Jennifer D. Wade Journal

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Blog posts November 2009

Pick a Seat (but not that one)

So, I went to the movies this afternoon. It doesn't matter what movie I saw because it's not really relevant to the story. What does matter is that there were, I think, seven other people in the theater with me. What also matters is that, because there were only a few people in the theater, there were many, many empty seats in many, many empty rows.

The few people who were in the theater arrived in the following approximate order: me, two guys, a woman, a young couple, and a woman with an older man.

I staked out my seat in the center of the second row from the back so there were proabably seven or eight seats on either side of me. When the two guys came in, they sat just left of center about four or five rows in front of me. The woman went all the way to the back row and sat a few seats to my right. The young couple sat in the row in front of me, a couple seats to my left. Then the movie started.

The woman and older man showed up about five minutes into the movie. Now, where do you think they chose to sit? That's right. They decided to sit in my aisle. Not only that, but they decided against sitting in one of the seven or eight empty seats to my right. Instead, they decided to sit to my left, which meant that I had to change my position to let them pass in front of me. And then, they left only one seat between me and the old guy, who turned out to be a loud breather, so I had to listen to him essentially snore his way through the rest of the movie.

I suppose I should be glad he didn't have popcorn. That could have been a deal-breaker.

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Wrapping Things Up

My stress level is a lot lower today due to the fact that (thankfully) Election Day is over and (sadly) so is the World Series.

Tuesday's elections - in my view, anyway - did not yield may surprises. Luzerne County voters said no to another term for Judge Peter Paul Olszewski but gave Judge Thomas Burke ten more years on the bench. That's about the way I thought it would go. Olszewski couldn't overcome the implied guilt by association to the on-going corruption scandal. Burke's name, to my knowledge, has never been mentioned in connection with the scandal, so I figured he'd be safe. The PPO vote, I thought, could have gone either way, but I figured it was more likely to go "no" than "yes."

As for the open seats on the LuzCo bench, you had to figure that William Amesbury would win one of them. He was on both the Democrat and Republican tickets. The fact that the judicial age limit will prevent him from seeking retention may have also played in his favor. The other seat went to Tina Gartley, who beat out the Republican Richard Hughes. Again, that's pretty much the way I thought it would go. Democrats outnumber Republicans in Luzerne County, so Gartley had the edge there. And, I think there may have been a movement among the voters to choose a woman if for no other reason than to break up the old boys' network that brought us all the corruption.

A couple things did stand out, however. One is the loss by long-time Wyoming County DA George Skumanick. He squeaked out a victory in the primary, but lost Tuesday to Democrat Jeff Mitchell. My station talked to Mitchell yesterday and even he seemed a little surprised by the whole thing. As to why Skumanick lost, I can think of two possible reasons. One is his pursuit of charges in the cell phone sexting case that surfaced in the Tunkhannock Area School District back in the spring. Some voters may have felt Skumanick was overzealous in his handling of the case, especially in his threat to file charges against the kids.

The other thing Skumanick may have had going against him was the fact that he has been DA in Wyoming County for 20 years. I didn't realize it until I started preparing my notes, but he's wrapping up his fifth term as DA. That's a long time in DA terms. Maybe voters just felt it was time for a change.

The other thing that stood out was that a good number of incumbents seemed to lose. I'm not talking about row offices, but rather about mayors and council people. I didn't take any official count, but as I was entering vote totals, it appeared that many incumbents in communities all over the area came out on the short end.

Also coming out on the short end were my Philadelphia Phillies. They lost the World Series in six games to the New York Yankees. I can't say that the Phillies deserved to win. If you don't hit and you don't pitch, you don't win. In this series, the Yankees were the better team. They hit when the Phillies didn't; they pitched when the Phillies didn't. Now, if you play a second series next week, the results might be different. But, for this week, in this World Series, the Yankees were better.

My general take on it is that it's something of a miracle that the Phillies got back to the World Series in the first place. They ran hot and cold all season rather than playing consistently good baseball, and the pitching was always shakey. Fortunately, the Phillies got "good" Cliff Lee for two games in the series, otherwise it might have been over in four instead of six. In terms of hitting, Ryan Howard picked a bad time to go on a strikeout streak, and Rollins and Victorino weren't much help. When Carlos Ruiz is the second most dependable hitter in the lineup, you're in trouble.

101 days and counting until spring training 2010.

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