5-23-2006 I like it here

I did the scenic tour of lower Luzerne County earlier today. Well, if an unending parade of mine-scarred hills and water-filled strip mining pits is somehow considered to be scenic, then the scenic tour I did.

Lemme retrace my steps. I visited Hazleton, Jeddo, Mcadoo, Beaver Meadows and Somethingorotherville before ending up at the very top of the world in Freeland. After taking that tour, you kind of get an inkling that Paul Kanjorskiís Earth Conversancy got to reclaiming mine-scarred lands in the exact wrong end of the county. Whatever.

Hazleton is a decent little town. Itís infrastructure seems to be in half-decent shape. Itís Main Street retail district still has some fight left in it. Although, it does seem to have a lot of businesses geared towards attracting mainly Hispanics. Thatís merely an observation on my part, so donít get to blowing a poorly glued gasket or anything. The only problem I have with most Hispanics is that I donít have a frickiní clue as to what the funk theyíre saying on most days. ErrÖevery day. Itís kind of like being surrounded by short people with good tans conversing exclusively by way of sign language. Oh, yeah. And they listen to sh*tty music. No distortion pedals, yíknow.

I know most people dream of living in the bucolic outposts and the sleepy little hamlets like those I visited today, but Iíd feel half-deceased in such a place. When excitement amounts to a car falling off of itís jack, Iím a gonna be bored stiff. If the yearís top local news story happens to be something about Mayor Swickles runniní off to St. Thomas with his Falkland Islander of a housekeeper, I canít even imagine trying to blog in such a place. Thing is, I like the hustle and bustle of the city. Even a city as small as this one. Straight up, if I need a quarter tank of gas to grab a loaf of bread, I ainít gonna be content.

I like knowing that I can summon an ambulance or a fire truck inside of five minutes. I like having cops on patrol and not a single cop. Or for that matter, relying on the state police to patrol my middle-of-nowhere podunk. I like the convenience. I like knowing that if I somehow lost a leg, I could still maintain my freedom by way of an LCTA bus. I like not even needing a car. I like the diversity. I like having a few seedy characters mucking about just to keep things interesting. Although, at this point, I could do with quite a few less.

If I even have a point, Iím not entirely sure what it might be, except to say that Iím not moving to Freeland or any points south unless Iím kidnapped by Patty Hearst or some such thing. I know people bitch about Wilkes-Barre all the time, but I like it here. Besides, you just have to know that Scanner Land would have to be pretty dog gone boring in Somethingorotherville.

Iím staying put.

ItĎs not too late to sign up forRiverFest 2006, but time is running out. I participated in 2002, thanks entirely to Kayak Dudeís invitation to get out there on the river and educate myself. Or, was that a challenge? It was cancelled due to very high water levels in 2003, so KD and myself made the trek from Tunkhannock to Nesbitt Park all by our lonesome. I have to admit, I like the high water levels better for the purposes of kayaking. Not sure why, I just do.

In 2004, Gage Andrew, one week shy of his third birthday, joined us in the middle seat. I like that kid. Even at that tender age, he exhibited not a single trace of trepidation. Oh, and he really liked the ride from West Nanticoke to West Pittston in a school bus. Heíll be doing that on a regular basis come September. Unfortunately, it was very cool that day. And it seems like the more we paddled, the heavier it rained. And by the time we stopped at Nesbitt Park for lunch, the little guy was shivering almost uncontrollably. I had to take him home at the half-way point. I had to.

I did not participate in 2005 because KD wasnít in and I donít own a kayak. I could buy a kayak, but wifey might smother me in my sleep if I do. She does have a point. I do have a helluva lotta toys stacked all over the place as it is. Boys play with toys.

This is fun.

Kayak Dude debates Paul Kanjorski

Well, sort of. Check the picture. Lake Augusta in Sunbury canít support a waterfront restaurant, but Kanjo still maintains that his proposed Lake Kanjosrski at Wilkes-Barre will spur $70 million in economic development, and enough tourists to rival Disneyland as Americaís favorite attraction. Itíll likely attract enough mosquitoes to rival some remote swamps in the very deep south. But worry not. Iíve got direct access to lots and lots of varied larvicideís.

Yeah, seems Paul Kanjorski is still pushing his stupid dam, despite the fact that no one else, save for a couple of local politicians, thinks itís a good idea.

Check his latest addition to his Web site:

"Deflating the Myths about the Inflatable Dam" ** By Congressman Paul E. Kanjorski

Heís funny.

Oh, and a certain kayaker went and got himself published on the pages of the Citizensí Voice today.

Riverfront landing is good; inflatable dam is bad


Your paper has always supported the inflatable dam project, even to the point of losing subscribers.

I wonder, does the Supreme Courtís unanimous May 15 decision in favor of the Clean Water Act make a stronger case against dams than the five dam advocates who spoke for damming the river at the May 1 public hearing? That night, the ratio of those speaking on record was 21:5 against the dam. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Courtís vote was 9:0 in favor of the Clean Water Act and 9:0 against dams.

Of course, someone will try to spin this decision as supporting Congressman Kanjorskiís grand vision. The reality of it will be obvious to anyone who can read and think independently; a death knell has sounded for the dam. Those who choose to ignore it are fools.

As a recreational paddler and active environmentalist, I fully support the planned riverfront landing, a project which is financially and legally separate and independent from the proposed inflatable dam. I never have and never will support damming a free-flowing river. On Monday, nine more powerful voices joined in support of protecting our rivers.

If the congressman and his dwindling group of supporters push forward, and this project eventually goes to litigation, how compelling is the Supreme Courtís decision?

Don Williams


Anywho, if youíre up for exploring the river and learning quite a bit about itís lush history, RiverFest 2006 awaits you.

The old Prestique Antiques

I snagged this police blotter blurb from todayís Times Leader:

Posted on Tue, May. 23, 2006

Three juveniles caught spray-painting train car, said police

WILKES-BARRE Ė Three male juveniles were cited for violating Wilkes-Barre cityís graffiti ordinance at about 9:24 p.m. on Monday after an officer spotted them spray-painting a train car along South Pennsylvania Avenue between South Main and South Franklin streets, said police.

I heard that call come in. And I also heard what the arresting officer had to say to the 911 tele-communicators after the fact:

ďEscorting three juveniles and one spray paint can.Ē

Who sez cops donít have a sense of humor?

From The San Francisco Chronicle:

Give and take across the border
1 in 7 Mexican workers migrates -- most send money home

From that story:

Ten percent of Mexicans now live in the United States.

Fifteen percent of the Mexican workforce lives in the U.S.

One in every 7 Mexican workers "migrates" to the U.S.

Mexicans make up 56% of what the Chronicle refers to as the "unauthorized U.S. migrant population." (Ahem. They meant ďillegal aliens.Ē)

There are some Mexican communities that have almost no workers left. They've gone to the U.S.

Mexicans in the U.S. send about $20 billion a year back to their homes in Mexico. This amount exceeds Mexico's income from all oil exports and is much higher than Mexico's revenue from tourism.

The $20 billion that Mexicans send back home exceeds the entire foreign aid budget of the United States.

In five Mexican states the money sent home by those who have invaded the United States exceeds total locally generated income.

You know, rather than having our politicians scheming up all sorts of knee-jerk, hastily-thought-out ďsolutionsĒ that might appear to satisfy their respective political bases, why canít they simply clamp down on the borders, enforce all of the laws on the books, and then debate this complicated issue until they finally get it right?

Why canít they get something right for a change?

I heard Nancy & Chia Kev spinning this thing like a top on WILK this morning, and I got to wondering if they think we take them seriously? This is not a Republican issue, a right-wing issue, or a conservative issue. This is a ball that has been continually dropped by both political parties for decades now.

Democrats and Republicans alike cannot picture any solution that does not include some reworded form of complete amnesty. They are going to reward those who committed illegal acts. And to reward illegal acts will surely encourage even more acts of illegality. They canít convince the existing voting blocs that they have any aspect of their sh*t together, so theyíre going to go out and fetch themselves a whole new, illegal voting bloc. In my book, thatís insulting. Thatís infuriating. And they had better be real careful and slow to act, because this issue is going to come back and bite some of them come reelection time.

And those who may seek the oval office in Ď08 had better fall on the right side of this issue, because it may cost them the presidency if they donít. This illegal immigration cluster-fu>k is going to fester with the electorate.

Sez me.


From the e-mail inbox Since you are connected to the "movers and shakers" in W-B perhaps you can tell me how you go about buying a bench on the square in someones' memory.


Connected? Iím not real sure about that. There are some that will answer my questions, but thatís assuming that I can get a hold of them. When I encounter them in person, some seem pleased to see me, while still others react as if Iím covered with oozing ringworm sores. Or chunks of phlegm.

One thing Iíve noticed is that I seem to connect well with the younger folk. Be they college kids, the younger Chamber types, the younger politico types and such whatÖthe youngest among us have always been very receptive to all of my tomfoolery.

But some of those older folksÖwhy, some of those older folks seem to loathe any outfit other than the two newspapers prying into what theyíre up to politically and otherwise. Truth be told, I find that somewhat suspicious, or at the very least, far less than inclusive.

Consider the two newspapers opposite reactions to the internet, and blogging in particular. The Times Leader has made many mentions of blogs. Iíve been the subject of two articles in the Leader, and my name, or the name of this site have appeared in their stories quite a few times over the years. The Citizensí Voice trudges on defiantly refusing to admit to itís readers that the internet even exists. And blogging? If a Citizensí Voice story ever made mention of a blog, Iíd be looking to steal some elderly womanís nitro glycerin caplets.

I have a theory about all of that. Why is it that some like to read blogs, while still others pretend as if they are somehow beneath them? Why would one politician bother to e-mail his thoughts to a blogger, while the next treats said blogger like a leper? WellÖit all smells like fear to me.

Some folks just donít like transparency. Be they a local tin horn politician, or a one-sided newspaper with an unstated agenda, they just donít want too many prying eyes joining the information party. In my mind, if you shun the internet, if you fear the internet, you are a political dinosaur the likes of which we no longer need.

Oh, yeah. The bench. Sorry. UmÖthatís Leadership Wilkes-Barre, I think. Call the Chamber of Commerce and theyíll hook you up.

Excuse me for being simultaneously amazed and confused, but the proposed Little League complex at Coal Street is not being well-received? With dwindling participation and the scant resources being what they are for struggling, smallish leagues, how could anyone involved not embrace this idea?

Little League game plan gets lukewarm reaction

Iím amazed. Iím saddened.

It's for the kids. Yeah, right!

Hammerheads all!

Sez me.

New sidewalks going in