3-2-2007 Whereís the hot air?

Every year, at the very first sign of cold weather we begin the countdown to March 1st. January 1st? Weíre getting there, 59 days left until March 1st. At the onset of winter, the number of remaining days Ďtil spring usually seems too high to even contemplate without a mild depression setting in for a minute or two. But we press onÖ(?) days left Ďtil March 1st and so on.

Being that March has finally arrived, Iím chomping at the bit and ready to roll. I spent yesterday afternoon tuning up the Hummer. That included new rear brake pads, new Velcro here and there, new batteries for the strobes and a general tweaking of all things in need of a tweaking. Since itís having been purchased in August of Ď05, this bike has logged over 5,000 miles on our streets, so regular maintenance is always a safety issue. Needless to say, Iím ready.

I was reading some politically expedient gibberish yesterday wherein animal flatulence was being blamed in part for the much-trumpeted and highly suspect overheating of the Earthís atmosphere. And it occurred to me that when the locals get to freaking out about global warming due to some short-lived weather anomaly, thatís when Iím the happiest. Yes, if itís unusually warm and the easily-led get to repeating warnings of the coming apocalypse, I am at my most thrilled.

Itís freaking hot, the streets are all but abandoned for the cauldrons of central air, Iím stripped down to a pair of shorts and a tank top and pedaling away. If itís hot as all hell outside, you just know Iím off somewhere getting a ton of exercise that I see more as relaxation than a workout. When I arrive back at the adobe dripping sweat like a double-homicide suspect being interrogated by detectives, I know I just accomplished something.

So itís March and Iím ready to have me some fun. And I encourage all of my neighbors to burn their garbage in a barrel out back, let loose with the lactose intolerance, snub their noses at the indignity that is public transportation, drive a half a block for a gallon of milk and drive countless miles while burning fossil fuels all the way. Please do your part and help to make this March the warmest on record since 700 B.C.

Iím counting on you.

HereĎs my wish list for this spring. First, I need a new vehicle that I would trust to make it all the way to Knoxville, Tennessee and back. Secondly, wifey needs a real bicycle, not the $99 K-Mart special sheís been suffering with. Both of my bikes noticeably coast away from hers on downhill grades while sheís pedaling and Iím not. And those $99 welds donít hold up to any sort of off-road riding for any length of time. Time for an upgrade.

Thirdly, as evidenced by the following Citizensí Voice story, itís also time to get serious about buying one of those newfangled Personal Data Assistants (PDA).

Cisco to supply Wi-Fi equipment

WILKES-BARRE Ė A plan to place security cameras in parts of Wilkes-Barre and make wireless Internet available to city residents is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Wire Free Wilkes-Barre, a non-profit organization overseeing the plan, reached an agreement this week with Cisco Systems for the equipment needed to create the system, J.J. Murphy, the groupís chief operating officer, said.

ďWe are on the brink of having a wireless city, which is very exciting,Ē he said.

So soon enough Iíll be able to post on the internet no matter where the heck I may be roaming. Two parole violators fighting over a Bob Marley-autographed crack pipe at the soup kitchen? Iíll be uploading that picture within seconds. The Steam Heat smokestack finally tumbles over crushing three innocent bystanders? Youíll have the picture right quick. And how about heated city council meetings? That could be fun.

And as far as those security cameras are concerned, if they see a guy on a Ďspensive bicycle flipping them the bird, that would be me. Donít get me wrong, Iím in favor of the increased security and then some. Itís just that I reserve the right to act like a juvenile when the mood strikes me--often.

Works for me.

Gentlemen Jim? A muckraker? A political gadfly? A taxpayer advocate?

City Notes

McCarthy, 70, has served 16 years on city council. He said he may return to council meetings as an activist after his term expires.

ďIím going to be the next Ambrose Meletsky or Walter Griffith,Ē McCarthy said. ďI might be the new taxpayer advocate.Ē

One distinction needs to be made. Ambrose was a dyed-in-the-wool taxpayer advocate. Walter has been a candidate wearing a taxpayer advocateís hat from the get-go. Their messages were poles apart. The first demanded better from his elected officials. The latter demanded that he replace his elected leaders. Their true motivations should place them in two distinctly separate categories.

A crusader is a crusader. And a candidate playing the role of a crusader is a whole other political animal.

Go get Ďem, Jim.

The following wish list is nifty and all, but not all properties deemed to be of historic value (damn near all of them these days) are going to be saved for lack of available monies. I think we need to prioritize and scale back these sorts of federally-subsidized pie-in-the-sky laundry lists of well-intentioned, but unrealistic expectations.

From Electric City:

10 Sites Worth Saving

IĎm not particularly happy about it, but it seems to me that the local blogosphere has suddenly run out of gas. Or as some might put it, suddenly run out of hot air.

If localized blogs were gold, NEPA BLOGS would be the local internetís version of Fort Knox. If anyone has something to say, or photos they want to share or both on the local internet, sooner or later that contribution will find itself being linked to from this site. And if you follow these links, youíll find just about everything: politics, personal diaries, tales of derring-do, polls, tributes, political infighting, you-heard-it-here-first scoops, libel, slander, idiocy, what-I-did-last-summer and what have you.

But of late, this repository has become a collection of bloggers that no longer blog, or bloggers that blog about as frequently as public protesters get taken seriously by those unfortunate enough to be confronted by that sort of hapless endeavoring.

As for myself, Iíll read anything no matter itís ideology, viewpoint or idiotic nature. I read what the older folks have to say, what the college-aged kids have to say, what the blogging media have to say and even what the folks who despise me have to say. And sometimes I take serious, serious issue with some of which I happen upon. But even when I invite others to engage into a blogging scrum, I do enjoy the heck out of the internet back-and-forth. I do. I love meeting new people and I also enjoy pushing some peopleís buttons. Probably too much.

I encourage those whom I think could better my community. And I excoriate those I perceive to be less than capable of bettering my community. In this house, we have a Top Ten list of people who should be investigated should I turn up in a ditch doing the rigor mortis dance with automobile tire marks up one side of me. Yeah, Iíve annoyed legions of people over the past six years, but never once did I think that the public discourse was not in the best interests of this city, or this area. Face it, weíve been arguing about the cityís future direction for quite a while now, and no matter how that is sliced and diced, thatís a good thing.

Itís just that, lately, that aforementioned hot air that once seemed to be in such great supply has wafted away only to destroy the ozone layer. So I ask you, have blogs run their course? Is what was once described as the ďnew mediaĒ already old news? Or has carpal tunnel syndrome slowly decimated the ranks of NEPAís do-it-yourself publishers?

Whereís the hot air?

Gotta cut this short today. Iím meeting somebody later this afternoon. Politics, man.