Friday, January 30, 2015

Bloede's Dam to be Demolished

While scrolling through Twitter I saw a post about the proposed Bloede's Dam demolition.  Bloede's Dam is in the Patapsco River Valley State Park.  The state plans to demolish the dam and was holding an information session at Arbutus Library.

I happened to be around that area, so I made it a plan to stop by and find out what they have to say.  The dam was constructed about 100 years ago and was a small submerged hydro-electric dam.  The obvious problem with dams is that there is a massive silt build-up behind it and fish are unable to migrate upstream to spawn.

The removal of the dam will start with the removal of trees around the area that will become unstable as the dam is removed and water starts to flow freely downstream.  There are estimates that there could be 7 ft sediment deposits along different parts of the river.  By removing the trees beforehand, they won't fall and become hazards.

There are two sewer lines that need to be moved and this will take a lot of time.  Once this has been completed, then the actual dam and fish ladder removal will begin.  There are no plans to remove the sediment as that will require the construction of an access road and 24 operations with a continuous flow of dump trucks for an extended period of time.  Additionally, this method will extend the time frame of the project and obviously increase the cost.

As far as the fish are concerned, the indigenous fish in the immediate area will be significantly impacted as their habitat is expected to be quickly buried in silt and sediment. Other fish, however, will now be able swim farther upstream.  These include American eels and shad.

I found the information be fascinating.  By fascinating, I mean informative and interesting.  Yes, the average person would care less about this event.  Now you know all about it.

For more information, you can go here.

Firetruck Friday

I saw Firetruck Friday on Twitter.  I thought that was a cool concept.  I'll continue that on my blog.  Here is a firetruck from Level Fire Department in the 1990 Independence Day parade in Bel Air.  This truck was new then as it was Engine 111, a 1989 Spartan

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Book Review - The Age of Reagan

I have been on a quest for many years to read a book about every President of the United States.  I've probably read a book on about half of them.  I've read several books about some Presidents, such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.  It's difficult to get tired of those two intriguing presidents.

I recently finished this book titled The Age of Reagan, A History 1974 - 2008 by Sean Wilentz.  As a child of the early 1970's I have always had a high opinion of Ronald Reagan as my family's position improved significantly under Reagan and times seemed happier for us.  I think I falsely thought that EVERYONE loves Ronald Reagan, except for my grandfater, a die-hard liberal.  I remember when he got mad at my mother for not voting for Michael Dukakis.  Seriously?  That guy was a caricature of himself.  Sean Wilentz is not a person who loves Ronald Reagan.

Wilentz follows Reagan from his time as the head of the Screen Actors Guild, to his election as Governor of California, to his run for President against Ford, to his eventual victory against Jimmy Carter through his Presidency, then his successors Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

The first half or two-thirds of the book were mostly informative and enjoyable.  Then Wilentz starting integrating his opinion into the mix without any attribution or supporting arguments. Plus he had a few grammar errors.  Call the grammar police!  Reagan was evil. Everything that was bad was Reagan's fault.  Things only got better when Clinton became President.  Clinton was a god and and it's the Republicans' fault that bad things happened on Clinton's watch.  And then George W. Bush came along and ruined things all over again.

Anyone who follows politics knows that this sort of dogma is disingenuous.  Both Republicans and Democrats have done terrible things, illegal things, and ruinous things.  Sure, you can pick your hero from one side of the political spectrum, but your guy is no angel.  Lower taxes, screw the poor.  Help businesses, screw the environment.  Protect the country, raise taxes.  Politics is a see-saw and the pundits will vociferously defend their guy, even if their guy is doing the same thing that your guy did previously and attacked you for that.  "Oh, but this is different."  Don't be fooled.  It's all the same.

So in summary, I think I need to read another book about Reagan.  I didn't finish this book with a happy accomplished feeling.  Sean Wilentz is a good writer.  He maintained my attention throughout the book.  But as far as I'm concerned, Wilentz is just a hack for the left.  Onto the next book.

Throwback Thursday in Eldersburg

Remember K-Bank?  It was Key Bank when we moved to Eldersburg.  Now it's Starbucks.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

June - A Month in Review

June started off with the sad news of the death of Ann B. Davis, better known as Alice from the Brady Bunch.  Oh, Alice.

Pop music sensation Miley Cyrus was robbed over the first weekend of June.  Reports indicate that the thieves got off with jewelry, her Maserati, and what was left of her reputation.

You'll recall that President Obama announced a time table for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.  This was a controversial move, since most pundits predicted that the terrorists would just lie low until the soldiers were gone. Obama assured everyone that wouldn't happen.  And then it happened.  An al-Qaeda splinter group calling themselves ISIS have basically retaken Iraq.  Baghdad still stands, but Obama said no U.S. troops will be sent to help, but the Air Force will do flyovers to monitor the situation.  I'm glad that Obama clarified that the men and women of the Air Force do not count as troops.

Legendary disc jockey Casey Kasem passed away after months of sordid rumors of  his family's fight

In Maryland, New Yorker Anthony Brown, aka Martin O'Malley, defeated New Jersey-born Doug Gansler and Illinois-born Heather Mizeur.  Apparently Marylanders don't run for governor in Maryland anymore.

Facebook uses us as lab rabbits.  They decided that it would be funny to play psychological warfare with their users to see what would happen.  Now that everyone over 35 users Facebook as their sole source of communication with everyone, we're now committed to being their lab rats until something better comes along.

In tennis, Maria Sharapova and Rafael Nadal won the French Open.  I'm not sure if chicks dig Nadal, but as we all know guys only watch tennis to hear Sharapova have massive vocal orgasms on serves and returns.

July - A Month in Review

Germany stunned host-country Brazil in the semi-finals of the World Cup by beating the 817-1.  It was Brazil's largest defeat ever in a World Cup game, leaving fans in tears, just like when Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley announced that he was going to tax the rain.

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was sentenced to 10 years in prison for a bribary scandal.  The crooked mayor is best known for his gross mishandling of the city's management during and after Hurricane Katrina, which he indirectly blamed President George W. Bush.  Nagin also infamously declared that New Orleans was a chocolate city, implying that white people weren't allowed.

Former Playboy model Pamela Anderson filed for divorce for the 817th time, equaling the number of goals scored by Germany against Brazil in the World Cup game.

Israel and Hamas made the news in July when they decided to toss missiles at each other.  The well-funded terrorist group doesn't have the fire power of the armed Israeli military.  Israel decided it would be pretty cool to launch 500 missiles and bomb at the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip over 24 hours.  It's more exciting than the New York City 4th of July Fireworks.

July marked the 6th month anniversary of the legalization marajuana in Colorado.  When politicians and prominent leaders in the business community were asked what the impact of the legalization of marajuana was on the community, business, and government, most responded, "Ahhh.....dude!!! All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I'm fine!"

The NBA announced it would raise the salary cap for teams to $63.1 million.  NBA Commissioner Adam Stern declared with a higher salary cap, teams would be able to sign more big-time slam-dunkers to help continue the diminishing respectability of the game.

In New York, a fat dumbass who fell asleep during a game and was broadcast on live national television filed a master piece lawsuit full of spelling mistakes and grammar errors.  The plaintiff is suing the New York Yankees, ESPN, television commentators John Kruk, Dan Shulman, Major League baseball, television makers Panasonic, Mitsubishi, Sony, in addition to Hostess, Tastykake, Breyers, Oscar-Myer, and David Hasselhoff.

Seeking the glory that it held during the 1960's, Vladimir Putin has continued down a Russian warpath.  For shits and giggles, the Russians or a group sympathetic with the Russians thought it would be funny to shoot down a Malaysian passenger airline.  Everyone denies involvement and have even denied access by investigators to the crash site.

One of my favorite actors, James Garner, passed away in July.  Jim Rockford, Bret Maverick, The Scrounger, Lieutenant Commander Charles Edward Madison, and Sergeant Major Zach Carey.

August - A Month in Review

ISIS continued its war in Iraq taking over town after town.  President Obama remained stumped as to why the terrorists waited until after all of the U.S. troops left Iraq, a date of the withdrawal which he globally announced several years earlier.

The great metropolis of Ferguson, Missouri made the news in August when an officer shot multiple times and killed an unarmed man who allegedly has his arms raised in defense.  To protest this horrendous act, the great townsfolk of rioted and looted their own city and made national news.  Nothing says we hate police brutality by plundering our own towns.

The White House announced that President Obama was going to make an announcement about sending in troops.  Pundits immediately began wondering if he was sending troops to Iraq or Missouri.

The Dead Poet's Society gained another member in August with the passing of comedian Robin Williams.  Often considered a comedic genius, Williams suffered from depression that led him to take his life. The entire international AP press wire came to a screaching halt with the news.  To hell with the war between Palestine and Israel. Robin Williams died! Nah-noo-nah-noo.

Not a day passed after Robin Williams' death and Lauren Becall died.  Her connection to Humphrey Bogart was immortalized in Bertie Higgin's song Key Largo.  The sultry actress' most famous quote was probably, "You know how to whistle, don't you?  Just put your lips together and blow."

Major League Baseball made a major announcement in August when they announced Commissioner Bud Selig's successor.  Bug Selig, as you will all remember, was the owner of the Milwaukee Brewers, a conflict of interest the MLB refused to recognize.  The new commissioner will be Rob Manfred, the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, whose claim to fame is TV blackouts to baseball fans who fail to subscribe to the correct cable channels.  It's been rumored that he hates young baseball fans and wants nationwide blackouts in as many markets as possible.

You know the old saying, 'Never bring a knife to a gunfight'.  At pop star singer Chris Brown's house, the policy is, 'bring yo' guns to the knife party'.  In Brown's latest trouble, some party-goers brought guns and opened fire on people.  As they say, 'just another day at Chris Brown's house.'

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge swept Instagram and Facebook.  Millions of people recorded themselves dumping water on their heads and challenging others to do so, or donate money.  Sadly, the overwhelming majority chose to dump the water than to provide the funds needed to help with research for this debilitating disease.

In France, the extremely unpopular Socialist President Francois Hollande dissolved the government, demanding a government more friendly to his radical ideas.  It is expected that the new government will be a 2 pound soft ripened Brie cheese wheel.

China issued a stern warning to the United State in August.  "Stop spying on us!" was the warning.  After hours of stomach-wretching laughter, the official response to China was, "Yeah, yeah, okay.  No problem."

In Oklahoma, a team of medical examiners performed an arduous autoposy on a death row prisoner after his execution and determined that the prisoner died of the lethal injection that he was given.  There's money well-spent.

Justin Bieber was arrested again. Is that really news?

Maryland's Transportation To Do List Part 2

Recently I posted about Maryland's public transportation to-do list, where I highlighted current transportation options, plans for the future, and the faults with some of those projects.  Now I want to focus on the roads.

Maryland is known for its gridlocks and its maze of ramps to nowhere.  Interstate 70 ends in a park and ride.  There are multiple ramps to nowhere along I-95 through Baltimore.  As I've said before, it seems as if the transportation model in Maryland was designed by a politician.

As a tax-paying citizen of Carroll County in good standing, I'll start there.  Everyone knows that Route 32 south of Sykesville is a mess.  Yes I realize that this is Howard County.  And yes I realize that the state is now working to widen some parts of this road.  However, we cannot deny the fact that thousands of vehicles are commuting on this road each day to Baltimore, Howard County, and the suburbs of Washington, D.C.  The current Route 32 cannot effectively handle the volume during peak hours.  Route 32 should be a 4 lane highway from Eldersburg to at least I-70.  I'm not talking about divided medians and cloverleafs or fly-over ramps.  But at a minimum it needs shoulders and a center turn lane.

Route 140 from Baltimore County to Finksburg is another bottleneck.  It seems like at least once per week there is a deadly accident at the Baltimore County \ Carroll County line.  This area needs to have an expanded bridge with highway dividers.  Again, I know the state is working on this, but I'm not sure to what their plan is.

Route 140 in Owings Mills.  Especially at the intersections of Owings Mills Boulevard and Painter's Mill Road - this is already a nightmare.  When they complete the Wegman's at Foundry Row, this will be even worse!  I'm not sure how they could accomplish this without destroying the local businesses, but there needs to be an overpass at that intersection.

I-70 intersection with I-695 Baltimore Beltway.  I don't think this junction has changed since it was built.  I'm not sure when it was built, but I suspect it was in the 1960's.  The I-95 eastern junction with I-695 was recently restructured from a ribbon interchange to fly-over ramps.  I think the I-70 junction needs to do the same.  You can run into traffic at this interchange at 10pm at night.  It's crazy!

For the past 20 years or so, the state of Maryland has been expanding Route 50 to be a highway all the way to Ocean City.  It seems as if they are done, but it begs the question - aren't they going to do soething with Easton and Cambridge?  We no longer have to go through Vienna and Salisbury, but Easton is a freakin' mess.  There is an Easton Expressway, but that doesn't seem to shave any time off of the commute.  Cambridge generally moves okay, but you'd think the state would have made a route around the town rather than expanding the existing route through the town.

In Southern Maryland, a huge bottleneck is the Route 301 bridge over the Potomac River.  The bridge is known as the Harry Nice Bridge.  There is a plan in place for its replacement, but I can't seem to find when it's going to be done.  The current bridge is only 1 lane in each direction, whereas the approaching roads from either direction are four lanes.  This means that both ends of the bridge have a 2-1 lane merge, which is an excellent source for traffic bottlenecks.  Once the new bridge is completed, the old bridge, which was opened in 1940, will be removed.  Hopefully they'll blow it up with a big bomb.

I-68 though Cumberland.  If you've traveled through Western Maryland, you know it gets weird when you get to Cumberland.  Most of I-68 is wide-expansive highways with plentiful shoulders with gentle to rugged hill climbs.  Then you get to Cumberland.  The speed limit slows to like 40 mph, there are no shoulders, and the on-ramps have about 8 feet for mergers.  And these are the problems in the summer.  Add in Allegheny County's plentiful winter weather, and the highway becomes a veritable ice capades demolition derby.  Cumberland's natural layout doesn't provide much flexibility for changing the interstate traffic pattern, but I think an improved highway network around the town will also help improve their economic state.

On the Baltimore Beltway, or officially the McKeldin Beltway, from Pikesville through Towson, there are shoulders that are 2 lanes wide.  This is also where the highway is 4-lanes wide, but gridlocked for miles every day during rush hour.  Is it time to make half of that shoulder space lane #5?

I haven't traveled the entire state, but I've seen a lot of it, and I think these are some of the better improvements that can be made.  What do you think should change?

Obama Writes His Own Laws

President Obama's recent executive order, which is a de facto amnesty program for illegal immigrants to stay in the United States without following the current law, has come under extreme scrutiny.  Now the whole charade has been mocked by Saturday Night Live.  You know if SNL is making fun of you, you must suck at your job.

This isn't the first time a President has abused his powers and declared law through executive order.  Franklin Roosevelt declared over 3,000 executive orders.  That's nearly 200 per year over his 12 year Presidential term.

A Month in Review - December

December picked up what November threw down.  Protests and riots continued across the country.  Hoards of angry people are protesting the fact that a police officer shot and killed an unarmed teenager in suburban St. Louis neighborhood of Ferguson.  The teen struggled with a police officer when he tried to arrest the teen, then the teen refused to back down as he came toward the officer.  Let this whole incident put police officers on notice - if a perpetrator or a suspect gets aggressive with an officer, the officer must back down and allow the perpetrator or suspect to acquire the officer's service revolver and shoot him.  Any other action will not be tolerated.

In totally unrelated news, a white man was beaten to death in St. Louis by 2 black men and a Hispanic man.  St. Louis police chief Sam Dotson indicated that this incident doesn't appear to be race related, unlike the previous incident where the police office inappropriately tried to defend himself.

Kobe Bryant passed Michael Jordan for 3rd all-time on the NBA's scoring list.  Fortunately for Michael Jordan, no one noticed because a) no one gives a crap about the NBA anymore and b) Kobe Bryant is a jackass.

The anti-police / pro-Ferguson thug constituent celebrated on December 15th as a Baltimore Police Officer was shot and sent to Shock Trauma.  This same crowd is hoping that police have learned their lesson that they're not allowed to defend themselves.

The world lost its greatest writer ever in December with the death of Norman Bridwell.  Don't know Bridwell?  He was the author of the Clifford the Big Red Dog series.

Sony Pictures made a startling change in December when it decided to allow communist North Korea decide which pictures it could and could not release.  This is the first time in the history of Sony that a North Korean communist.has been in charge.

One of the hottest Christmas items of 2014 was Cards Against Humanity's box of bull shit.  They reportedly sold 30,000 boxes of it, though there are endless supplies available from your politician.

Roger Goodell reportedly informed the St. Louis Rams, the San Diego Chargers, and the Oakland Raiders that they may not move their teams to Los Angeles next year.  Ironically, all of these teams have previously played in Los Angeles and they all left.  There's a reason they all left.  All three of them.  Why does no one get this?

Rocker Joe Cocker lost his battle with cancer.  The singer, known for such hits as his rendition of With a Little Help From My Friends and You Are So Beautiful, was 70 years old.

The NFL regular season came to an end.  The ferocious 7-8-1 Carolina Panthers limped into the playoffs with a losing record, reflecting the power-house NFC South's ineptitude.  The day after the regular season saw the typical year-end firings, with Rex Ryan being the obvious coach to be fired, with Marc Trestman of the Bears, and Mike Smith of the Atlanta Falcons also getting their pink slips.  In a surprising move, legendary quarterback Kyle Orton announced his retirement, thus cutting short his big comeback to solidify his Hall of Fame career.

Another airplane disappeared around Indonesia.  People are now starting to wonder if the Bermuda Triangle has shifted to a new location.

Two army captains got phone calls that their wedding needed to be relocated at the last minute because President Obama decided he was going to play golf at the venue.  No word on whether or not they got their deposit back.  But knowing people's luck with Obama, they probably didn't get their deposit back AND they had to pay a fine.

October - A Month in Review

The Baltimore Orioles headed back to the playoffs.  Despite finishing the season with the 2nd best record in MBL, the Detroit Tigers were the favorite to win the series.  After the underdog Orioles swept the Detroit Tigers in 3 games, they learned they will play the Kansas City Royals who returned to the playoffs for the first time in 29 years.

Joe Biden continued the United States' contemporary tradition of apologizing for everything.  We apologized for the atomic bomb, slavery, Bryan Adams, who is Canadian.  This time Biden apologized to the Arab states for suggesting that they helping ISIS in their radical campaign to rid the world of infidels.

Rumors continue to circulate about North Korean President Kim Jung Un who has not been seen for over a month.  The lunacy from above the 38th parallel seems to have subsided a bit.  If he is not seen in another couple of weeks, the Chinese government has stated that they will hire Scooby-Doo and friends to see if they can determine who's hiding under the mask.

Barack Obama, the Prince of Oops (his Vice President Joe Biden is clearly the King of Oops) mistakenly called Washington, D.C. a state.  Okay, I get that Obama is not actually the one posting on Twitter.  So why do high-profile people let idiots continue to post for them?

The NBA signed an $8 gagillion contract with ABC\ESPN\TNT this week.  If this contract were a state, it would be larger than Delaware.  Under the new deal, the contract will run until LeBron James is 107, when it's expected that he'll return to the Cleveland Cavaliers again after winning 3 more NBA titles with the Jacksonville Celtics.

The NFL fined 49er's quarterback $10,000 for wearing the wrong kind of headphones during warm-up.  Yes, the NFL has that much power.  Isn't it ironic that the NFL also has an anti-bullying campaign?

Maryland Governor and 2016 Presidential candidate Martin O'Malley, trying to differentiate himself from Hillary Clinton, declared that Wi-Fi is a human right.  If I understand this correctly, prisoners deserve Wi-Fi, yet unborn babies do not deserve the right to be born.

Celebrity deaths starting pouring in in late October.  SNL legend Jan Hooks died in October after a secret battle with cancer.

Fashion mogul Oscar de la Renta passed away at the age of 82.  The maker of high-end men's fashions and suits will reportedly be buried in flip-flops and a track suit.

A report surfaced that NBC wanted to hire Jon Stewart as the host of Meet the Press, thus confirming speculation that they were converting the show from a valid talk show with a panel of guests to discuss current events to a comedy show where they make up stuff and poke fun at Republicans.

Elola continues to be the big news in Dallas.  The CDC has reassured the public that Ebola can only be contracted when an infected patient with full-blown symptoms vomits into another person's mouth or when a person baths a a cocktail of the infected patient's bodily fluids.  Unfortunately, it appears as if 2 healthcare workers in Dallas did just that.  Or the CDC is lying.

Jack Bruce, the bassist for the band Cream, passed away.  He was 71.

HP, formerly known as Hewitt-Packard, finished cornering the market on unicorn blood and thus decided to spin-off the highly profitable printing business into a separate company.  Currently, the price of Cyan unicorn blood goes for $25,000 per ounce.

The White House security perimeter was breached for the third time in several months when a man from Harford County Maryland scaled the fence and jumped onto the lawn.  As everyone knows, the White House is a place where common people are not allowed.  The average tax-paying citizen will be savagely beaten and prosecuted for trying to get on the grounds of this sacred area.

The San Francisco Giants bought the World Series in October, this being their 3 purchase in 5 years.  

Elizabeth Norment of Netflix' House of Cards, passed away, she was 61 years old.  She portrayed the secretary to the conniving Frank Underwood and his weasily assistant Doug Stamper.

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