehanna River, during the year long observance of the City of Wilkes-Barre’s 2006 Bicentennial.”

The littlest River Rat
Gage Andrew, June 2004

Is the Times Leader really poised and ready to go the way of the McDodo mayor? I hope not. You sure got me on all of that mucky muck, but these people seem certain that it’s about to disappear from the publishing landscape.

If the Times Leader’s demise really comes about, the Citizens’ Voice will provide us with little more than socialists…sorry about that, Democrats are pure and good and wonderful, while Republicans are evil incarnates all. In effect, we’ll be paying for a localized version of heavily-partisan swill.

It’s funny, but the folks that harp the most about how completely right-leaning Fox News and Rush Limbaugh seem to be lean in exactly the other direction all the time. They are exactly what they bitch about--one-sided mouthpieces giving us their far less than honest version of the always-allusive truth.

Take Chia Kev of WILK fame for instance. He mocks Fox News and Rush Limbaugh every single day in the most childish of ways. Yet, in the very next breath, he expects us to believe that only one political party has the answers to all of our vexing questions.

His obvious bias is the more acceptable of the obvious biases? That’s malarkey. And that’s far less than a no-sh*t assessment of where we are and where we need to be as a nation.

If there’s a truly objective news source out there, I have yet to find it. But don’t endeavor to insult my intelligence by implying that only winged angels toting golden harps aspire to be Democrats, while fire-breathing, child-eating demons dominate the ranks of the rascally Republicans.

I really fail to see where journalistic integrity plays into publishing obviously slanted endorsements of one party over the other simply because both parties seem to be overly obsessed with their “careers,” their increasingly lucrative benefits and their legislating meant to protect the incumbents at all costs. At this point in time, if you buy into this claptrap whereby one political party is clearly heads-and-shoulders above the other, you have become a hapless myrmidon of the worst sort.

Think, kiddies. That’s all I’m asking of you.

And despite what they might have you believe, it doesn’t hurt at all, unless you‘ve been partying too hard..

Sez me.


I am out of here. Somewhat sadly, there are no grandrodents in sight once again, so wifey and I are about to set off on yet another exciting bikeabout.