Friday, February 27, 2015

Firetruck Friday

This truck pulled up across the street from my sister's house one afternoon in 2013.  There was a brush fire behind the houses pictured.  The truck is the Bel Air Fire Department Engine 311 2006 Seagrave Marauder II.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Throwback Thursday in Eldersburg

Remember the Thai Classic restaurant in the Oklahoma Center?  It never seemed busy and everyone wondered how in the world they stayed open.  They eventually closed and became Jin's Asian Bistro, which burned down nearly the entire shopping center.  The shopping enter is now partially occupied by AutoZone.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Frozen Severn River

Since we can't go fishing...  Well, perhaps it's better to say that since we CHOOSE not to go fishing, we might as well take some pictures.

I saw on Twitter, via Justin Berk, that the Severn River is frozen.  With the upcoming snow changing to rain, I figured I wouldn't have another opportunity to drive to Annapolis to get these pictures.

My son and I walked to the top of the Route 450 bridge crossing the Severn and it was cold.  The air temperature was 17°, but it was really windy.  Even with UnderArmour pants under my jeans, 3 shirts, a jacket, gloves, and a hat, with wind went right through me and it hurt!

This view is looking east toward the Chesapeake Bay.  The United States Naval Academy is to the right.

This is looking northwest (?), eh, it's up-river.  Normally there's a beach to the right.

Here's the old Route 450 bridge, that is now a dedicated fishing pier.  It is a bit odd not seeing a bunch of fisherman and trash on the pier.

I changed lenses on my camera and it's amazing how much better the pictures are.  This is an old boat pier looking downstream.

The ice was crawling up one of the Route 450 bridge pylons.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Basement Renovation Before And After

I've been working on a basement renovation for the past year.  I'm doing a lot of it myself, which is part of the reason why I've been working on it for the past YEAR.  It's taking longer, but I'm saving a poop load of money.

Here is a picture of a section of the basement after I had emptied it of junk (I actually just moved the junk from one place to another.....sigh).  I painted the walls with Drylok to seal the walls.  I was told that a gallon or two would be sufficient to cover the walls that were underground.  Six gallons later....

I decided that this would be the place for the bathroom and the wet bar.  To me there was no point in having a small hallway to the side of the stairs with a small room against the foundation walls.  Therefore, the bathroom goes in corner and the wet bar goes on the other side of the wall.  That way I could keep the pipe in the wall and the flush valve hidden, though accessible.

I framed the basement with my brother-in-law and a couple of others, with all required permits, of course.  This next phase actually went really fast.  It was amazing how quickly the basement renovation went from an abstract concept to visible reality.  I could suddenly see how the basement would look.  You can see the plumbing and electric in the wall, both of which I outsourced to licensed contractors - Willoughby Plumbing and Hammand Electric.  Both companies did a great job and were professional.  I have to admit, however, that I was a bit stunned at the price.  If any of my kids say that they want to be plumbers or electricians when they grow up, they have my blessing.

I can't believe that I didn't take a picture of the area after the drywall went up.  Perhaps I did and I just can't find the picture in the thousands of pictures that I took last year.  If I do find any, I'll update this post.

Funny story - I contracted a father and son team to do the drywall.  The father was like 80 and the son was probably near 50.  They said they'd be at our house at 7am.  No problem.  I leave for work early.  That morning, I went for a jog at 5:45 am and when I got back at 6:15 am, they were sitting there in the truck.  I said they could come in and get started.  They asked if they could come at 6:15 the next morning.  Sure, I didn't care.  The next morning, I was walking out the door to go for a jog at 5:45 am and sure enough they were sitting there on the street in their truck.  I told them to come on in.  I then told them they could come at 5:45 am.  Of course, the next day I awoke at 5:30 am, looked out the window, and they were sitting there waiting.  Apparently they like to get an early start.

I ordered Norcraft cabinets and a granite counter top from East Coast Stone in Dundalk.  Here's the cabinet story - I picked out the design of the door and chose cherry wood.  They gave me a quote and I thought it was ridiculous.  I then changed to a plain door and maple.  The price dropped by a few hundred dollars.  If I was going to spend that much, I might as well get what I want!

I designed the area to have high-end track lights shining on the cabinets to make it a point of focus.  I got a copper pin hammered sink with a copper faucet (I think - or it's just black).  I think it looks great and I'm really excited about it.

Here's a close-up of the sink and faucet.  The backsplash will come later this year.  I just love my new sink!!!  What do you think?

Coming to Eldersburg - Los Cabos Mexican Grille

It is with mixed feelings that I write about the new restaurant that is coming to Eldersburg.  As you may recall, there was a terrible fire the destroyed much of the Oklahoma Center, which started in Jin's Asian Bistro.

Soon thereafter, the owner of The Bagel Cafe lost his battle with cancer, but right before that, the owner of Pap-Pap's passed away.  That's three tragic events in a short amount of time.

Constructions seems to indicate that a new Mexican quick-food restaurant will go in the place of the Bagel Cafe.  I heard that the owners of J&P Pizza are the ones that are building this new restaurant.  Not sure how they will do against Taco Bell (hahahaha!!!), Qdoba, and the upcoming Chipotle' that is opening in the Eldersburg Commons (where the Super Wal-Mart is going).

Firetruck Friday

I saw this in Ocean City, Maryland at the Surfside 84 condos on, ironically 84th street.  Not sure what they were doing, but the extended the ladder up to one of the upper floors rather than taking the elevator or stairs.  It almost seemed like some sort of training exercise.  But it was way too early in the morning for training.  The truck, I think, is a 1997 Spartan Aerial Ladder, Tower 6.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Throwback Thursday in Eldersburg

Remember Curves in the Monroe Station?  It closed and was replaced by Glazed to Perfection, which closed this location and merged with another group in Sykesville.  As of this writing, the space formerly occupied by Curves is vacant.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Delegate Kirill Reznik Belittles Maryland Voter

Which Maryland voter was belittled by House of Delegates member Kirill Reznik?  That Maryland Voter happened to be me, but that's not the issue.  Look through this string from Twitter.

It all started when Larry Hogan stated that Maryland is broken.  It was a generic statement about how there are too many taxes and now we have another structural deficit problem, just like the one O'Malley complained about for 8 years that he inherited from Bob Ehrlich.  And it's no secret that it costs a lot of money to live in Maryland and that lots of businesses have left for states that are more business-friendly with less regulation, like Virginia.

Tammy Mangan refuted Hogan's statement in this Twitter post by saying 'Maryland isn't broken, We've got the highest median income in the US!".  Anyone who knows economics and logic sees several flaws in this statement.  She's using one single statistic to refute an economic and business climate problem.  Secondly, having the highest median income in the United States without correlating it to the cost of living is useless information.  The cost of living in Uganda is low.  Hey, that sounds great!  However, the median income is terrible.  Not so great!

Maryland does have one of the highest costs of living in the country.  Therefore, we require a high median income.  Otherwise, only rich people could live here.

I told Mangan and Delegate Reznik not to be fooled by statistics.  Delegate Reznik then condescendingly commented how I used a stat to prove a stat at that is was adorable.  WTF???  Obviously he's twisting things around.  As you know, you're limited to like 7 characters on Twitter, so you can't comprehensively prove your point.  But as I mentioned previously, the statistic of the higher income is useful relative to the cost of living, but exclusively it is meaningless.

So why would Russian-born Kirill Reznik attack me with such a condescending remark?  It's a typical retort of the left-wing Michael Busch cronies.  We should expect things like this from them.  They don't really care about the residents of Maryland. They just want power.  Seriously, how can Reznik feel any commitment to Maryland when he hasn't even lived here that long?

And to attack a blogger?  That's just asking for trouble.  Delegate Reznik you want to challenge me? To quote Barney Stinson, "Challenge accepted!!!"

Fire Truck Friday

I saw this fire truck in Sarasota.  It's Engine 31, but I can't find the specific station.  Seems as if fire departments in this area of Florida are not as keen as stations around here in creating websites with photos of their apparatus.  

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Throwback Thursday in Eldersburg

Remember the Cards & Gifts shop in the Londontowne Square (where Safeway is)?  This is now the Five Guys.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Historic Eldersburg Home Not Being Demolished (I think)

I received credible information that the house at the corner of Hemlock and Liberty is not going to be demolished as I speculated in the previous post.  Fortunately, I ended the title with a question mark, hedging my statement.  

My trusty source indicated that the new cookie-cutter office space is going in behind the house on Dickenson Road.

There is apparently a duplicate sign on Dickenson Road, which runs from Hemlock to Oklahoma Road.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Historic Eldersburg House to Be Demolished?

This caught my eye this week.  This house at the corner of Hemlock and Liberty Road has a sign that says "Coming Soon, Office Condos" and shows an image of a new ubiquitous office building.  Is this true?

The building pictured below was built in 1900, meaning that it's 115 years hold.  That's historic in my mind.  If I put two and two together, the house will be demolished and replaced with the giant cookie cutter obtrusive one-story office building as seen in the second picture.  That would be the same fate as the buildings that were next to it that were torn down to make way for the Carroll Station.  I'm not sure how old those houses were.  But I'm sure they were older than me.

Let's hope that this is all a misunderstanding.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Eldersburg Napa Getting a Make-Over

I really hate it when a business paints over the bricks.  Especially a business like Napa.  That bright blue sticks around forever.  You can drive through a town and tell where a Napa used to be.  It's still that obnoxious bright Smurf blue.

This is what Napa looked like back in 2010.  According to the Maryland Real Property database, this structure was built in 1971.  I wonder what's been here, as it probably wasn't always a Napa.  As best as I can recall, it's been a Napa for the entire 16 years that I've lived in Carroll County.  Any Eldersburgers that have lived here longer than 16 years know?

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Firetruck Friday

I saw this Freightliner truck in the parking lot of Brookside Commons in Eldersburg.  I haven't been able to track down the station.  It's Engine 63, but I don't see that as an apparatus at Randallstown, Liberty Road, Glyndon, Garrison, or Pikesville.  Owings Mills FD is yellow and Reisterstown is black.  Anyone?

These Cars Passed a School Bus With Red Flashing Lights

Both of these cars passed a Baltimore County Public School bus on Lakeside Drive in Owings Mills near the Food Lion on Wednesday around 4:30pm.  Feel free to shame them if you see them out on the roads. 

In case you can't read the license plates, the Acrua RSX is ICR R75.  The Honda Accord is 1FS C74.

Throwback Thursday in Eldersburg

Remember the Little Professor Book Center?  It's been closed for a couple of years now.  The Eldersburg station of the Carroll County Sheriff's office is on the right side now.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Does Gail Bates Know She Also Represents Carroll County?

When I first met Gail Bates I liked what I heard.  Allan Kittleman announced he was running for Howard County Executive, so there was going to be a new State Senator representing South Carroll County.  Gail Bates was a member of the Maryland House of Delegates in Howard County and she was stepping up to run for the seat being vacated by Senator Kittleman.

Delegate Bates handily won the election in a heavily Republican-dominated district.  We all looked forward to her being our new representative in the Maryland State Senate.  Then we realized she REALLY loves Howard County.  REALLY.  LOVES.  HOWARD.  COUNTY.

I follow Senator Bates on both Twitter and Facebook.  I've noticed A LOT of posts about how awesome Howard County is.  Okay, Howard County has a lot going for it.  Lots of rich people.  Lots of educated people.  Lots of jobs.  And most rich and educated people are interested in their children and their children's education.  This makes their stats look really good.  How can any poor county compete with this?

So, to the best of my knowledge I NEVER see any comments about how great Carroll County is, or maybe even just South Carroll.  Therefore, I offered a challenge - she must mention something positive about Carroll County this month.  My gut feel is that I won't see anything about Carroll County.  But I'm hoping for Barney Stinson response: "Challenge accepted!"

Don't get me wrong.  I don't dislike Senator Bates.  I want her to succeed.  I just want her to acknowledge that she also represents part of Carroll County and she has our best interests at heart.

Here are a few examples of her posts:

17 of the top 50 (schools) are in Howard County. Driving the State averages. Congrats HCPSS.
A post about the Howard County Library system
A post about Maryland Food Bank Outreach service at Howard County Community College.
A post about the Howard County School Board

Finally found a Carroll County post on January 8th: Nice evening with the Carroll County Farm bureau. Such nice people and good food.

January 2015 - A Month in Review

Now that your hangover is over, let's start cataloging 2015.

January started off quiet and rainy.  Then soon thereafter we learned of the death of famed ESPN sports anchor Stuart Scott after a long battle with cancer.  He was only 49 years old.  Not sure if he coined these phrases, but he sure made them famous:  Boo-yah!!!  Cooler than the other side of the pillow.  You ain't gotta go home, but you gotta get outta here!

Here is Hannah Storm's heart-wrenching announcement of Scott's death.

Another lesser known sports-guy died on the same day - former Baltimore Orioles' general manager Hank Peters passed away at age 90.  Peters was the manager of the Orioles from 1975 through 1987, winning GM of the Year twice.

ABC debuted the 2015 season of The Bachelor.  If you're not aware, this is the show where one dude gets to have sex with a gaggle of sluts, one at a time, and America watches hypnotized wonder.

In a crazy sort of way, The Baltimore Sun announced that incoming governor Larry Hogan is their Marylander of the Year.  This is after they didn't endorse him and said he wasn't right for Maryland.  Fortunately for The Sun, Anthony Brown didn't win, because he's from New York, so it would have been really awkward to give a Marylander of the Year award to to a New Yorker.

Instead of heeding to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell who stated that no existing teams will move to Los Angeles, St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is continuing with plans to morph his team into a modern-era Raiders and move the Rams back to L.A.  He is currently looking at a site to build a new stadium.  If you ask me, I think they ought to move the Rams back to Cleveland.  Heck, let's also move the Cardinals back to Chicago, the Jets back to Dallas, the Ravens back to Cleveland, and the Colts back to Baltimore.  Who's with me?

In Paris, uneducated backwards radical Muslim terrorists invaded the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and massacred 12 people including the cartoonists responsible for making fun of Muslims being uneducated backwards radical Muslim terrorists.  The Muslim terrorists declared that if they kill all of the infidels responsible for lampooning Muslims as uneducated backwards radical Muslim terrorists, then no one will call them uneducated backwards radical Muslim terrorists.

In Frederick County, Councilmember Kirby Delauter threatened to sue people for using his name without permission.  Kirby Delauter Kirby Delauter Kirby Delauter Kirby Delauter Kirby Delauter Kirby Delauter Kirby Delauter Kirby Delauter Kirby Delauter Kirby Delauter Kirby Delauter Kirby Delauter Kirby Delauter Kirby Delauter Kirby Delauter Kirby Delauter Kirby Delauter Kirby Delauter Kirby Delauter Kirby Delauter Kirby Delauter Kirby Delauter Kirby Delauter Kirby Delauter Kirby Delauter.

The NFL, always grabbing for more money and attention, got a lot of it after the AFC Championship game when it was discovered that the balls provided by New England were under-inflated, supposedly giving quarterback prima donna Tom Brady an advantage by improving his ability to grib his balls better when he tosses them.  The scandal immediately became known as #DeflateGate, in honor of the 1970's Watergate scandal.  After a week of over-the-top innuendo, double entendre, and spoofing by the formerly funny Saturday Night Live, Patriots owner Robert Kraft gave a press conference and excoriated the press and the fans and demanded an apology from the NFL.  I just looked up my handy-dandy dictionary and yes, Mr. Kraft qualifies as an example of a Jucking Ferk.

A  measles outbreak occurred in Disneyland, the place where children smile, except when their idiot parents don't get them vaccinated because they believe in myths about vaccines causing other issues.  Thank you for jeopardizing my child's health because of your misinformed beliefs.

Ernie Banks, the legendary Chicago Cub, also known as Mr. Cub, passed away in January.  He was 83.

Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz passed away.  He was the leader of the county that was home to the terrorists who orchestrated and enacted the 9/11 attacks on the United States, but also the leader of the country with the largest deposit of oil in the world, thus making him our friend.

Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo also passed away.  He was a two-time candidate for President, both in 1988 and 1992.  His worst lifetime gaff was saying that he thought his son Andrew Cuomo would be a good candidate for president.  Blahahahaha!!!

Oil prices plummeted in January, from over $100 per barrel to about $40 per barrel.  This means that gas prices will properly reflect this in about 10 months.

ISIS continued to show the world how Islam is the religion of peace.  They did this by beheading more prisoners and posting the grotesque videos on the Internet.  I hearken back to a memory of a redneck-sounding politician who said, "They oughta make the damn Middle East a big sheet of glass."  I don't know where that came from.

Winter Storm Juno hit the upper Midwest and Northeast and was the largest snow storm of the year.  Seriously, when did we start naming snow storms?  I think cold front O'Malley just went through yesterday followed by Obama flurries and the Joe Biden low pressure system.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Justin Ready Appointed to Empty State Senate Seat

Justin Ready, the former Maryland Delegate in District 5A, was appointed to former State Senator Joseph Getty's District 5 seat.  Former State Senator Getty resigned to accept a position with Governor Hogan's staff.
State Senator Justin Ready
The appointment didn't come without controversy.  The Carroll County Republican Central Committee originally submitted one name to Governor Hogan for Getty's replacement.  That name was whackadoodle Robin Bartlett Frazier, the former Carroll County Commissioner who was defeated in the primary election in her bid to get reelected.  This is the same Robin Bartlett Frazier who sang her State of the County address.

This is also the same Robin Bartlett Frazier who said that she would rather go to jail than be told she can't pray to Jesus before each County Council meeting.  Let's just ignore the separation of Church and State. (sarcasm)  And I'm a person of faith.

Former politician Robin Bartlett Frazier
Fortunately for the good people of Carroll County, Governor-elect Hogan rejected the single name submitted and requested that three names be submitted and he would select one.  The CCRCC finally acquiesced and submitted the names of Robin Bartlett Frazier (again), Delegate Justin Ready, and Dave Wallace, who had previously unsuccessfully run for several positions.  Hogan then selected Ready as Getty's replacement.

That didn't stop Frazier's cronies, namely Kathy Fuller, Melissa Caudill, and Amy Guilford, from filing a restraining order in an attempt to prevent Governor Hogan from appointing Ready.  Fortunately again for the good folks of Carroll County, Judge Fred Hecker refused to issue the restraining order.

Let's back up a second.  We get a Republican governor for only the second time in the past 40 years.  The Maryland General Assembly is dominated by arrogant Democrats who eat Republicans for breakfast.  Then the elected folks of the CCRCC basically give the big finger to the newly celebrated Governor?  Don't you think it would be a good idea to work with the new governor rather than try to have a pissing contest with him?  Are they trying to make Carroll County look like a bunch of dumbasses?  Because that's what's happening.

It would not surprise me if these same people submit Robin Bartlett Frazier's name again, this time for Justin Ready's vacant House of Delegates seat.  I think this would be a huge mistake.  Former Commissioner Frazier was not reelected for a reason.  Her constituents didn't want her as their representative anymore.  That should say a lot.

In the next election cycle, let's remember Kathy Fuller, Melissa Caudill, and Amy Guilford.  I think it would be wise for the people of Carroll County to vote them out of the Carroll County Republican Central Committee.  I think it's clear that we cannot rely on them to make good decisions.

The Groundhog Says....

The groundhog woke up today and realized:

a) Martin O'Malley is no longer the governor of Maryland

b) Anthony Brown is NOT the new governor.

It's a great day to be alive, he said.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Martin O'Malleyls Bank Account

Martin O'Malley announced that his bank account for running for President has $900,000 in it.  Fortunately for this country, Obama spent $553 million to win the election in 2012.  So if O'Malley wants to win, he only needs to raise another $552.1 million more.

Do you think the PACs will start throwing money his way, or will they wait until Grandma Hillary finally announces that she will run?

O'Malley Spending St. Patrick's Day in New Hampshire

Purported Irish-Catholic former governor (that sounds really nice to say) Martin O'Malley will be spending St. Patrick's Day in New Hampshire.  I can't think of any reason he'd be there.....other than to plaster his name all over the place and try to move up from the 7th most recognizable candidate for the Democratic Ticket.

I'm waiting for him to release NewHampshireStat, his newest statistic gimmick to prove how awesome he is.  His statistics show that he's the most recognizable white Irish-Catholic former Maryland Governor walking around Nashua.

I wonder if the Boy Wonder Governor will be reenacting in the upcoming Battle of Aiken celebration in South Carolina.

My guess is that O'Malley will spend very little time with his family here in Maryland in their new expensive house in the Homewood area of Baltimore City on Tilbury Street.
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