4-7-2007 Dam the Ovaltine

Hey Phillies fans, while Jimmy Rollins was pounding his chest and mouthing off, the Braves were quieting retooling. But I guess you’ve figured out as much by now after being swept 3 straight at home.

Now, we can argue about politics and the future course of the city, but you wouldn’t dare contest the fact that the Phillies’ skipper, Charlie Manuel, got stuck somewhere near the bottom of the baseball bell curve.

Or would you?

This takes being versatile to a new level.

I had never heard of this guy before yesterday, but I sincerely hope the Atlanta Braves’ scouts are giving him some serious consideration. Pat Venditte, a sophomore from Creighton University, is an ambidextrous pitcher. In other words, he can pitch and pitch effectively with both his left and right arms. And his fastball has been clocked in the mid-90s.

He has a specially designed glove that can be worn on either hand, but he has to declare from which side of the mound he’ll pitch from before the batter settles into the batting box.

Keep an eye on this kid.

Does this sort of business really matter to those of us not very high on the political food chain? Better said, does it even register with the folks that do not vote the dreaded straight party ticket?

W-B race troubles Democrats

The hierarchy of the Sixth Legislative District Democratic organization is torn over how to handle endorsements in two of the five Wilkes-Barre City Council primary races.

The executive committee met Wednesday night and easily decided to support incumbents Kathy Kane, Tony Thomas Jr. and Shirley Morio Vitanovec. The group also is backing incumbent Mayor Tom Leighton and Controller Bernie Mengeringhausen.

After that it gets interesting.

So, some Democrats are endorsing some other Democrats. And that should matter to us why?

The committee also will allow the five Democrats running for the open seat in District E to make their pitches for the committee’s endorsement at next week’s meeting. Virgil Argenta, Frank Matello Sr., Mike Merritt, Charlotte Raup and Ron Silkosky all are being encouraged to attend, Brace said.

From what I’m hearing, this Nord End electoral brouhaha just might be determined by strictly geographical lines. Sure, there’s more that plays into the eventual results than that. Pick a candidate, any candidate. Let’s try Virgil Argenta from right here in my peaceful neighborhood.

Yeah, his relatives, business associates and neighbors will likely vote for him, as will some of the many voters that are saying they would prefer to vote for a council hopeful from their own neighborhoods. But can he carry Brookside, from which John Yencha is seeking the same council seat? Can Argenta carry Miners Mills, or will the folks up north prefer to vote for the only candidate not so far removed from their little corner of the city?

Democrats Argenta and Mike Merritt both reside in Ward 6, so they have to be hoping to score heavily in their own backyards. Democrat Ron Silkosky and Republican John Yencha call Ward 5 home, so they are obviously hoping for much the same thing as the hopefuls from Ward 6. And then there’s the expansive Ward 1, which is home to a lone Democrat, Charlotte Raup, now that Shelley Soltis has withdrawn from the race.

The winner is probably the candidate that can make serious inroads into the other voting wards, but I highly doubt that the average voter cares about, or even knows about what some nameless and faceless politically-astute committee had to say about any of it.

In my mind, this district will be won by wearing out plenty of imported shoe leather and little else.

“Good Web Site.” Huh?

You know…I’ve seen idiocy aplenty since I first started paying close attention to city politics, but I have never seen a candidate for elected office congratulate himself on his own campaign Web site.

Elect: Walter Griffith Jr.

Now check out the first entry in his guestbook, a site add-on that is typically embedded in the Web sites created by attention-starved prepubescent children.

View My Guestbook

Yup, he’s a baritone.

So, are you going to vote for a guy who publicly slaps himself five?

One other troubling note, is this the only candidate, city wide, that will hold his “Meet the Candidate” event outside of the city’s confines? Methinks so.

Gee whiz, Walt, thanks for not supporting Wilkes-Barre’s many fine businesses. To meet this candidate, a road trip is required of us.


Politicians and community leaders are forever yammering on and on about quality of life issues. As far as I’m concerned, the procuring of additional federal monies to offset the costs of the ongoing riverfront project would be a matter of a politician putting his money where his mouth is.

Funding sought for river project

WILKES-BARRE — Luzerne County officials on Wednesday asked U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. to help pass federal legislation that would increase the amount of federal money the county is getting for its River Common project.

Look, everybody in Washington D.C. has their hands in the seemingly bottomless pork barrel, so let’s hope the new Senator from these parts comes through for us. As envisioned, the new riverfront will be an exciting new amenity, which can only further accelerate the rebirth of the downtown.

After being briefed on the project, Casey went to the construction site for a tour. Casey said he was looking forward to taking a canoe trip down the river — something Vonderheid recommended.


I can think of no better qualified river historian than Kayak Dude.

Dude, here’s what I’m thinking. Get on the electronic blower and offer the good Senator from Scranton the front seat of your Iowa class (displaces 46,000 tons of water) kayak for RiverFest 2007, and I’ll go and rent a ‘yak of my own.

You can “school” the guy right quick, but I would expect you to defend me when he gets to asking who that weirdo tagging along in the other boat is.

Think about it, Kayak Dude, Blog Dork and Senator Bob Casey all together like. Now, that’s an eclectic bunch, no? And perhaps we should put Gage Andrew in that middle seat for some more astute river observations.

Senator: So, Gage, what do you think of the water?

Gage Andrew: More Ovaltine, mom! Dam the Ovaltine.

Hey, if we get good and bored, we can always steer his security detail directly into the heart of the rapids off of Colony Park. Then we can pluck them out of the water and see our glossies on CNN.com the next morning.

Er, something to that effect. I dunno. No sense getting ourselves exiled to the eastern tip of Cuba. Those warm waters are teeming with sharks.

On a much more serious note, I sure hope the Easter Bunny doesn’t see his shadow.