2-18-2007 Stuff

You just never know what awaits you when you finally manage to free the morning newspaper from that ink-stained rubber band. I wandered my way to the editorial page of today’s Times Leader only to find my name mentioned in today’s editorial. That’s damn peculiar. Although, “cheese in a pan of lasagna” seemed to aptly describe the tons of layered sleet, snow, sleet and then more snow I helped to remove from this street.

What makes today’s link to this site interesting is that the Times Leader has always embraced what is now called blogging, while our other newspaper seems content to pretend that local commentary on the internet has yet to be invented. Why is that?

I started writing on the internet on December 2, 2000. And as early as mid-2001, a Times Leader story written by Steve Mocarsky featured all of the local Web Sites he could find that were tended to by nondescript citizens. This site was mentioned, a site named Captain’s Quarters (I think) and the names of the few others mentioned escapes me now. Needless to say, there weren’t very many to write about back then.

Even though blogging was in it’s infancy, a newspaper that needs to attract countless readers or go bust was willingly providing alternatives to it’s daily published content. I found that to be interesting because, at that time, the established media was attacking the musings on the internet as being unreliable and not worthy of even being looked at.

Contrast that approach to that of the folks at the Citizens’ Voice. Based solely on the complete lack of interaction between the Voice and the localized internet, it’s as if the internet is an electronic leper colony. If I had a plug nickel for every time the Voice linked to any local internet content, I’d be sleeping at the homeless shelter and in the initial planning stages of my next purse snatching. If I had a plug nickel for every time the Leader mentioned my stuff alone, I’d be making like the fat guys at an exclusive golf club somewhere near here. Fore!!!

Very recently the editorial page editor at the Leader asked me to limit my letters to said paper to 600 words or less. 600 words? That’s it? My last two submissions never made their way to print. My most recent letter was rejected, I suspect because it was the polar opposite of an editorial that appeared late this week. Yet, somehow my name came up in today’s editorial.

As a member of that “pajama media” as the established media used to call us bloggers, if the Citizens’ Voice either mentioned my site, my name, or published a letter I had sent to it’s inconsistent editors, my heart would instantly implode and my wife would probably sue those people for wrongful surprise. Did I just set some kind of newfangled legal precedent: wrongful surprise?

All I know is, while long-accepted media outlets promise and barely deliver more interactivity from their various and far-flung internet sites, the Times Leader was interacting with the fledgling alternative news/opinion sources long before anyone could even put a name to them. And the Leader continues to do so.

I applaud them for that.

I started writing on the internet simply because those aforementioned editors at both papers either edited my stuff to the point of sounding stupid (Leader), or refused to publish it at all (Voice). As far as the editing is concerned, that was completely my fault as I was extremely long-winded (still am), and way too acerbic. I make no apologies for any of that.

Back during those heady Crossin/Makowski/Pizano days, while there were others, the two people always in the face of the local politicians were Fred Williams, formerly of WILK, and Ambrose Meletsky. Fred was a name-caller and a bomb-thrower extraordinaire. And while Ambrose could certainly get his phlegm all in a bunch, the guy was never disrespectful towards those he was publicly excoriating. In a nutshell, he was very well-read, he was tirelessly relentless and a class act.

I caught his act in person a few times at council meetings, and I met him during the very first Home Rule exploratory meeting held in a church basement. I’ll not got as far a to say he was one of my local heroes, I just figured that if a guy at such an advanced age could be so filled with vigor and fire whereas his community was concerned, so could I. And so should I.

If you were going to make like an activist copy-cat, this would be the one guy to closely mimic. He made points, not enemies. And even while excoriating public figures, he never burned any bridges. Sadly, those who have chosen to follow in his activist footsteps don’t seem to understand that if you cannot conduct yourself with dignity while treating others with dignity, you will never be a part of the solution no matter how hard you try.

I know not where Ambrose’s broken mold lies, but I think they need to weld it back together and soon.

Sez me.

From the e-mail inbox Very briefly: I don't know what's in the water up there, but the people of NEPA are setting a world record for whining and bitching. People who drive their Neons into two feet of snow, burn out the transmission and blame the mayor. People on Bumblefu>k Lane wanting to know why the plow hasn't been down their street five times yet. Guys who take their pregnant daughters onto the interstate, get stuck, and then complain that no one promptly came to rescue them. Soccer moms who think their Subaru is invulnerable, get stuck in the middle of an intersection, and then walk away. What a bunch of little babies. Whatever happened to "Be Prepared?"

Motherfu>kers, it's a blizzard. Do you think the public works department is an infinite resource? I have never - not once - missed work because of weather, and that includes 12 working years in Iowa and five in Pa. More than once, I had to walk. So fuckin' what? It's work. You want perfect weather, move to Hawaii.

This has not been NEPA's proudest hour.


Not only do I reside within spitting distance of the DPW complex, I also own a scanner with the DPW frequencies tuned in. Basically, these guys have been working their stones off since 3 pm Tuesday. Our tiny street was salted two times before the storm even began. After the snow started flying, we were plowed once on Tuesday and once on Wednesday. That is to say, that‘s what my four eyes were privy to.

I saw a grown man on the news last night whining away because, according to him, his side street was not plowed at all, and that resulted in his having missed two days of work. I hit the brakes on his nonsense right there. First of all, if you’ve had the past two days off, why wasn’t a shovel and, or a snow blower or two taken to your stranded ‘four-wheel drive?” Secondly, why are the sidewalks on your street still snow-covered? Thirdly, as you alluded to, if he was soooo determined to get himself to work, he would have gotten himself there. Like yourself, I have never missed a day of work because of the weather. I guess this guy never heard of LCTA buses, car-pooling or walking.

Again, as far as I saw, we were plowed once on Tuesday and once on Wednesday. The attention of the DPW guys shifted to the main drags just as soon as the brunt of the storm arrived Wednesday morning and continued on into afternoon, and the residents of this street had no qualms with any that. We bundled up, slid on the boots and got to work. And by Thursday morning, tons of snow had been removed from our street and our sidewalks. It’s all piled like picturesque mountains of white on our smallish front lawns.

But here’s the kicker. We headed back out there on Thursday to dig out the few remaining buried cars only to realize that if a plow made it’s way up the street at that point or any point afterwards, it would have screwed up everything we did and caused us even more work. So, somebody tell those DPW guys to bypass this street. We’re all good to go.

Take from that what you will. All I know is, the residents of this street did not sit on their collective asses waiting for that giant government tit with a snow plow attached to come and save us. It snowed outside and we reacted. No television cameras. No effeminate-sounding missives. No fifteen nanoseconds of ill-begotten fame. No laziness. No sick days used. No personal days used. Just a thoroughly passable street.

What’s in the water up here? Believe it or not, they tell us it’s beaver poop. I dunno, it doesn’t taste all that bad to me. But I figure it changes your blood chemistry and all so that you get to sitting on your fat ass whining about the really, really small stuff.

Some guys pay big bucks to the local gym so as to pretend they are exercising while eye-balling the really lean girls in the really tight tights. Me? I get plenty of exercise and all absolutely free of charge.

So who’s smarter?

Due to their ongoing storm coverage for days on end, the talk jocks at WILK were working doubles, or triples or some such thing. And as a result their schedules got knocked all out of whack. So I was sitting here the other day listening to Steve Corbett hosting the Sue Henry show when a caller from the east end of Wilkes-Barre announced his intention to seek a city council seat.

Elect Timothy Anderson

So as far as the District D (Parsons, East End & a snippet of the Heights) is concerned, we now have three council hopefuls. We’ve got one political newcomer, Tim Anderson, and two incumbents, Mike McGinley and Bill Barrett.

Since I can not vote for or against Mr. Anderson, I will not comment on his candidacy. With that said, I will provide a forum for any candidate from any voting district if they would like to make use of it. While I promise to give everyone a fair shake, I am not known for tossing softballs.

Lemme know.

From the e-mail inbox Dear Seeker After Middle-Name Truth:

I'm not sure how many names you have, but most Catholics have four. Example: Thomas, then common middle name I hate, then Christopher (confirmation name, the only one I can choose myself), lastly Carten (ties me to a family I'm not always sure I want to be identified with).

When the First National Community Bank says, "Our middle name is Community," I want to tell them, "Your middle name is 'National'; it's your confirmation name that's 'Community.' You people a bunch of lapsed Catholics or sumptin?"

As long as I'm here: if some priest doesn't like your choice of names, ask him (or her, in the future) what the common saints' names mean. Check out a biblical dictionary and say you'd like the English version and watch him do some fancy dancing. "Twin … Gazelle … Rock," etc. And, hey, if the Mexicans can name their kids Jesus, why not us?

Pregnant unmarried teenagers? Hey, there's a very famous woman whose statue stands in hundreds of erect bathtubs all around the Valley and, IIRC, she was a little bit pregnant when she swore to her fiancé she'd never had sex.

Tom Carten

Unrepentant Bible Reader * * * * Today's thought:

Don't do anything that will scandalize the children or stampede the cattle.

Visit me at: http://northfranklin.blogspot.com (new URL)


Where the hell were the inclusive folks of your mindset back when the flock could have and probably should have been added to? Like I said, I would have gone along just to get along. Instead, I was told I was not worthy.

Here’s a weird one. A few years back I was at Mercy Hospital after my son decided it’d be neat to have a forked foot. He just about ripped his foot in half, so I accompanied him to the emergency room. While some nurse was doing the preliminaries on his foot, I had to go deal with the paperwork. And as the paperwork lady and I were making our way through it, my daughter Peace’s name came up somehow. The lady’s pen stopped dead, she looked at me and said she remembered when somebody named their baby Peace. That was many moons before, but she remembered the buzz that went through the hospital after I had named my firstborn.

So knowing what you know about me, shouldn’t people be schooled, tested and licensed before conceiving, naming or raising any child? If they trusted me with a newborn baby, the system has got to be broken.

Not to worry, though. Hillary will address all of that if and when we go full-blown commie in Amerika. It takes a commune…er, a village.