12-11-2006 Brandon’s 15 nanoseconds of fame

Many, many moons ago, I posted some thoughts on a Sunday night without making mention of some breaking story in Wilkes-Barre. I don’t even remember the specifics, but the next morning an e-mailer wondered why I hadn’t weighed-in on the big story of the day. As I responded at that time, when the New York Football Giants are on the video advertising box, I truly do not care what the hell happens in this city. No police scanner. No telephone. No cell phone. No nothin’.

So, when I grabbed the paper this morning, I learned not only that a building being demolished had partially collapsed on Public Square yesterday afternoon, I also learned that one of my nephews rushed to save a worker buried under the debris. Be it known that I am filled with much trepidation while admitting as much.

So, without further adieu, my nephew--the hero--sporting a “Stupidity is not a crime…” t-shirt (how fitting) as told by the Citizens‘ Voice:

Construction worker stable after collapse

This one had me scratching my fat head:

Worker trapped in rubble

Check this excerpt:

“Once (the wall) hit the top of the (archway), it tacoed in on him,” said Kline, adding that, in the confusion, the other three workers didn’t realize their fellow worker was trapped and had to be told by observers.

Never one to second guess the press (yeah, right!), I’m wondering if the guy said “ it toppled in on him.” If not, there is this word, taco, which is much more versatile that previously realized.

So, Uncle Mark, what did you do to him? Why, I walked right up to that sumbitch and tacoed him face-first into the pavement. That’s what I did.

Hey! Hands off the bike, bonehead. You wanna get your dead ass tacoed?

This just in…breaking news from the polls…Mayor Renaldo T. Muckles has had his reelection bid tacoed by a political neophyte. More at 11.

You mess with the bull, you get tacoed.

And I thought the kinfolk down Tennessee way talked funny. Whatever. No biggie.

Then again, what the fu>k was that?

Before I grabbed that newspaper from the front porch earlier this morning, I looked at the Web sites of both local newspapers and, of course, the political news out of Wilkes-Barre was the first thing to catch my eye.

Griffith runs for W-B city council

I think the timing of the announcement was strategic in that Sunday is typically a slow news day coupled with the fact that the Times Leader usually has but one reporter out and about with orders to generate two stories if nothing big comes about. So, if things go as planned, the throwing of the hat into the political ring ends up on Page 1 come Monday morning. It’s a smart move, but some 100-year-old bricks went and put the kibosh to that plan. So, right out of the box, Walter’s fledgling political campaign has hit some bumps in the road. Page 3 will have to do. No big thing, just an astute observation on my part.

In all honesty, I’m growing increasingly weary of this guy. He is to forward-thinking municipal management what Charlie Weiss is to personal hygiene. If the Three Stooges were to make a comeback using politics as their vehicle, they’d more likely than not want to add him as the fourth stooge. While I could care less what he endeavors to do with his life, I certainly do not want him put in charge of any aspect of Wilkes-Barre’s future.

With that having been said, I truly do not care who serves as a city councilperson so long as they are responsible people who have the city’s best interests at heart. Be they entrenched Democrats, be they upstart Republicans, or a member of some fringe party, I truly do not care. I simply want 5 people who will work to better the city, not embarrass the city and not get all caught up in proposing asinine ordinances banning something or other to curry favor with one voting bloc over another. That’s it in a nutshell.

But as political coming out parties are concerned, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Walter’s platform seems a bit threadbare, if not completely unimaginative and far, far less than motivational. Did he offer us anything to get even remotely excited about, or to rally around? Methinks not. But to be fair, I seriously doubt that any city council hopeful will come off being seen as sexy, glitzy or head and shoulders above the crowd. We’re talking city council here, not President of the United States.

“One guy being a Republican on a five-member board could be a watchdog,” he said.


Griffith said he’d like to review the pensions of city employees and the overtime that’s paid out and see if changes should be made.

“I think it’s time that the government take a look at spending and say, ‘Can we cut spending?’ ” Griffith said.

He said it might make sense to hire more employees instead of paying overtime because pensions are based on highest salaries and overtime increases yearly incomes. Also, council members should begin contributing toward their benefits, Griffith said. City department heads should be hired from outside the area to reduce “favoritism,” said Griffith, noting that Mayor Tom Leighton and Police Chief Gerry Dessoye are related by marriage.

“From what I see, it’s not run for the people. It’s run by the people for their own benefit,” Griffith said.

You’d like to review the pensions of city employees and the overtime that’s paid out? Well, realistically speaking, you can kiss off the votes of the city’s employees and their relatives. You should have been more specific. You have relentlessly hammered the point that, in your words, “part-time” employees should not earn a pension after 20 years.

And what of those pensions paid to council folk? Will a lone Republican “watchdog” be able to make them disappear? Nope.

Cut spending? Um, the mayor has been criticized--by yourself--for doing exactly that. He has also been criticized--by yourself--for cutting the excessive overtime that was running roughshod over the city’s budget during the previous administrations less than capable stewardship. You whine in public about a perceived lack of street sweeping and leaf removal, but then you claim we can cut spending? You demand in a very loud and grotesque fashion that an ages-old firehouse be retrofitted, but you will work to cut spending? You opposed the increase in the Emergency Services Tax, which led directly to the hiring of 10 additional police officers, but you promise to cut spending? If it were up to you, we’d still be paying the $10 tax and Wilkes-Barre would have exactly 10 less police officers on it’s streets, unless we decided to hire those officers straight out of the general fund. Cut spending? That’s a joke, right?

Hire more employees rather than pay overtime? Duh! Sorry, but overtime costs can be controlled under normal circumstances while the cost of health care benefits cannot. You see, health care benefits are “fixed” costs that constantly increase by leaps and bounds. Conversely, overtime costs are not fixed and can be controlled, if not, avoided altogether to a very large degree. Anyone with any significant experience in the private sector knows as much. But based wholly upon your insane statements, the art of managing a very large budget is totally lost upon you. You say we should hire more employees and pay the associated, crushingly expensive benefits rather than pay some occasional overtime hours? Your inexperience is showing and then some.

“City department heads should be hired from outside the area to reduce ‘favoritism?’”

Yeah, that’ll freaking work. In a parallel universe, perhaps. Did it ever occur to the declared candidate for city council that the city’s employees just happen to be unionized? Wow! Wouldn’t the Human Resources department be overwhelmed when the lawsuits started flowing? Let’s visualize this, shall we? Due to retirement, we need a new police chief. We’ve got a slew of decorated police captains with decades-worth of experience and accreditations. So, in response to our hiring needs, we hire a cop from, say, New Zealand?

Walter, when my company volunteered to clean Public Square and Kirby Park, much mention was made of the fact that such an undertaking would violate the terms of the contract the DPW workers have in place. Walter, picking up garbage in a city park can cause a flap with city employees. Do you honestly believe we can pass up or own best and brightest for somebody else’s simply because you think you can make political hay out of the linkage between the mayor and the city’s top cop? You really ought to start doing your homework before making such ridiculous statements.

“From what I see, it’s not run for the people. It’s run by the people for their own benefit, Griffith said.”

It’s not run for the people, yet, it’s run by the people. (?) You don’t even have the ability to make a coherent statement while announcing your candidacy for an elected office? Walter, give it up already. We all have a purpose in this life, and yours is not to be put in charge of anything more complex than a remote control. If this is the very best you have to offer, you should seriously rethink what it is that you think you’re doing, or what it is that you mistakenly think you have to offer. All that you have brought to the table is some tired, recyclable political garbage that any political novice would likely regurgitate.

What should have been a vehicle by which you could attract voters quickly devolved into a strong argument as to why we should never consider voting for you. And I thank you for that.

Stick a sizable fork in this guy. He’s the first to declare, and he’s already done.

But have no fear. From what they tell me, some qualified candidates are laying in wait.

And thank goodness (No more God) for that.

Give it up

I heard this troubling call come over the scanner. And barely a half-hour later I was at the upsetting scene. When the folks from 911 broadcast that a kid has been struck by a car and has suffered severe head trauma as a result, your very first thought is that this should never, ever happen to some happy-go-lucky kid on her way home from school. And selfishly, your very next thought is a silent prayer sent along requesting that it never happens to one of your own. And in that respect, I am guilty as charged.

Anyway, give this Web site a visit. You can make a monetary donation, or you can simply send along some much-needed well-wishes. Either way, it can only help a close-knit family in distress.

Sarah’s Place

You wanna talk rip-off? Holy flying newts, Batman!

Wifey was changing the channels this morning when she came across this nonsense at WVIA. Sit…and be fit? Um, oxymoron immediately comes to mind. A contradiction in terms is upon us with a mighty thud.


No, no and no! No matter what age group you’re dealing with, the best recipe for exercise and staying fit is to get up off of your ass. And anyone who tells you otherwise is a snake oil salesman. Or, as it is in this case, a video saleswoman.

Note: This is a private message for Kayak Dude. If you are anyone other than Kayak Dude, do not look at this. I trust you to do the right thing.

Dude, have you run across this book titled “Keystone Canoeing?” It is amazing. It covers every navigable stream in Pennsylvania, and provides gradients, the boils and suchlike things, how the roadways interact with the highlighted waterways and detailed narratives on what each tributary has to offer for serious paddlers the world over. It was written by Edward Gertler and it is all-inclusive as far as PA’s smallish waterways are concerned.

I’m assuming you’re on your second copy of it. But, if not, seek it out.

It’s awesome.

Okay. You non-dudes can look again.

Gage at Corba‘s