6-29-2008 An “A” in bowling

I am officially on vacation.

Whoo hoo!!!!

Plus, Gage, Taylor and their parental units have made the arduously long trip from Tennessee to Wilkes-Barre, so needless to say, I’m in a pretty good freaking mood.

Don’t ask me why, but last night we had my high school yearbook out, and we were reviewing the ancient documents contained within it’s pages. Awards, certificates, report cards, stuff like that. And, yes, my grade point average at LCCC was a paltry 2.25. But it needs to be pointed out that I attended college at the end of my mom’s and my grandmom’s guns. I was more kidnapped than I was a willing participant. Why would I want to go to college when the government was offering all expenses paid trips to some faraway jungles, and was even generous enough to trust me with my very own M-16?

Helicopters? Mini-guns? Explosions? And delivering a bit of mean-spirited payback to the people that tried to kill some of my relatives? Where do I sign up? Seriously, LCCC was boring compared to what I could have been doing.

Anyway, I was an academic slacker at LCCC. So what? They didn’t teach me anything worth remembering anyway. The Metric system. How that next Ice Age was fast approaching. How to write more descriptively. How to inhale a cigarette. Why it’s never, ever a good idea to call the dean a fu%#er. How it’s not a bright idea to show a Muslim woman your watch with the naked lady on the dial. How to run through the campus wearing nothing more than a pair of Converses. How to handle my liquor. Why you should never bend over in front of the great majority of the male professors. Well, I did learn how not to act like a Neanderthal all of the time. I figure that has come in handy a couple of times. Sort of.

Being that I was provided with a free education at Percy Brown’s, even my core courses were less than challenging. Fundamentals of Food? Been there, done that. And in a high volume kitchen never short on pressure, no less. Nutrition and Menu Planning? Again, old news. Although, the nutritional aspects were somewhat interesting. Arguably, life-altering. My final was devising a specialized diet for a middle-aged woman looking to shed at least a pound a week. Um, honestly, does that sound like a challenge? Introduction to the Hospitality Industry taught me that working in the hotel/motel side of the industry was far, far less appealing than running through a jungle short on ammo clips and with my hair on fire.

But here’s the keeper. This is what I asked of my son, who averages well, well over 200 no matter where he parks his thumb less bowling balls: Um, did you ever get an A in bowling? No? That’s what I thought, champ. That’s what I freaking thought. You‘re looking at him, champ. That‘s right, an A in bowling.

Of course, he reacted to that exactly as I react every time Steve Rodham Corbett flaps his oft-flapping lips…badly. He was having none of it and fired back with questions about who had the higher averages, who rolled more perfect games, who had the piles of ABC awards and lots of stuff like that. Still, he wouldn’t answer my very pointed question. Did you ever get an A in bowling? No? Well I did!


So, my time at LCCC wasn’t a complete waste. At least they taught me how to bowl, right? Well, not exactly.

First of all, they forced me to take a “sport.” It was mandatory. So, should I have studied square-dancing? How about ballroom dancing? That’s an invaluable talent that every kid like me needed, a kid who probably helped to inspire the raucous movie, Detroit Rock City. I had the social graces of a brick, and I knew damn well that I had that area all but covered.

Here’s a good one. Should I have signed up for intramural basketball? Should I have upped and volunteered to play basketball with the kids not good enough at basketball to make the basketball team? Before I’d do anything that completely lame, I’d just as soon take up golf or soccer. I mean, if lame is what we want, why not get as lame as lame ever gets. So I signed on the line for the bowling course. I was bowling three nights a week back in those days, so why not get in a bit more practice, hayna?

So I showed up for the first class at that tiny bowling alley next to the National Guard armory on the main drag in downtown Nanticoke. The name of the joint escapes me now, but I think it’s a catering place these days. Yeah, so I showed up, put on my bowling shoes and my wrist brace, put the model glue on the bowling-related abrasions on my fingers and unloaded my plastic ball as well as my rubber ball. And then the “professor” pulls me aside for a little chat in which he explained that his class was supposed to be for beginners. An introduction to bowling, if you will. And as I panned my head back toward the lanes, it hit me that the ball rack was empty save for my two balls. Being the uncultured brick that I was at the time, I asked him how I was supposed to know that during registration, and I laced my bristling retort with a couple of well-placed F-bombs for effect. Needless to say, he took an immediate disliking to me.

So, as we rejoined our group of bowling neophytes, he adopts this ultra smarmy tone in his voice and tells the group that they are fortunate, lucky to have an expert there among them. Kind of like how sh*t-eating Kevin Lynn gets with his callers who aren’t as socially demented as he is. And then he asks me to demonstrate for the group how the “pros” do it. At this point, I’d just assume break his freaking nose and tell the group that’s how an expert goes about breaking noses in serious need of being broken, but I was under the distinct impression that beating on teachers was probably just as big a no-no in college that it was in high school. So, I asked the smarmy freak for a couple of practice balls and he responded with some fulsome babble about how “experts” toting as much gear as I was shouldn’t need any practice. And a couple of the trainees assembled behind me giggled. As Bill Cosby used to say, “You are so… fu>king…funny.”

And at this point, while I was uttering less than flattering stuff of my own under my breathe, I marched up to the ball rack, grabbed my Ebonite and buried a heavy strike. Take that, you f&%#!, I thought to myself. Then he pointed out that I hit the pocket heavy and I was lucky I didn’t get a split. Okay, smart guy. I grabbed my other ball and proceeded to bury another heavy strike. And he made the very same observation as he had with the first strike. At that point, I told the onlookers that the ball was side-weighted, late-hooking and that the massive torque it was generating was being transferred directly to the innocent pins. In other words, yes, I did, in fact, know what I was doing. And as he stood behind me telling the class that even though I got the result that I wanted, it was a textbook example of “getting lucky.” And as he was mouthing those insincere words, I threw the next ball left-landed, landed a noisy, violent jersey strike with one of the pins flying at least 18 feet up the gutter towards us. And the entire class erupted with laughter.

And then they egged me on. They wanted me to keep going. And right after the next violent-looking and violent-sounding strike, some were cheering, while still others were clapping. All told, I threw six strikes in a row before leaving a single pin standing and breathing a sigh of relief. And as a result, my smarmy “instructor“ never got cocky with me again. And I remember thinking something along the lines of, who’s teaching who here? And all these many years later, I can sum up my college experience as follows: What did they really teach me?

I use the vaunted Metric system about as often as Rodham Corbett makes a valid point. Somebody cancelled that coming Ice Age and ordered a Global Warming event in it‘s place, and all in the name of anti-American political expediency. The two years of algebra I studied comes in handy every decade or so. Funny, my boss recently asked me to demonstrate how you would calculate the square footage of a circle. My first question was, why, are we treating any circular structures any time soon? Treated many parallelograms lately? No? Most structures are of the rectangular variety? Yup, that’s about what I thought there, big guy. I got no need for this width of a circle times the average square footage of your garden variety perpendicularly perched atom-smasher. Or something thereabouts.

It took me all of 16 years, but I finally did learn that the hospitality industry sucks every available dead newt‘s genitalia. And I also know that self-engrossed people that make high-minded blanket statements proclaiming that all teachers everywhere are invaluable, blessed saintly beings and in need of special considerations are full of overripe manure in a desperate and dire search for a massively failing overflow valve. As is the case in any field of professional endeavor, there are good teachers, and then there are not-so-good teachers. And even though it took me a while to get it, that’s what I got from my formal education. That it’s vastly overrated at best, unless your Father’s net worth is astronomical and you end up at one of those esteemed schools where even totally over-privileged dunces learn how to at least sound smart on the rarest of occasions. Whatever.

All I really know is, I got an A in bowling. And you didn’t. So suck on that, why don’t you?

Oh, as a brief aside, I also ran into one of this area’s premiere bloggers in that well-worn senior yearbook of mine. Yep, Mr. Hope’s homeroom. One of those gangly-looking underclassmen certainly not worthy of hanging out with the “skinny senior prick.“ And I have to say, dude, I think we were going to the same barber back in those days.

You know, the one without the scissors.

From the e-mail inbox Hello Act for Healthy Rivers Supporter:

I’ve got some great news. On Monday, June 23rd, the House, through a “suspension of the rules” vote, passed HR 2452 - The Raw Sewage Overflow Community Right to Know Act of 2007! This is a major victory for communities and the public’s health all across the country and it would not have been possible without Wilkes-Barre Online’s support and the actions you’ve taken over the last year and a half to get it done. It’s been a very long time since a positive amendment to the Clean water Act’s been made and while we’re not totally there yet we’ve taken one major step towards getting us there.

For those you of you unfamiliar about how a bill passes on “suspension” here’s a quick summary. The queue for floor time in both the Senate and the House is quite long, as you would imagine, and the schedule/agenda is determined by the Speaker in the House and the Majority Leader in the Senate. So as not to let all of the bills that pass out of committee die simply because there isn’t time on the floor schedule, Congress will often “suspend the rules” on the procedural requirements in order to pass non-controversial bills. Barring any objections, the bills are nominated for passage on suspension, there’s usually a little floor time given to debate and discuss of the bills, and then they are voted on by a voice vote (not recorded) and that’s it. Right to Know, with it’s widespread support from the environmental and outdoor recreation communities as well as industry passed unanimously out of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and was therefore an easy candidate for passage on suspension.

Now it’s on to the Senate. The Senate version of the bill is still without a Republican co-sponsor but we are getting closer to having one and the House’s recent action shows that there is support for getting this bill done this session of Congress. Just to give you a heads up, we will be circulating a group sign-on letter to the Senate in the coming weeks that we’d like to have Wilkes-Barre Online signed onto. In the mean time, it would be great to extend a thank you along to your member of congress if they were one of the 57 cosponsors of the House bill .

Again, thank you for Wilkes-Barre Online continued support of the Act for Healthy Rivers and for reading the Slog. As always, please share your stories on the Slog about how you are fighting sewage in your community.

Until Next Time,
Josh Klein
Act for Healthy Rivers Coordinator
American Rivers

Here’s the rub with this one. Our local congressman told us that by damming the polluted Susquehanna River, we would be encouraging the general public to interact with the river as they had never done before, and they would then openly clamor for, openly demand a significantly cleaner river. Yes, that was the phony baloney put-the-bull-before-the-cart bill of goods he was trying to sell us. In actuality, he was trying to jam it down our throats. And he failed.

Silly, silly constituents.

Okay, so if his ultimate lofty goal was to produce a noticeably cleaner Susquehanna River at Wilkes-Barre, then why wasn’t he the champion of HR 2452 - The Raw Sewage Overflow Community Right to Know Act of 2007? Why?

Why? I’m of the firm opinion that he wanted what he wanted, those silly constituents arguing against what he wanted be damned.

That’s damned, not dammed.

He’s become arrogant. He’s gotten too all-knowing. And he’s become rigidly inflexible. In short, he’s been on his pompous throne way, way too long. We’re not his constituents, we’re his subjects. He, being soon-to-be former Congressman Paul Kanjorski.

Flushie’s Summer Vacation (1:51)

If you think that the heavily-edited and well-publicized "I don’t apologize to anyone” YouTube video was ultimately damaging for Uncle Paul, check out this unedited version I ran across last night.

To quote my own grandson, “This is fun!”

Although, if you’re a hopelessly partisan Democrat, this one ought to get you to wincing right quick. And rightfully so.

Either way, enjoy.

Kanjorski doesn't apologize to anyone (Extended Version) (4:03)

From the e-mail inbox I have been away and just catching up on your troubles. As for the fountain bathing episode, if they were really worried about the health aspect, a simple chlorine tablet tossed in the system daily would do the trick. The real problem is that elected officials cannot stand to see people enjoying themselves. Case in point, up here in Sayre we had 52 lawyers, 20 chiropractors and one lonely brothel. You know the business they shut down, and prostitution may be the only legitimate trade of the three!

Sayre? No fooling? I always thought you were local.

I used to run through both Sayre and Athens with a 26-foot straight job. And I have to tell you, I came away from that area thinking that it’d be a great, lazy place to raise a family. I really did like it up there. And your waterways are basically unspoiled, so it’d also make for better kayaking. I’ll have to talk to Kayak Dude. You never know, maybe we’ll come and pay your boat launch a visit.

Look, I know homeless people and the like cavort in that water fountain on Public Square, but I’m saying to the world that the alleged “health risk” is being greatly overblown. I have no idea how many times myself, my kids and my grandkids have used it to cool off, but it’s without saying that’s it’s got to be a helluva lot of times. With that said, when is it that we’re supposed to be contacting some rare skin-eating disease, a form of herpes that manifests itself very pronouncedly on your eyelids, or a debilitating skin rash that would get us to tearing our own limbs off?

This is all bunkum. It’s nothing more than namby pamby, new age, risk-averse nonsense.

And it’s typical of council folks to get to banning stuff based on the actions of a scant few. Homeless people are showering in the water fountain? Okay, how about we have the beat cop (Yes, we have them now) or the bicycle cop (Yes, we have them now) start swinging their lead-lined batons until the homeless people pack up their alcohol in their brown paper bags and move on to Sayre? How about if we make it completely untenable to be a homeless vagabond wandering aimlessly about and spoiling the time-honored amenities for everyone else?

Why? Because that requires action and stick-to-itiveness, that’s why? Just ban the supposedly offending behavior, publicize what you’ve done, slap yourselves on the back, and then delude yourselves into thinking you’ve actually done something of note. And trust me, nothing was done at all.

I was on Public Square just this last Friday night listening to George Wesley and his reggae outfit, while plenty of kids were darting through the water fountain and in full view of both Councilman Tony Thomas Jr., and Mayor Tom Leighton. Did anyone find themselves being arrested, or being demonstratively shooed away?


Nope, because the water fountain ban is total bunk and everyone, including the people who made it into law know it’s total bunk. If what they truly want is a safe and healthy water fountain small children of every stripe can frolic in when the temperatures soar to their highest, then they would have issued a tersely-worded directive to the police department to eliminate what we’re being told is the source of the problem…the vagrants.

As for the suggestion that all we need is a chlorine tablet thrown in there every day, you are absolutely correct. I was told, by my mayor, that there is some chlorine in that water, but not enough to make it completely safe. Okay, so, being a somewhat dimwitted, but supremely interested onlooker of questionable sanity, I’m thinking, change that and tell those city council folks to do more than mail it in. Somebody is fouling the long-standing amenity? Fine, beat them upside the head until they finally relent and wander off to one of our neighboring communities. This can’t be the only community with an idiot magnet, i.e., a soup kitchen.

But, alas, as the county’s seat of government, Wilkes-Barre is the ultimate idiot magnet. We got it, the piles of free stuff, the idiots come in search of it, and then, we get criticized for attracting those that no other community wants to attract. It comes with the territory, and somebody, namely, Steve Corbett needs to put his personally-crafted brouhaha with Mayor Tom Leighton aside and start telling it like it is: The cities attract the idiots. My point being, there are no homeless shelters or CEO outlets or Salvation Army centers or soup kitchens in Sugar Notch, Noxen or anywhere close to Mountain Top. When it comes to feeding or outfitting the absolute poorest of us, Wilkes-Barre does as much, but then gets crucified for doing as much. You figure it out, but it all sounds patently unfair to me.

Hey, Rodham Corbett! Do you want a soup kitchen opening right next to your aged, nondescript house in the undeniably overrated Hill section of Scranton? Hurry up, ask your enlightened, overbearing master, you henpecked pussy.


That’s what I thought!

Prostitution? Um, I’ve never, ever gone there, but, these days, I liken prostitutes with radio talk show hosts. They do and say things they don’t really believe or believe in, but they do get paid for doing as much. Is there a subtle difference?

Prostitution? Um, okay. Sure, why not? Consider the vacuous alternatives. What’s really worse? Getting blown off by mentally inferior people who couldn’t make a go of it anywhere else? Or getting blown by mentally inferior people who couldn’t make a go of it anywhere else?

I dunno, but I have to err of the side of having fun.

Lawyers? Chiropractors? You’re right. What they offer is what I don’t want, nor do I need. But if it ever came down to it, I’d rather hang with someone in need, rather than someone who needs not, but craves much more than they will ever need.

Listen, this place is about to explode with rampaging grandchildren and the like, so I have to go. I’d like to post more, I’d like to be more annoying than I currently am, then again, this internet blogging stuff means less and less to me with each passing day.

I’m on the internet. And I’m an asshole. So, what differentiates me from any other more prolific assholes? Answer…not much.

I’m doing family this week. And in my denuded mind, there is nothing more exulted and ultimately important than my immediate family. And when my untimely death finally arrives, make this week my reoccurring version of Heaven.