Jennifer D. Wade Journal

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Blog posts May 2009

Bad Movies

At work tonight, with just a few minutes to go before news time, one of my co-workers came to me with a problem. He is compiling a list of his top five worst movies of all time. He had four, but couldn't decide on a fifth. Hey, I get it. There are so many bad movies to choose from.

I don't remember all four of his picks, but one of them was "AMERICAN ANTHEM," starring Olympic gymnast Mitch Gaylord and Janet Jones before she became Mrs. Wayne Gretzky. I've never seen it but that's probably because I've heard that it's a really bad movie.

One of the first bad movies I thought of was "Godsend" starring Robert DeNiro. Even Greg Kinnear couldn't save this movie from being horrible. I also thought of another DeNiro film, "Hide and Seek," which, in my opinion, is only slightly better than "Godsend." We also mentioned "Forces of Nature" starring Ben Affleck. Another co-worker thought "Bounce," another Affleck film, was also bad, but I don't think it's bad enough to make a worst movie list.

After that, I was stumped, so I turned to my old Web site where I keep an online archive of my movie reviews. If I ever get around to redesigning my current Web site - which is the reason I took a couple classes at LCCC - I will transfer the archives to the revamped site. But, for now, they live on the old site. A quick check of the archive turned up these clunkers:

  • FORCES OF NATURE - in which Ben Affleck almost misses his wedding day because he doesn't travel well.
  • THE FORGOTTEN - in which Julianne Moore tries to remember that she once had a kid.
  • GODSEND - in which Robert DeNiro creates a little monster.
  • HIGHLANDER: THE SOURCE - lacking any kind of magic, it went right to the Sci-Fi channel.
  • HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE - in which Harrison Ford tries to sell real estate while solving the murder of a rap star.
  • MEET THE FOCKERS - in which DeNiro takes a road trip to met Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand.

I probably should have also added another Affleck gem, "Jersey Girl." That movie was so bad that the emotional climax came in the first couple minutes when Jennifer Lopez died in child birth and left Ben Affleck to carry the movie on his own. As the aforementioned second co-worker said, if Ben Affleck is the romantic lead, you know you're in for a bad movie.

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Primary Colors

Primary 2009 has come and gone and, as with any election, there were a few surprises (at least from my perspective, skewed and/or uninformed as it may be).

Let's start in Luzerne County where voters answered a resounding "Yes" to the question of a Government Study Commission (a.k.a. home rule). What with the corruption scandal and all going on in LuzCo, I can't say I'm surprised that voters want to explore the possibility of a different form of county government. But, I am surprised at the margin by which the referendum passed - 77% yes to 23% no. Sounds like they really, really want change. The true test will come with a second referendum, when whatever plan the Government Study Commission comes up with gets put to a vote. We'll see if the desire for change remains strong between now and then.

One of the other most-watched races in Luzerne County was the contest to fill two open seats on the county bench. Although the corruption scandal framed the race, the two open seats are not directly related to the fallout from the scandal. One seat currently belongs to President Judge Chester Muroski, who is reaching the mandatory retirement age. The other seat belonged to Michael Conahan, who retired as a full-time judge before the scandal erupted.

At any rate, a full 17 candidates cross-filed for the primary; three will now move on to the general election. One of those three is District Magistrate BILL AMESBURY. He won on both the Democratic and Republican ballots. I'm surprised by that only because his ballot position was at or near the bottom on both sides. Voters obviously cared enough to do some work and seek him out.

The other winners were TINA POLACHEK GARTLEY on the Democratic side and RICHARD HUGHES, who finished as the top vote-getter on the GOP side. With so many candidates in the race, it was tough to get a feel for who had the advantage. Even so, I'm a little surprised by Gartley and Hughes because I didn't notice a lot of advertising (at least not on TV). Obviously, they found other effective ways to get out their messages to people in areas where it mattered most. I think that, come fall, the edge goes to Amesbury and to Gartley. Amesbury because he seems to have broad support, and Gartley because Democrats outnumber Republicans in Luzerne County and because there seems to be some sort of movement to have a woman on the county bench.

In Wyoming County, one of the few contested races turned out to be a lot closer than expected. Unoffical numbers show that incumbent DA George Skumanick has squeaked out a win over GOP challenger DEBORAH ALBERT-HEISE by fewer than 30 votes. Albert-Heise is an attorney from Tunkhannock who also serves as the county's public defender. I'm not sure why this race was so close. Skumanick has been in the news lately with the whole "sexting" thing at Tunkhannock Area High School. So, maybe that issue has some people riled up. Or, it could just be a matter of both candidates having some name recognition in the community. Don't know. In any case, there was also a Democrat on the ballot, so this race ain't over yet anyway.

One more race of note to mention. Voters in Harrisburg have given long-time mayor Steve Reed the boot. Reed lost last night's Democratic primary to city council president Linda Thompson. Reed's been mayor of the state capital since the early 80s. During my tenure in Harrisburg, he was always showing up at the scenes of fires or shootings to comment for the media. It was kind of a pain because, if he wasn't there, often there was no one around who was authorized to provide information. But, when he was there, he usually had something to say. Anyway, I think Reed did a lot of positive things for Harrisburg. But, the city still has lots of problems and when Reed spent millions on artifacts for a Wild West Museum that never materialized, it didn't help. HERE'S what Reed had to say (courtesy of WHTM) when he conceded the race:

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Election Preview

I'm back!  Now that my classes at LCCC are almost over, I finally had some time to work on my Web site and update the POLITICS page. The primary is only 10 days away, so better late than never.

The hardest part was looking for Web sites for the 17 judge candidates in Luzerne County!  I found links to 16 of them.  As far as I could tell, Michael Pendolphi does not have a Web site.  If he does, let me know, and I'll add the link.

As an Independent, the only thing I can vote for in the primary is the HOME RULE referendum in Luzerne County. I suppose that calling it "home rule" at this point is not completely accurate, but it sounds a lot better than the official title - "Government Study Commission."  Voters are being asked to decide if there should be a commission to study alternate forms of government for the county. If the voters say "yes," then a committee will be formed (those candidates are also on the ballot) and they'll decide whether home rule or some other alternate form of government should be put to the voters in some future election. Basically, this is the referendum to decide if there should be a referendum.

I was out of the area in 2003, the last time Home Rule came up for a vote (and lost), so I can't really compare the level of sentiment/organization then to what it is now.  But, the current home rule proponents seem to be organized and active.  Add in the internationally-known problems of Luzerne County, and I won't be surprised if the outcome is different this time around.

BTW, the late, great Chris Farley wants you to VOTE!

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