3-11-2007 Watchdog vs. Watchdog

According to the latest “studies,” greenhouse gas emissions are going to wreak havoc on the environment, and forever put to bed the rumors about having a Super Bowl in New York. Being that New York City will be the world’s largest man-made lake sometime soon, the television networks just won’t go for a Super Bowl being played in wetsuits. Sucks.

It was so warm yesterday, the very last thing I thought about doing was playing on the internet. Instead, I grabbed a pair of my new athletic shorts and got to cycling through the downtown and points south. As I said before, when the easily-led folks get to eating their fingernails over global warming, or asteroids colliding with LCTA busses, I’m usually about as happy as a taxpayer watchdog with a new sandwich board.

After I returned to the modest adobe, somehow, I ended up watching “The Blob,” starring a youthful Steve McQueen. When I was a sprat of, say, 6-years-old, this movie had me scrambling for the protection of my blankets at bedtime. Can you imagine being stalked by man-eating cherry Jello, a Jello that can’t be killed? It was no Gorgo or Godzilla, but way back when, Jello was pretty scary, too.

Anyway, once the folks in Black ‘n’ WhiteVille figured out how to contain the killer gelatin from outer space and dispatched it to the North Pole to be frozen forevermore, the laughable global warming thing popped into my mind. Well, if what Professor Gore says is true, if the polar ice caps are disappearing faster than Britney Spears’ sanity, shouldn’t the Blob have thawed out by now? And if it’s on the loose again, what does this portend for the immediate future of mankind? Are the Canadians turning up missing at a dizzying rate in the northernmost provinces? Can Dudley Do-right stop his advance, or is he being held in a 4X4 cell at Gitmo? And if it is sliding towards a movie theater near you, would the Fedrule Govmint risk a panic by warning the general public? Or does Homeland Security have a contingency plan for dealing with man-eating gelatins from outer space?

I dunno.

If there is such a thing as global warming, and if, as they say, the oceans are going to rise ten or twenty feet every time we use the gas-powered lint blowers en masse, couldn’t enterprising capitalists such as ourselves figure out a way to profit from it? Here’s my idea. I lack capital, so I’m going to need some wealthy investors before you’ll see me grabbing any waitresses fannies at the Westmoreland Club.

Since Monroe County is still, for the most part, a vast forest, and since it’s dominated by a mountainous terrain, wouldn’t it stand to reason that after the oceans swallow the existing oceanfront properties and make their advances inland that Monroe County will become the new east coast? So, if you’re interested, I say we start buying up property just south of Peck’s Pond, sit on our investments and wait. And if those pesky oceans don’t cooperate anytime soon, we’re going to need to diligently overuse those gas-powered lint blowers until the business climate changes in our favor.

Let me know.

When politicians announce new projects and suchlike, they tend to be overly optimistic whereas timetables and actually ribbon-cutting ceremonies come about. In a nutshell, if a politician says it’s going to take a year, count on it taking closer to two.

As Wilkes-Barre has learned quite painfully, sometimes politicians promise us grandiose projects, only to deliver nothing at all. Sometimes they spend $5 million and build muddy holes. Sometimes they build call centers and then get stuck with the leases. Sometimes they promise brand spanking new firehouses, then do little more than pass onto the next administration firehouses that were built before coal was discovered. And in this city, we’ve gotten used to the litany of promises, only to be bitterly disappointed.

With that said, there is one guy who’s word has been as good as gold. There is this one guy who, if he says it, it ought to be believed. His words are always careful, measured, but ultimately accurate. And if there is a barometer by which we can accurately predict the coming storm of progress in the downtown, this guy personifies it.

Quiznos enters scene in W-B

“Theatergoers, workers, shoppers and residents are enjoying an ever widening array of choices when they come downtown, and it’s only going to continue because we have many more exciting announcements planned for (this year),” said Larry Newman, the chamber’s vice president for economic and community development.

Many more exciting announcements? About a month before the theater opened for business, I quizzed him about the rumored “letters of intent” from prospective tenants interested in leasing the remainder of that complex and in response, he said our prospects were “real good.”

He’s such a tease, isn’t he? Yes, he is. But he’s always spot-on accurate.

If Larry says it, bank on it.

Zach and Jeremy slept over last night in anticipation of the big St. Patty’s Day parade. And after breakfast and some playing with my fake wooden snake, we wrapped the two of them in garments, stuffed them into the Radio Flyer wagon, and set out on foot for Public square.

We arrived five minutes before the parade was scheduled to start and laid our claim to a piece of asphalt just off the curb, and right in front of Martz Trailways. I made the mistake of marching Zach over to one of those guys pushing the toy-stuffed shopping carts and came away $21 lighter. Although, he is now armed with a river horn of his own. A green one.

Finally, the parade arrived at our location, led by a color guard comprised of Wilkes-Barre police officers. Just behind us, some forty-something lady was carrying on like a stuck pig because wifey had lit a cigarette. Not confronting us, mind you. Just bitching so we could hear her. We ignored her. She bitched some more. So I lit one, too. If this bothers you on Public Square, in a wide-open public place…MOVE FU>KLIPS!!! Half the people there were likely half-intoxicated in public, but she’s clamoring for public executions over a friggin’ cigarette. There should be those times when it would be legal and prudent to frag people.

So, as far as we were hearing it, we were being ignorant.

And no sooner did the parade in earnest arrive in front of us, those Poindexter’s jumped in front of us, looked back at the boys in the wagon, and then promptly turned their backs on us. And other adults quickly followed their lead, effectively shutting both Zach and Jeremy out from seeing the passing parade. They knew exactly what they were doing, but they did it anyway. The adults wanted the better view at the expense of the children.

And smokers are ignorant?

Rather than cause a needless scene, and rather than elbowing overweight women into unconsciousness, we grabbed our wagon’s handle and set out in search of another spot from which to view the parade. The only thing was, with the heavy attendance being what it was, there wasn’t any other spot to be had without swinging those aforementioned elbows. We looked and looked, but that mass of people at the parade’s edge was damn near impenetrable. Sadly, I can’t stabilize two toddlers on my shoulders, so we decided to head on home. The parade started at 1, and we were rolling out of there by 1:40.

We were going to treat the boys to pizza at Mimmo’s, but we decided against any further interaction with the multitude of assholes we encountered on our little side of the square today. I figure we’ll have to get there very early next year, since this event is growing by leaps and bounds. But next year I’m going to eat a half-pound of cabbage and a couple of big bowls of chili before we head on out. Then we’ll just see who’s brave enough to jump in front of my grandkids, let alone, stand anywhere near me.

‘Til next time.

From The Sunday Voice:

McCarthy’s taxpayers’ ‘concerns’ just more politics

I can’t understand how Wilkes-Barre Councilman Jim McCarthy can say he will “now” be a taxpayer advocate. Does that mean for 16 years he wasn’t?

I have been a real taxpayer watchdog for the past four years and am highly insulted as to Mr. McCarthy’s attitude to now be concerned for the taxpayers. Where was Jim McCarthy when they passed the ordinance illegally regarding the way city mayor and council get their pay raises? Where was Mr. McCarthy when the city council passed the ordinance to make all landlords pay a rental fee? Where was Mr. McCarthy when the city passed a business improvement district ordinance that now will cost all businesses downtown 2.57 percent in addition to their already high taxes and no services.

I feel the recently deceased Ambrose Meletsky and I deserve better treatment from this city councilman than to cavalierly use our stance for the taxpayers this way for his own benefit.

Walter Griffith Jr.


A “real taxpayer watchdog?” Man, somebody sorely needs to get over themselves.

What’s a real taxpayer watchdog anyway? These are typically the retired folks, the unemployed folks, i.e., the people with a lot of time on their hands and little, if any satisfying hobbies. Wow, give them a medal, they attend meetings and gripe about the same three subjects to the point of absolute boredom, and a redundancy beyond what any human should be expected to endure.

Take our Democrat mayoral challenger. I pegged this guy months ago. He has the time to attend city council meetings. He has the time to attend commissioners meetings. He has the time to sue practically every high-profile person he’s ever met. He has the time to create a scene at the local voting haunt. And he has the time to slander people on the internet.

With all of that listed, what that clearly suggested to me was that he has no job. And trust me, a man with no employment and no employable skills should be the very last person telling us how the entire world should be run. There’s passion and then there’s experience. There’s the incessant rebel yell, and then there’s real-world knowledge. Tell me Walter, does he deserve a medal, too?

And to complain about taking a stance for ones own benefit is infuriating coming from Wilkes-Barre’s reigning champion of a publicity whore.

The real deal, heh?

Get over yourself, you peon!!!

Jim McCarthy is bowing out of politics, but you couldn't resist the urge to seize upon that for the self-fulfilling purposes of getting your name published in the newspaper. If you are the answer, the wrong questions are being asked.

Sez me.

Gotta go. The command to “Start your engines!” is but minutes away.