6-15-2008 Citizen journalists

While the circumstances may be less than ideal, I want to make mention of the Sult family tragedy.

First off, I’ve known these people for many a year now. Not very well, mind you. But the intermittent contact was always there. First, they were my competitors, people we always kept an eye on. Then when I made my escape from the hospitality industry, I ended up driving big trucks and making the occasional delivery to a few of their Mark II stores, two of which I had actually managed at one time. And for my current employer, I have performed an occasional service at two of their retail locations, as well as in the Carson home where the tragedy unfolded. As a matter of fact, one the day I was hired by my employer, I was treated to lunch at the Mark II on Kidder Street, my most famous of former haunts.

My youngest started as an ice cream girl at the Twin Kiss walk-up window when she was barely 15-years-old, and toiled away at that Kidder Street store until well after her 21st birthday. My son has worked for Mark II for years, and he currently works at the Route 309 store. We even held a catered baby shower in the private dining room right here in East End, a shower that was held in advance of Gage Andrew’s entry in to the world.

And over the years, the Sults/Carsons have been nothing but friendly and professional. Yeah, I could probably critique their management styles. Or rail against something they may have said or done to my kids over the years. But, with comes being the boss of anyone comes the sniping. I understand as much. Today, I hurt for them. Tough days ahead.

Anyway, all of that said, while the Sult family has to be devastated while I type this, we have “Open Carry” proponents invading our area with visions of law suits dancing in their empty heads. They claim it’s completely legal in Pennsylvania to carry a handgun on their belts, and in full view of everyone. And, unbelievably, it is legal in Pennsylvania to do so.

But, as the incident in the Back Mountain clearly demonstrates, it’s not in anyone’s best interest to have handguns being toted here, there and practically everywhere. Occasionally, with guns come tempers. And sometimes, the tempers dictate the events of the day.

It’s your right to own a firearm? Yes, it is. You’re a hunter? Fine, buy a rifle. That’s all well and good. But in my opinion, if you must sport a handgun at a local eatery, you, my non-friend, are a complete asshole. And I have an idea about where you ought to be concealing said gun. And, as far as I know, Vaseline will not damage or degrade the gun’s short barrel.

So, unless you want to be surrounded by complete assholes, contact our state representative and ask him to close this ridiculous “Open Carry” loophole. Tell him you needn’t be exposed to visible handguns when you go the mall, the arena, the buffet restaurant or anywhere else.

Tell him to vote no to what can only be called…the gun nuts.

E-Mail: Click here to contact Member
Hon. Eddie Day Pashinski
152 South Pennsylvania Ave
Wilkes Barre, PA 18702
(570) 825-5934
Fax: (570) 826-5436

Hon. Eddie Day Pashinski
27A East Wing
PO Box 202121
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2121
(717) 783-0686
Fax: (717) 772-2284

Anyway, contact Rep. Ed Pashinski and tell him we don’t want to see any handguns while piling goodies at the salad bar.

Call Ed.

Given what I do for a living, the following e-mail is amusing and interesting.

From the e-mail inbox I got my reassessment today and think you may have received yours also. My estimated taxes have tripled. How about we do a blogswarm on the subject this Sunday?

A swarm? Did somebody say “swarm?” Um, do you people remember what I usually do to anything that gets to swarming anywhere near me?

Anyway, I have no problem with the fact that the county is finally being reassessed. And, yes, I’ve read the stories about sobbing senior citizens and whatnot. They’re on fixed incomes and taking a big financial hit. Okay. So, what are we supposed to do? Not reassess?

The way I see it, through no fault of their own, they’ve gone decades without paying their fair share. So what do we do now? Let them off the hook all over again? I don’t know what you do with that. I really don‘t.

The thing is, all of us are on fixed incomes. Short of changing jobs or scoring that big promotion you’ve been eyeing, have you been receiving steady raises and big ones at that? I seriously doubt it. With the economy being what it currently is, we’ve all gone backwards to some degree. Fixed incomes? Yeah, I suppose. But, the economic hurt is being distributed equally.

Since I spend so much time outside, I ran across quite a few of the assessors while they were visiting properties for the purposes of reassessment. And the one thing I noticed was that they didn’t seem to be doing a very thorough job. Didn’t surprise me, though.

So now we’ve got scores of people claiming to have been reassessed inaccurately and unfairly, and now the burden of proof falls upon them? Now they’ve got to shell out hundreds of dollars to make things right? That’s not right. You endeavor to do a thing. You do it haphazardly. And then, you tell the folks you’ve inflicted this haphazard thing upon to prove it‘s been done incorrectly?

I have an idea. It’s a weird and crazy concept in Luzerne County, but I’ll share it with you nonetheless. How about we do it right the first time? How about, when we spend $8 million, we try to deliver the proper and expected result? Prove it? That’s what we’re left with? After 40 years of not doing it, they couldn’t do it right after planning for it for years, and then spending enough money to buy a radiated atoll? Dig even deeper into your wallets and prove it?

Try that in the private sector. What? You ordered that garishly-expensive gourmet burger well-done, and your pickle spear of a garnish is now awash in blood? Prove it.

When I train new termite technicians whereas the use of a hammer drill is concerned, I tell them the same thing over and over again and to the point of absurdity. When you’re in a commercial environment and surrounded by subterranean pipes of varying widths, depths and dangers, I tell them, “If you’re not sure, don’t do it.” In other words, if you’re not exactly sure what is or isn’t buried beneath you, do not reach for the trigger on that drill. Utility line markings are approximations, and the last thing we want to see today is a huge fireball with you, the customer and his property right in the middle of it.

If you’re not sure, don’t do it.

Now, with the results of the reassessment seriously open to debate as to it’s accuracy or complete lack thereof, does it sound as if the county government or the company doing the reassessing were sure of anything going in? It sure doesn’t sound like it to me.

But you know the shoddy deal.

Prove it.

From the e-mail inbox Wow you have been receiving some bazaar e-mails lately....I wish people would be as critical of our elected leaders as they are to one of the few citizens who took a stand....shed light on the city and county problems and continues to hit the nail on the head with his expressed opinion on Wilkes Barre online...........You never take compliments well........but your written word has made many see the facts clearer.............I doubted Wilkes Barre could be saved....I was wrong......Hopefully someday we will see posters "Luzerne County I Believe"

Don't ever let anyone silence you!

Be mindful, I have to be careful about what I say here, or those bizarre e-mails might just reappear.

Yeah, we’ve been waging a Blog vs. Blog catfight for a while now on these pages. And some had asked me to immediately dispense with all of that needless tomfoolery. But, with the primaries behind us, this is the part of the year when most of the newest political blogs typically start going belly up. Yes, if you write about politics, the summer is a prolonged slow season. And without old what’s-his-name to rail against, what are they supposed to write about? Their two-headed cat? Their extensive Richard Petty commemorative hat pin collection? The time they shot out the neighbor’s blown-glass attic windows with a Crossman 760? Or the time they called every pizza parlor in the phone book at the same time and sent a dozen or so large pies with anchovies to the same address? (Gee, that one sounds somewhat familiar) So, yes, it’s been weird here for a while, but not boring. I think.

...You never take compliments well........but your written word has made many see the facts clearer.............I doubted Wilkes Barre could be saved....I was wrong…

Know what, that one--”I was wrong”--made me feel good. Because to say as much about Wilkes-Barre is an admission that Wilkes-Barre is headed back in the right direction. And noticeably so, I might add. Something that many will not admit short of being hosed down and forced to reattach some downed power lines.

Wilkes-Barre is doing just fine, despite what the self-aggrandizing activists, the staff at WILK and the some of the upstart bloggers that have an axe to grind with me might tell you.

And who should people believe? The talk show host who lives miles and miles away and who purposely avoids the city? The political neophyte with the agenda? The soon to be defunct anonymous assassins? Or the guy who pays way too much attention to deatil, and who is pedaling these streets each and every day?

Tell me I’m wrong about Obama. Make fun of my views on (insert issue). Call me names, highlight my bad habits and call my grandkids ugly. But don’t pretend to tell me that I don’t know Wilkes-Barre.

As for the county government, Maryanne Petrilla gives us cause for hope. And that’s much better than what we’ve been treated to for decades. Yes, there is now the slightest glimmer of hope. There’s a chance. And even that is a serious improvement, if you will.

Silence me? Nah, that’s been tried in the past and it worked for all of 45 minutes. I got home from work, the Times Leader wanted my reaction to the news that my site was deleted by the host because of a reader’s complaint, I said, “My site was deleted?” and just to be even more annoying than I had been in the past, I had the newer version of this site up and running in 45 minutes. And the complainant found her name on Page 3 of the Times Leader the very next morning. It’s called “free speech,” there honey. And if free speech truly upsets you, start with the skinheads sites the next time you feel like squelching it.

You see, the only person capable of silencing me is me.

Anyway, thanks for the uplifting thoughts.

And as always, stay in touch.

From the e-mail inbox Good afternoon,
Have you caught the new show on the Discovery Channel entitled "The Verminators"? You will get a kick out of the animal-loving woman with the rat-infested house who wants "the little fellas let loose in the world!"

No, that’s a new one on me. But it sounds like a hoot. Trust me, I’m not questioning your manhood or your intestinal fortitude, but I’ve got a couple of rat-infestation stories that could cause you nightmares for months on end. Real horror show type stuff. And plenty of pictures to boot.

Personally, I hate those scummy things. Disease-carrying rodents sure to contact rabies soon enough. And won’t that be fun?


Since the once mighty and untouchable Congressman Paul Kanjorski has been taking a beating on the local internet of late, Steve Rodham Corbett of WILK decided to weigh in on what he called…and I quote, “citizen journalists…some of whom are masquerading as legitimate.”

And I thought, “Whoo, boy! This could be fun.” The usual at WILK. You know, listening to the all-knowing begging the ill-informed to speculate. To listen to Rodham Corbett tell the bloated tale, having the anonymous speculating away about topics they are ill-informed to fully understand is the best thing since sliced republicans.

Now, I knew going in that Rodham Corbett would divide all of the local blogs into two distinctly polar opposite categories: 1.) The blogs he likes (the ones who do not call him out on his nonsense), and, 2.) The blogs he does not like (the ones who openly mock his nonsense).

And since his bullying ways do not impress me, and since I used to send him, as he called them, “wild and crazy” e-mails, I’m obviously one of the bad, bad bloggers in Rodham Corbett‘s self-important, spinning vortex of a fragmented world.

So I knew going in that he would purposely leave my name, or my site out of the discussion, as in, pretend it isn’t there and maybe it’ll go away. As if. But I was seriously hoping that a caller would bring my name up so that I could hear Rodham Corbett’s on-air attacks on me, my site and whatever else it is that he doesn’t like about people that are not afraid of him or his laughable dojo.

But, as per usual, he introduced the subject, covered one local blogger, and then got totally sidetracked by the very next caller and meandered all over the freaking place. So much for having a plan and executing it, no? Somebody over at WILK should buy him a daily planner and teach him how to utilize it.

Here’s what he said about David Yonki.

David Yonki, David Yonki. And he works very, very hard. In fact, he works as hard as any member of the press. He might work harder than some members of the so-called legitimate press…to get his information online, with regard to this region. He’s a regional blogger.

And after saying, “So, let’s talk about the press,” he took a call, totally lost his usually scrambled train of thought and never delivered what he had told us all day long in his overbearingly shouted promos to expect. For me, it was a huge disappointment. Not only because of the blogging aspect of it, but the local press as well. Thanks for nothing, Rodham. Great non-show.

So, Mr. Truth, started off by showering glowing praise upon a former employee of WILK. How utterly predictable. Honestly, about what I expected. Notice, he made no mention of that previous employment. And what he was doing was setting up the template in which those who used to be among his ranks in the “so-called legitimate press” are hard-working and deserve respect. But those who are truly “citizen journalists” in every sense of the word are not nearly as good, or worthy of praise or respect. That’s where he was going, and he can threaten me with his dojo all he likes.

So, via the e-mail outbox, I asked a question of him.

From the e-mail outbox Yonki!, Yonki!, Yonki! and Yonki!!!

Hard-working (ex-WILK employee) blah, blah, blah.

That's wonderful and all, but where did the "Kanjo" video first appear?

On LuLac, or elsewhere?

You're the dude always babbling on and on about the truth.

But, you always deliver the "truth" as you see fit.

So, the "truth?"

Yonki, or elsewhere?

Markie in Realityville


He didn’t bother to reply during the show or afterwards, since Rodham Corbett does not respond to those who dare to stand up to him. Basically, the journalistic bully has no stomach for return fire. No biggie.

Now, nothing against David Yonki, I like the guy. I really do. And we are about as complete opposites as you’ll ever find collaborating on videos and the like. I’ve already gotten feedback on the newest video creation of David Yonki’s, feedback that proves our association is readily-apparent to some.

Picture that, me spending four hours working on, of all things, a video about a church. If you know me at all, you already know I’d rather be put in charge of opening a shiny new synagogue in Fallajah than doing anything even remotely church related. But there I was, shoulder to shoulder with the mastermind behind the church video. My point? I both like and respect Yonki, and I was willing to help out with the new video absolutely free. Although, that case of Bud Light was greatly appreciated, even though most of it was gone before the video was finished. Yeah, I’ll go toe-to-toe with any anonymous blogger who wants some of this. But, over the years, I think the more serious bloggers have come to learn that, being a trailblazer of sorts, I will go well out of my way to help them in any way I can. HTML, Javascript, embedding audio and videos and what have you. I’ve been doing as much for years.

But what I really suspect Rodham Corbett was up to was trying to discuss the flack that Paul Kanjorski is receiving from the local internet without touching upon where most of that flack has originated from. He was trying to do what the anonymous bloggers do, link only to what you agree with and pretend that the rest doesn‘t exist. So, seriously, where has Kanjo been taking his lumps? On the LuLac Political letter, or elsewhere? A very fair question that, once again, went unanswered.

All of which reminds me of election night. David Yonki calls in to WILK, weighs in, and the two talk show hosts absolutely adore him. Then Gort calls in and Rodham Corbett immediately goes rabid attack dog on him. Why? Ask Rodham Corbett, the ultimate purveyor of truth. Now, imagine if I had called in. Rodham Corbett would have come at me like starving Ethiopians would likely stampede at a half-eaten baloney sandwich on mold-spoiled bread.

So, again, the question begs. Rodham Corbett, who’s been biting Kanjo’s suddenly swollen and profusely bleeding ankles? Who has fought long and hard against the laughable inflatable dam? Who published the facts, the figures and the countless pictures proving it to be a huge boondoggle in the offing? Who published the images that could only be called unflattering for Mr. Kanjorski? The postcards? The bumper stickers? The “No Dam” t-shirts? If I dare say, it was not David Yonki and it was not yourself.

And, hard-working? Rodham Corbett will never come close to approximating with his myopic internet oasis of his the countless hours of work I’ve put into mine over the years. He offers us a paltry hundred words five times a week and nothing else. And being as old as he is, he’s probably barely computer literate and capable of little more than mastering point, click and drag editing tools anyway. I could tutor him, but, being a radio talk show host, I seriously doubt that he could afford to pay for the tutorials.

Rodham Corbett, spare me your heavily-edited truths. Because you are to the elusive truth what the very worst of the anonymous bloggers are to taking credit for their various internet deeds and misdeeds. And if my name does happen to come up at some point, please make it a top priority of yours to rip me a new one. Because, out here in the internet wastelands, to be ripped by the likes of you would count as the earning of yet another badge of honor.

Thing is, if Rodham Corbett doesn’t like you, you have to know you’re doing something right.

Sez me.