Friday, September 19, 2014

Ray Rice Jersey Exchange, Sort of...

The Baltimore Ravens have announced that owners of Ray Rice jerseys may exchange them at the stadium on Friday and Saturday for jerseys of other Ravens stars, such as Christo Bilukidi, Crockett Gillmore, and Brynden Trawick.

There are a few stipulations, however, that must be met before the Ravens will allow the exchange of the jersey. 

1) the jersey must be officially NFL licensed merchandise.
2) must be manufactured by Nike or Reebok.
3) the jersey must have been purchased on the NFL's website or at the Ravens' merchandise store at the stadium.

Well, that pretty much eliminates +90% of all Ray Rice jerseys out there.  I expect up to 10 people to be there for jersey exchanges.  How are they going to prove where the jersey was purchased?  Nothing on the website states that a receipt must be in hand.

What the Ravens aren't telling you are the other, lesser known rules for jersey exchange:

1) The jersey must have been purchased on a Tuesday
2) Jersey must not show any signs that it has ever been worn
3) The person returning the jersey must avert all eye contact with the Ravens' officials
4) The person returning the jersey must reside within the city of Baltimore
5) The person returning the jersey must purchase a jersey PJL (Personal Jersey License) giving them the right to purchase another jersey in the future.

This scenario is totally believable based on the recent series of media blunders by the Baltimore Ravens. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Eldersburg Blockbuster - Demolition Has Begun!


The demolition of the former Eldersburg Blockbuster has begun, about 10 years after it should have started.  The site briefly served as the retailer of old arcade games and novelty items such as traffic lights and movie statues.

As you know, video rentals went the way of the dinosaur, or honest politicians.  Now the only thing left is to knock down the Big Lots and the Denny's.  Unfortunately, I think the Denny's is staying.



Remember the old Blockbuster?  Can you see the movie posters in the window?  Due Date, Red, and Town were the big hits.  Honestly I don't even remember those movies.  But I do think I still have $5.66 on a Blockbuster's gift card.  Where can I use that?


Anthony Brown Hates Daycares?

Current Lieutenant Governor and candidate for governor Anthony Brown is making a case of why he should be our next governor.  At this point, I'm still waiting for him to give us a good reason.

One of the items on his agenda that he and his lackey Ken Ulman are touting is "universal pre-K".  He's gone as far as saying that Republican candidate Larry Hogan is against children and their families for being against "universal Pre-K".  That's a typical Democrat line - Republicans hate children and education.

Want to know the truth about "universal Pre-K"?  Currently, every county in Maryland offers a pre-Kindergarten program.  Not all schools offer a pre-kindergarten program, but the program is available.  Children must qualify for pre-kindergarten and acceptance is based on need, either a learning need, or an economic need.  Once those slots have been filled, the program is opened to children who do not have a need.

Anthony Brown claims that many Marylanders do not have access to a pre-kindergarten program.  If their child does not qualify in their school district then that would  be true.  However, Anthony Brown totally screws up when he says that children don't have access to quality pre-K programs.  Does he mean low quality or high quality?  I'll assume Anthony Brown means that children do not have access to low quality pre-K programs.  As we all know, children in Baltimore City have plenty of access to low quality educational programs.  I'll say this claim by Anthony Brown is untrue.

Anthony Brown also claims that by offering pre-kindergarten to all children, these children will be able to get a better early education.  I think the Lieutenant Governor is saying that you basically suck at raising your kids and the state can do better.  I'm sure that's true in some areas like Baltimore City, but certainly not true in the majority of the suburban areas where children far exceed state standards and help bring up the state averages making the state's school system as good as it appears.  Don't be fooled - many school suck,  others are freaking unbelievable.

With Anthony Brown's plan, every school will be required to offer a pre-kindergarten class and all  students will be eligible to attend.  Sounds gallant, right?  However, what if the school currently does not have the facilities necessary to serve these children?  When Martin O'Malley mandated kindergarten, many school systems were forced to spend millions of dollars constructing additions to their buildings and hire more teachers.  And, of course, O'Malley didn't allow a proportional increase in education dollars to accommodate these new students for all schools.

Will Anthony Brown proportionally increase education dollars to ALL schools to pay for new facilities and teachers when he signs this into law?  I highly doubt it.  He'll just give us the typical mumbo-jumbo O'Malley crap that we all need to make tough decisions and invest in our children because they are the future blah-blah-blah.  Translation - I'll pass the law, you figure out how to pay for it.  Net result - larger classrooms, same number of teachers, more stress, fewer schools.

And don't be fooled by voluntary attendance.  It's like any law that O'Malley has passed.  This is step one.  Step two is to make pre-kindergarten mandatory.  The rhetoric will be: we need to continue to invest in our children, education is our number one priority,

And what about those pesky daycare centers?  If the state of Maryland makes pre-kindergarten attendance mandatory, which you know it eventually will, then one of biggest institutions to suffer this change will be daycare centers.  Daycare centers don't just include the mega-daycare centers like Celebree' and Kindercare where your child is a cog in a factory mostly staffed by high school drop-outs and unguided college transients.  There are thousands of at-home daycares run by people just trying to get by, who mostly take on this line of work so that they can be home to raise their children.  And they have the privilege to also raise yours.

Figuring daycare consists of infants, 1's, 2's, 3's, and 4's, the presumably pending mandatory implementation of pre-kindergarten will result in a 20% reduction in the daycare population.  Parents around the state will roar in celebration that they no longer have to pay for daycare for theier 4 year old allowing them to work more hours and take home more money, which is the most important thing in life, while the state pays for the daycare.  The unintended consequence of the implementation of mandatory pre-kindergarten will be the decrease in the revenue that daycare providers can earn.  Same supply, less demand, lower prices.  So while it's hard to make a living providing daycare, it'll be ridiculously more difficult after Anthony Brown gets through with them.

There seems to be an unfair assumption that daycare providers make a lot of money.  If you consider the typical at-home daycare provider, they watch usually 2 kids, at an average rate of $185 per week, that's $19,240 per year.  That's less than the typical fine for any sports figure's transgression.  Anthony Brown wants them to make less money? Shame on him.

I'm not sure if Anthony Brown and his side-kick Robin, I mean Ken Ulman, have thought through all of this, or if they have, perhaps they just don't care about the rest of the people.  My assumption is that Anthony Brown does, in fact, hate daycare providers.





Just a Fire Truck Post

I saw this fire truck parked at Brookside Commons this week when I had lunch with some friends at Asian Kitchen.  The firemen were going from one business to another conducting some sort of business.  I would assume they were doing some sort of inspection, such as fire extinguishers.

I tried finding this fire truck to determine which house it belonged to, e.g. Pikesville, Liberty Road, Randallstown, etc..., but found nothing.  If you know, I'd be glad to hear.

I really dig the red wheel in the front and the white wheel in the back.  Was that intentional or were they scavenging pieces from other apparatus?



Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ray Rice. Roger Goodell. What If....

Ray Rice's video of him bashing his fiance' in the face has been the talk of the country this week.  Supposedly, TMZ got a hold of the video and released it to the public, prompting the Baltimore Ravens to release Ray Rice, the NFL to ban Rice indefinitely, and George Steinbrenner to fire Billy Martin.

The sad truth of the matter is that the NFL is full of thugs and criminals.  It takes violent people jacked up on testosterone who have no fear of consequences to successfully play such a brutal game.  I'm reminded of interviews with Ray Lewis screaming, "It's war!  It's war out there!"  Um, it's a game, not a war.  But that's how NFL players think.

The Ravens claim that they never saw the video from the elevator until Monday.  The NFL claims it never saw the video from the elevator until Monday.  A reporter for the AP, however, claims that the video was sent to the NFL months ago.  Did the NFL have it earlier than they claimed?  Are they lying?

Roger Goodell became the joke of the league when he suspended Ray Rice for 2 games.  You have to believe that Goodell has been trying to figure out a way to get out of this debacle since his heinous decision.  Since the release of the video, throngs of people have been demanding Goodell's resignation.  This includes the National Organization for Women (NOW) and premier sports jackass Keith Olbermann, though ESPN's controversial racist personality Steven A. Smith said that the NOW president is off her rocker for demanding Goodell's resignation.  Perhaps Steven A. Smith also supports domestic violence.

I'm not sure if Goodell will resign.  But what if it comes out that he did see the video prior to making assigning the suspension?  Does the NFL fire him?  Will he resign then?

And what about the Ravens?  What and when did they really know?  Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti went as far as to write a letter to the fans detailing this information, but is it true?

If Bisciotti saw the video, or Newsome, or coach John Harbaugh and they pretended not to see it or cover it up, what happens to them?  Do Newsome and Harbaugh get fired?  Does the NFL force Bisciotti to sell the team like the NBA forced Donald Sterling to sell the team after he made a racist remark?  Can you imagine that article?  "NBA forces owner to sell team after racist remark, NFL spanks owner for covering up player's domestic violence."  Can the NFL take the team away from Bisciotti?  Can the NFL move the team out of Baltimore as punishment?  Can we lose our team?

This may be a bit of sensationalism, but if the investigations start revealing that more people saw the video and tried to cover it up, there could be dreadful implications for everyone involved.

And what about the New Jersey police?  Why did they not pursue this more than they did?  The New Jersey prosecutors allowed Rice to avoid jail time or probation by entering into a pre-trial intervention program.  As I understand it, they did see the video.  Is a video of a guy bashing his fiance in the face and knocking her out not sufficient evidence to charge him and incarcerate him?  Apparently, first time offenders are given leniency in New Jersey.  Beat a woman, join a program.  So I think what I just heard here is that if you want to get away with bashing your girlfriend in the face with your fist and knocking her out and not get into too much trouble, New Jersey is the place to do it.  They support first time offending domestic abusers.  Is that how you understand it?

My mama always told me to tell the truth, even when it hurts.  Unfortunately, I don't think everyone here is telling the truth.

House of Delegates Candidate Ryan Frederic Hates Carroll County?

The other day I got one of those political opinion phone calls asking if I'd provide feedback about the upcoming elections. Uh...sure!  I like to share my opinion, especially when my opinion is more in line with the facts.

The questions started off okay, asking me to rate current politicians on scale of 1 to 5.  Then the questions started getting interesting.  "Do I think Allan Kittleman is a bad choice for Howard County Executive?"  First of all, that's an unfair question.  Obviously this poll wasn't being conducted by an impartial group.  I asked the pollster why he cared what I thought about Allan Kittleman running for Howard County executive since I don't live in Howard County.  "Uh....what?  Uh.....I just ask the questions."  Okay, Sunshine.

Then the questions started attacking Gail Bates.  Do I feel positively or negatively about the fact that Gail Bates never voted in favor of a balanced budget while a member of the House of Delegates?  Do you mean increases in the budget without sufficient revenue sources or increases in the budget funded by higher taxes that are chasing businesses away from Maryland?  Yeah, I wouldn't vote for that either.

Then the questions started to focus on Democratic candidate Ryan Frederic.  Did you know blah-blah-blah?  Several of the questions focused on varying topics asking if I thought Ryan Frederic would have a positive impact for Howard County.  I prefaced each answer with, "I don't care about Howard County, because I live in Carroll County."

What I want to know is:

1) Did Ryan Frederic approve this poorly constructed poll?
2) Does Ryan Frederic realize that State Senate District 9 also encompasses Carroll County?
3) Does Ryan Frederic hate Carroll County?
4) If Ryan Frederic is elected, would he ignore Carroll County and its predominantly Republican-based constituents, just like Congressman Chris Van Hollen does?  Or would he ignore us more than Chris Van Hollen ignores Carroll County?

After hearing this poll and its flagrant disregard for Carroll County, I'm definitely less inclined to vote for Ryan Frederic whether he approved this poll or not.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Bye-Bye, Ray Rice

For several months Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL, has be been wearing the Ass Hat.  What is an Ass Hat you ask?  It's the hat you wear when you deliver an absolutely ridiculous fine that doesn't fit the crime.

If you are unaware, which would be hard to believe if you're reading this blog as it implies that you're well-read and you know good reporting when you see it, Ray Rice was caught on surveillance camera at the Revel Hotel and Casino at the luxurious (tongue-in-cheek) Atlantic City, New Jersey resort dragging his unconscious fiance' out of an elevator.

Soon thereafter, the Baltimore Ravens said that Ray Rice was their guy and they supported him, and blah-buh-blahblah.  That's when Roger Goodell laid down the hammer with the 2 game suspension.  Oh, and the 2 game suspension was the same penalty delivered to Brandon Meriweather for smoking a joint.  Beating your fiance' unconscious.  Smoking a joint.  Definitely equal fines for similar actions.  Way to go Roger. In case you missed it, that was sarcasm.  I don't want you people with broken sarcasm detectors leaving nasty comments.

What Roger Goodell didn't expect is that the entire intelligent universe, including the good people from Abydos, speaking out against him and declare him the biggest idiot since another Roger, Roger Taney.  I hope you don't have to look that one up, but if you do, I'm glad that you did.

Then, after months of constant harassment, a video "suddenly" appears showing Ray Rice striking his fiance', now wife.  Ravens cut Ray Rice, though they are still on the hook his $14.5 million salary against the salary cap for the next 2 years.  Fortunately, the team is spared with actually having to pay him.  The NFL quickly follows up with suspending Ray Rice indefinitely so that no other team can pick up him.

Ray Rice celebrating the Ravens' Super Bowl victory in a parade in Baltimore.

Now, what is the truth?  I saw a repost of a Tweet that said, "The Ravens didn't release Ray Rice when they saw this video.  They released him after YOU saw this video."  It really makes you wonder what the Ravens knew and what the NFL, i.e. Roger Goodell knew.  Oh, and when they knew.

My theory?  The NFL did see the video and in fact owned the rights to the video.  Once Roger Goodell couldn't take the heat anymore, he released the video to TMZ who released it to the public.  All of a sudden Roger is no longer in the spotlight, and the Ravens' hand is forced.  Ray Rice is out of a job.  Women rejoice. The general public rejoices.  The NFL has washed it's hand of the matter.  Pretty good conspiracy theory right?  But is it really over?

Greg Hardy.  Darryl Washington.  Amari Speivey.  Michael Boley.  Leroy Hill.  Robert Sands.  Dez Bryant.  Do you know what these guys have in common?  All of  them have been onvicted or accused of assaulting their wife, their girlfriend, a child, or their mother, and the NFL did NOTHING about it.  Some of these players are still playing.  What will the NFL do about them?  Are they going to tolerate some players abusing people, but not tolerate others?  Whether the NFL wants to admit it or not, buy their job is not done.  In my opinion, Roger Goodell is still wearing the Ass Hat.

Friday, September 05, 2014

New to Eldersburg - Allstate Insurance

Prior to this new location, I don't think Allstate had an office in Eldersburg.  My due diligence included and may have been limited to Googling 'Eldersburg Allstate'.  

This "new" location, if I am correct (as we know I've been wrong before about some things), is located in the Eldersburg Plaza in the right half of the former Pure Fitness, which was in the location of the former Tri-Star Martial Arts, which is now in the location of the former Hardee's.

Hopefully this is a temporary sign.  The Pure Fitness left-side location is still empty and begging for a new tenant.


Crazy Food

I get that companies are pushing the edge trying to find those new and crazy 4-bagger flavors that people will love.  Some of them are pretty good.  The blackpepper, chipotle, and jalapeno flavor fads have been a big success.  Of course, these flavors are not all together.

Lay's has been rolling out new potato chip flavors for the past couple of years.  The cheesy garlic bread flavor last year was amazing.  The wasabi ginger flavor this year is pretty good, too.  But what about this one? Cappuccino?

I'm generally an adventurous person when it comes to trying new foods.  Squid.  Tried it.  Alligator,  Yep.  Cappuccino flavored potato chips?  Nope.  I can't bring myself to buy these.

Have you tried them?  If so, what did you think?


Now Open in Eldersburg: AutoZone

Despite Martin O'Malley's attempt to marginalize Carroll County, new job and shopping opportunities continue to come to the area.

With no fan fare or exciting customer experiences such as balloons, free hot dogs, or decorative ceramic fish giveaways, the Eldersburg AutoZone has opened in Oklahoma Center on Liberty Road.  The new store occupies the spaces of the former Virginia's Rose consignment shop, Jin's Asian Bistro, and a portion of the former Pap-Pap's Pizzeria.

As you may recall, Jin's Asian Bistro was the catalyst to this new opportunity when they practically burned down the strip mall.

Sadly, the fire coincided with the deaths of Pap Pap and Mr. Habib, owner of Bagel Cafe and Habib Kabobs.  One may even say that the fire caused the death of Mr. Habib.

I'm happy that AutoZone has come to town, though less thrilled that Advanced Auto Parts is also coming to town, not that I'm upset that Advanced Auto Parts the company is planning on opening a store, but rather 2 auto parts stores are opening in the same area in a short period of time.  Are auto parts stores the new nail salons?

The one thing that does puzzle me is the fact that only a portion of the overhang was painted white.  Why wouldn't they either paint the whole thing white or leave it all that rustic red?

I'm not an architect nor a commercial artist, but this just looks silly to me.



Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ocean City - Family Friendly?

And here is another reason why I have decided to not take my family vacation to Ocean City any more. 

A bikini-clad female has decided to use her right of free expression to perform a sexually suggestive pole dancing act on the boardwalk.  Ocean City pretends to portray itself as a family friendly destination, but with all the cussing, drugs, inappropriate tattoos, profanity, cussing, drunken and disorderly behavior, smoking on the beach, cussing, stabbings, shootings, smoking, and cussing, and now sexually suggestive pole dancing, I think I've made the correct decision.

What are your thoughts on the changing culture of Ocean City, Maryland?

Here's is proof that Ocean City is cracking down on the Boardwalk.  At least they said, "Please".


Monday, August 11, 2014

National Night Out - A Week Ago

Last Tuesday was National Night Out.  All across the country, local law enforcement offices and fire departments gathered to show off their equipment and discuss crime and fire prevention with residents.  Local politicians like to get in the act as often times it is near an election and they want to keep their names fresh in people's minds.  That is, unless your local politician covers mostly Howard County and just a smidgen of Carroll County.

Carroll County Delegate Susan Krebs was on hand for the event, as always, as was future Maryland State Senator Gail Bates - she's running unopposed.  However, State Delegate Warren Miller was MIA.  I don't think Warren Miller cares about Carroll County.  Neither was Trent Kittleman there, presumably the next new delegate for the area.  Chris Van Hollen?  I know he's been to Carroll County once, but that was years ago.  I'm pretty sure he doesn't care about this part of his district.

There was free food - hot dogs, fries, burgers, and Italian ice from Victor's in Eldersburg, and after the event was nearly over, the unreliable and inconsistent Oscar's Ale House showed up with wings and something, but we were ready to leave.  There were other organizations there peddling their wares.

Eldersburg Sykesville National Night Out
The Carroll County Sheriff's Department was showing off its Crime Response Team armored truck.



The venerable 2012 Sykesville Freedom Pierce Pumper.


Nearby Gamber Volunteer Fire Department was showing off their International Dive Unit truck.


Getting a little artistic here.  Pretty cool, eh?






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