6-23-2006 Intemperate (politically incorrect) thoughts

“The war on Terror is father to many sequels.”--Joel Rosenberg

What was the name of that goofy comic strip? Wasn’t it “They’ll do it every time?” If so, trust me, they will.

Every year around this time, we have the first in a series of planning meetings for the block party. We call ourselves “The Committee” which amounts to neighbors from one end of the street to the other. Being that we’re planning the 17th annual event, we’ve kind of got this thing down at this point. Finances are always reviewed. Purchasing needs are always brought up. Some activities from prior years are summarily deleted and still others are added. Mostly games. But the first thing we need to agree upon every year is the date of the upcoming block party. And they do it every time.

If I schedule a vacation for the first week of August, somehow, the party will end up scheduled for the second week in August. And if I schedule a vacation for the second week in August, the first week of August is sure to be block party week. It’s damn confounding at times. So this year I got smart and split a vacation so as to be off on extended weekends during both the first and second weeks of August. Naturally, the block party ended up being scheduled for Saturday, August 19, 2006. Needless to say, that’s the third weekend. I didn’t manage to bump into my boss today, but I’m pretty sure he’s going to become annoyed with me sometime tomorrow afternoon.

They’ll do it every time.

It sounds like the pig roast, new to last year’s event, is histoire. It was very well-received, but very expensive. And we have to make the best of the limited funding we have at our disposal. Instead of covering the street with tents, it looks as if we‘re going to go with one huge tent to provide cover from the Sun. That is, unless Tom Clark is predicting some steady precipitation. In the event of rain and suchlike, we‘ll add tents and party on.

New stuff includes a pinata for the little ones, and maybe even one for the adults filled with…well, use your imagination. I’m going to coordinate a guest appearance by Mr. Softee at a prearranged time so the kiddies can enjoy some ice cream. And, for the first time ever, in addition to all of the loud tunes I can bring to bare, we’re going to be doing some live music. It looks like a 3, maybe 4 song set and probably of the acoustic variety. The play list is still a work in progress.

It’s going to be $15 per person with children under 16 free of charge. Wristbands will be mandatory, due to the neighbors from other nearby streets trying to sneak their way in. We will have an off-duty Wilkes-Barre police officer on hand once again. And as always, there will be plenty of assorted hot and cold foods, desserts, munchies, beverages, games, prizes, tunes, dancing, the horseshoe tournament, plenty of parking across the road and maybe even some karaoke. Depends on how much they drink on that latter note.

We’ve got another meeting scheduled for right after the big 4th of July weekend, so further details are forthcoming. If you’ve like to attend, let me know. Questions, again, let me know.

Ours is a smallish street where the residents not only live together, work together and stick together, but party together. While others bemoan the loss of the neighborhoods they once had, we go well out of our way to ensure that ours remains a place where families can still live in relative peace. But, there is that one night every year when we make a hell of a lot of noise.

Join us.

Junior Mints

From the e-mail inbox Mark…

While I think English is the coin of the realm and people should learn how to speak/spell it well (and that includes people who were born and raised here), I also hold that people who live in the US of America, especially students, should be urged to learn another language. Perhaps students should be mandated, if for no other reason than you can earn lots of $$ when you are bilingual. It also expands your circle of understanding.

Many people in other countries speak at least one other language than their own; it helps when they travel or if they are in business. My French-Canadian nephew, a company representative, does very well for himself knowing English; his sister, in addition to having learned English, is somewhat fluent in German.

It may be nice to have an official language, but it may make us insular; picking up a little Spanish may not be that bad an idea.


I don’t have a problem with bilingualism, but I don’t understand why having an official language should irk anyone? Does Mexico have an official language? While it may not be written down on an official looking piece of parchment somewhere, I’m thinking it does. Doesn’t irk me. Then again, I’d eat depleted uranium-dipped donuts before ever even considering visiting such a place. Thing is, nothing they have south of the border interests me in the least, so I don’t care what language they curse at each other in.

I studied French for four years. I’m not sure why, except to say that I was forced to study a foreign language as part of the “college prep” curriculum back in the ‘70s. I guess I’m more well-rounded as a result. Or somethin’. And I guess studying the then-coming ice age and the metric system made me even more well-rounded. Except, the promised switch to the metric system never came about and the ice age theory was switched to the global warming theory. The fact of the matter is, I don’t think they taught me anything of note in college other than how not to behave poorly most of the time. Darn.

I picked French because I’m of French heritage and because I wanted to learn what my step-dad had muttered repeatedly at my, now, dearly departed mother for 11 long years. Um, ‘Eat sh*t’ and ‘Go to hell’ were two of his mainstays. That dick.

Once I was all done with drinking heavily in college and started my education in earnest, I never needed to speak French again, save one time. Back in the restaurant days, we played hosts to a bus of fifty hungry Canadians and from what I could gather, Canadians really, really like their peas. We had only corn.

I’m not sure what I gained by studying French, except maybe discovering that the people of France talk kind of funny. You know, funny, as in, not like us. Damn near everybody talks funny ‘cept for us. Maybe they should be made to study American. I’m sure the evil neo-cons will get around to all of that. I dunno. Maybe.

Both of my daughters can speak using sign language, and I’m sure that’d help when it comes time to update the resumes. But if you’re just an average Joe just trying to get by and enjoy your weekends, I doubt that being bilingual is of much importance unless the feds allow further gross violations of our immigration laws. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to learn some rudimentary Spanish with what’s currently going on, but why should the onus be on us to learn the languages of the incoming? Sounds kind of ass-backwards to me. Why can’t the incoming just learn about bump-drafting, two-deep zones, and why a strike zone needs to be consistent? We should embrace their cultures at the expense of ours? Or should that embracing thing be a bit more of a two-way street?

Frankly stated, I don’t want to learn Spanish. And why should I have to? We’ve got plenty of Hispanics in my neighborhood, with still more arriving every day. And I don’t care a hoot about what some misguided “white flight” segregationist of a local radio talk show host has to say, our newest neighbors go well out of their way not to interact with any of us home-grown folks. As a matter of fact, on most days they come off as being downright disrespectful and equal parts arrogant. Not exactly the recipe for multiculturalism the folks at College Misericordia are always distributing for free, is it? I should go out of my way to be engaging, only to be ignored in a rather blunt, yet demonstrative manner? Maybe my newest neighbors would be wise to eschew the English lessons for some kick-boxing lessons if that’s the way they’re going to carry themselves, because, let me tell you, they are not winning the hearts and minds of their more indigenous neighbors.

I spent my entire day in Hazleton today and, to a person, everyone I met is thrilled with Lou Barletta’s latest proposals. Now, tell me: Is every white person in Hazleton a bigot, a racist and a hatemonger? Or do they know their neighborhoods, and also know that there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed? Is Chia Kev right? Are all white people hailing from NEPA simply hateful bigots? Or are they just sick and tired of laws being enacted with much fanfare but never enforced?

And how is it evidence of bigotry to not want to excuse illegalities? And where are we headed when we’re allowing our country to be overrun by the poorest and least educated from a neighboring country? If resources are too scarce to care for our own, when will we reach the financial breaking point as our national politicians refuse to control immigration? As they outright refuse to do that which they were elected to do--see to it that the laws that they devised are ultimately enforced. You know, the melting pot can only take on so many quarts at a time.

The saddest part of Barletta’s recent undertakings is that he felt the need to do what he did in the first place. Why are illegal immigrants popping up at what should be an alarming rate? Why is that? We all know the dirty little secret. Because the insulated jerks in Washington D.C. do not really care about what their constituents want. And into that void dove Lou Barletta. And from what the folks in Hazleton are saying, what he did was long, long overdue.

Invading our country quite illegally is supposed to be prohibido. Unfortunately, the left-leaning want only the needs and demands of the legal residents prohibited.

I can speak English. I can speak French. And I can even speak some “hood” talk I learned at MySpace.com. But why should I have to learn another language just to assuage those that want nothing to do with me? The fact of the matter is, I will not.

I’ve been with the program--I’ve obeyed the law my entire life--and I think it’s high time that still others are forced to either get with the program, or get right back to where they belong.

And how ‘bout Mike McGlynn’s predictable slop published in the Citizens’ Voice today? Anybody catch that? I think he plagiarized every one of the leftist bloggers.

He blathered:

“..by fanning the flames of intolerance and misunderstanding.”

“…not stereotyping and finger-pointing.”

“…a movement to ostracize, marginalize and stigmatize…”

Hey! What the heck happened to hatemongering, bigotry and racism? C’mon, Mikey. quit it with the sobriety bit, okay? It’s not your best suit.

How ‘bout this one? This is my absolute favorite:

“…undocumented immigrant workers.

Not! Try untold numbers of illegal invaders!

And Mikey repeated this gibberish all over again.

“…to fill jobs that no one else wanted.”

More proof that Democrats ought to get on out there and experience some of the stuff they tend to pontificate on and on about from a position of utter cluelessness.

The jobs no one else wanted…hmmm. You mean, like, building the new Super Sprawl-Mart in Wilkes-Barre Township??? Jobs like those?

All of the surrounding buildings were constructed by reputable firms employing skilled American workers. Trust me, I was there. I was there right after the footers were poured. I was there as the slabs were about to be poured. I was there when the various buildings were being back-filled. And I was there as the finishing touches were being applied.

Oh, but Sprawl-Mart had a construction firm all it’s own. And that firm had American managers and nothing but Hispanic workers. Sorry there Mikey, but the last time I checked, construction gigs were well-paying gigs. Well, that is, until we were set up and sold out by our very own fedrule govmint.

To fill the jobs no one else wanted??? Mikey, do like the rest of your oft-incensed Democratic moonbats and stick to bashing Bush. Go to a lefty blog and read up on the latest in “fanning the flames of intolerance and misunderstanding.”

Illegal, Mike. Illegal.

Sez me.

Junior Mints

From the e-mail inbox From the e-mail inbox


Thank you for the very interesting website and your comments on the state of the valley.

I laughed when I followed the link to the "Save our City" webblog. Obviously a firefighter or a spouse runs this one! I think that it's a shame that the paid firefighters in this City (and most other ones) believes that the public safety universe revolves around them. When there is a person with a gun, I want a cop. If there is a fire, I want a firefighter. When it snows or a stop sign is knocked down, I want a public works crew. I want a building inspector to make sure that my apartment doesn't burn down in the first place. And the most important public safety employee is the lowly water and sewer worker who helps to provide safe drinking water and treats the wastewater. These are the guys that have saved the most lives! Most government employees are directly or indirectly focused on public health or safety. It shows the incredible self-importance of W-B's firefighters and their supporters that their interests are always greater than that of the other public health and safety employees of the City. You hold firm.



I've been busy at the cabin again and have fallen behind on my reading. So I took a few minutes today to catch up on the local gossip and came across this gem on your site. Obviously this person lives in an alternate reality. Let me point out a few things to him/her:

1. When a stop sign is knocked down before 2:00 pm you may well get a crew from public works to handle it. But after 2:00 pm if a sign is down, or a street light is flashing or not working at all, or a cable wire/phone line is hanging low, or the sewer grates are blocked up during a rain storm, or you have a bat/bird/squirrel/opossum/raccoon etc. in your house or yard, you'll get a firefighter.

2. When nobody has seen Mrs. Jones for a few days it isn't a cop that's sent to "check it out", it's a firefighter on the ambulance. 3. When people are found living in deplorable conditions, in their own filth, or in mountains of animal excrement you can bet it was a firefighter that found these conditions a filled out the necessary report ( which usually isn't followed up on by the appropriate authorities).

4. When your sewer is backing up in your basement and the stench is making you sick, will the sanitary authority be there? No. You'll get a firefighter.

5. When your water pipes have busted and the house is filling up, will you see a representative of the water company? Not unless the firefighter who is on scene calls for one. And who will be pumping that water out? A plumber? Nope! It will be a firefighter. 6. Etc., etc., etc.. Get the point?

The truth is that while you may want a variety of public functionary's to respond to all of the public woes you will most likely see, it will be a firefighter found standing on your porch. In nineteen years of driving Medic 3 I thought I'd seen it all. But then the brass will add on another responsibility. And try to keep in mind that we firefighters are there 24 hours a day, every day. We don't miss calls because we're in "role call" like the cops do. We don't skip work because the roads are too snowy to drive on. We don't pack up and leave when the clock strikes 4:00 pm. We stay until the job is done. And although I can't speak for all of my union brothers in can say that most of us don't apply for overtime when when a call exceeds the "official" end of our shift. I'd also like to point out that no firefighter of my union is involved in "Save Our City" or any blog for that matter.

Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus who covers all the bases. And he's a firefighter. Sure we're brash and brazen. We're all type A personalities in this profession. Does the world of public safety revolve around us? You betcha! Not because we made it that way. It's because that's the way it is, like it or not. Public health and public safety IS the Fire Dept.. If for no other reason than we're the only ones around after 3:00 pm and on weekends and holidays.

Okay Mark. I feel better now. I got my monthly rant out of the way. Back to the cabin...


Thanks for stopping by. Whew!

Dude, I can’t take issue with a single word of what you sent along. Although, as per Scanner Land, it seems you boys who deal in heroics and such do have your limits whereas bravery is concerned.

Last week (I think) 911 toned out a call for a report of a bat flying around inside of a house when F-6 instructed them to have the homeowner contact Ehrlich.

Just bustin’ on ya.

See ya next month, dude.

I called the Chamber folks to confirm that Wifey and I were going to attend the big invite-only “Premiere Reception for Wilkes-Barre Movies 14” only to learn that “business attire” was required. I declined the gracious invite.

Screw that.

You just never know who might be looking at your internet efforts, so don’t make the mistake of following my example unless you enjoy being chased, given the finger, or being cursed at on occasion.

I got me an e-mail from this guy seeking permission to use one of my pictures. Let’s cover that. I don’t care who grabs my pictures, just give me the credit for taking them. All done.

By the way, I can’t frickin’ remember what I may have typed on these various and sundry electronic pages of mine, but tell Tom Clark I was only kidding, see? He’s really, really, really groovy.

I mean that.

Kind of.

Junior Mints

Them’s my thoughts.

Wifey wants to watch “The Hills Have Eyes.” Or some such thing.