5-29-2007 Nuts

“You’re an interesting guy in a homogenous town.”--Jon Fox

Before I forget, I must make mention of the dork who lives at 29 John Street. You see, this dork thinks that it’s perfectly fine to use my street as his personal ATV park. Yep, at all hours of the day, this dork races on by, turns down Penn Ave. and races away. Zoom, zoom, zoom.

We can’t call the police, since the dork is always long gone before we can even grab the phone. We can’t shoot the dork, ‘cause the police get annoyed with that sort of stuff. We can’t call the mayor and freak out, because he’s got bigger dorks to fry. So…what can we do?

Nails? Fishing line tied across the street? The Crossman 760, perhaps?

An axe handle upside the head?

It‘s 9:19 AM and the circus just hit town. Yep, when the Barnum & Bailey folks hit town, we’re always the first to know it, since they unload, like, a gazillion train cars right out back. It’s actually fascinating to watch, with the precision and the speed they bring to the exercise. It’s a show in itself. Drop on by Butler Street and see for yourself.

Last Thursday I was drilling through a hefty slab in Olyphant only to hear Sue Henry in my protective headphones say she was about to give away four tickets to the circus. I’m not really sure why, but I whipped out my cell phone and dialed 883-0098, never expecting to hear another voice, especially one congratulating me on winning the tickets. So, there I stood with one hand on the hammer drill (dumb), one hand on the phone, one ear protected by the expensive ear-protecting AM/FM stereo headphones and the other ear struggling to hear what the cell phone was trying to tell me. And after just two rings I got “Hello?” Surprised and confused, I said “Hello?” And the guy on the other end says, “Are you brain-dead?” And I was like (MTV gibberish speak) “I was calling WILK trying to win tickets…” when the guy practically yells at me with “Yeah, you’re my winner, Jeez! What‘s your name?”

You know, I’ve heard Sue Henry make mention of the fact that one of the technical guys behind the scenes at WILK has the personality of rabid newt, but holy jumpin’ orangutan farts, Batman! Brain-dead? Why…I oughta…

Alright, forget beating on the techno guy at WILK, since he did award me with four free tickets to see the Stratford, Connecticut-based “Greatest Show on Earth.” Although, a handful of hair, one knuckle to the eye, his shirt yanked up over his head and let the Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots seminar begin You MotherfXXXXX!!!

Sorry. Sorry. For a second there, it was 1985 all over again. And you know what, a part of me still misses all of that. Well, most of me.

So anyway, I called wifey all excited and asked her what she was doing this Friday night, knowing full well that her day planner was blank for that day. And when I told her why, she said something about not wanting to see The Greatest Show on Earth, only because “the animals stink.” This is what I have to put up with, having married one of these Polish girls. The animals stink? Um, so do most of the people that shop in Family Dollar, but we still go in there in search of really cheap Scotch tape, Mike ‘n‘ Ikes and Milk Duds. What’s your point? We live with a dog and a cat, and they stink? Christ! A day without a dog licking his own ball bearings would be blissful every now and again, wouldn’t it? The animals stink? Wonderful. Fu>k it.

So, as always, I’m going to watch Jeremy, the youngest of the marauding grand rodents, while his older brother Zach and his parents take in the Greatest Show on Earth that supposedly stinks. Ah, life as a grandparent.

I’ll be right back. I’m gonna go kick the dog.

Here‘s one for you. You tell me.

Should I be annoyed by the fact that my mother-in-law totally skipped my brother’s funeral and such, but then left me a voice message yesterday in which she stressed it was “very important” that I return her call because of a death. Yeah, should I be annoyed that my brother’s untimely passing wasn’t important, but the passing of my sister-in-law’s mother, who I had been in the company of a grand total of twice, is very important? And is it childish of me to purposely not return her call?

Call it whatever you will, but I am annoyed. And confused. And hurt.

I started dating her daughter in 1974, and she watched my brother grow from a giant toddler to a giant man. I have the video of her cavorting with all of us as we celebrated Ray’s 5th birthday in 1975. She knew the kid throughout the entirety of his life, skipped his big send off, but calls me with all of this urgency about the passing of someone who’s face I could not even remotely remember until I saw the accompanying picture in the obituary? Is she serious?

I’m flabbergasted. I’m not sure what to make of her anymore. I was raised by 2 poor women who may have been short on resources, but were both very long on keeping the family together. Matriarchs, I think they call them. Blood is thicker than water, and all of that clichéd sort of muckity muck. Family first, all other considerations come in second place. If you need it and I have a little bit of it, it’s yours.

Maybe this is a bad idea, since very many of my family members read this site every now and again. Yet, I can’t help but to want to lash out at somebody when they are filled with so much urgency over the passing of a seemingly nice lady that we hardly even knew, but who’s well after-the-fact reaction to the untimely demise of a really swell kid she watched grow up was “Yeah, I heard.”

“Yeah, I heard.”

As far as I’m concerned, she couldn’t hold a candle to my beloved grandmother, or my devoted mother. And that’s why her family is so fractured and so consumed with in-fighting, and back-biting and spending holidays apart and not understanding why.

Right now, I’m in a dark, dark place. A place that scares me when I am allotted enough time to actually realize where I’m at. And I think we’d all be better off if I were to skip the viewing scheduled for later tonight. A seemingly nice lady’s run has come to an end, and I’m agitated, where no agitation need be. While I hate how that feels, I hate the fact that somebody made me feel that way.

“Yeah, I heard.”


What‘s up with this? The Gentlemen isn’t feeling so gentlemanly after all?

From the Times Leader:

McCarthy mulls an Independent council run

WILKES-BARRE -- Saying if he goes out he will go out in a blaze of glory, Wilkes-Barre City Councilman Jim McCarthy on Monday admitted he is considering filing as an Independent for the November general election.

McCarthy did not run in the May primary, saying he “had enough,” and his son, Justin, ran for the Democratic nomination in the city’s District B. Incumbent Kathy Kane easily won that nomination and she is opposed by Republican Peter J. Gagliardi.

I like this guy. I really do. I don’t care what anyone has to say, Wilkes-Barre will be less better off without this guy stirring the political pot as he so often does.

If you consider the backgrounds of the majority of the people that have sat on city council throughout the modern day history of this city, this guy is a noted scholar among unwilling disciples. He’s a man among veritable boys. This guy has been there, done that and seen that, while very, very many of his elected coworkers have been all the way to Parsons and back.

Is he really “nuts?” Well, by Wilkes-Barre’s anemic standards, I suppose he is nuts. He’s eccentric when compared to his born-and-raised cohorts, but as far as I’m concerned, eccentricity is usually a direct byproduct of vast, vast experience, and, or a superior intellect. Let’s put it this way: If Jim McCarthy is nuts, I’d be proud to say I was one of his clones. No matter what, he speaks his mind. And in this embarrassingly neutered politically correct world of ours, speaking your mind paints a huge, glowing neon target on your back. Trust me, I know. But when it comes right down to it, I’d rather have glowing tracer rounds screaming past my head than being called lame. I’d rather be called “nuts” than effeminized by a nameless, faceless Thought Police of a foe.

McCarthy said he is tired of being ridiculed and being called “a nut” by some of his fellow council members, but he said there are larger issues to consider.

My mind wanders back to what Jon Fox, formerly of the Times Leader, had to say to me when my wife had a real problem with what he published about me on the pages of his former employer’s newspaper. He said, “You’re an interesting guy in a homogenous town.” And I would say the same thing to Jim McCarthy…dude, you’re an interesting guy in a homogenous town.

I recently had a conversation with one of the premiere players in this city’s administration, and I wholeheartedly agreed with him that passing the proposed ordinance banning convicted sex offenders from certain parts of the city would not be a bad thing. Although, I did point out that I didn’t think it would make a noticeable difference. Perverts will do as they do no matter what we do. That’s how I feel. With that said, I applaud Jim McCarthy for, literally, forcing us to explore that ordinance, that proposal, that issue. If nothing else, at least the tireless Gentleman on the hill is making us think, where many former members of city council would have discouraged such an unthinkable undertaking by those given unfettered access to the election machine levers.

If Jim McCarthy really is “nuts,” I’m thinking that society as we know it and want it to be would be better served with that rare but invigorating sprinkling of mental illness brought to the table, just to keep things lively. If he’s nuts, then I’m nuts. And happily so. And call me nuts, but I’m of the firm opinion that Wilkes-Barre is a better place for having nutcases such as him on the legislative prowl.

I won’t give him much for his chances of being reelected as a new-found independent, but I’d probably be disappointed if he didn’t try such a completely nutty thing. Yeah, he’s suggesting that he’s prepared to go out in a blaze of glory. One crazy, old coot, I suppose. A crazy, old coot who just might have forgotten far more than the great preponderance of his elected peers, past and present, currently know or ever knew. If he’s “nuts,” then there’s something to be said for the moth-eaten flakes. If he’s “nuts,” where do I have to go to sign up to be one of his many kindred souls?

When it’s all said and done, no one will dare to say that Wilkes-Barre was worse off for having played host to one Gentleman Jim McCarthy for so frightfully long. And there’s no better unstated epitaph, politically or otherwise, than that.

‘Nuf said.

From the e-mail inbox To all:

I will be in Harrisburg on Wednesday, 5/30/07.

From ~8 a.m. until 3 p.m., I will be standing in front of the PA Department of Environmental Protection's headquarters @ 400 Market Street, along with my "NO DAM" banner, to make another visible public statement against the proposed inflatable dam on the Susquehanna River.

Don…(Kayak Dude)

Susquehanna River Sentinel

Can one man really make a difference?

If one man can, this one can.

Another nutball.

Sez me.


If only we all had a pair.