Sunday, January 27, 2013

January Fishing Report - Piney Run Park

I can't seem to convince my son that fishing in January is not very effective.  We've been to Jonas Green Park in Anne Arundel County.  No fish.  We've been to Loch Raven Reservoir in Baltimore County.  No fish.  Today we went to Piney Run Park in Carroll County.  The park is technically closed.  Not closed enough to walk around the barriers to entry.  No fish.

Much to my son's chagrin, the entire lake is frozen.  For giggles we cast our lines out onto the 300 acre ice cube.  The metal sinkers sounded like firing laser beams as they banged against the ice and slid farther than we've ever cast before.  We were able to poke a hole in a section close to the shore, but the water was only about 4 inches deep there.  It certainly was pretty.

Despite what we've learned in the past couple of weeks about fishing in January, I fully expect my son to ask if we can go fishing again next weekend.  Because it will be February.  And that's a new month.  And I'll probably take him.

Book Review - The Professor and the Madman

I didn't realize I hadn't written a blog post in over a week.  Again, been busy with other things.

So what have I been doing? Running.  Running like crazy.  I've run 76 miles so far in January.  And with lots of running comes lots of sleeping.  I find myself going to bed at 9pm a lot.  Which is before my kids go to bed.

Oh, and I've been reading a lot.  I'm already on my 3rd book this year.  I read Victory at Yorktown, The Campaign the Won the Revolution by Richard M. Ketchum.  If you're well read about the Revolutionary War, you probably won't learn too much. If you're peripherally interested in early American history, this is a good book to guide you through the southern campaign that effectively ended the war.  It's an easy read.

The second book that I read was this one, The Professor and the Madman, A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester.  This is a fascinating book that was recommended by a fraternity brother that is now a professor of writing at a university.

Obviously, this book is about the writing of the Oxford English Dictionary.  Snore, right?  Well, until you add in that one of the major contributors to the book was a lunatic in an insane asylum convicted of murder.  Say what?  This book is a really easy read and a good look at history at something other than a war or a celebrity, though there is some reference to the American Civil War, or the War of Northern Aggression as the Southerners call it.  I read this book in about a week and loved it.  I recommend it.

Friday, January 18, 2013

O'Malley Wants Maryland to Fail Basic Logic Test on Life

When Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley took office, in what seems like a hundred years ago, he stated that he was against the death penalty in Maryland.  Though the death penalty is totally legal in this state, he used the ruse of a "blue ribbon" commission to "study" the death penalty, and thus imposing a moratorium on executions.

Studying the impacts and effectiveness of executions is fine.  Temporarily suspending executions while the study is underway is fine, as well.  However, we are smart enough to know that there really hasn't been a commission studying the death penalty for 6 years.  He needed a reason to suspend the executions and he wants us to believe that he halted executions to study them.  False.

Now, O'Malley is formally pushing the Maryland General Assembly to pass a law banning the death penalty in Maryland.  And thus, our failure.  Not sure what the failure is?  Well then follow this.

We, as citizens of Maryland, must consistently apply the law.  Laws sometimes apply to different scenarios.  However, to apply the law differently to different scenarios is, in my opinion, a basic logic failure.  This is an incredibly touchy subject as many people will disagree with me. I like to compare the death penalty with abortion.  My liberal lawyer friends tell me that I must treat each of these individually and evaluate them each under their own merit and applications of the law.  I tell them that they are wrong.  I can evaluate and compare them any way I want.

Here are the four combinations of logic for abortion and the death penalty:

1) We, as a society can place a value on human life and apply it consistently.  We can say that we have little regard for human life and declare that we have the right to end human lives as we see fit.  For example, if a person is convicted of killing another person, that killer can be put to death.  We can also say that we, or more specifically women, have the right to end the life of an unborn child.  If you're like Carol Burnett, you can pretend that humans are not alive until they are born.  However, if you an educated person, you know that the fetus is alive, though dependent on its mother for survival.  Some will argue that if the child cannot survive on its own, then it's not truly living yet.  I respond that a child cannot live on its own even after it is born.  Regardless on your opinion on each, the logic argument on the termination of life is consistent, thus passing the logic test.

2) The second logic test is that all human life is equally important and thus should not be ended by another human.  Crazy people who hack up children in a school should not be executed, nor should any child be aborted.  This argument is also valid.  All life is respected and the value of life logic is applied consistently.

3) The third argument is that the death penalty is acceptable and abortion is not unacceptable.  Although not consistent in determining the value of life, we are saying that the lives of unborn children should be protected as they are innocent of any crime.  Supporting the death penalty, on the other hand, states that criminals should pay the price for their crime.  If they take the life of another person, then the law of "eye for an eye" is applied and they pay the penalty.  As stated, this argument is not consistent, but I think it passes the test of achieving the moral higher ground.

4) The last argument, and the one supported by Martin O'Malley, is the logic test that can only be considered a failure.  In Maryland abortion is legal and readily available.  Teenagers do not need parental consent to get an abortion.  They do need, however, parental consent to get their teeth cleaned at the dentist.  Now Maryland wants to get rid of the death penalty.  What Martin O'Malley is telling us, and the whole nation as he moves closer to officially declaring his bid for the presidency, is that the lives of criminals should be protected, but the lives of unborn children should not.  Perhaps he thinks that if there are more abortions, there will be fewer children in poverty, fewer children born to drug addicts, and fewer children that will grow up only to be old enough to be gunned down in the unstoppable gun war happening on the streets of Maryland.  The conclusion then is that innocent lives are not protected and guilty lives are protected.  The law protecting life is thus applied inconsistently, in addition to being applied in an illogical manner.

So as you can clearly see, and the only conclusion that I can deduce, is that Martin O'Malley hates unborn children and loves people convicted of murder.  Why else would he push for laws protecting one group and other laws leaving the helpless victims to die?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Closing in Owings Mills - China Best

Another icon of Owings Mills is closing.  In the ever-changing landscape of moderately priced indistinguishable ethnic restaurants, we are bound to see the demise and consolidation of the industry into an even more enigmatic buffet of choices.

China Best is best known for their lunch special, the endless sushi bar, where you can eat as much moderately to not so moderately tasty sushi, plus a small variety of bland soup, toasty egg rolls, and dull main dishes.

You never know what you're going to get there.  Sometimes it's okay.  Sometimes it's terrible.  We went there last week and the combination of the surprising announcement of their closing and the unexciting food made me vow that I most likely would not return, one by choice and the other by fate.

This is the sign on the door announcing their closing.  It looks like the closing date has changed, so we'll see what the real date is.

When I was leaving I wished the older lady much luck and enjoyment in her retirement.  She said she wasn't saying good-bye because she'll see us next time we come before they close.  Slim chance.  I seriously doubt that the food will get better between now and closing.  On the contrary, I would expect it to get worse as they reduce their inventory, the good stuff going first.

Regardless, we wish the family much happiness in their retirement.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Wal-Green's - fcuk the Families

No, that's not a typo.  That's actually the name of a hair care product being sold by Wal-Green's.  Yes, I get that it stands for French Connection United Kingdom, but you know the reason they use the abbreviation.  It's the same reason that Van Halen named their album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge.  Because they could get away with it!

I always thought that Wal-Green's was a family-friendly store.  Boy, did they throw that back at me.  Wal-Green's has joined the over-the-top in-your-face MTV crowd with as inappropriate an item as they thought they could get away with.

I was there with my children looking for nail polish for my daughter when we spotted this.  Wal-Green's, for shame.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Baltimore Sun Announces Ray Rice's Retirement

In only their second day under new management, the Baltimore Sun announced on Facebook that Ray Rice was retiring.  What a way to start on a new foot - by announcing incorrect information.  Way to enhance your credibility.

In other news from The Sun, Obama wants to raise the debt ceiling to $20 trillion.  Oh, wait, that is real news.  Dang-it!

For the record, Ray Lewis is retiring, not Ray Rice.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Baltimore Ends Year 2012 With 216 Murders

What a proud year 2012 was for the city of Baltimore.  There were only 216 murders in the city.  That's only one murder every 42 hours.  Unfortunately, that's 10% more murders than last year.

By comparison, Washington D.C. had 88 murders.  Granted, Washington, D.C. proper only has 97% of the population as Baltimore, so it should have less murders, right?  60% less? there a problem here?  And to top it off, guns aren't even legal in Washington, D.C. (though a Supreme Court decision ruled that law un-Constitutional, the process to acquire a gun permit in Washington, D.C. remains practically impossible).  Doesn't liberal logic dictate that if guns are illegal, then there should be no gun violence?

How about comparably sized cities?  St. Louis is similar in size.  In 2012 they had 113 murders.  Over the past 12 years the most homicides they have recorded is 167 in 2008.  Tamp is a little larger than Baltimore, but I cannot find total homicides for 2012.  However, between 1999 and 2010, the recorded as few as 20 in 2005 and 2009, and as many as 41 in 2003.  What a dangerous year!  I think Baltimore has recorded that many homicides in one month.

Denver, slightly smaller than Baltimore, recorded 25 homicides in 2012.

In 2011, the most murder happy cities were, in order (city-proper only):  New York (515, though with more than 8 million people), Chicago (431, 2.7 million people), Detroit (344, 706,000 people), Philadelphia (324, 1.5 million people), Los Angeles (3.8 million people), New Orleans (200, 360,000 people), and Houston (198, 2.1 million).  So looking at this information, only New Orleans gave Baltimore a run for its money.

Is there any wonder that Baltimore's real nickname is Bodymore, Murderland?  Or that we're known as the City that Bleeds?

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