Monday, December 31, 2012

Coming to Eldersburg - Another CVS

Word from the Mayor of Eldersburg is that CVS is negotiating (or already has negotiated) to build a stand-alone store at the corner of Barthalow Road and Route 32.  This plot of land has been in a state of stasis, so to speak, for many years - at least 13 1/2 as that's how long I've lived here.  Word was that Chick-Fil-A was going to occupy this spot, but I got clarification that this is a multi-unit plot, with CVS occupying the southern plot and Chick-Fil-A in the northern plot closer to the funeral home.

Additionally, there were will be limited access to the site, as it's already a very congested corner.  If I heard correctly, there will be a right-in/right-out on Route 32.  Not sure how the entrance will look on Barthalow.  I would imagine that this entrance would also have to be a right-in/right-out.  How would you go north out of the site without driving up to Johnsville Road and circling back? (other than making a U-turn on Caren Drive or in the Liberty High School parking lot?

What does this mean for the CVS in the Eldersburg Plaza?  I think this spells doom.  Additionally, I think Eldersburg Plaza is suffering from ForLease-itus.  Too many empty units or not units that are not ideally occupied.  Additionally, with a new stand-along CVS, we can almost see the stand-alone Wal-Green's not 800 feet away.  Are we to now expect a stand-alone Rite-Aid?

And note the sign in the window that shows milk at $3.99 per gallon.  If the pundits are correct, then this time next year milk will be about $8 per gallon.


Here's the intersection of Barthalow and Route 32 as it is now.


Treasure in the Basement?

While going through boxes of stuff that I have no reason to keep, I found this dish that caught my eye.  I have seen it many many times, but never really studied it.  So this time when I was serious about getting rid of stuff, I looked at this with a more discerning eye.

This bowl has markings on the bottom indicating Buttercup, then in the triangle Avalon, BALT, which I assume to mean Baltimore since that's where our families have lived for more than 60 years (my family has been here since the late 1890's or early 1900's, my wife's family came here later from Virginia).  The last marking is somewhat indecipherable.  It looks like F_ _ ENCE, the two letters in the middle being impossible to read.  Then there are two red letter markings on it, but I have no idea what that means.  Anyone out there in the blog world have any idea?  Is this bowl worth anything?  You can click on the pictures to see a larger view of them.




There is a small chip near the raised red floral design.


Trash Or Treasure?

As I have been off of work since mid-December, I decided to thin out our household inventory.  My theory is that you should rid yourself of items as quick as you acquire them.  And since we just acquired a couple of container trucks full of new items at Christmas, we need to get rid of as much.

While going through some boxes that we haven't opened since the Clinton administration, I found this neat little treasure.  I gave this to my grandfather when I was about 14 years old.  His favorite animal was the penguin.  I had previously given him a stuffed penguin, though I don't know where that is.  When my grandfather died in 1990, my grandmother wanted me to have this.  Though she also wanted me to have his boxer shorts.  I promptly stuck it in a box and somehow it ended up in my house when I moved here.

I stuck a new D battery (can you believe this thing requires a D battery???) and it works!  It's missing a green flag, but otherwise is in good condition.  So now my dilemma - do I keep this because of the fond memories of my grandfather, or do I do my best not to become a hoarder and donate it to Goodwill?  I did look it up on eBay and there are like items selling from 99 cents to $45.

In other news, I did take 2 car loads of items to Goodwill.  Mostly clothes, but some baby toys.  Don't think we'll need anymore baby toys.  Or 2 year old boy corduroy overalls.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Cancer Perk - Harlem Globetrotters

As I've mentioned before, there are perks that go along with childhood cancer.  Free tickets to events is one of them.  This week we got a cancer perk when we were invited as special guests of the Starlight Children's Foundation to see the Harlem Globetrotters at the fabulous Baltimore 1st Mariner Arena.

Unfortunately, my daughter with cancer has low counts right now, meaning her immune system is very low, so she was unable to go.  She can't be out in public, especially in areas with large concentrations of people that sneeze all over the place.

I had never seen the Harlem Globetrotters in person, but I have seen them on Scooby-Doo, so I knew what to expect.  I knew that they played the Washington Generals, the pants would be pulled down, they would do all sorts of tricks with the ball, and they would pretend to throw a bucket of water on some unsuspecting sole in the crowd.  The bucket would actually be full of confetti.  What I didn't know was that they now play a team called Global Select (same idea, they travel with the Globetrotters and practice with them to learn the tricks and to be the brunt of every joke), the basketball rim was probably 7 feet high rather than the regulation 10 feet.  I didn't realize that the clock ran the entire time, even during their shenanigans   And I didn't know that the first bucket of water was actually full of water.  Yes, some poor family got a face-full of Mother Nature's liquid cleanser.

Unfortunately, this is blurry, but the fake Afro-wig was hysterical.  He looks like he is a member of the 1979 Philadelphia Phillies.



Not to be outdone, Hi-Lite wore his Britney Spears wig, only to have his shorts pulled down to expose his skirt.  The kids loved it!



This was really cool.  Not sure which guy this was, but he had a ball spinning on top of a ball.


Here's the National Championship trophy that the Harlem Globetrotters win at every venue in every city.  I hear that they're playing for the National Championship again today at Harford Community College in Bel Air, Maryland.


I think this was Ant hanging from the rim.  At one point he got up on top of the rim and got called for goal-tending every time he kicked the opponents shot back out into the stands.


I thought this was really cute.  The Harlem Globetrotters definitely get the young people involved in the game.  And let's admit it, it's not a basketball game, it's entertainment.


Thank you, Starbright Children's Foundation for sending us to see the Harlem Globetrotters!!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Closed in Eldersburg - Plazuelas

My favorite Mexican restaurant in Eldersburg, which also happens to be the only Mexican restaurant in Eldersburg (no, Taco Bell does not count as a Mexican restaurant), has closed.

We saw a For Lease (Navidad) sign outside, so I pulled into the empty parking lot and read the note taped to the window.  Plazuelas is relocating to Westminster.  Say it isn't so!!!

So now we have another empty restaurant in Eldersburg.  I hope Obama's recession ends soon so the economy can start getting better.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 - A Year in Review (again)

It took me a while to write this.  I guess blogger knew that since I started this in early December, that I meant for it to be posted back in early December, disregarding the fact that I had other blog posts that were completed prior to this one, but show after it.  Does that make sense?  So anyway, I'll repost my Year In Review for those of you who don't go back to see if new blog posts snuck into the history somewhere.


The year 2012 is the final year of our existence here on Earth.  The Mayans predicted our demise in December, but failed to let us know in which time zone the end will occur.  For non-believers, we recognize 2012 as the year of election in the United States for a new President.  After all, no President has ever won a second term with unemployment higher than when he was sworn in.

2012 recorded many deaths of popular film, sports, and political figures.  There were many tragedies that afflicted the United States, from Superstorm Sandy's destruction in New Jersey to the shootings in the elementary school in Connecticut.  The Republican Party imploded and Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley had to be reminded several times that he was not the President, but still Governor.

I don't remember everything that happened in 2012, but here are the things that I do recall:

January
In January, the Italians, who are well known for cap-sizing ships, capsized the Costa Concordia, a Mediterranean cruise ship, resulting in the loss of 33 lives.  The captain, Francesco Schettino, reinforced the image of reckless Italians when he abandoned ship and fled to shore rather than trying to save the passengers.  After a careful investigation, Mitt Romney was blamed for steering the ship astray.

The Labor Department announced that the United States added 200,000 new jobs in December.  Obama took credit for the new jobs, but refused to accept responsibility for the corresponding 8.5% unemployment.  He said the lingering unemployment rate can clearly be attributed to George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Abraham Lincoln.

January saw the end of an era in Happy Valley with the death of Penn State coach Joe Paterno.  He ascends to the big bowl game in the sky with 2 national championships, 1 Big 10 Championship, 5 Coach of the Year awards, 298 wins, 18 bowl championships, and 1 hell of a sex scandal mess left behind for everyone to figure out.  Coach Paterno was 85.

February
In football, Kelly Clarkson and the New York Giants defeated Tom Brady and the New England Patriots (again) to claim the Vince Lombardi trophy.  When Tom Brady was asked what happened, he pointed to changing to a different shampoo and conditioner.

Legendary singer Whitney Houston was found dead in a bathtub in the Beverly Hills Hilton.  Four people were shocked to learn that the celebrated and abused singer died from drowning with a cocktail of drugs in her system.

The Greek government's debt crisis continues to hurt the Greek economy. The situation only grew worse in February when Citibank and Parker Brothers coordinated efforts and suspended the government's credit cards and replaced them with Get Out Of Jail Free cards.

March
America continues to have its culture defined through the television media, a culture that celebrates violence, profanity, teenage pregnancies, and Amish Outlaws.  Just when we thought that our intellectual atrophy couldn't get any worse, along came Honey Boo-Boo.

The iconic Encyclopedia Britannica discontinued the print version and replaced it with an online blog run by a former Dungeons & Dragons champion.

In Russia, Vladimir Putin wins his third term as President.  Thousands protest his election, but Russian news agencies report that there is no news to report today, especially in Moscow.

April
In college basketball, March Madness finished with Kentucky beating Kansas.  No one really cared about the outcome of the game.  But the month of April was quoted as saying, "What the hell?".

Long time beloved host and namesake of Dick Clark's New Year's Rocking Eve, and other shows such as The Pyramid, and American Bandstand, Dick Clark passed away.  He was 127 years old.

In North Korea, lunatic successor to King Jong-Il, Kim Jong-un, attempts to launch a missile into space, much to the objection of the United Nations Security Council.  Fortunately, the missile was made of 3 feet of white PVC pipe and the potato exploded before the scientists were able to fill the tube with butane.  The designers of the missile, several members of Sigma Nu fraternity, were held hostage for several days before being released for a food exchange.

May
Facebook made headlines when it held its initial public offering (IPO).  The stock price was set $35 and began its seemingly endless drop to half of its initial value.  This prompted Facebook users to say, "OMG, LOL, Truth is..., and TTYL."

The Tokyo Skytree opened to the public as the world's tallest free-standing structure, surpassing Donald Trump's hairpeace by 3 feet.

In France, incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy lost to Socialist challenger Francios Hollande.  Some saw Sarkozy's defeat as a push to move France out of the Eurozone and toward austerity.  Sarkozy was totally cool with it because he's still married to Carla Bruni, a totally hot model who has frequently posed nude.  Sarkozy was heard mumbling, "Le sucer, monsier Hollande!"

June
The NBA Championship was held in June with a team from Florida defeating a team from Oklahoma.  Wait, did I write that correctly?

In the other insignificant sports news, the Los Angeles Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils in the NHL Stanley Cup Championship.  Devils' right-winger Steve Bernier said they would have had a better chance if goalie Martin Brodeur wasn't having sex with his sister-in-law.  But then again, he was having sex with his sister-in-law.

Returning to Abraham Lincoln, the movie Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter was released to theaters.  Millions of poorly educated Americans are thrilled to learn that the 85th President of the United States was not only the first Republican elected to President to hate African-Americans despite releasing them from slavery, but he also helped win the Civil War by defeating the true divider of our country - vampires.

One of the significant deaths in June was that of Rodney King of the L.A. riots fame in 1991/1992.  Los Angeles police were videotaped brutally beating King after not complying with their orders.  King had alcohol and drugs in his system (shocking).  The officers were tried and when they were exonerated (shocking), residents of Los Angeles retaliated by destroying their city, killing 53 people, injuring 2,383 people, setting 7,000 fires, and destroying $1 billion in property.  There's no revenge like destroying your neighborhood.  Oh, and Rodney King drowned with high levels of alcohol and cocaine in his blood (shocking).

July
London hosted its 3rd summer Olympics games after winning the honor from the Olympic mafia.  Highlights included Oscar Pistorius of South Africa running in the men's 400m with two prosthetic legs, 32 new world records, and Simon Cowell signing up the Danish fencing team as the latest singing sensation.

America lost another beloved film star with the death of Andy Griffith.  He's most noted for The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock.  He'll always be known to me as the crazy guy in the movie A Face in the Crowd and the butt of every joke with my mother-in-law.  Whenever she asked about someone in Hollywood, my answer was, "I think Matlock shot her."

In July we lost one of my favorite actors of all time - Ernest Borgnine.  Born Ermes Effron Borgnino, he was known for the films Marty and From Here to Eternity, in television for McHale's navy, which I watched with my grandfather as a kid, and my favorite character of his, Mermaid Man, which I watch with my kids.

August
Gangnam Style continues to be one of the biggest pop songs of the year.  It is the first Korean pop song to break the American Top 40.  It is sung by Korean singer Park Jae-Sang, better known as PSY.  He has publicly stated that he hates Americans, but loves taking our money.

Speaking of hating America, President Obama made the news in August when he spoke about Syria, the Middle Eastern country who is at war with itself.  The military dictatorship has been murdering its civilians by the thousands in its efforts to retain power over the civilians.

Sesame Street puppeteer Jerry Nelson died in August.  Nelson was the voice of The Count.  Mr. Nelson died at the age of seventy, ah-ah-ah-ah, eight, ah-ah-ah-ah.

America also lost space pioneer Neil Armstrong.  Armstrong was the first man to step on the moon.  Without looking, who was the second person to step on the moon?  Yeah, I didn't think you knew.  It was Buzz Aldrin.

September
The Next Big Thing - Apple released the much anticipated iPhone 5, which was slightly larger than the iPhone 4 and only three generations of technology behind the Samsung Galaxy III.  Samsung then releases one of the best commercials of the year poking fun at the technology-latent phone, but fans grow tired as the commercial is played every 60 seconds for 2 months straight.

Later that same month, Apple decides to replace Google Maps with Apple Maps, an application far inferior to its predecessor.  The app is so bad because it only has about 1/10 of the roads, has no verbal direction-by-direction, and labels roads with red crayon.

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley made an appearance on the Tonight Show, though not as he would have planned.  He said on a Sunday that Americans are not better off today than they were 4 years ago, but then changed his tune.  Leno shows why....

October
During the Presidential debate, Mitt Romney spoke prophetically about fighting for the advancement of women in the workplace.  He so eloquently stated that he had binders full of women, and the Internet went wild.  The next day, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton became infuriated when Chris Matthews concluded that she was not in anyone's binder of women, not even her husband former President Bill Clinton, whose binders occupied the entire third floor of his presidential library in Arkansas.

The big space news of the year was Felix Baumgartner jumping from outer space from the Red Bull Stratos.  The 24 mile free fall lasted almost 5 minutes and allowed him to reach speeds of mach 1.24.  NASA's big news for the year was that it drove the Space Shuttle Endeavor through the streets of Los Angeles.  What is NASA's mission again???

In Major League Baseball, despite a payroll larger than the budget of the state of Virginia, the New York Yankees did not play the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.  Regardless of the fact that both parties are deceased, not making the World Series prompted Yankees owner George Steinbrenner to fire skipper Billy Martin.

October was a busy month, especially in politics.  Crazy Uncle Joe Biden speaking off the cuff endorses gay marriage, thus backing President Obama into a corner, forcing him to also back it, despite publicly stating that he was against gay marriage in 2008.

October was a month of celebrity and political deaths.  George McGovern died in October.  He was the Democrat's choice for President in 1972, losing by a landslide, proving that he was the Democrats' version of John McCain.

Also passing away in October was Dutch actress Syvia Kristel.  Most guys will remember her without clothes as the character Emmanuelle.  I know you're looking through Netflix now seeing if you can queue up that movie.

In Pennsylvania, turncoat Senator Arlen Specter lost his battle with cancer.  Specter was not tied down to any political spectrum.  He supported gay rights, gun rights, immigration amnesty, but was against Obamacare before he favored Obamacare.

November
CIA Director and former Gulf War II General David Patreaus was exposed as having an affair with his biographer, 40 year old Paula Broadwell.  And the jokes spoke for themselves.  General Patreaus fired his missile at a willing target.  What does General Patreaus do after a long day of leading ground forces in Iraq?  He grabs a Busch and heads for the mountains.  And on and on...

Later in November, President Obama defeated challenger Governor Mitt Romney.  The candidates spent a collective $2 billion running for President, a job that pays about $400,000 per year.  If Congress fails to prevent the country from falling over the fiscal cliff, Romney may actually claim to have gotten the better deal.

Speaking of the fiscal cliff, 85% of Americans were asked if they understood what the fiscal cliff was and 67% said they didn't understand.  42% said they didn't understand statistics at all, but 100% of them agreed that Congress is full of idiots.

Speaking of Congress and the fiscal cliff, the American public demanded that some compromise be made to avoid the massive federal cuts that will occur if no deal is made.  Americans understand that for a compromise, spending needs to be cut and more revenue needs to be generated.  Democrat leader Harry Reid said that spending cuts are off the table and Republican John Boehner said tax hikes are off the table.  So apparently there is nothing on the table.  Fiscal cliff - here we come.

Snack cakes maker Hostess announced that it is closing its doors after 82 years of business.  Liberals are overjoyed that capitalism has failed and this company that perpetuates obesity is going out of business.  Republicans and Libertarians scoff at the liberals for not understanding capitalism, and point out that the company closed after union workers failed to agree to a new contract to help reduce costs.  15,000 Obama supporters suddenly found themselves joining the ranks of the unemployed.

Larry Hagman, star villain J.R. Ewing from the nighttime soap opera Dallas, passed away on November 23rd.  He died of complications of being a millionaire oil baron.

December

ESPN suspended color analyst Rob Parker for his seemingly racist and bigoted comments about Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, affectionately known as RG3.  Per an article about the situation, Parker said on ESPN2's First Take "Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother? ... He's not real. OK, he's black, he kind of does the thing, but he's not really down with the cause. He's not one of us. He's kind of black, but he's not really, like, the guy you want to hang out with because he's off to something else."   Imagine if the white guy would have said that.  He'd never have another job for the rest of his life.  Hopefully RPJerk's suspension is infinitesimal.

Catherine, Dutchess of Cambridge, who's more affectionately known as Kate Middleton, announces to the world that she's pregnant, though the paparazzi has been making this announcement since the day she got married.  British tabloids hail the royal fetus, who may one day be King or Queen, if they could just quickly get through with Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, and Prince William, the royal fetus' predecessors.

The Mayans failed to prove themselves to be oracles when the world didn't end before Christmas.  Cheapskates damned the Mayans and hit the malls late this year to make their Christmas purchases.

And this is my year in review.  What was your favorite event for 2012?

Happy Funny Christmas!

My daughter had a chemo appointment at the hematology clinic the day after Christmas.  Unfortunately, for those of you who understand, she didn't make counts, so she was unable to get the chemo, so we had to reschedule.  Fortunately, they did give her this Christmas gift which is absolutely hysterical and perfect off-political fodder for a blog post.

We all know that EVERYTHING is made in China now.  I'm fairly certain that there are zero manufacturing jobs left in the United States.  Wal-Mart made sure of that.  Sometimes, however, the Chinese to English dictionary is not handy, so the person in advertising with the best English skills is left designing the box.  So check this out.

My daughter picked out "The Happy Kitchen".  What makes it happy?  I guess it's all the pink.


Even better...."Happy randomly my food world."  That doesn't even make any sense.  I get 'happy kitchen'.  I have no idea what happy randomly means.  The statement lacks a verb.  "Just throw some randomly words on the box, Joe."






Tuesday, December 25, 2012

N.R.A - Put Armed Officers in Schools; We Already Are!

The media seemed outraged when the vice president of the N.R.A., Wayne LePierre, called for armed guards at our schools.  He claims that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

"Nobody should have a gun!" is the rallying cry in response to the shootings in Connecticut.  The reality is that there are over 300 million guns in the United States, the vast majority owned by law abiding citizens, though that number may be disproportionately skewed in Baltimore City.  Skewed in favor of the bad guys, that is.

Speaking of Baltimore City, the idea of having armed guards in schools is not a new idea.  In fact, it's an idea that's already in place.  Baltimore City has had armed officers in city schools for decades.  And Baltimore isn't the only city.  Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, and St. Louis all have armed officers in schools.  Why do these school districts have armed guards?  To protect the students, of course!!!

Notice that Stephanie Rawlings-Blake did not criticize the N.R.A. in the wake of their response on her Twitter page.  Even our fearless governor did not speak out against the idea on his Twitter page, as he was the mayor of the Baltimore and there were armed guards in schools then.

It'll be interesting to see what O'Malley says about gun control when he runs for President and we all point that out.  He'll have to spin it someway else.  "The evil killers at the N.R.A. made me put armed guards in schools!"

Remember, the only way to stop a bad politician with an idea is a good politician with an ideal.

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all had a great Christmas.  I read the best saying of the day from Casey Cares - It's not what's under the Christmas tree that counts.  It's who's around the Christmas tree.  Wonderful words for our terribly materialistic world.




Friday, December 21, 2012

What is Purpose of Liberty Road Expansion at Ward's Chapel?

Part 3 of my trilogy on road issues impacting my commute to work is the widening of Liberty Road prior to and past Ward's Chapel Road.

If you've been this way, the actual road work didn't take that long.  However, the barrels preventing commuters from using the new lane have been blocking this new section for a couple of months now.  Aside from our inability to use this new section of road, what purpose does it serve?


The road widens from one lane to 2 lanes in the eastbound direction about 100 yards from the light at Ward's Chapel Road.  It passes Ward's Chapel United Methodist Church then Powell's Run Road, then merges back into one lane again.  The entire section of widened road cannot be more than a quarter mile long.  This will do nothing to enhance the commute.  In fact, the only change will be increased road rage as jackasses will try to pass slower cars in the right lane only to jockey for position back in front of them.  You know how this turns out.  The slow car then speeds up and the passing car is no longer able to merge.  Then there is honking and cussing, a little bit of fist shaking and a few middle fingers, and eventually someone runs off of the road or goes over an embankment.  Happens every time.

Additionally, this widening only benefits cars going east. The westbound section of Liberty Road is still a single lane from Randallstown to Eldersburg.

In conclusion, I would appreciate someone from Maryland State Highway commenting on this post to inform us of the reason that this section of roadway was widened.  Melinda Peters, is this you?


Senator Cardin Gets Beat-Down From Maria Bartaromo

This is pretty darn funny.  She definitely loses her cool, but Senator Cardin is talking in circles, just like all of the members of Congress.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Did Kamenetz Forget to Finish Lyons Mill Road?

I'm sticking to the commute problem theme today.  There have been a lot of changes to Lyons Mill Road in Owings Mills over the past year or so.  Unfortunately, however, it seems if Baltimore County has chosen to not complete the project at the peril of community.

Portions of the road from the intersection Marriottsville Road to Owings Mills Boulevard were widened so that you can go 100 mph.  Actually, the speed limit is 30 mph, but the road width is wide enough for five lanes.  Why would you build a two lane road that is wide enough for five lanes of traffic?  It is better than a written invitation to go as fast as you want.  Or to pass on the shoulder (it happens ALL the time).

Additionally, the road was never properly striped.  There are temporary single dashes through the "improved" section of the road rather than the double yellow stripes that you would expect.  People are stupid. Without the double yellow, la idiotas are going to pass people.  I actually got passed on the shoulder by one of the Baltimore Ravens.  The tricked-out Land Rover LR4 had Michigan plates and was headed to the Castle, but to the best of my knowledge, none of the Ravens are from Michigan.

So, County Executive Kamentz, I invite you to come see this road.  I request that you finish striping it.  Thank you.  That is all.

Kevin Kamenetz - Fix This Road!

Anyone who travels from Southern Carroll County to Owings Mills everyday knows that the intersection of Lyons Mill Road and Deer Park Road is one of the worst intersections in the county.  I don't mean that it is dangerous.  I mean that the road surface is terribly.....wrinkled?  I don't even know what the correct term is.

If you've ever driven over it, you'll agree that it is like driving over several long mounds.  Is this road even paved?  My SUV tumbles over it like a row of logs.  The problem is most pronounced in the eastbound direction.

To avoid this terrible surface, cars have started driving around it like this:


What caused this damage?  Since the Ravens' facility is to the left down Deer Park Road, I suspect the road was damaged when the defense returned to the facility while dragging its knuckles.  Whatever the reason, Kevin, YOU need to fix this road!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Carroll County Public School's Follow-Up

Yesterday I talked about the email that we received from Carroll County Public Schools discussing the ways that they are protecting our children.  I received a lot of feedback from friends a coworkers all stating about the same thing.  It was nonsense.  If I crazed lunatic is going to come into the school and commit an horrific act of violence, there are no rules or policies that are going to stop him (or her).

Late on Tuesday, we received a follow-up email from Carroll County Public Schools Superintendent Steve Guthrie that was not only honest, but very courageous.  It is not often that you get such sincerity from a bureaucratic.  I hope the Carroll County Public Schools office doesn't mind, but I'm going to repost his email.

In summary, Guthrie admitted just what we have been saying.  Short of a fortress, there is not much more that they can do to protect our children from violence such as the terrible shootings that occurred in Connecticut.  We can take measures to be cautious, but we cannot live in total fear.

Love your children.  Teach them to talk to teachers and to not be afraid to stand up for what they think is right.  Teach them to love one another.  Teach them not to hate.  But don't raise your children behind brick walls.

Dear Parents,

Thank you for the many emails and telephone calls I received since we first learned of the tragic events that took place last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  We all grieve with the families of the victims while at the same time wondering if our own children are safe while they are in school.       

Many of you offered suggestions for improving the security of schools while acknowledging its difficulty.  Schools are intentionally designed to be open and welcoming to the public as are our policies and school procedures.  Without major renovation our buildings cannot be transformed into fortress-like structures that will keep our children safe from those whose sole intent is to do them harm.  The reality is that no matter what we put into place, I cannot guarantee the safety of any child in school from a Sandy Hook Elementary type event. However, there are some things we can do to tighten up security at our schools.  

After meetings with staff and local law enforcement and conferring with principals, we will launch the following initiatives as soon as possible. Some of these items will require an additional allocation of funds from the County Commissioners.

Install a controlled, buzzer/camera entrance at each school where needed. 

Lock all other exterior doors – allow only key card access at selected doors.

Continue to conduct lock-down drills at each school for students and staff.

Provide "active shooter" training to school-based administration and staff.

Ask each principal to review school security procedures on a regular basis at staff meetings.

Consistently enforce the requirement for each school contracted employee to display their identification badge while on duty.

Require each school to issue badges for temporary employees that are date specific.

Develop a community communication protocol for principals to use when a threat is made to an individual school.

Enter into communications with local law enforcement agencies to facilitate an "Adopt a School" program that will increase a police presence at our schools.

Continue to encourage students to inform a school staff member or parent if they are aware of threats to the school or individual students.

Additionally, I wanted to make you aware that we have installed surveillance cameras at most of our  schools in both interior and exterior locations that can be viewed 24 hours per day on or off site by both school and central office personnel.  In addition, the camera system is configured to be compatible with local police departments so that, with permission, they can access each school's camera network.  By the end of the year we will have surveillance cameras installed in all schools.  Cameras are also installed on most of our school buses.  However, cameras alone will not protect our students. Should the need arise, they will allow for a more efficient and effective communication with law enforcement.  

As I stated previously, we have an excellent relationship with our various law enforcement agencies who provide us excellent service on both a routine and an emergency basis.  

Other suggestions I received include installing metal detectors at entrances, installing steel doors at school entrances, requiring visitors to provide driver's licenses to school staff while in the building, performing criminal background checks on school visitors – including parents, prohibiting classroom access to visitors – including parents, and employing school resource officers at each school.  These suggestions may have merit, but will require more analysis and funding than is possible in a short time frame.    

Thank you again for all of your suggestions and input.  I hope that you all are able to take time to rest over the upcoming holiday season and we all look forward to the filling the blank pages of a new year with good things.

Steve Guthrie 
Superintendent of Schools

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Carroll County Public School's Response to CT Shooting

In the wake of the tragedy in Connecticut, the knee-jerk reaction from the liberal crowd is to ban all guns.  Let's ignore the fact that we have severely inadequate mental health services system that routinely ignores pleas for help.  And we regularly fail with early detection of mentally unstable and violent people in our society.  And sadly, we stigmatize people that have sought mental health.  "That guy's a nut!".  This further perpetuating the problem of others not seeking mental health services for fear of said stigma.  Let's ignore the fact that we routinely release violent people from our prisons into the general population of law-abiding citizens.  Let's punish the people that didn't do anything wrong and take away their guns.

I don't want this to be a discussion on gun control.  Instead, I want to focus on the response from the Carroll County Board of Education to the parents of students.  We all received an email from their AlertNow system detailing the current safety measures that are in place to alleviate our fears of such a horrific act of violence being committed in one of our schools.


1) All schools have emergency plans, train staff and hold regular safety drills.
          I'll ignore the grammatical comma error committed by someone in our education system.  Emergency plans are good.  Safety drills are good.  However, it was the quick thinking and courageous acts of the teachers that saved the lives of many of the students.  I seriously doubt they were trained on how to react in this situation.  Are schools practicing regular drills on responding to a crazed gunman in the building with a semi-automatic weapon?

2) Schools have excellent relationships with local law enforcement and other agencies, and CCPS is constantly evaluating and updating our security procedures.
          It is good to have an excellent relationship with schools.  Are we confident that such a good relationship will allow the police to respond quickly enough to avert the tragedy?  Would having a poor relationship with police prohibit their ability to respond in a timely manner?  Did the school in Connecticut not have a good relationship with local law enforcement?  I don't think that the relationship with law enforcement has anything to do with safety.  Law enforcement responds to crimes.  They rarely prevent them or stop them in action.

3) We continuously monitor the main entrance to our schools and require visitors to sign in with the main office upon their arrival.
         Seriously, the only part of this that is a safety measure is to monitor the doors.  Those damn doors better be locked.  Requiring people to sign in and get a visitor's pass will not prevent a deranged lunatic from shooting up the school.  Lock the doors.  Require visitors to state their business. Confirm the visit.  Empty your pockets.  THEN let them in. The End.

4) All Employees wear ID badges, and our maintenance workers wear uniforms.
          ID badges don't stop crime.  Neither do uniforms.  Anyone who's ever seen Ocean's Eleven knows that anyone can get a uniform and pose as someone else.  This is not an effective safety measure.  In my opinion, the visitor's book is effective when there is a fire and they can use that to confirm that all visitors are accounted for once the school has been evacuated.  Safety measure?  No. 

I appreciate Carroll County Public Schools' efforts to put together a list of items about school safety.  A list always makes people feel safer.  "Look honey, our kids will be safe.  Here is a list that tells me so."  But let's be honest, unless there is a physical barrier to prevent the gunman from entering the school, this list is useless.  If the email had just said, "We lock the doors to all schools so no one can get in.", then I would have been happy.

What do you think schools should do to be safe?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Franchot Drops Out of Race and Kamenetz Did What?

 The following comments about the candidates for governor are meant as humor.  To the best of my knowledge, none of the candidates actually said or experienced anything of the following.  Though I have been known to be wrong.

This week Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot made the disappointing announcement that he is not going to run for Governor when Martin "President Wanna-be" O'Malley's term ends in 2014.  Franchot was the only potential candidate to remind O'Malley that he's not a god and many (read all) of his ideas are terrible.  Doug Gansler, Tony Brown, and Ken Ulman didn't hear the announcement because they were all so far up O'Malley's ass.

Ken Ulman will claim that he is the best man for the job as he's the only candidate that's actually built an interociter.  He'll also claim that he's qualified because he went to Centennial High School, a widely diversified high school (88% white or Asian).  He will run on the platform that we need more fences around railroad track to protect the hard working people of Maryland.  Unfortunately for him, his clothes are made of a material that allows us to see right through him.

Doug Gansler, on the other hand, has been busy rubber-stamping O'Malley's prerogatives for the past 6 years. He does hold Martin O'Malley's father-in-law's old position, but I'm not sure that gives him any leverage in the next election.  But let's be honest, Doug Gansler is about as exciting as the Baltimore defense against Peyton Manning.  Can he really drum up support talking about all of the great rulings he's made about tort law as it impacts the state?  Has any Governor come from the Attorney General position?  I don't know the answer.

Tony Brown, otherwise known as The Shadow, has an early endorsement by his boss.  If you've ever watched an O'Malley press-conference, you'll know that as soon as O'Malley starts rolling up his sleeves (he does it all the time), the Shadow follows suit.  He always agrees with our Governor, regardless of the issue, just like a good Lieutenant Governor should.  If Martin O'Malley has an opinion, Tony Brown agrees with it.  Is Tony Brown capable of forming his own opinions?  At this point, there is no evidence to suggest that he is.  There are rumors that Lt. Gov Brown was heard in the kitchen of the Governor's mansion singing, "Chop-chop, chop the squid, disappoint my father."


Kevin Kamenetz, though not officially a candidate, is surely a candidate for future gubernatorial elections.  However, in spite of his incredibly bad hair cut, his reputation was scarred this past week when he practiced his French and said he surrendered.  Kevin Kamenetz gave up on saving thousands of jobs at Sparrows Point.  What he said in concert with our French surrendering Governor was that it was time to move on. What we heard was that we're tired of fighting for good-paying union jobs in Baltimore County because we can get enough votes in the elections to win without you.

No word on potential Republican candidates at this time.  Who do you want to run for Governor in 2014?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

2012 - A Year In Review

The year 2012 is the final year of our existence here on Earth.  The Mayans predicted our demise in December, but failed to let us know in which time zone the end will occur.  For non-believers, we recognize 2012 as the year of election in the United States for a new President.  After all, no President has ever won a second term with unemployment higher than when he was sworn in.

2012 recorded many deaths of popular film, sports, and political figures.  There were many tragedies that afflicted the United States, from Superstorm Sandy's destruction in New Jersey to the shootings in the elementary school in Connecticut.  The Republican Party imploded and Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley had to be reminded several times that he was not the President, but still Governor.

I don't remember everything that happened in 2012, but here are the things that I do recall:

January
In January, the Italians, who are well known for cap-sizing ships, capsized the Costa Concordia, a Mediterranean cruise ship, resulting in the loss of 33 lives.  The captain, Francesco Schettino, reinforced the image of reckless Italians when he abandoned ship and fled to shore rather than trying to save the passengers.  After a careful investigation, Mitt Romney was blamed for steering the ship astray.

The Labor Department announced that the United States added 200,000 new jobs in December.  Obama took credit for the new jobs, but refused to accept responsibility for the corresponding 8.5% unemployment.  He said the lingering unemployment rate can clearly be attributed to George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Abraham Lincoln.

January saw the end of an era in Happy Valley with the death of Penn State coach Joe Paterno.  He ascends to the big bowl game in the sky with 2 national championships, 1 Big 10 Championship, 5 Coach of the Year awards, 298 wins, 18 bowl championships, and 1 hell of a sex scandal mess left behind for everyone to figure out.  Coach Paterno was 85.

February
In football, Kelly Clarkson and the New York Giants defeated Tom Brady and the New England Patriots (again) to claim the Vince Lombardi trophy.  When Tom Brady was asked what happened, he pointed to changing to a different shampoo and conditioner.

Legendary singer Whitney Houston was found dead in a bathtub in the Beverly Hills Hilton.  Four people were shocked to learn that the celebrated and abused singer died from drowning with a cocktail of drugs in her system.

The Greek government's debt crisis continues to hurt the Greek economy. The situation only grew worse in February when Citibank and Parker Brothers coordinated efforts and suspended the government's credit cards and replaced them with Get Out Of Jail Free cards.

March
America continues to have its culture defined through the television media, a culture that celebrates violence, profanity, teenage pregnancies, and Amish Outlaws.  Just when we thought that our intellectual atrophy couldn't get any worse, along came Honey Boo-Boo.

The iconic Encyclopedia Britannica discontinued the print version and replaced it with an online blog run by a former Dungeons & Dragons champion.

In Russia, Vladimir Putin wins his third term as President.  Thousands protest his election, but Russian news agencies report that there is no news to report today, especially in Moscow.

April
In college basketball, March Madness finished with Kentucky beating Kansas.  No one really cared about the outcome of the game.  But the month of April was quoted as saying, "What the hell?".

Long time beloved host and namesake of Dick Clark's New Year's Rocking Eve, and other shows such as The Pyramid, and American Bandstand, Dick Clark passed away.  He was 127 years old.

In North Korea, lunatic successor to King Jong-Il, Kim Jong-un, attempts to launch a missile into space, much to the objection of the United Nations Security Council.  Fortunately, the missile was made of 3 feet of white PVC pipe and the potato exploded before the scientists were able to fill the tube with butane.  The designers of the missile, several members of Sigma Nu fraternity, were held hostage for several days before being released for a food exchange.

May
Facebook made headlines when it held its initial public offering (IPO).  The stock price was set $35 and began its seemingly endless drop to half of its initial value.  This prompted Facebook users to say, "OMG, LOL, Truth is..., and TTYL."

The Tokyo Skytree opened to the public as the world's tallest free-standing structure, surpassing Donald Trump's hairpeace by 3 feet.

In France, incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy lost to Socialist challenger Francios Hollande.  Some saw Sarkozy's defeat as a push to move France out of the Eurozone and toward austerity.  Sarkozy was totally cool with it because he's still married to Carla Bruni, a totally hot model who has frequently posed nude.  Sarkozy was heard mumbling, "Le sucer, monsier Hollande!"

June
The NBA Championship was held in June with a team from Florida defeating a team from Oklahoma.  Wait, did I write that correctly?

In the other insignificant sports news, the Los Angeles Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils in the NHL Stanley Cup Championship.  Devils' right-winger Steve Bernier said they would have had a better chance if goalie Martin Brodeur wasn't having sex with his sister-in-law.  But then again, he was having sex with his sister-in-law.

Returning to Abraham Lincoln, the movie Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter was released to theaters.  Millions of poorly educated Americans are thrilled to learn that the 85th President of the United States was not only the first Republican elected to President to hate African-Americans despite releasing them from slavery, but he also helped win the Civil War by defeating the true divider of our country - vampires.

One of the significant deaths in June was that of Rodney King of the L.A. riots fame in 1991/1992.  Los Angeles police were videotaped brutally beating King after not complying with their orders.  King had alcohol and drugs in his system (shocking).  The officers were tried and when they were exonerated (shocking), residents of Los Angeles retaliated by destroying their city, killing 53 people, injuring 2,383 people, setting 7,000 fires, and destroying $1 billion in property.  There's no revenge like destroying your neighborhood.  Oh, and Rodney King drowned with high levels of alcohol and cocaine in his blood (shocking).

July
London hosted its 3rd summer Olympics games after winning the honor from the Olympic mafia.  Highlights included Oscar Pistorius of South Africa running in the men's 400m with two prosthetic legs, 32 new world records, and Simon Cowell signing up the Danish fencing team as the latest singing sensation.

America lost another beloved film star with the death of Andy Griffith.  He's most noted for The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock.  He'll always be known to me as the crazy guy in the movie A Face in the Crowd and the butt of every joke with my mother-in-law.  Whenever she asked about someone in Hollywood, my answer was, "I think Matlock shot her."

In July we lost one of my favorite actors of all time - Ernest Borgnine.  Born Ermes Effron Borgnino, he was known for the films Marty and From Here to Eternity, in television for McHale's navy, which I watched with my grandfather as a kid, and my favorite character of his, Mermaid Man, which I watch with my kids.

August
Gangnam Style continues to be one of the biggest pop songs of the year.  It is the first Korean pop song to break the American Top 40.  It is sung by Korean singer Park Jae-Sang, better known as PSY.  He has publicly stated that he hates Americans, but loves taking our money.

Speaking of hating America, President Obama made the news in August when he spoke about Syria, the Middle Eastern country who is at war with itself.  The military dictatorship has been murdering its civilians by the thousands in its efforts to retain power over the civilians.

Sesame Street puppeteer Jerry Nelson died in August.  Nelson was the voice of The Count.  Mr. Nelson died at the age of seventy, ah-ah-ah-ah, eight, ah-ah-ah-ah.

America also lost space pioneer Neil Armstrong.  Armstrong was the first man to step on the moon.  Without looking, who was the second person to step on the moon?  Yeah, I didn't think you knew.  It was Buzz Aldrin.

September
The Next Big Thing - Apple released the much anticipated iPhone 5, which was slightly larger than the iPhone 4 and only three generations of technology behind the Samsung Galaxy III.  Samsung then releases one of the best commercials of the year poking fun at the technology-latent phone, but fans grow tired as the commercial is played every 60 seconds for 2 months straight.

Later that same month, Apple decides to replace Google Maps with Apple Maps, an application far inferior to its predecessor.  The app is so bad because it only has about 1/10 of the roads, has no verbal direction-by-direction, and labels roads with red crayon.

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley made an appearance on the Tonight Show, though not as he would have planned.  He said on a Sunday that Americans are not better off today than they were 4 years ago, but then changed his tune.  Leno shows why....

October
During the Presidential debate, Mitt Romney spoke prophetically about fighting for the advancement of women in the workplace.  He so eloquently stated that he had binders full of women, and the Internet went wild.  The next day, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton became infuriated when Chris Matthews concluded that she was not in anyone's binder of women, not even her husband former President Bill Clinton, whose binders occupied the entire third floor of his presidential library in Arkansas.

The big space news of the year was Felix Baumgartner jumping from outer space from the Red Bull Stratos.  The 24 mile free fall lasted almost 5 minutes and allowed him to reach speeds of mach 1.24.  NASA's big news for the year was that it drove the Space Shuttle Endeavor through the streets of Los Angeles.  What is NASA's mission again???

In Major League Baseball, despite a payroll larger than the budget of the state of Virginia, the New York Yankees did not play the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.  Regardless of the fact that both parties are deceased, not making the World Series prompted Yankees owner George Steinbrenner to fire skipper Billy Martin.

October was a busy month, especially in politics.  Crazy Uncle Joe Biden speaking off the cuff endorses gay marriage, thus backing President Obama into a corner, forcing him to also back it, despite publicly stating that he was against gay marriage in 2008.

October was a month of celebrity and political deaths.  George McGovern died in October.  He was the Democrat's choice for President in 1972, losing by a landslide, proving that he was the Democrats' version of John McCain.

Also passing away in October was Dutch actress Syvia Kristel.  Most guys will remember her without clothes as the character Emmanuelle.  I know you're looking through Netflix now seeing if you can queue up that movie.

In Pennsylvania, turncoat Senator Arlen Specter lost his battle with cancer.  Specter was not tied down to any political spectrum.  He supported gay rights, gun rights, immigration amnesty, but was against Obamacare before he favored Obamacare.

November
CIA Director and former Gulf War II General David Patreaus was exposed as having an affair with his biographer, 40 year old Paula Broadwell.  And the jokes spoke for themselves.  General Patreaus fired his missile at a willing target.  What does General Patreaus do after a long day of leading ground forces in Iraq?  He grabs a Busch and heads for the mountains.  And on and on...

Later in November, President Obama defeated challenger Governor Mitt Romney.  The candidates spent a collective $2 billion running for President, a job that pays about $400,000 per year.  If Congress fails to prevent the country from falling over the fiscal cliff, Romney may actually claim to have gotten the better deal.

Speaking of the fiscal cliff, 85% of Americans were asked if they understood what the fiscal cliff was and 67% said they didn't understand.  42% said they didn't understand statistics at all, but 100% of them agreed that Congress is full of idiots.

Speaking of Congress and the fiscal cliff, the American public demanded that some compromise be made to avoid the massive federal cuts that will occur if no deal is made.  Americans understand that for a compromise, spending needs to be cut and more revenue needs to be generated.  Democrat leader Harry Reid said that spending cuts are off the table and Republican John Boehner said tax hikes are off the table.  So apparently there is nothing on the table.  Fiscal cliff - here we come.

Snack cakes maker Hostess announced that it is closing its doors after 82 years of business.  Liberals are overjoyed that capitalism has failed and this company that perpetuates obesity is going out of business.  Republicans and Libertarians scoff at the liberals for not understanding capitalism, and point out that the company closed after union workers failed to agree to a new contract to help reduce costs.  15,000 Obama supporters suddenly found themselves joining the ranks of the unemployed.

Larry Hagman, star villain J.R. Ewing from the nighttime soap opera Dallas, passed away on November 23rd.  He died of complications of being a millionaire oil baron.

December

ESPN suspended color analyst Rob Parker for his seemingly racist and bigoted comments about Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, affectionately known as RG3.  Per an article about the situation, Parker said on ESPN2's First Take "Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother? ... He's not real. OK, he's black, he kind of does the thing, but he's not really down with the cause. He's not one of us. He's kind of black, but he's not really, like, the guy you want to hang out with because he's off to something else."   Imagine if the white guy would have said that.  He'd never have another job for the rest of his life.  Hopefully RPJerk's suspension is infinitesimal.

Catherine, Dutchess of Cambridge, who's more affectionately known as Kate Middleton, announces to the world that she's pregnant, though the paparazzi has been making this announcement since the day she got married.  British tabloids hail the royal fetus, who may one day be King or Queen, if they could just quickly get through with Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, and Prince William, the royal fetus' predecessors.

The Mayans failed to prove themselves to be oracles when the world didn't end before Christmas.  Cheapskates damned the Mayans and hit the malls late this year to make their Christmas purchases.

And this is my year in review.  What was your favorite event for 2012?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Black Oak Major Announcement - New Anchor Tenant at Carrolltown Mall!

We've been waiting months for Black Oak Associates to make their major announcement about the fate of the dilapidated Carrolltown Center Mall.  In August, Black Oak Associates announced that it would be making an official announcement within 60 days.  In Black Oak time, that's 7-10 years.

But wait no more!  A new major anchor tenant has moved in.  The former Peebles is now occupied by a nondescript unnamed retailer of video games, pinballs, jukeboxes, pool tables, air hockey, and more!!!

The store hours are Friday and Saturday 10-8pm and Sunday 11-6.  With such short hours, your time is limited.  Don't wait.  Act now.  Supplies are limited.


Sykesville Tae Kwon Do Academy - WTF?

I happened to find this by accident.  I was going through some of my old pictures and naming them so that I could find them later when I came across this picture of Sykesville Tae Kwon Do Academy.  What's that in the name? Does that say WTF?  Doesn't WTF mean 'What the F**k'?  Does it mean something else in the karate world?

Here's the original:



Here's a zoom of the picture:


Friday, December 07, 2012

Eldersburg Vagabond - Liberty Tax

Seemingly always on the run, Liberty Tax Services of Eldersburg has moved from Country Village Shopping Center, formerly next to Mo's in the old Liberty Cycle store, to Peddler's Square in the former Verizon store.


This new store front does not seem to be a permanent location as the signs appear to be as temporary as a Kansas Chiefs winning streak.

But if you're a tax accountant and looking for a job, they are hiring!


Carrolltown Liquors Expanding?

The Epic Pharmacy in Carroll Station closed a month or two ago.  It didn't take long for the sign to come down and the Carrolltown Liquors advertisements to get plastered all over the windows.

I stopped in today to ask if they were thinking about expanding into that space.  And to buy some Amaretto.   I was told that they are "thinking" about expanding. I'm sure the owner of Carroll Station, M&I Properties, LLC, is eager to rent the space as they now have 2 units that are not collecting rent.  Remember the Athletic House?  That's been empty for almost 2 years.  And I bet the owner of Carrolltown Liquors is aware of this and is using the owner's unfortunate situation as a bargaining chip.  Why not use it to their advantage?


Tuesday, December 04, 2012

VoteNoMalley Passes 100,000 Hits!!!

In less than three months my blog hits clocked more than 10,000 hits to reach that seemingly impenetrable 100,000 mark.  Hootie-hoo!

I must be writing better articles.  Better posts.  More infuriating and controversial posts.  Everyone knows that if you throw enough shit at a wall, something will stick, and this strategy seems to be working.  Plus I've been cross-posting on my Twitter page, which, surprisingly, is @votenomalley.  Follow me on Twitter, as they say.

Maybe I'll pass the next 10,000 mark in less than 3 months.  But I suspect that means I need to post more often, which is difficult to do.  I don't really have THAT much to say.

But yay, me.

2012 Aberdeen Christmas Parade - and Nearly a Fight

We got another cancer perk this weekend.  My daughter was invited to be a dignitary at the Aberdeen Christmas Parade in Aberdeen, Maryland.  As opposed to Aberdeen, Scotland or Aberdeen, South Dakota, of course.

I'm not a huge fan of the parade, except the hot rod cars and the firetrucks.  Otherwise you're just sitting around waiting and waiting for the non-fluid movement of sponsors and high school bands as they scamper by playing out-of-tune music.  But we support our schools and their extra-curricular activities.

This parade was no different.  We got there an hour early and camped out a spot right on the curb for a great view.  It was a nice day, so the wait wasn't too bad.  Here's our view down Bel Air Avenue in beautiful downtown Aberdeen.



Finally the parade started and the other dignitaries arrived by convertibles provided by the local car dealers, such as Adams Chevrolet.  Here's Vi Ripken, the mother of Hall of Fame baseball player Cal Ripken.  The Ripken family is from Aberdeen.


The parade was as expected.......until a local family decided that the best we to get a better look was to stand IN FRONT OF ME.  At first it wasn't TOO bad.  I could see between their fat asses.


Then more family members joined them, and they scooted more toward me.


And finally, they said, "Ah, F**K it, stand if front of him."


I finally politely asked if they could step back to the curb so that my family could see the parade.  They turned around, looked at me, gave me the stare of death, then backed up.  The matriarch of the gang then began to mumble quite coherently, "Who does that mutha-f**ker think he is?  Everybody else is standing in the damn street.  He just want to take his damn pictures."  More profanity continued and she went from one person to another looking for a sympathetic ear.  My wife feared for her life and for the lives of her children.  With plenty of military personel and police around, I wasn't bothered.  What are they going to do, jack me up in front of the base commander of Aberdeen Proving Ground?

My children realized that there is a huge difference between Eldersburg, the origin of civility, and Aberdeen, the origin of fear and villainy.  I'm not sure if they will ever go back.

Fortunately, there were the firetrucks. I always love the older fire trucks.  Especially a 1946 Ford Howe.


The 1989 Grumman 102' Aerial Ladder seemed to be the big boss of the firetrucks on Sunday.



Believe it or not, this KME Kovatch is 16 years old.


This very similar pumper is a 1999 Saulsbury Spartan .


This other pumper is a 2009 Pierce Arrow XT.  


No fire department near a highway is complete without a heavy rescue unit.  This one is a 1993 Saulsbury Spartan.  Gotta save the lives of those people from New York and New Jersey when they flip their cars on I-95 going 100 mph swerving in and out of traffic while running cocaine up and down the eastern seaboard.

 

 And this one wins the award for the most interesting fire truck.  It's an Oshkish Striker 1500 ARFF from Aberdeen Proving Ground.  It has a center driver and was loud as cuss.


In Aberdeen, not only are the people ghetto, so are the police cars.


Despite my wife's fears and my polite demands we were able to leave without getting mugged, shot, harassed, or intimidated by the locals.  That's always a plus when you're in Aberdeen, Maryland!

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Bodymore, Murderland

And people like Martin O'Malley get mad and wonder why people make fun of our city.  Here are the top 5 stories on WBAL.com right now.

Mother Murders Her Child

Man Shot Several Times in Car

Man Shot in the Foot

Man Dies After Stabbing in Baltimore

Police Investigate Non-Fatal Stabbing in Baltimore

Why people would choose to visit this city on the weekend or at night in incomprehensible to me.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Coming to Eldersburg - Another Subway

News is that the nearly empty Liberty Exchange is going to get a Subway, meaning the sandwich shop, not a mugger mover into the city.  How many Subways has Eldersburg had?  There was the one in Carrolltowne Mall, the one in Wal-Mart, the one in the current location next to New Win Long.  Was there one in the Exxon station at one time?  Any others?

This is good news for the highly touted Liberty Exchange, which was built on the same site as the old miniature golf course and driving range that was left to delapidate.  That gets me to wondering - did Black Oak Associates own the miniature golf course and driving range at one time?  

The Liberty Exchange was built with great anticipation, but has been collecting dust ever since it opened.  They haven't even activated the traffic light in front of the entrance.

Here's a picture of the most cars I've ever seen in the parking lot.


Here is a list of all of the shops, stores, and restaurants currently in the Liberty Exchange.



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Emergency!

Today's non-political post is about the television show from the 1970's.  For those of you who are 40 or over, you probably remember this show.  If you were like me, you reenacted every episode in your alley with your Big Wheels and bicycles.  Hence, here is why I have my obsession with fire trucks.

Emergency! started in 1972 and followed the thrilling situations experienced by Station 51 in Los Angeles County, California.  Squad 51 was a Dodge D300 dualie driven by Roy DeSoto (Kevin Tighe) along with John Gage (Randolph Mantooth).  Engine 51 was filled by 2 different trucks, first a 1965 open cab Crown Coach, followed by a 1973 Ward Lefrance P80 Ambassador.  Engine 51 was supported by Captain Hank Stanley (Michael Norell), Mike Stoker, who is the driver, is played by Mike Stoker, Marco Lopez, who is played by Marco Lopez, and the comic Chett Kelley (Tim Donnelly).

What was interesting was that the first few episodes focused a lot on educating the public about paramedics. Apparently, prior to the paramedic program, fire trucks and police went to accident scenes and other emergencies, assessed the situation, then called for an ambulance driven by orderlies with no medical experience.  They then drove the victims to the hospital where they eventually received medical care.

As a result of the Wedworth-Townsend Paramedic Act, the new paramedic program was created and put trained medical technicians, though still firemen, in a vehicle that went to the scene.  They would assess the victims, take their vitals, then call to the hospital hotline (Rampart) and ask for instructions from a doctor.  Paramedics were not allowed to treat the victims beyond superficial injuries without doctor consent.  Doctors needed to prescribe the treatment over the biophone.  The ambulance would arrive, the orderlies would load up the victim, one of the paramedics would ride along and the other would follow behind to the hospital. However, Gage and DeSoto were constantly being berated by victims asking for a doctor and demanding that they leave them alone.


After watching some 130 episodes, I got to thinking.  There are no paramedic squads anymore, at least as far as I know.  What seems to have happened is that the orderlies were booted from the ambulances and the paramedics now drive them.  It's like one-stop shopping.  A logical streamlining of medical services.

Another observation that is interesting is that in the first few episodes, there was the old Cadillac wagon ambulance that is similar to a hearse.  It was followed by the pick-up truck ambulance, then finally the van ambulance.  It now seems that most ambulances (at least in this area) are the big International medium-duty ambulances.

The show actually stared Robert Fuller (Dr. Kelly Brackett), Robert Fuller's real-life best friend, but love interest in the show Dixie McCall (Julie London), and Julie London's real-life husband Bobby Troup, who played Dr. Joe Early.  Does that qualify as a love triangle?

Every episode had several victims that went to Rampart.  Gage and DeSoto always checked in to see how they were doing.  In today's hysteria-driven need for privacy, it's interesting to see doctors freely give people other people's medical information.  And the answer 99% of the time was, "He's going to be just fine."  There were only a few instances where the victim died.

Victims and their families\friends never seemed to be that hysterical when there was an emergency.  They always calmly asked if they were going to be okay.  "Gosh, I hope they're going to be okay.  I'm sorry, I should have called sooner."  Where were the people that we see today screaming incomprehensibly at the 9-1-1 operator?

If you've never seen this show, watch a few episodes.  You don't have to watch them in order.  There's not much of a trailing story-line, except for a seemingly developing sub-plot with a rivalry with paramedic Brice, but the show ended after Season 6 just as the rivalry was growing more interesting.

Emergency! was the second show that I watched from start to finish on Netflix, which was preceded by Arrested Development, which is an awesomely hysterical show if you've never seen it.

What was your favorite show from your childhood?
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