Tuesday, April 01, 2014

March - A Month in Review

So what happened in March?

Russia continues to show its support for the Ukrainian state of Crimea by rolling in thousands of soldiers and tanks to help maintain peace.  The Ukrainian military bases should be especially peaceful as they have been surrounded by peace-loving tanks.  Fortunately for military oppression, Russian Czar Vladimir Putin waited until after the Olympics were over in Socchi and all of the journalists and photographers went home.  If it will change the outcome of this, I suggest that Robert Kraft tell Putin that he can keep the Super Bowl ring.

The Republicans won the first election of the year when David Jolly beat out his Democratic challenger Alex Sink for the Florida 13th district.  As best we know, there were no hanging Chad's and Al Gore is not expected to sue for a recount.

College basketball geared up for March Madness, which officially ends in April.  Is there April Madness?  Mid-Majors, as always, have their tournaments early.  Mid-Majors consist of mostly small schools, leading to the question of why don't we just call them Small Schools?  Or Small-Majors?  But that would be oxymoronic, sort of like athletic scholars.

Locally, Mount St. Mary's won their conference championship, albeit the only way for this type of "mid-major" to make the tournament.

Maryland pretty much sucked this year.  Fortunately, they'll be moving from the ACC to the Big Ten where they can suck against different teams, but somehow make more money.

Wichita State, coached by Gregg Marshall, the coach that no major school wants because he's too young, he's too old, he's too experienced, yet has a .706 winning percentage (Bobby Knight .705, Jim Calhoun .696), led Wichita State to a perfect 34-0 season and a #2 rank despite being the only unbeaten team in the country.  I expect them to get a #5 seed.  (Surprisingly, he ended up getting a #1 seed.  ESPN has filed a formal complaint, requesting that another Big 10 school be give their #1 seed.)

Finally, our beloved Winthrop University lost in the Big South Championship to Coastal Carolina, ending their Cinderella story season.  Or was it an Ariel story?  What's the Disney story where the mom dies and the girl is raised by her father?  Oh, wait, that's EVERY Disney story.

The murder trial of Oscar Pistorius continues in South Africa.  Some experts thought that the Olympian had a leg up on the prosecution, only to change their tune when they realized their error.  Some say he's got one foot in the prison door, while courtroom observers say he seems to be defeated.

President Obama continues to tackle the tough issues challenging America.  In March he traded barbs with heroin addicted Hollywood star Zach Galifianakis on his show Between Two Ferns.  That's certainly a good use of his time.  Especially if it makes it on to The Daily Show, where most Americans get their news.

On television, America was SHOCKED to learn that ABC's The Bachelor leading man Juan Pablo turned out to be a mesagnionist jerk who was only on the show to hook up with hot women.  He hoped that his tan skin, nice muscles, and hypnotizing Spanish accent would woo the girls to sleep with him, which it did.  I'm shocked that America is shocked.  I actually thought that was the point of the show.

A 4.4  earthquake hit Los Angeles in March.  It was determined that the quake centered around the lines in the sand that Obama kept drawing in response to Russia's actions in the Ukraine.

General Motors announced a major recall.  They recalled 26 billion cars, nearly every car they've ever produced, after consumer advocate groups came to the realization that all GM cars suck.

President Obama tended to pressing matters in the 2nd half of March.  He filled out his NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament bracket on ESPN.  As predicted, he had Russia crushing Ukraine in the semi-finals.  In the championship, he predicted that the United States wouldn't show up and Russia would win by default.

The nearly month-long search for the missing Malaysian airliner seems to have come to an end after debris was found in the Indian Ocean, thus ending hopes at ABC that the plane got caught in a time vortex and the passengers were left on a remote island trying to survive against smoke monsters.

The lead singer of death metal band Gwar was found dead in his Richmond home.  His last words were "gwhaaaah-wah-wah-wah, grgrgrahhhh!  gah-rah-rah-ah-rahlahhhhhlll!!!"

World leaders and Obama decided to throw down the hammer on Russian President Putin for his "invasion" of Ukraine.  Russia has been kicked out of the G8, a group of industrialized countries that meet to discuss topics of global concern.  It must be noted that Russian membership has also be suspended from OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation), and the WTO (World Trade Organization) is now questioning Russian membership.  Let's also not forget that Russia has been kicked out of the Society of Innovative Automobiles , the Open and Benevolent Government Forum, the League of Nations Against Corruption, and the West Side Kickball Tournament.

Global satellites from many countries indicated that they may have spotted the wreckage of the Malaysian airliner.  Unfortunately, the wreckage that they spotted were the bills that were passed by the Maryland General Assembly this session.

Actress Gweneth Paltrow showed her loving public her ass this month.  Unlike the many movies where she has actually showed us her ass, this month it was merely a figure of speech.  In an interview with E!, Paltrow said that working moms with office jobs have it so much easier than she does. Clearly we don't realize how stressful it is to be a multimillionaire movie actress who jest from France to London to New York  She's got nannies to consider, has to book limos and private jets, she has to coordinate days at the spa at the various Mediterranean villas.  I now have a totally new respect for actresses like Gweneth Paltrow.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Martin O'Malley Takes Aim At Hypocrisy

I saw a post on Facebook that said, "Maryland suspends first grader for pointing his finger and pretending it was a gun.  Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley does the same thing.  The words were posted over the first picture.

O'Malley is the King of Hypocrisy.  For example, he was against casinos before he was in favor of them.  He's also in favor of building Maryland's middle class while simultaneously taxing the poop out of them. 

After I saw the picture, I decided to find pictures of O'Malley illegally using his finger as a gun.

Here is the aforementioned picture of O'Malley shooting the University of Maryland mascot, Testudo the Terrapin.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley with University of Maryland mascot Testudo. Credit: UM Twitter feed
Picture from UMD Twitter
Here is O'Malley shooting members of an audience at one of his concerts.

This picture if from GQ where they talked about how handsome O'Malley is.
 This picture is of O'Malley shooting people at the California Democrats Convention.

This picture is from BigStory.ap.com
As you can see, when it comes to Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, it's not what he does that's important, it's what he says.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

WBAL Statistics Fail

I read WBAL.com so you don't have to, as the old saying goes.

It's no secret that the reporters for WBAL write their own articles and no one reviews them.  They are filled with spelling errors, grammar errors, incomplete sentences, repeated sentences, repeated words, and factual errors that any middle school kid could identify.

Take today's article entitled Suburbs Growing, City Declining In Latest Census Estimates.  But first, let me rant.  It think it's crazy that the news that we watch and read is so Baltimore City-focused.  Baltimore has a metropolitan population of about 2.7 million, ranking it 20th in the nation, just behind Tampa and St. Louis, but ahead of Denver and Pittsburgh.  I would expect Denver and Charlotte to surpass Baltimore in the next 10 years or so.  However, Baltimore City itself only has an estimated population of 620,000, making is smaller than Nashville, El Paso, Fort Worth, Charlotte, and Columbus, Ohio.  If Baltimore is only 22% of the metropolitan population, why is it nearly 100% of the news???  With an estimated population of over 817,000, you would think that Baltimore County would make up the majority of the news since it's 30% of the population of the metropolitan area.

We all know why this is the case.  All of the "good" news is in Baltimore City.  We left the city for a reason.  Corrupt politicians don't last too long in the suburbs.  Unfortunately, they breed and thrive in the city.  Remember those 17 shootings that occurred during the first 2 weeks of the year in Baltimore County?  Or in Carroll County?  No, because that doesn't happen in the suburbs.

So what does this have to do with the article on WBAL.com by Steve Fermier?

In the article the last sentence states that the population of Maryland is the 14th largest in the United States at 5,900,000.  A quick look on Wikipedia, which despite what academicians may think, is fairly accurate when it comes to this type of information, Maryland does not score anywhere near the 14th largest in population.

In 2000, the census put Maryland's population at 5,296,000, making it the 19th most populated state.  In 2010, after it became en vogue to encourage illegal aliens to seek refuge in Maryland, the population rose to 5,773,522 according to the 2010 census, making it the.....19th most populated state.  A 2013 estimate puts the population at 5,928,814, making it the.....19th most populated state.  Where is Steve Fermier getting his data?  Did Maryland somehow cook the books and move some people out of Missouri, Tennessee, Indiana, Arizona, and Massachusetts to pump our rank?

You have to go back to 1830 to 1840 for Maryland's population to be about the 14th largest in the country.  I hope Mr. Fermier isn't using the 1845 edition of the encyclopedia to get his information.

I would be more than happy to do some fact checking for WBAL.com for a nominal fee.  Please let me know if you're interested in hiring me.

For the record, here are the state populations:

1.  California  38,332,521
2. Texas   26,448,193
3. New York  19,651,127
4. Florida  19,552,860
5. Illinois  12,882,135
6. Pennsyltucky  12,773,801
7. Ohio  11,570,808
8. Georgia  9,992,167
9. Michigan  9,895,622
10. North Carolina  9,848,060
11. New Jersey  8,889,339
12. Virginia  8,260,405
13. Washington  6,971,406
14. Massachusetts  6,692,824
15. Arizona  6,626,624
16. Indiana  6,570,902
17. Tennessee  6,495,978
18. Missouri  6,044,171
19. Maryland  5,928,814

Friday, March 21, 2014

Eldersburg's To-Do List

Every time I drive through Eldersburg I look around and think to myself what I would do with such and such, and they need to do something with that.  Do you think like that?

What is on Eldersburg's to-do list?

First, Jiffy Lube needs to paint the post holding up their sign.  They did a renovation of their facility a few years back and it still looks great.  They even put up a new sign.  But they NEVER painted it.  It's a combination of white and blotches of grey primer.  To borrow from Chris Berman, "Come on, man!  Paint that post!"

What is worse than something that needs to be painted?  Metal that is rusting away.  Have you looked at the roof to the Midas lately?  It looks like they last painted the metal roof in 1978.  I need a picture on a better angle.  The Auto Service Experts sign hides the streaks of rust running down this roof.  It's an eye sore.  And if you've ever go in the store, you will probably die of smoke inhalation.  I guess they didn't get the no smoking memo.

The cigarette-smoke scented Eldersburg Midas.

The median on Ridge Road as it intersects Liberty Road needs to be cleaned.  I'm not sure how you would go about this.  The next time you're at that light, look down at the cement median.  It's piled high with cigarette butts.  I'll never understand why cigarette smokers think that flicking their butts onto the street is acceptable.  To heck with speed cameras, let's put up cigarette butt flicker cameras.  Get caught flicking a cigarette butt out your window, you get an hour cleaning up medians as cars drive by and honk at you.

Eldersburg Plaza needs to cut down the bushes on either side of the only exit from the plaza.  It's hard enough to get out of that exit that dumps you onto Georgetown Boulevard, it's even more difficult when you're in a car and have to see through bushes.

J&Y Tokyo Market - I love this place, except when I actually want to eat there.  What are there, 4 parking spots and 6 tables?  This place seems to always be packed in the evening.  And for good reason - the food is really good!  It's time for J&Y Tokyo Market to move to a larger location.  Maybe the former La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant in the Princess Shopping Center?  OR, better yet, when Oklahoma Center refurbishes their building, move into the former Jin's Asian Bistro/Pap-Pap's location?

Monroe Station - I jog around Eldersburg and I occasionally do a loop around Monroe Station.  The back of that building STINKS!!!!  I'm pretty sure it's the discarded seafood pieces from Captain Dan's.  All that I think about when running by it and holding my nose is, "I"m glad I don't live behind this!"  The other part of my brain says, "Why the hell are you running by this place again?"  Monroe Station needs a giant Royal Pine scented tree hanging over the back.

Monroe Station's Dated sign - Curves, and Racing Collectibles are gone.
Finally, been to KFC lately?  The last three times I've been there, they haven't had any chicken.  You know that saying, "you have one thing to do..."  Well, KFC sells chicken.  It'd be nice if they had cooked chicken ready when you go there.  I've bought more chicken from Martin's because of this.  And now I think Royal Farms' chicken is just as tasty.  KFC - put 'have chicken' on your to-do list.

Lastly, the Shell Station needs to clean up what used to be the water fountain.  Now it's just a jumble of overgrown juniper bushes and scrub pines.  Give me a saw and I'll have it all cut down in an hour.

What do you think should be on Eldersburg's to-do list?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Obama Completes NCAA Tournament Bracket on ESPN

In an issue of national magnitude, President Obama made his NCAA Men's basketball predictions on ESPN.  This is definitely positive media for him.  Who cares about global issues, lingering unemployment, and a mangled healthcare program?  March Madness takes a backseat to no one!

As disinterested as I thought I would be in this segment, I was surprised by his picks.  He picked Russian to overrun Crimea in the first round.  In the second round of 32, the Russia destroys Ukraine.  In the Sweet 16, Russia goes up against the United States, but the U.S. just stands there and watches Russia do whatever they want without responding.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to watch the rest of the program, but on the other side of the bracket, Turkey, Belarus, and Kazakhstan look to make it deep into the tournament, but all indications are that Russia will own them, too.

In other news, President Obama was seen at Georgetown University Hospital getting his toe checked.  Apparently he sprained it drawing lines in the sand for the past 2 weeks.

Eldersburg Rumor - AutoZone Coming to Town

Earlier this week I needed a part for my car.  Unfortunately, I was not able to get to Napa or Eldersburg Auto Parts in time before they close, because they close at 5:30.  Apparently they don't take working people into consideration.  Then I thought, "I sure do wish we had an AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, or a Pep Boys around here."  In Eldersburg, if you work for a living, you have to drive to Randallstown, Westminster, or Columbia if you need auto parts in the evening.

Just after I had this thought, I heard a rumor that AutoZone is coming to Eldersburg.  Now, the entire rumor doesn't make any sense, but as they say, there's always an ounce of truth to every rumor.  The entire rumor is that when Wal-Mart moves to the new location, Home Depot will move into the current Wal-Mart location, and then AutoZone will move into Home Depot's current location.  Why would Home Depot move to an older building?  That makes no sense.  However, I could see Wal-Mart dividing their old building for multiple retailers and AutoZone moving into that space.  One of my biggest fears of Wal-Mart moving is that they will let that space sit empty for years.  I went to college in South Carolina and the old Wal-Mart location was the empty Wal-Mart location for all of those years.

Have you heard this rumor?  Any other rumors of new businesses in Eldersburg?

Didn't have a picture of an AutoZone, but here's the Westminster Advance Auto Parts.  That's as close as I'm getting.

Awesome picture by Eludius

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Safeway - Will It Be Closing?

Speaking of companies closing, Safeway put itself up for sale this year and it appears that it is going to be purchased by Cerberus Capital Management, the company that buys and fixes companies, or buys companies and chops them up companies and sells the parts (remember Pretty Woman?).

Cerberus is the same company that bought Chrysler from Daimler-Benz and tried to rescue them before giving up and selling them to the federal government, which then sold the American car company to the Italian car company Fiat.

Cerberus has offered to buy Safeway for about $40 per share, which is where it was in May of 2002.  If you bought Safeway stock 12 years ago, you are now just breaking even.  Over that same time, the S&P500 is up about 75%.  To translate this, if you would have invested $1,000 in SWY in May of 2002, you'd now have $1,000.  If you would have invested $1,000 in an S&P500-based mutual fund, you could now have about $1,750.

I think we all know that part of the problem is their prices.  When they advertise that a 2-liter bottle of soda is on sale for $1.99 and that you are saving $1.00 per bottle, while the grocery store across the street has the same 2-liter bottles on sale for 3 for $5, you are not going to survive for long.  The only advantage to shopping at the Safeway in Eldersburg is that there is NEVER a crowd.  Need to get in and out quick and don't mind paying 45% more for your groceries, then Safeway is the store for you.

Cerberus also owns Albertson's grocery stores.  There is speculation that Cerberus will consolidate Safeway into the Albertson's brand and Safeway will no longer exist.

I wonder what will happen to the Eldersburg Safeway?

Eldersburg Safeway

Baltimore Saying Goodbye to Joseph A. Bank

Perpetuating what seems to be an irreversible trend of Maryland-based companies leaving, going out of business, or getting consumed by other companies, Maryland-based Jo's A Bank is being bought by Houston, Texas-based Men's Warehouse.

Joseph A. Bank Clothier is higher-end men's dress clothes company based in Hampstead, Carroll County, and has several retail stores in the area, in addition to 2 distribution centers.  They are joining a list of companies that no longer call Maryland home: Maryland National Bank, USF&G, Alex. Brown & Sons, Hechingers, Digene, Rouse Company, Duratek, Merry-Go-Round, Manugistics, B&O Railroad, Carr-Lowrey Glass Company, Hutzler's, Hochschild Kohn's, and National Brewing Company, just to name a few.

It's unclear if the distribution centers will be closed and more Marylanders will be unemployed.  Maybe they could go work for Safeway.  Oh, wait....

I did a Google search to see if Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley commented about the loss of another Maryland company on his watch, but alas I found nothing.  I guess he's too concerned about his Presidential run and his gig at Creative Alliance on March 15th.  Anyone going? Would love to get some drunk pictures of him.

Photo courtesy of CharmCityKim.  JoS A Bank in Baltimore City on Pratt Street

Main Street Eldersburg is Now Eldersburg Station

Black Oak Associates announced that the Main Street Eldersburg project will now be called Eldersburg Station and will focus on a 10 screen movie theater and restaurants.

The reason for the change is the continuing down economy.  We are now in our 6th year of a down economy, 5 of those under Obama, but it's still Bush's recession according to Martin O'Malley. Black Oak Associates has made this decision for what it feels is best for Eldersburg based on our appetite for retail and entertainment.

Don't confuse Eldersburg Station with Carroll Station (Wine Cork Pub), or with Eldersburg Marketplace (Home Depot), or with Eldersburg Plaza (Oscar's), or with Johnsville Station (Ledo's Pizza), or Liberty Station (former Little Professor), or with Monroe Station (Serra Brothers).  Seems that Eldersburg is running out of combinations for popular names for shopping centers.  I can't wait for the Eldersburg Liberty Market Station Plaza Nail Salon.

With regard to the new plan, Dixon Harvey said that they are aiming for a Spring 2016 opening.  Knowing the lightening speed which Black Oak and Dixon Harvey operate, I think what Harvey really means is that we should expect a Fall 2027 opening.  I expect to watch Men in Black 13 there when it opens when I'm in my mid-50's.

Additionally, how are they going to fit in a 10 screen theater?  If you look at the map on the Baltimore Sun's page (top link), the footprint of the building is about 1/3 of the footprint of the current Wal-Mart.  I supposed each theater could have 100 seats, 10 rows of 10.  That may be comparable to the old Tollgate Movie Theater in Bel Air for those of you who remember that.  Again, I think Dixon Harvey and Black Oak are way too optimistic for their own good.  Good intentions, but too optimistic.

What are your thoughts on this new plan?

Maryland State Senate Democrats Hate the Environment?

It what seems to be a total reversal of perception, the Maryland State Senate voted along party lines against an amendment that would protect funds dedicated to the restoration of the Chesapeake Bay.  The amendment was submitted because the Maryland General Assembly has raided over $100 million from the Chesapeake Bay Trust Fund over the past 5 years.

The surprising aspect of this move is that the amendment was sponsored by the evil Republicans who hate the environment, minorities, and poor people, yet it was rejected 100% by the compassionate party.  Specifically, the amendment was sponsored by Republican Bryan Simonaire of Anne Arundel County.  Only in Maryland can a party get away with actions like this and get reelected by the same people whose views they are dismissing.

If this continues, Marylanders who rely on the water for their living may have to do something else, like work for one of the many Maryland-based companies.....oh, wait, there aren't that many Maryland-based companies anymore.  Perhaps they'll have to work for one of the hundreds of non-profit organizations in the state that don't pay any taxes, thus reducing the tax base to pay for everything else in the state.

To top it off, WBAL.com stated that State Senator Thomas V. "Mike" Miller called environmentalists 'whackos'.  How out of touch is this guy?  He sounds like a stodgy disconnected Republican from the 1960's who would encourage companies to dump their toxic waste into our water streams.  Seems to me that a statement like that would disenfranchise the 67% of Marylanders that are Democrats, and probably the +90% of Marylanders regardless of party that actually care for the environment.

In case you forgot, Democrat Mike Miller is the same guy who said that he was going to bury Republicans 6 feet under and face up so they can't come up for 20 years.  Do these sound like the encouraging words of a leader of the Maryland State Senate, or the words of a raving mad man?  It amazes me that good folks of Prince George's, Charles, and Southern Anne Arundel Counties continue to vote for this lunatic election after election.

If you ask me, it isn't the environmentalists that are the wackos, it's the leader of the Maryland State Senate.

working boat on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Relocated in Eldersburg - Enterprise

This happened probably a year ago, and needs to be properly documented.  enterprise rent-a-car relocated from its space on the Jeff Barnes Chevrolet parking lot to the back end of Liberty Station Shopping Center.  They've even plastered their image on the front of the former Little Professor, which has sat unoccupied since about March of 2012.

Here is the former Enterprise trailer location on the Jeff Barnes Chevrolet parking lot.  I think they now sell recreational vehicles and travel trailers.  I once rented a Jeep Cherokee there after I was hit nearly head-on back in December 2007.  I loved that Chevy Blazer.

New to Eldersburg - Lily Nails & Spa

The purpose of this post is two-fold.  First, to keep up with the documentation of the ever-changing landscape of Eldersburg, and secondly to perpetuate the notion that no plaza in Eldersburg is complete unless there is a nail salon.

Not sure how long Lily Nails & Spa has been in existence, but I know Kim Jong Un is on pins and needles waiting for the latest update.  In fact, I have it on good word that he's so frustrated that he hasn't received the latest updates on Eldersburg Plaza that he's begun executing members of his own family.  On that rumor, Dennis Rodman split town.

I'm not quite sure of the succession order here.  I blogged about La Kokette closing back in November of 2012 and to be replaced by G&B Fashions.  I'm not sure if that ever happened.  Lily Nails & Spa ultimately replaces the space previously occupied by consignment shop La Kokette, which at one time was next door to another clothing shop named Catch A Dream, which unfortunately went out of business around the end of February.  Catch A Dream, as you'll recall, replaced Jams Music Store.  There is a lot of turnover in these spaces.  At least the spaces are being filled.

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