8-18-2006 Rack 'em up

Gage and I enjoyed a lengthy walkabout throughout the downtown yesterday afternoon. Itís a rare day when I get down there during any of those farmerís markets simply because Iím always working, but that square was totally packed. It was actually tough trying to navigate our way through the crowds and whatnot.

We did a bit of last minute shopping for tomorrowís block party. And I also wanted to treat Gage before his last summertime visit concludes and heís whisked away to fulltime kindergarten. Since he first learned to speak heís been projecting about all of the things he would do when ďhe got bigger.Ē Well, it seems bigger has finally arrived and itís kind of a bittersweet moment. Anyway, we did the hoddog on the square thing and scoffed up some of the reasonably priced action figures from the animated Cars movie that were waiting for us in the basement of Boscovís. By the way, there were two beat cops on the square as well as a cruiser.

I got a heads up that Campus Square Billiards was about to open itís doors, but I was surprised to find the place already open for business. So, true to form, I just had to wander on in there. Iím more than happy to share my opinion of the place with you, but lets start with the official press release.

For Release: August 17, 2006

Campus Square billiards entertainment center now open on Public Square

(Wilkes-Barre, PA) The new Campus Square billiards entertainment center on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre is open for business.

According to co-owner Joseph ĎTexí Clauss, the 10,300-sq. ft., $450,000 billiards entertainment center offers 25 pool tables and 2 ping-pong tables. ďWe are still putting the finishing touches on a few things, but all the pool tables are in place and the games can begin.Ē

Clauss reports that facility is the brainchild of fellow co-owner Lou Teberio, who proposed the need for a billiards center in Wilkes-Barre. Clauss previously designed the popular billiards center, The Spot, in Trevose, PA, northeast of Philadelphia, owned by professional pool player and trainer Peter Fusco.

Campus Square, located in the former CVS Drug Store at 39 Public Square, also features what is known as a Players Pit, a special, private area designed for the avid enthusiast, that features special lighting, elevated seating for spectators, and three premium (more challenging) tables.

Work is being done to complete a large snack bar that will soon offer such fare as hot dogs and hamburgers.

ďWe are particularly proud of our state-of-the-art BOSE sound system, featuring a touch tune system connected to a 150,000-song mp3 jukebox. It is music at its best,Ē Clauss notes.

Currently open to the public, Campus Square will eventually be a "membership club." For the first nine months, the facility will be open to the public; then membership will be required. According to Clauss, there will be a nominal membership charge and after that point ID will be required to get in.

A new destination for local college students in the downtown area, Campus Square will have pool leagues and anticipates activities such as a "Campus King and Campus Queen" competition between local colleges.

For more information, contact Campus Square at (570) 970-3217.

The following picture was taken by me as I could not open the attached photo files I received.

My photo

When I wandered in, I ran right into not only the owner of the new business but the ownerís of the building itself just as they were putting this press release together. I chuckled when Wilkes-Barre Online was described to the pool dude as being Wilkes-Barreís third newspaper. I guess.

Long story short, the billiards hall is really sharp. Itís got the game room area, the ping pong area right against the windows, and then three different areas to shoot some 8 ball. Thereís the area for the ďheavy hitters,Ē which I will never be playing in. Thereís an area that was referred to as the ďbeer leagueĒ area. And then thereís the larger area where you and I can mis-cue balls all night long.

Iím not going to mention the membership fee just in case it isnít set in stone, but itís mere pennies. Itís more or less just a tool by which any unruly people can be unceremoniously bounced out of the place. Thatís a good thing. The hours of operation will basically depend on the business. Now all we have to do is support the place.

Anyway, itís a great facility, and it is exactly what downtown Wilkes-Barre needs many more of: businesses that fill a particular niche.

And that it does.

Rack Ďem, loser.

After the brief tour of the billiard hall, Gage and I were also treated to a walk-through of the new dance club which is called Club Mardi Gras. Since itís far from finished, I didnít take any pictures of the interior. It will have three bar areas and even has one of those fan boats they use to navigate the swamps and such down south. Thatís unique.

Boy, those returning college kids better not get to whining about having nothing to do this year. Since last they attended class theyíve gotten themselves 14 theaters, a huge billiards hall and what promises to be a lively dance club. All within walking distance under all of those new streetlights.

Iíll certainly stop in there when it opens and throw back a few. But donít even bother trying to get me to dance. A disco boy I ainít.

Hey baby, you come here often?

From the e-mail inbox MarkÖ

I didn't listen to your audio clips of Gordon Ramsey, as I can live without profanity, but I did want to mention my Uncle John, long gone. The man had a way with words, and I don't mean like Shakespeare. John had what, in others, would be the foulest mouth this side of the Mississippi, but he used it in such a way as to make it sound like poetry. Not one swear word was out of place, nor were they used gratuitously; each one fit the circumstance, or built on the other to make the grandest sentences that ever made a school marm blush. Or, I liked to think, even a few sailors.

For someone so rough of manners, he had a green thumb and (had he lived in this area) could have made flowers grow in the passing lane of I-81. Many a time I would look on in wonder as he would say, "Look at these [x] pansies; aren't they the [x] nicest little [x] flowers you ever saw?" And the pansies would wilt with his words. I heard words I never knew existed and I heard words used in new and wondrous ways.

When Uncle John died, the poetry died with him. Now, people just throw the words around for effect.

Tom Carten

As far as cursing is concerned, there are two cursing events on film that crack me up every single time. The first one is from Animal House when after practically destroying Flounderís brotherís Lincoln, Otter looks him right in the eye and says point blank: You fu>ked up. You trusted us.

The other one is from Christmas Story when Ralphieís perturbed dad stomps down into the basement and lays down a verbal barrage while trying to get the furnace working properly. That is some of the foulest sounding non-cursing Iíve ever heard. And funny as all hell.

I try to be nice these days, but when I was much younger I was known to cuss with the very best of them. I canít say Iím proud of it, but it is what it is. Or was. Something like that. Fuuddge!

The work on the Sterling Hotel tower seems to be in full swing these days. Youíd never catch me on this elevator thingie. No way, Jose.


Catch this nonsense. Weíve staged 16 of these block parties spanning 16 years, and only one time did it occur to anyone to sic the police on us. That would be those folks who bought McGroartyís cardboard house down on the corner. Theirs is a Penn Avenue address, but they mistakenly think they can do as they wish with a piece of city-owned property on Thompson Street.

Turns out, they got to mouthing off to one of the neighbors that they plan to throw a huge party tomorrow night and promised there is going to be trouble since we cordon off our entire street and no parking will be allowed for most of the day. First of all, we have a permit from the city which allows us to do as much. Secondly, if their main complaint turns out to be about parking, they donít even live on this street. So why would someone from another street think they have parking rights on this street? And yet, these people have complained that none of their neighbors like them. You know, itís not them, itís the rest of the world causing the problems. Whatever.

All I know is, Iíll let the cops handle their nonsensical bullspit, but itís getting to the point with these maroons where I would greatly prefer to take things physical. With some peopleÖwith some, it just ought to be legal to give Ďem a good old-fashioned sock right in the chops. It just ought to. Sez me.

Maybe Bill Vinsko can research all of that legalese mucky muck for me.

Pro bono, of course.

Well, the barriers were delivered this morning and the street sweeper just worked itís magic. (?)

Itís just about time to flirt with alcohol poisoning.