7-4-2006 I'd rather be here than anywhere else

During this recent skirmish with the Susquehanna River, everybody and their internet brothers were linking to hydrology charts and real-time water data as it is measured at Wilkes-Barre. Letís explore how this river data stuff works.

Once upon a time, if it got to raining for, say, forty days and thirty-nine nights, the river would rise, Noahís sales would instantly skyrocket and the county govmint would send itís one employee that was not napping down to the Market Street Bridge to check the following water height gauge. The gauge was primitive, cheap as all hell to come by and worked really, really well.


So, the county employee would arrive at the bridge, spy the thing and let loose with ďHOLY SH*T! The riverís at 29 feet! Upon his return to whichever far-flung county-owned building he called home, heíd make his supervisors aware of the rapidly rising river and they were often known to yell ďHOLY SH*T! The riverís at 29 feet!

And with that, theyíd get WNEP on the blower, wait for Tom Clark to get on the line and scream ďHOLY SH*T! The riverís at 29 feet!Ē Somewhat surprised by the surging waters, heíd respond by saying ďThe riverís already at 29 feet? HOLY SH*T!Ē And when the cameras finally rolled for Tomís evening forecast, heíd don his trusty Mr. Rogers sweater (the new top-of-the-line water repellant version) and itíd go something like this:

Itís not a beautiful day in the neighborhood. Wonít you watch my forecast. Please wonít you watchÖmy forecast.

Well, boys and girls. Freecloud, the weather god, is making his presence known. Holy flying precipitation! (Curse words by Tomís standards) You better get your double-secret weather watcher decoder rings on and fast. The river is rising fast at Wilkes-Barre, coming in at 29 feet.

These days, in addition to the traditional media outlets, any old blogger can link to the USGS Real-time Water Data Web page and add their two-cents worth as the river has itíd most recent hissy fit by typing ďHOLY FU>K! The riverís at 29 feet!"

But where exactly does this nifty real-time data come from? Does the county pay the first cuzzin of a former county commissioner to sit at the riverís bank with an umbrella and a yardstick? Is there a special boat brimming with high-tech gizmos some govmint scientist launches if it rains for more than six hours or so? Not exactly.

Turns out, according to the aforementioned USGS site--LOCATION.--Lat 41`15'03", long 75`52'52", Luzerne County, Hydrologic Unit 02050107, on left bank at downstream side of North Street bridge in Wilkes-Barre, and 1.8 mi upstream from Toby Creek.--the hydrology unit sits behind the county courthouse very close to the North Street Bridge.

And if you didnít take a closer look at it, youíd likely figure it was one of those mobile outhouses. Itís not much to look at. Itís padlocked, so donít try to relieve yourselves in there. Might get zapped and accidentally cause the thing to report an incoming tsunami wave. Muckatoa, East of Kerryís Patch?

Anywho, it ainít much to look at. But it works just fine.

I guess.

CSGS Outhouse

By the way, you Kingston townfolk can mistakenly call that bridge the Pierce Street Bridge Ďtil it finally gets buckled and swept away to Sunbury by raging flood waters, but itís rightful name is The North Street Bridge.

If the USGS, an official agency of that Fedrule Govmint calls it the North Street bridge, then itís the North Street bridge. Deal with it.

Of course, Iím basing my claim on a now famous legal decision set forth in 1934, namely Macyís vs. Santa Clause.

Now you know.

You just knew this was coming, didnít you? You just had to know it.

Quackery on display for all to partake of and giggle to ourselves at someone elseís expense.

Global warming may be cause of numerous high-water events


Northeastern Pennsylvania was said to have just experienced another ďhundred year flood.Ē Channel 16ís weatherman Tom Clark speculated that it had been a hundred years since we had so much rain in a day. WYOUís weatherman repeatedly used the word, ďunbelievable.Ē

Something different is happening here. We have to start asking whether global warming is involved.

Global warming is said to cause more severe and unpredictable flooding.

This happens because as the air and oceans get hotter, more water is sucked out of the oceans. Bigger storms and hurricanes carry the water, and dump it on concentrated areas, causing unprecedented and catastrophic flooding.

ďAn Inconvenient Truth,Ē Al Goreís movie about global warming, just opened in Moosic. We should not feel too relieved about the events of the last week. We may be in for a lot more. We canít afford to stay in denial.

Seeing, ďAn Inconvenient TruthĒ would be a great act of good citizenship.

Northeastern Pennsylvania just got a wake-up call.

Robert E. Griffin


Forty Fort

WYOU? It that still on the air? Nobody watches WYOU, do they? Sheesh!

In actuality, a great act of good citizenship would be to refrain from repeating politically-driven wise tales as if they were facts etched in stone by Godís own hand.

This happens because as the air and oceans get hotter, more water is sucked out of the oceans. Bigger storms and hurricanes carry the water, and dump it on concentrated areas, causing unprecedented and catastrophic flooding.

Well then. Isnít that concise, convenient and cocksure mumbo jumbo. Answer me this, Mr. Scientist from Forty Fort: If that exact same storm raged through this area 100 years ago, would the river have risen to 33.9 feet?

Nope. Not even close.

Without impervious surfaces dominating the landscape, there would have been only miniscule amounts of urban runoff. BANG! Done.

Since weíre dealing in over-simplifications, wrap your mind around this:

Dump a 75-pound bag of pool filter sand on the patio out back. Thatís our mountain up yonder 100 years ago. Next, pour the contents of 5 two-liters of Diet Coke over the sand. What happened? Well, the sand absorbed the Coke within seconds. No problemo.

Now dump another 75-pound bag of pool filter sand on the patio out back, only this time, cover the pile of sand with a smallish tarp. Thatís our mountain up yonder as it presently exists. Again, dump the 5 two-liters of Diet Coke over the pile of sand now covered by an ďimpervious surfaceĒ and see what happens next?

The Coke runs right off and washes away all of the ants hills surrounding the base of Mt. Pool Filter Sand as far as the eye can see. Yippie! You just created your own artificially-sweetened ďurban runoff.Ē You destroyed the various and sundry ant hills, killed off some of the soil ants and got the rest fleeing like all hell.

Isnít science neat?

What we have here is another great example of well-meaning, easily led people preaching the enviro bible by way of a convenient lack of proof.

Global warming did it???

You just had to know this was coming.

Have pity on the guy.

From the e-mail inbox My two blog entries on the flood were written primarily for friends who live far from here and, therefore, focused on the WB area only. I was not saying nothing happened anywhere else; just pointing out that the national media made it seem as if the city was floating down to Chesapeake Bay. Now that I have received coast-to-coast coverage via Wilkes-Barre Online, I should make sure my intentions are clear. FWIW.


Today's thought:
Don't do anything that will scandalize the children or stampede the cattle.

I follow. Most of my incessant rambling focuses on Wilkes-Barre and little else. Although, I make no apologies for that. I do not care about what goes on in, say, Warrior Run, therefore I do not mention what goes on there. Thatís assuming anything actually happens there. I too put things on this site for the benefit of friends and relatives that dial it up from afar now and again. Thatís also why I sometimes scan up images and photos from the local newspapers. Because the folks living abroad canít see them on the paperís Web sites.

Some cretin once e-mailed me and complained about all of the pictures of my grandkids Iíve published. Duh! Iím not naÔve enough to believe that all of NEPA has fallen in love with my crew of rodents and canít wait for the latest pics. Theyíve got another set of grandparents. And theyíve got far-flung relatives that do not see them as often as I do. So, they dial up the site and learn of the kidís latest exploits.

You are 100% correct about the national press coverage. It was laughably inept at best. It makes me wonder how much of the stuff I see reported from other areas is accurate. If you canít even properly pronounce the name of the river youíre covering, what else did you flub on?

As far as your site is concerned, Iíll tune in every day regardless of the content. Thing is, I like reading what other locals have to say, whether I agree with them or not. No one is as opinionated as I am, but who cares? Not me. I read other local blogs and sometimes shake my head in abject disbelief. And Iím quite certain others read my tomfoolery and instantly set about praying for my soon to be lost soul. Or cursing uncontrollably. Or stalking me. No matter.

Iím not qualified to be applying labels to anyoneís literary pursuits, but I find your style surprising refreshing. Itís not your typical in-your-face, take-no-prisoners approach that clearly dominates the internet. Iíd like to think that if my winding road of a life winded a heck of a lot less somewhere along the way, my ďwritingĒ style might be much, much less offensive. Something like yours.

I dunno. I do what I do and Iím not even sure why Iím still doing it.

Coast-to-coast coverage via Wilkes-Barre Online??? Well, that may be true to some degree but remember, most of the people that visit this site probably do so only to follow my slow descent into the depths of utter insanity.

Help me!

From the e-mail inbox Mark:

Thank you for the link today.

I keep meaning to ask-- what kind of camera do you use? Your pictures always look clear and sharp.


I gots me a Kodak Easy Share CX 7430. It was a tad Ďspensive, but Iím completely happy with it. In my opinion, you could do much worse.

Today is the 4th of July, so I suppose Iím expected to pen something inspirational, something profound about the birth of our nation and all that goes with itís inherent freedoms and suchlike.

Letís just suffice it to say that I like living here and I wouldnít want to live anywhere else. In fact, I have no desire to even visit any other place. As far as Iím concerned, despite all of our festering warts, you could not significantly improve upon what this country already provides to all comers.

Consider the ups and downs of my life. Due to marital instability and no fault of my own, I once suffered the ultimate indignity of surviving by way of federally subsidized housing and a meager twice-a-month welfare check. At that time, I couldnít even imagine being any lower on the totem pole. Yet, for those of us that were caught by one of this countryís various safety nets, I enjoyed a standard of living that exceeded that of the middle class of Europe, and most of the rest of the world. What we would call bad, others would jump at the chance to emigrate here and partake of. Our bad is their good.

I love this country and I will immediately hate anything or anyone that dares to threaten itís continued existence. And do not confuse my Ďlove of countryí with racism, bigotry or the simpleminded thought processes of a lonesome redneck. If it hates me, Iím going right back at it.

The accident of my birth landed me in the greatest country the world has ever known. And I will remain forever cognizant of that fact no matter where I may go, what I might endeavor to do, or what bad luck may befall me throughout the remainder of my days.

The long and short of it is, Iíd rather he here than anywhere else.

Themís my thoughts.

U.S.S. Wilkes-Barre

Enough with all of my bullspit.

Letís get on out there and blow a few fingertips off, shall we?