Thursday, July 27, 2006

Lehigh Valley's Entertaining Blogosphere: Where Worse is Better!

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingBefore I started bloggin', I spent most evenings hunkered over a keyboard, drinking gallons of strong black coffee, sending astonishingly brilliant emails to the President, Northampton County Council, every newspaper in America, the Pope, and Santa Claus. My shrink tells me this is much better than my previous hobby, which was throwing tomahawks into my wall.

Most of my emails were ignored. But every now and then, I'd get through to one of them. Widening Route 22 to eight lanes? Invasion of Iraq? Midnight payraise in Harrisburg? Deporting 12 million illegal immigrants? Those were all my ideas. I was kidding. Doesn't anyone understand sarcasm anymore? Do they have to take everything so literally? Imagine the shock and awe I felt when I got this note, "Deer Burne, I took ur advice. - The Prez."

A few months ago, I discovered blogging. I've been trying to atone for my many sins, and undo some of the damage I've caused. I've learned two things. First, I get a lot of interesting and entertaining comments, from all sides of the spectrum. I really enjoy them. I'd suggest you start your own blogs, but most of you probably have lives. Second, there are many very entertaining bloggers in this area, with all kinds of opinions. Let me tell you a little about them.

The first blog I want to recommend is I've Made a Huge Tiny Mistake, a must for those unfortunates among us who happen to be Philly sports fans. The latest post is an analysis of the Curt Schilling trade, six years later. The conclusion, not surprisingly, is that the Phillies blew it. In addition to Philly sports, this blog features Reading politics from time to time.

Along the western fringes of the Lehigh Valley, two blogs cast a glaring spotlight on the delicious dish of Macungie politics. Lehigh County Redneck and Musings From Mudville, a husband and wife tag team, are having just too much fun knocking supervisors in Upper Macungie Township. Those guys are under investigation for personal use of township credit cards, and Lehigh County Redneck gives us details with relish. Now that one of them has been driven from office, Lehigh County Redneck has gone into overdrive. Personally, she scares the hell out of me.

Moving east of the Macungies, we run into two Allentown bloggers who insist that, despite popular opinion, Allentown is a great place to live. At a time when real estate prices in the Lehigh Valley are skyrocketing, Old Fairgrounds assures us affordable housing is available in the cities, and tells us of a symposium on that topic today at Allentown's Art Museum. Our West End Neighborhood exudes pride in Allentown's west end, its neighborhoods, and its "whary" good hot dogs.

Going east into Bethlehem, we run into Joan Campion's thoughtful Bethlehem Blog Times, with weekly essays on topics ranging from Charlie Dent's illegal immigration mailer to a disappointing defense of Hazleton's Lou (English only) Barletta. Joan's a good writer, fearless thinker and former reporter for the Bethlehem Globe Times.

Traveling a little further east and north, you'll find one of my favorites, a must read for anyone who lives in the Nazareth area. Russ Nunnemacher's News Over Coffee is a detailed report of nearly everything that goes on in Nazareth. He covers borough council meetings and their little workshops, and he's the fellow who realized that the Nazareth officials who came up with the brilliant idea of building a new government center in a park, had done so in meetings that were never even listed on the borough's website. "We don't need no stinkin' Sunshine Act."

Leaving Nazareth and going to Easton, we run into BillyBytes, published by Bill White Hall of Famer Billy Givens. With his characteristic penchant for understatement, Billy tells us his blog "unfurls heroic sails to the powerful world-wide winds of the Internet. Those mainsails will catch readers’ comments and the reflections of guest writers from the four corners of the globe." Billy is also a candidate for Governor. Easton Undressed, as you might guess, is an irreverent look at a dysfunctional city government. It broadcasts every city council meeting and even has regular podcasts. But when I asked its bloggers to come on WGPA AM talk radio with me, they got cold feet. Even Billy, who showed up on the wrong day, was uncharacteristically quiet.

I couldn't complete a synopsis of our local blogs without mentioning Politics: Lehigh Valley Style, which has been publishing incisive commentary on our local political scene longer than anyone I know. And its publisher, who calls himself LVDem, is only 25. God, that makes me miserable. Right now, he's doing a very interesting series on the battle for the bucks in the state representative races. For example, incumbent Reichley, who just managed to get himself published with his rants about the terrible problem that illegal immigration isn't, is funded by a veritable who's who of local developers, from Atiyeh to Pektor. Gee, I wonder how he feels about impact fees for developers.

I wish there were a few more right wing bloggers so we could have sword fights or something. But as things stand, the Lehigh Valley has a wide variety of local blogs that concentrate on the issues in your back yard. They certainly could never replace our local media. We're blessed to have two newspapers owned by two different companies at a time when many big cities are lucky to have one paper. But blogs certainly can complement the media. And strange as it may sound, sometimes worse is better. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to send a few emails to Israel. I was just kidding.


LVDem said...

Actually Bernie, I was the one who emailed Tom Gorr and told him to take the guys out for dinner. I never thought he would follow through.

Dem Fly on the wall said...

I can personally attest that some people, especially insecure Republicans, will email you to let you know that there are no such courses as "Leaf Raking 101" or "Manual labor 204" Sarcasm is something they cannot comprehend. Great post Bernie.

Bernie O'Hare said...

LVDem, Expect a visit from some guys w/ badges.

Bernie O'Hare said...

DemFlyonthewall: You and your husband are having too much fun. Kock it off.

DB said...


Thanks for mentioning my blog! I wish I could say my neck of the woods was still offering affordable housing like the Old Fairgrounds but prices out here have gone up quite a bit. As you are aware, Allentown is a great place to live. I think others are beginning to realize it's greatness as well. There is nowhere else I would want to be. There is a neat apt available 1/2 block from the 19th St Theatre with your name written on it Burnie. Get in while you can!

Bernie O'Hare said...

Damien, Nazareth Borough and Northampton County Council would probably pay for my move and might even give me a free month's rent. Thanks for the comment, and keept up the great work at Our West End Neighborhood.

Chris said...

Thanks for mentioning my blog bernie.

Bernie O'Hare said...

It's a good one, especially for people like me who are condemned to be Philly sports fans.

House of Crayons said...


We are very sorry that we missed the great opportunity you offered us while you were hosting the radio show.

Bad Apple and I try to keep Easton UnDressed mostly about Easton and less about us; which is why I couldn't go solo on the radio. It may seem goofy but EU's agenda is about consistancy and example setting.
No we aren't attached at the hip, but when it comes to the EUniverse we stand a little closer to each other.

He was very sick.
Again we apologize.
We'll make it up to you.

Dem Fly on the wall said...

Fun is our middle name. Do you think Porter Krisher would play "William Tell" with me and my Bow?

Bernie O'Hare said...

DemFlyontheWall: I think he's headed out of Dodge City.

Bernie O'Hare said...

House of Crayons: Admit it, you had stage fright. I probably shouldn't have told you that former Mayor Goldsmith was going to be on the show, too. Thanks, we'll try again next time.

Anonymous said...

After the insertion of cameras up my kazoo and down my gullet scouring my innards at the Veterans Administration Medical Center hospital in Wilkes-Barre for malignant cancer cells, I still found myself hoarse to the point of laryngitis the day I appeared on your WGPA radio broadcast with your other guest, Councilwoman Cindy Werner of your hometown borough of Nazareth.

I will spare you and your readers how I felt at the other anatomical extreme of my body that, over the period of a year, melted from a robust 200 to a scrawny 150 pounds - almost to the skinny 132 pounds I weighed when I was 17 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1950 for service in the Korean War, 56 years ago, almost to the day.

(That is the end of my anatomy that fellow blogger and commenters to your Lehigh Valley Ramblings blog like LVdem are convinced is the fount of my blog, website, e-mail, hand-distributed and -delivered newsletters, and street-corner, bullhorn-amplified commentary.)

As further excuses for my lack of loquacity that day, I felt a bit put off by your reminder that I had arrived at the studio a day earlier than my scheduled appearance.

I agreed to return the next day, but you graciously invited me to stick around for the broadcast anyway.

Another excuse for the absence of my usual garrulity was that I didn't want to upstage your guest Cindy, who, after all did show up at Jolly Joe Timmer's studio at the appointed time, to speak on a subject that now includes the violation of deed restructions.

As for my candidacy in this year's gubernatorial election, challenging incumbent Governor Ed Rendell as an independent, I refer you and your readers to my post last night on the Billy Bytes blog (

Anonymous said...

I would be shocked if Billy got 67 people to sign a petition, let alone 67,000. If this is a write in campaign, getting 6 or 7 people to write in could be challenging.
Governor Givens? Only in the land of make believe over in Jersey.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Billy, I am sorry to hear about your illness. I am sure, however, you will have a complete recovery.

And although your illness may have forced you to cut short your candidacy, perhaps you can consider supporting Rendell. I suggest you read an article (rather lengthy) about him in Philly mag. A link to this article is in Keystone Politics. He's an amazing guy. And between him and Swann, no contest. I don't know why the R state committee made the decision for the entire party by handpicking that neophyte. If I were R, I think I'd be a little upset w/ the state committee for a cnadidate who is going to lose badly.

Anonymous said...

Since I'm no longer an candidate for PA Gov. on the Indendent ticket, and though I now endorse the gubernatorial candidacy of Lynn Swann, I do not support the Republican ticket across the board.

I oppose, for example, the candidacy of 15th Congressional District incumbent Charlie Dent - largely for the reason that I give my imprimatur to Swann over Rendell: Dent's introduction to Congress together with Califorinia Republican Richard Pombo of a bill that would deny the Delaware native-Americans of Oklahoma their claim to ownership of 315 acres in Forks Township allegedly stolen from them through trickery and forged deeds in the notorious Walking Purchase fraud of 1737.

As for Anon.'s comment re the 67,000 or so signatures on nominating papers required to get on the ballot for this Novermber 7th's general election, that requirment after the denial of plaintiffs' lawsuits challening that requirment is now headed for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

Gov. Rendell's appointment to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board's chair, Thomas "Tad" Decker was the managing partner of the Philadelphia branch of Cozy O'Connor, the law firm representing the Delawares.

Is Cozy O'Connor representing the Delawares in the manner that the duplicitous "Casino" Jack Abramoff represented the various native-American indigenous people by playing them off one against another?

Time will tell.

The voice of a state's chief executive in determining the fate of casino applications by America's aboriginal descendents is enormous.

Rendell's thumbs up would have carried enormous weight in granting the Delawares land for a casino in Forks Township or elsehwere in Pennsylvania.

Instead, Rendell gave the Delawares both thumbs down.

That was due to his decision, already made, to steer a casino gambling license to BethWorks Now for a Las Vegas Sands casino in South Bethlehem.

Act 71 and its corollary Act 72 are Lynn Swann's tickets to the executive mansion in Harrisburg.

Swann is not destined to be another J. Michael Fisher, endorsed by Gov. Tom Ridge before the Republican primary, a cynical political maneuver designed to destroy the aspirations of gubernatorial candidate wannabee Barbar Hafer, in favor of the sure loser Fisher - whom Ridge bribed with the promise of a seat on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting next to Rendell's wife Midge, former Easton federal district Judge Franklin VanAntwerpen, and New Jersey's swing-vote replacement for Sandra Day O'Connor, Sam Alito.

House of Crayons said...

Damn Bernie,
Now I am really kicking myself!! Mayor Goldsmith is a man I have a very good relationship with. I respect his wealth of Eastonian wisdom.

Your Neighbor

Bernie O'Hare said...

Too late now, bippy.