8-12-2008 Charlotte’s way, or the highway

So, Georgia huffed and huffed and huffed and puffed and….Russia rolled the tanks and the Spetznas special forces battalion right over the unprotected borders.

So much for that mentally neutered gibberish about getting past George W. Bush, rushing out of Iraq, sending Barack Obama to work some diplomatic magic on a basketball court and thereby ending war forever more. So much for pretending the entire world would be a far better and far safer place if only the Republicans were all sentenced to life in a prison newly-built prison on Saturn. So much for pretending that we can all get along in a post-Bush world. And so much for thinking that the fluid intricacies that are geopolitics are best left to an inexperienced “community organizer” from Chicago.

You mess with the bear and you get the horns.

Now let’s diminish our military spending and military capacity, and fix us some bridges.

See this picture? Your berserk author and Kayak Dude? I have been informed that in 2006 he changed his legal name to Don Williams. So in the name of accuracy, there you have it.

MC & Don Williams

From the e-mail inbox Mark

Great party. We had a blast and you can sign us up for next year. Just like you said all along, you are not so bad in person.


Not so bad in person, eh? Yeah, well take a good long look at this next picture.

MC & Scott

This is what happens to you when you touch any of my Cheap Trick discs. Got it?

You have been warned.

From the e-mail inbox Mark,

I wanted to thank you for the invite to the block party. It was great to see people come together and enjoy themselves and the company of their neighbors. In the dictionary after community, there should be the words, Thompson Street Block Party. If we had more communities like this we would not have any problems to worry about except maybe kids getting into mischief like they did years ago. Which I assume we all did.

The party reminded me of the bar-b-ques my family had as recently as 6 years ago before we all moved to different states and got separated. I do miss those days and it felt good to be around that atmosphere again. It was a pleasure throwing a few back and shooting the _ _ _ _. with you. I think if more people met you at a party like this and got to know you they would get a true picture of who you are. Not the nazi blogger they think you are. Then again maybe you want them to think that. You are smart like fox.

Anyway, again I really appreciate the invite and I hope I will be welcomed and invited next year. Maybe the wife will be off from work and can attend. You can meet the better half and why I am so grounded. She keeps me in check. She is a good egg.

So until next time, stay safe and keep typing.

Scott Koppenhofer
Alumni Coordinator

I, too, like that atmosphere you alluded to. All too often, people don’t even know their next-door neighbors, let alone the neighbors down the block a ways. Supposedly, I’m the guy always lurking on the internet. Truth be told, I’d rather be on the front porch with a guitar, a beer and a police scanner. I may be ugly, ignorant and stupid, but I understand the importance of being neighborly.

My neighbors aren’t perfect beings, and neither am I. But we all know that with out an adherence to the laws, rules, ordinances and such, urban living will not work. That’s why when the guy down on the corner thinks nothing of letting his huge, predatory dogs run loose, I’m not going to settle for that. And when somebody puts up a pool in a yard with no fencing around it, I’m going to get the proper authorities up here to do something about it. And most importantly, I absolutely demand that barely attentive parents control their freaking animals, i.e., their children.

It’s simple. And I like simplicity. You control yourself, and I’ll follow suit. You don’t touch any of my stuff, and I won’t touch yours. Now, why it that so difficult for most folks to follow?

I think if more people met you at a party like this and got to know you they would get a true picture of who you are. Not the nazi blogger they think you are. Then again maybe you want them to think that. You are smart like fox.

No, I’m not nearly as bad as I sometimes come off on the internet. In the same breath, there’s no sense pretending to be a pussy when you’re not. I’ve put myself out there, sort of like living my life in public to a degree. During the early years of my very pointed and very acerbic poliblogging, I was, literally, chased, chest-bumped, yelled at, cursed at, given the finger and threatened with all sorts of retribution.

And there came this point where I figured I might as well let people know that 1.) I’m not easily intimidated, and 2.) I’ve been described by many who know me as one of those “pound-for-pound” guys known for taking the first punch rather than being beaten to the punch. In other words, come and get me if you must. But be very careful as to what you do when you find me. Just my way of letting people know what they might be in for. Just my way of letting some people know they need not bite off more than they can chew.

In retrospect, it might have been more advisable to write on the internet using a clever sounding pseudonym like everybody else. But that’s not the way it went down. The pickiness and the choosiness of the local editorial page editors inadvertently created this monster. What’s done is done. And I offer no apologies for any of it.

Thanks for your thoughts. Thanks for hanging out. Tell the wife she has to accompany you next year.

Or else.

Oh, and take a look at this one I found this morning. We even landed us a single block party picture on LouBarletta.com, Lou Barletta’s official campaign Web site.

Lou poses for a photograph with a young supporter at the Thompson Street Block Party in Wilkes-Barre's North End on Aug. 9.

A young supporter named Sean, who’s grandparents just happen to reside on this street.

More post-block party musings, this time David Yonki had some interesting thoughts about what he encountered here at the block party. Check his 8-12-2008 “Shoe Leather” post on how Saturday’s soiree reminded him of an event during his boyhood.

The Lu Lac Political Letter

An excerpt:

I thought about those 50 people at the Graduation party 41 years ago on Saturday when I went to the Thompson Street block party run by my fellow blogger, "Mr. Wilkes Barre On Line." I spied about 60 or 70 people there, about 30 of them kids. And there making the rounds was none other than Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta.

David Yonki’s memory capacity has to be second to none, your crazed author included. I think this guy would recall every minute detail even after getting hit in the forehead with a nose-diving Cessna. Amazing.

From the e-mail inbox Marc:

This one is precious. Corbett never tires of telling us that he has not been a practising Catholic for many years. But a few days ago he went into Kung Fu high combustion, demanding that the Church should refuse to give Holy Communion to Bob Casey because he supports Obama, who is pro-choice. But that is like an avowed vegetarian lecturing a tribe of cannibals on table etiquette. Or a Christian Scientist presiding at a laparatomy.....You don't play the game, you don't make the rules.

According to that logic too, millions of Obama supporters who are Catholic would be denied the Sacrament!

Corbett had a colonoscopy about a year ago. There was a problem. They had to remove his head first. -D. Foglietta

Yeah, that’s what the fast-fading Church should do; further alienate it’s fast-thinning herds. What’s the point anyway? Why refuse me anything if the ultimate judge of my mindset and behavior--GOD--is yet to get his hands on me?

Tell Father Rodham Corbett that nobody put him in charge of judging people. Tell Father Rodham Corbett that his cognitive and reasoning skills have much in common with those of an adult chipmunk. Tell Father Rodham Corbett that if we want any further lip from the likes of him, we’ll scrape if off one of his half-eaten organic wheat germ burgers.

I just love how both Rodham Corbett and Comrade Lynn loathe and disdain the Catholic Church and all that it stands for, but cite religion and religious values whenever they mistakenly think it furthers their inanely stated arguments. They’re full-blown, new-age heathens one day, religious scholars the next.

They promote secularism at all costs, and then try to rub our noses in our own religions as a cheap debate tactic. And they think we’re all too completely stupid to see through their useless agenda-driven prevarications. Basically, they are elitists. And undeservedly so.

But have no fear. The clock is ticking on Generation LSD, so just wait them out and we can try to undo the damage they did, and are still trying to do.

Agricultural Amusement Aides

From the e-mail inbox Dear Mark,

It seems that you are not getting the concept of neighborhood crime watch because you continue to criticize those of us who take our time and use our own money to patrol our neighborhoods. For as long as the crime watch has existed in our city there have been patrols either on foot, bicycle or vehicles. It IS what neighborhood watch groups do. Our police cannot be everywhere. For the 11 years I have belong to the crime watch I along with others patrol just about every night. When we see something that is suspicious we call 911 give a good description and let the police do their job.

We have had many success stories just like last Wednesday night when we were paroling North Main Street because of the 6 robberies (mostly to the elderly) in a 3 week period in that area. We came across a woman that was visibly shaken and asked if we could help her....She told us that she had just been robbed at gun point and she had no cell phone and could not get anyone to help her. We called 911 and took her to in our car until the police arrive. The police were there in no time, they got the description of the guys and caught them. That is great, these crooks have caused so much grief and stress to the senior citizens that have terrorized.

Also, that same Wednesday morning I had to be at Central Court to be a witness to a hit and run I seen on our patrols. The man is on parole and he was drunk. That is the scary part of this whole thing . going to court and being a witness. But, we want these guys off our streets.

Mark, these are the kind of things we do and you criticize us !!! So be it.

Charlotte Raup

We are doing nothing out of the ordinary; it is what most crime watch groups do. Please look at these web sites:





How am I “not getting the concept of neighborhood crime watch” by correctly pointing out that your average unrepentant, repeat criminal is most likely bigger, stronger, meaner and far more lethal than your average citizen out on “patrol?” What part of this am I “not getting?”

That was the entire point of my call to WILK after I listened to caller after caller go on and on about getting on out there and “reclaiming our streets,” that encouraging such a thing on talk radio is undeniably foolish and ultimately dangerous.

I’m not getting it? We’ve got drug and stash houses with infrared cameras installed on and in them. For the purposes of surveillance, our own detectives have to stay at a safe distance so as to not be detected by the criminals. With that said, we could be attacked and/or killed completely by accident, just for innocently hanging around out front for too long.

On the other hand, with the criminals packing some serious heat these days, even the slightest overzealousness on the part of citizens on patrol could get them ambushed in a heartbeat.

So you and yours have been doing this for 11 years now and deserve to be commended for it. But no not try to tell me that surviving 11 years worth of this citizen patrolling completely unscathed is not equal parts experience and luck. And do not insult my intelligence by suggesting that a bunch of women patrolling the streets in a car are impervious to being assaulted or much, much worse.

My call to WILK was not Crime Watch-specific. In fact, I never used those two words. My call to WILK was a warning to those out there in radio land naïve and inexperienced enough to believe that “patrolling” the streets is not fraught with many, many perils. Perils best left to the police.

But, obviously, one or some of the Wilkes-Barre Crime Watch folks heard me on WILK radio that morning and now you are reacting just as you always do, reflexively and thin-skinned.

Tell me, why is it that the Wilkes-Barre Guardian Angel recruits are studying some rudimentary martial arts techniques? Why is it that they are being trained to avoid confrontations at nearly all costs, but are still preparing for the worst? Why is that? Are they being properly prepared for what could happen out there? Or are they just a bunch of macho, show-off wannabes?

And what of your Crime watch members? What training do they have? What would they do if they were assaulted by the people that would give me pause?

Charlotte, during my former career, I was punched, kicked, choked, stabbed, skulled with a crutch, swung at with nightsticks and hit over the shoulders with nunchuks. Do you have any idea how fast people can go off? People who but a second earlier didn’t seem to have it in them? People flying high on PCP and who didn’t feel any pain no matter what violently awful thing you did to them?

I once took a handful of a guys long hair and proceeded to smash his face right through the front of a cigarette machine. He was dazed for a second, but he jumped up and came right back at me.

One time, and in self defense, I repeatedly smacked a guys head off of a steel doorframe, and then punched him right through a double-paned window. After he rolled down each of the concrete steps with what later amounted to 307 stitches, he jumped to his feet with a still determined look on his face, but was restrained by the arriving police officers.

I once crushed a kids Adam’s Apple with a punch so completely, he dropped to his knees, was seriously struggling to breathe, but then tackled me from behind when I attempted to get to the phone to call the police and a medic unit. For a second there, I thought he was seriously, seriously injured. And stupidly, I turned my back to him thinking he needed medical help.

Another time, while outnumbered 3-1, I slid three of my fingers through the middle of my oversized key ring and drove a few keys right through a guys cheek. I thought the horrific theatrics would scare his two drunken cohorts into backing off. Didn’t happen. One caught the huge zipper of the bank deposit bag I was swinging right in the eye, putting him down screaming. And the other one got me flush in the face with a sucker punch before my assistant manager sent him sliding on his face across the asphalt.

Then there was the guy who was dragging his screaming girlfriend across the parking lot. Her tube top was pushed up around her neck, and her exposed breasts were being ground away much like what happens when a motorcycle rider dumps his bike and goes sliding across the road. Trying to save the damsel in distress, I went outside and confronted him. He no sooner wanted to fight, and got stunned to near unconsciousness when I tagged him in the nose after launching a totally flatfooted bomb. Yeah, he got all of that! And then his bleeding and screaming honey popped right up and tore into my the back of my neck with her longish fingernails. After I kicked him the rest of the way down to the asphalt, I turned around and sent that flailing bitch lights out.

And all of this was back in the day when nobody carried guns, let alone, automatic weapons. The point is, things can get out of hand faster than you can blink. And if you can’t defend yourself, you’re in big, big trouble. That’s why I’m saying it’s crazy to encourage the average folk to seek out what just might end up maiming or killing them.

You wanna lecture me about fighting crime, or keeping the streets safe? Fine. You tell me your group is doing nothing out of the ordinary whereas crime watching is concerned. Okay. Again, fine. Have at it. I’m not stopping you. No one is stopping you. And, it should be duly noted, my call to WILK was not intended as a criticism of you or your group of volunteers.

Also, I think it needs to be said that you seem to be lashing out of late at anyone that dares to disagree with your vision of what the state of policing, citizen or otherwise, in this city ought to be. Mayors. City Councilmen. Police Chiefs. Even lowly internet bloggers. Oh, and now we even have to watch what we say on WILK. Wouldn’t want to upset the Crime watch, would we? Apparently, it’s Charlotte’s way, or the highway.

And make absolutely no mistake about it, when average citizens take it upon themselves to patrol the streets, they are risking being confronted by the types of out-of-control people I was once paid to deal with. And I must ask you, are your crime watchers prepared to deal with the likes of that? Have they ever gone toe-to-toe with the worst that society has to offer? And over and over again?

All I was saying on WILK was, be very, very leery of people encouraging other people to engage in something they have no business engaging in. It could easily blow up in your, or their faces. One day it’s an award from the governor. And maybe the next it’s a fatality from amongst the ranks of those who play amateur sleuth.

Yes, Charlotte, whether you realize it or not, you could very easily drive or send someone to their untimely death. That’s what’s at stake here. Recruiting overmatched, ordinary people to do what cops normally do.

Call me crazy. Call me ignorant by sending me some more of your crime-fighting links. Call me whatever you want. Just don’t try to tell me or anyone else that your average middle-aged, out-of-shape resident is ready and able to hit the mean streets.

11 years?

Yeah, I did 13 before I finally wised-up and got out. And I have the many physical scars to prove it.


Mean Zach