Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mornin' Ya'll (No Link Wednesday)

Sorry, no links today.  I have to drive up to east Jabib (i.e., Bel Air), which means I need to get my butt on the road.  I will try to make it up to you with a good post later today (although I don't yet know what I will be writing about).

Orioles Attendance Record drops to 2-5.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fancy Fancy -- Extreme Blog Makeover

In an ongoing attempt to make this blog a little easier on the eyes, I've tapped into some of the more advanced features on Blogger and spruced up the site.  Let me know what you think. 

My primary objective was just to make the reading pane wider.  I felt like I wasn't using enough of the available screen space and saw that I could make that wider if I changed the "skin."

After that, I just wanted to make it look a little more sophisticated...ok, I just wanted it to be fancy.

Feedback is welcome and encouraged.  If you find it more difficult to read due to the background image, I can and will adjust accordingly.

NOTE: I realize that commenting has been temporarily disabled and am trying to get that back online.  (Further proving, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it.")

Updated Note: I FIXED IT!!  I almost had a heart attack thinking I had corrupted the comment html.  Being an amateur techno-dweeby, I knew that if I had done such a thing, it would be a point of no return...and I may need to blow this whole thing up and start from scratch.  Thankfully, the demolition vans never left the station.

Tuesday Late Links

Good Morning everybody.  I'm a little late today, so let's get right into the links.

Links:

These stimulus funds have made our politicians into professional can-kickers.  It is cowardly and selfish to put your own political future ahead of the solvency of the City, County, or State.  I can only hope that this comes back to bite them, but Maryland voters tend to just check the boxes next to the letter most closely resembling a "D" and go about their business.

MARC problems continue.  As a former DC Metro commuter, I can tell you that most of these passengers can deal with delays and unexpected technical problems.  The real issue is the complete lack of empathy or basic public relations from the organization heads.  I remember one day I was waiting for a Red Line train that was 50 minutes delayed.  They announced the delay about 40 times while I was waiting.  Not one "We're sorry for the inconvenience" or "Partial refunds are available" or "What ha-happen was..." or "Geez, we really screwed the pooch on this one, didn't we?"  They've got a state subsidized monopoly and don't need to worry about their customers going anywhere else, which makes it even more frustrating to be in that position.

Nice story about Camp St. Vincent for homeless children.

The Sun takes the Baltimore police to task for the "unfounded" rape dismissals.  Good.

HowChow further cracks the code of the Red Pearl Chinese restaurant.  I'll be honest and say that I get terribly intimidated when I get too far away from General Tso's last stand in the Chinese menu department.  In law school, I lived right next to Chinatown and tried just about every kind of authentic Chinese noodle dish (sans duck feet) that I could.  Now I tend to stay more pedestrian and try to find whatever has the most vegetables, so as to avoid what my brother calls the "Chinese food depression" that follows the consumption of heavily fried food that has been dunked in sugar sauce.  Maybe I should give the tea smoked duck a chance.

Jessie X offers a new spin on the politicalization of the word "partner."  John Wayne would be so confused.

WB meets up with a guy who takes the Partee with him wherever he goes.

Sarah takes a swing at encouraging HoCo car-pooling.  I think another element that stops people from the social and financial benefits of riding together is the whole "Bowling Alone" syndrome.  Some people just can't get their heads around spending that much "dead time" together.  I blame the people that never stop talking for this.  Everyone is terrified that they will get in a car with another person at 7 am and have that someone else tell them all the fascinating things their goldfish did over the past 12 hours as they ride to work.  I just gave myself the shivers.

Freemarket comments on the sexual assault allegation that could destroy the world.

That's all for now.  I'm heading to the O's game tonight, so hopefully their luck continues.  My attendance record is currently at 2-4.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Phish in a Barrel

(I simply could not resist making this post once that title popped into my head)

The HoCo Po Po arrested 21 people at the Phish concert at Merriweather Post Pavillion over the weekend.  21 freakin' people!  According to Ms. Llewellyn, this was about how many that were arrested last year. (Note: Marijuana has been associated with short term memory loss).

Looks like Phish is a nice little fundraiser for our county police.  I did hear that the concert was amazing.

It is H-A-W-T, Hawt! (Monday Links)

Goodness gracious, did we get some steam this weekend.  Somehow, I ended up spending the majority of the "Two S Days" outsides.  Saturday I went to the Charm City Run opening (and ran).  Sunday I volunteered with 25.45 at the Celebration Tri (and had an awesome awesome time) and then went over to my parents house for some QT by the pool (I know, poor me).  Overall it was a great weekend, but I didn't really get in much rest. 

Links:

Charlie Moore, candidate for HoCo Sheriff, has posted his website.  This is another campaign with some really terrific people involved and I hope you will check him out.

The Sun posts an interesting article about how Baltimore has the highest rate of reported rape cases that are written off as false or otherwise unfounded

Not only does this guy have cool facial hair, but he also is doing a great deal of good for the Homeless of Baltimore City.

Yet another referendum effort is taken out to the woodshed and put down.  This time out of Anne Arundel county (i.e., slots-a-palooza) where the petition was struck down because the challenged law was part of an appropriations package, which cannot be challenged by referendum.  That seems like a loophole you could drive a truck through...a truck full of slot machines.  I agree that the bar for getting something on the ballot should be high, but I don't agree with the apparent situation where you need a battalion of lawyers to collect your signatures.  While that would certainly help the employment situation of my breed, it would wipe out the de facto availability of referenda in this state. 

HowChow posts about a very cool cooking competition going on this summer at the Belvedere in Baltimore.  I may look into getting tickets for this, considering Jane is a huge Top Chef fan.

Speaking of food, I wanted to post this great write-up of Catonsville Gourmet on Kevin and Ann Eat Everything.  It made me laugh out loud a couple times.

Wordbones chats politics over some brews in Ellicott City and ends up with an interesting piece about Ed Kasemeyer's tap dancing act in District 12.  There is also an eyebrow raising comment from a HoCo "Deepthroat" seemingly suggesting some impropriety in the development of the CA software.  Could be some yellow journalism, but still worthy of note.

The rest of my blogger compatriots appear to have also been busy this weekend as there is a dearth of posts for me to link to.  I expect this to be a crazy week as people get ready for their three day weekend.  Speaking of which, anyone want to run the Arbutus 10K with me?  I'll buy you a beer after the race!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Larry, Can You Hear Me? (Sunday Chatter)

Where's Larry?  For the second week in a row, I can't find the Saturday Morning Larry Carson articles that make my weekend complete.  I can only hope that Larry is taking a cue from our European counterparts and taking a 2-4 week summer "holiday."  But in the meantime, I will miss him.

So last night I went back to Smokin' Hot to reevaluate my overwhelmingly positive review of the Glenwood BBQ spot that was criticized by some of my readers.  All I have to say is: you people don't know your BBQ.  This time I brought my parents.  We all loved everything we ordered.  My Dad isn't a huge fan of the ale that's brewed there (I still like it), but he loved the food and was swapping out the different BBQ sauces like Cabernets at a wine tasting.  We had the cobbler (again), except this time had it a la mode, which made it even better.  So I say again, ya'll is crazy.  This place is good (or maybe we just ordered different stuff).

To my great surprise, my endorsement of Smokin' Hot reached further than the four corners of my computer screen.  After sitting down, I see this big smile on my Dad's face, which is normally associated with him seeing someone he knows.  I turn and there stands Calvin Ball.  I had not had the chance to meet Calvin in person up to this point, but we have had a back and forth regarding whether or not I am down with Bel Biv Devo (long story), and I genuinely like the guy.  Same goes for my friend Anthony, who is running against him in District Two.  We chatted briefly.  A little later Calvin brought over the owner of Smokin' Hot and told him that I had given the place a positive review, which I appreciated.  (My mom later made the mistake of suggesting that the owner's mother made the cobbler to which he responded "you think I make my mother work?" and it was very awkward for all parties involved).

On his way out, Calvin told me that the Council Budget has been cut to send additional funds to Community Services, which helps organizations such as the Day Center (where I will be later this afternoon, if any of you want to meet me there).  This would truly be a blessing, as the Day Center has recently endeavored to start the first set of Sober Houses, for semi-permanent housing, in the County (more on that later).  The REAL next step, if you're listening Calvin, is Drop-In Housing.  We need it ASAP.

Friday, June 25, 2010

What is that Message? "Hey, Me."

Courtesy of Dave Bittner's Facebook page:

Robinson Makes His Case

A recent topic in the local blogosphere is the clear partisan biases of the Howard County Education Association, which tend to strain the group's credibility (and even relevance) in terms of candidate endorsements.  I stumbled across  Jeff Robinson's, Candidate for Delegate District 13, letter to the editor in the Howard County Times, and it really puts some egg on the face of the HCEA.  I thought I would share:

Last week, I read with great interest the article you published on the Howard County Education Association's local candidate endorsements.


As a candidate for the Maryland House of Delegates from District 13, I wanted to point out that HCEA never actually provided candidates like myself with an opportunity to discuss our stands on educational issues. That is likely one of the main reasons why I did not receive their endorsement. And, from my vantage point, it seems they didn't intend to provide anyone with a chance at their endorsement as long as the candidate had the word "Republican" beside his or her name.

Apparently, the HCEA makes its recommendations based upon rumors, assumptions and innuendo about people they "think" will help the union the most. What they clearly do not use is a reasoned method that gathers information to effectively compare the candidates. Without an objective methodology, though, the process raises serious questions about how they honestly assess the experience, character and policy positions of the candidates they ultimately endorse for their members' consideration.

In my case, if they had chosen to interview me, or even had the common courtesy to just submit a questionnaire for me to fill out, they might have learned: that I was the first student member ever on the Anne Arundel County Board of Education; that I was the son of a lifelong elementary school teacher; that I've always supported the values of public education and have sought through many means to serve the youth of Howard County; that I've consistently been involved in a leadership role in our local PTAs; and that I believe in the recommendations espoused by Maryland's Thornton Commission, which aims to improve the quality of education throughout our state.

But evidently, when they went about making their endorsement choices the association's Government Relations Committee did not care to know anything about the actual candidates in the race. Instead, they have intentionally remained in the dark throughout their own selection process. Years ago, in medieval times, educators and academics were the last line of defense against the evils of purposeful ignorance. Oh, how the tables have turned.
Jeff Robinson
Scaggsville

A little Verklempt

I'm man enough to admit that this video got me a little choked up.  Just a little.  No tears were shed.

It's FRIIIIIIDAY! Time to party! (Friday Morning Links)

Whew, this week has met its winter (think cold thoughts) and it is time to get down to some weekend.  It looks like mine will be a busy one yet again, but with some fun stuff sprinkled in.  Tomorrow morning I will be meeting up at the new Charm City Run in Clarksville for a five mile fun run.  This is one of my favorite run shops and I am very glad that we now have one in the HoCo (it will make packet pick-ups so much easier).  I then have a HoCo Sober House meeting over at the Day Center followed by FUTBOL.  If you're free on Saturday and are looking for a place to watch the match, drop me a line.  I'm having a few people over and I'm sure Jane will not have a problem with me inviting strangers off the internet into our home.

On Sunday, I will be volunteering with 25.45 at the Celebration Tri around Centennial Lake.  Since I am now a triathlete (shameless self promotion), I feel an obligation to help others on their long, strange, dead-legged journey to the finish line.  I don't know too many people in 25.45, so I am looking forward to meeting some new friends and 8 a.m. sangria. 

Links

Something makes me think that Ed Hale of Mariner Bank has watched It's a Wonderful Life one too many times.  Ya see Ed, George Bailey's office didn't overlook the entire Baltimore downtown like Emperor Ming.  Good luck with that, though.

Transportation seems to getting bigger and bigger as a campaign issue for the Battle of the Govs as the election season wears on.  The most recent focus sounds like a Stephen King novel:  Hell Train.

Federal authorities allow a witness's name to leak.  Witness is killed.  Federal authorities want to try again by getting a witness of their witness's slaying to testifying.  Second witness somewhat reluctant.

Anytime we read a story like this one about Drew Johnson's volunteer efforts across 48 states, we think "I wish I could do that."  The great ones probably just do it.

HowChow reviews Mango Grill in Laurel and it looks goooooooood.

Sarah posts about mass transit in Maryland and a quick suggestion to MARC -- While undergoing "hell train" conditions, let the people off the train.

Wordbones explains the lop-sided signage in the area, and why the Ulman administration may be holding back on a parade of illegal sign busts.  This just further solidifies "Better to ask forgiveness than permission."

Jessie X gets interviewed about GTD...I don't know what GTD is, but I am glad that we have a GTD expert in our county!

This post on Columbia Talk about handicap fakers really ticked me off.  The worst thing is that there are people who had their handicap tags taken away, despite the fact that they may need to park closer, simply because a family member wanted to save 3 minutes of walking.  Shame shame shame.

Have a great Friday and do something fun tonight.  Jane and I are going back to Smokin' Hot for dinner, so I hope to look into some of the complaints I've heard about one of my favorite BBQ joints in the HoCo.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

U-S-A! U-S-A! (Thursday Links)

I still have Landon Donovan's goal playing in my head.  Those that know me well know that I am a true sports nut.  My basement is decorated with signed jerseys (God Bless Jane's understanding soul), I normally go to at least one sporting event every two weeks, and when Raven games are on TV, something clicks over in my brain and I become 70% primate, 30% manic-depressive.

But yesterday may have been one of the coolest sports experiences I have had in quite some time.  Somewhere at the juncture of patriotism and sports lay a single goal with two minutes and fifteen seconds left to play.  It was incredible.

I also had the wonderful opportunity to meet with David Proudfoot and his lovely wife last night.  We've been trying to meet up for some time, and I'm glad we were finally able to do it.  David has a very matter-of-fact practicality about him that is refreshing during this political season of "head in the cloud" rhetoric.  He has ambitious goals for the County school system, but I have no doubt that for each one, he has some idea on how to get there, rather than just an idea of what people want to hear.  David wants to meet as many people as possible in the county, so if you have a free afternoon, I would suggest dropping him an e-mail to see if he may be available for coffee or a beer.

Links

When New York implements "zero tolerance" arrests, Guiliani is a political hero.  When Baltimore tries it, the NAACP beats them senseless.

Speaking of smack-downs, Laura Vozzella (surprisingly) takes O'Malley's campaign team to task for a terribly misleading and convoluted campaign ad trying to link Ehrlich with the oil companies.


I did not feel this earthquake.  This is a good thing, because if I had, I may have had to change into gym clothes.


Marc Bulger is a Raven....?

Columbia Talk and Wordbones comment on CA's new, expensive, computer system, which somehow required certain staff to go to India.  Bull-loney.

Looks like Sarah has another great CSA drop-off.

Jessie X has a great post about the U.S. World Cup Dubb-ya.

Tell Your Neighbors posts about an author signing...correction: a Pulitzer Prize-winning author signing.

Despite all the sports excitement, this week is dragging for me.  Hopefully things pick up a little bit at work because I am counting down the hours until the weekend (which is packed with stuff). 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAALLL

I had a very patriotic early lunch today, how about you?  For the first time, I feel like I was able to get a taste of the passion that soccer/football/futbol inspires across the world.  It was a sports experiences that I won't soon forget...

...and hope to replicate.  Where is everyone planning to watch the match on Saturday?  Home, bar, friend's house?  I am thinking of having some people over to my place, but want to check with the missus.

Best Crabcakes & Beer

One of the blog's readers is looking to find the best crabcakes and beer in the Baltimore/Washington Corridor.  Any help?

I'll start it off with my HoCo favorites:  Two locations for favorite crabcakes in the area are conveniently right next to one another: Gunnings and Timbuktu.

For beer, you have the HoCo Triumvirate: T-Bonz (going there tonight), Judge's Bench, and Victoria (where I just recently celebrated my Triathlon...to the disappointment of those trying to enjoy a classy Father's Day brunch).

Hope that gets you started.

No Links Wednesday

Dog unplugged alarm clock.  Seriously.  Woke up with enough time to get to work, but not enough time to peruse the interwebs. 

(For those that know me, it was Baxter.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pea Soup (Tuesday Links)

When my wife first moved here from New Joy-see, I described the humidity outside as being like "pea soup."  Her response was "Excuse me?"  Me: "You know, like 'pea soup.'  You never heard that before?"  Evidently in New Jersey, they either do not have humidity severe enough for such a term, or they are more refined with their similes.  All I know is, the term is apt.  However, I think the weather phrase applied in all jurisdictions is "It's not the heat, it's the humidity," which we should all prepare to hear spouted frequently over the next month or so.

Links:

SRB and the City Council appear to have gone off on the wrong foot with regard to this bottle tax issue.  I sort of like it.  Sheila "Shoe-less" Dixon seemed a bit too cozy with the Council, which probably led to the lack of scrutiny that ended up being the fatal weakness to her administration.  I don't think this Council plans to let SRB get away with anything, and vice versa.  Good government requires tension.  If we can't have party balance, at least we can have ego balance.

Maryland high schools lock it down in the Newsweek Rankings.  Unfortunately, these rankings are a bunch of nonsense that normally have at least 2 or 3 soft statistics that favor those schools who pay more attention to how they are ranked than how they teach their students.  That's not to say it is bad that our schools were ranked well, only that I have concern with these nationwide ranking systems.

Homebuyer Tax Credit: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help."  The real sad thing is that a lot of people were desperately depending on these credits, which goes to my original concern that the tax credit was a bad idea in the first place because it continued to encourage people that were not in a position to buy to BUY BUY BUY, NOW NOW NOW, Don't wait!!!  The tax credit was populism at its best, which is normally government at its worst.

People are wondering who Ehrlich is going to pick for Lt. Gov.  WASPs need not apply.

WB kicks off a great discussion about the school board, with David Thalheimer's candidacy being the genesis of the debate.

HowChow goes Trolling again.

Sarah has a nice "to do" list planned for summer.

Freemarket knocks the Baltimore City police for sending police commanders to help recover Jenna Bush's bike.  Ridiculous.

It seems like there is a new local blog popping up everyday now.  As happy as I am to see the new voices, I just don't think I will be able to expand my daily review to the newbies just yet.  As it is, this morning run down has gone from a 30 minute daily endeavor to 45 minutes, which is just about all I can fit.  I already have Noonespecial thinking that all I do all day is blog, workout, eat, sleep, and be merry.  Ha ha.  Have a great Tuesday.

Monday, June 21, 2010

MPW Goes Dark

Maryland Politics Watch has turned off the lights and appears to be packing it in.  This bums me out for two reasons: 1) It was without a doubt one of the best blogs for political news in the state; 2) I was coming very close to having three months of statistics and thought I may stand a chance to make the blog rankings.

It is a shame to see a great blog go, but you couldn't have a better reason: to spend more time with his family.  When that time comes, I can only expect that I will have to lay down the keyboard in favor of diapers and milk bottles. 

Hurts So Good (Monday...notes)

Yesterday, I finished a Sprint Triathlon.  That is .5 mile swim; 12 miles bike; 4.1 miles running (give or take some fractional miles).  It was incredible, but today I am tired and sore.  I highly recommend trying to push yourself by training for a 5K or some other "active event."  I am very excited by the new Charm City Run store in Clarksville, which has its Grand Opening next weekend.  They are starting it off with a fun run that I hope to partake in (so long as my hip makes up with both of my femurs by then).

The post about Bikram Yoga, that I never got around to, was going to be titled "What Are You Capable Of?"  It is something the instructor said repeatedly that made me work when I was tired and push myself when I thought I had reached my limit.  It also was my mantra on mile 3 of the run yesterday, when everything else in my body was saying "stop."  There is nothing better than finding new depths in your capabilities.  It is quite a rush.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Leisure Suit Larry (Saturday Links)

(That title should get me some interesting hits)

It appears from the abscence of political reporting in today's Howard Section that my favorite (no sarcasm) Sun reporter is on vacation this week.  Hope you're having a good time, Mr. Carson.

The Sun did have an article about David Thalheimer, candidate for Board of Education, who I had ealier posted on with regard to his penchant for smiley face (or more accurately, frowny face) politics.  I have never met David, and he seems like a very nice fellow, but I think his aspirations for higher office are plain.  Right off the bat he is looking to add contention to a race that doesn't need it.  Also interesting in this article is that Mr. Thalheimer is close friends, and appears ideologically aligned, with current BoE member Allen Dyer, who appears to be a somewhat controversial member of the Board.

I found this to be a moving story about a local baseball recruit looking to memorialize his older brother who was killed protecting his home from robbers in Essex.

Dear Coffee Party, you are a joke.  While I applaud their ability to bring light to a corporate funded legislative event put on by Speaker Busch, I find it to be a complete cop-out to say that they "weren't upset with Busch."  Really?  So...what exactly are you protesting?  This seems similar to the torture protesters from the Bush administration who now turn a blind eye to the continuing use of rendition by the Obama administration.  Hypocrites.  Your team-sport mentality is part of the problem.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Unemployment Statistics.

United States was robbed of a W and a guarantee to move on to the second round in the World Cup.  I really wish I could watch some of these games, and may consider taking a long lunch on Wednesday for the next match.  The World Cup takes on a "charge" that I don't feel with the Olympics, but maybe that is because I have never been a huge Olympic fan.

Little bunny Po-po, I don't want to see you, picking up the riff-raff, and boppin' 'em on the head.

WB went golfing and took some great pictures of Hobbit's Glen.  As a former landscaper for Fairway Hills, I can appreciate a well tended green.

I really hope Sarah was able to convince her husband to go to the Liberty brewery...wait...Sarah has to convince her husband to go to a brewery?  Please drop C off for a "re-education" at Victoria Gastro-Pub Mon-Sun 6 pm to 10 pm.

You probably won't hear from me again until after the Tri.  Wish me luck.  I am excited, while also nervous.  This would be so much easier if I wasn't racing with my uber-competitive college bud...who we call Stifler.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Disturbing

As one of the last Western civilizations with capital punishment, many Americans take pride that we take vengeance, under the guise of "justice," against those among us who commit the worst of crimes.  We find their behavior so abhorrent that the only true recompense is to turn that behavior back onto the actor.  Killers are killed.  It is simple and easy to understand.  My own personal belief is that it is lazy justice.

What I can't get past is how disturbing it is to think of the clinical death of a healthy human being.  It seems generally "discordant" to me, and I can't put my finger on exactly why.

For all Americans that are so proud of our history of execution, I think you need to get your hands on what it is that actually goes on when another American is put to death.  Here is such an account.

FRIDAY!! Woot! (Links)

I'm now pretty excited about my Sprint Triathlon this Sunday and am gearing up for the big day.  I didn't think I would be this nervous going in, but I think that goes along with any big challenge.  Anyway, let's get down to some links and I can tap my Elvis leg elsewhere.

Links:

The debate over the $100 million juve-jail in Baltimore for teenagers facing adult charges is an interesting one.  One of the basic things the government can normally get away with spending crazy amounts of money on would be jails.  "Get 'em away from me!" is the normal thinking there.  However, due to the specific nature of this type of jail, I think opponents from all sides can take a piece.  There are those that are against any government spending, those against non-rehabilitative juvenile detention centers, and those that just like picketing, all collected in front of City Hall.  I don't know if it is a two day protest, but it'll be a hot one today.

Feel good story about modern day heroes.

For lack of a bottle tax, city workers may be losing their jobs.  So long as this tax isn't transferred somewhere else, such as an (eek) commuter tax, I am fine with it.  My compassion goes out to those that will lose their jobs, but I also believe the Baltimore City gubment could use some trimming around the waste.  It is amazing what efficiencies can be created when you give a political body some scissors and say "cut."

The Yates Police Brutality case took on some additional features yesterday as Mr. Yates held a press conference.  Right off the back: serious plaintiffs do not have press conferences.  A few quotes of note:

Johnson (Yate's attorney) said the $50 million price in the suit is a large number intended to “get their attention and let them know we’re serious.”

“It is clear that there is an epidemic of police brutality in this country,” she said. “In Howard County, the courts, police and State’s Attorney all work together to cover up police brutality. That’s why officers think they’re above the law."


A questionable entry in the police report suggests that the police may be using the old "fell down some stairs" excuse:

Charging documents state that during the struggle, Yates lost his balance, struck his face against the mirror of his car and fell to the ground.

Hate it when that happens.

WB meets with James Howard and gets Disqus up and running.  The best thing about both blogs having this feature is that commenters begin to develop a catalogue of past comments (should they choose to use the same e-mail address) and develop an identity similar to those put out by bloggers.  I think it adds a good amount to the blogging community, and leaves the shield of anonymity available to those who need it.

A HowChow reader posts about the new Twist & Turn Tavern over in Highland.  This restaurant is of particular interest to me, as it is right by my parents.  The outside looks like Frontier Town, so hopefully the food makes up for the decor.

Sarah gives Joe Bartlett some deserved lashing with a wet noodle for his plain old stupidity, arrogance, and...did I say stupidity?

Frank Hecker has a rather lengthy post about the Kentlands in Gaithersburg, which I honestly did not have a chance to read.  I highly recommend it to all readers, as Frank's posts are always well reasoned and well written.

If all pleasure in life is anticipation, Friday must be king.  Have a great weekend, everybody! 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Twentyfive.Fortyfive Needs Volunteers for the Columbia Tri

I just volunteered and would love to see some other HoCo Rising fans out there with me. 

Columbia Triathlon Association's inaugural Celebration Sprint Triathlon, Sunday, June 27, 2010 from 8am - noon.

twentyfivefortyfive volunteers would staff the Aid Station on the Centennial Lake path, on the running portion of the event. We'll work in 2 hour shifts. Volunteers have a terrific time helping keep runners safe & hydrated while cheering them on!

THIS EVENT IS ONE WEEK FROM SUNDAY AND WE NEED TO HAVE A VOLUNTEER COUNT BY TOMORROW. PLEASE CONTACT ilana@pixelworkshop.com to volunteer or for more info.

Our sister extension of The Columbia Foundation, the Women's Giving Circle of Howard County's Circle Team will be participating in this event. Help us Celebrate them and all the athletes participating.

For students, this opportunity qualifies for student service hours, and its a great family activity.

Flying By (Thursday Links)

This dreaded week has whipped by and I am not too much the worse for wear.  However, I did beat the dickens out of myself trying to install an already constructed Saris bike rack on my car yesterday.  I swear that thing came backwards and it took everything I had to twist the arms back around the right way.  After doing so, it fit perfectly, but my hands feel like they've been shut in about twenty car doors.

In other news, Jane got out of jury duty.  Always helps to have a lawyer in the family (who never stops talking about work -- wink wink).

Links:

Safe Surrender is a great program that gives those with outstanding warrants and opportunity to clean the slate and move their lives into a more positive direction.  I know a few people at the Day Center that have warrants in as many as three counties, mostly for "drunk and disorderly" or some other public nuisance crime, which keep them from obtaining employment now that their life is back on track.  They can't just show up at the courthouse, since this would risk spending as much as a year in prison for the failure to appear alone.  I've discussed the common place nature of FTA's in my post about the HoCo bus system.  I hope Howard County may implement a Safe Surrender program with locations out in the community, similar to the way Baltimore City does.

This War on Bullying is another example of the misguided attempts to have government take care of social problems that have no solution.  Unfortunately, bullying has always existed and will always exist as an apparent social construct of establishing hierarchy amongst young children.  I have never met someone who escaped the nasty thorns of taunts and teasing at the Elementary and Middle school levels.  The schools certainly need to have responses to noted incidences of bullying, but they can't cure it all together.  That's parenting, not governing.  I should have to say this but, there's a difference.

As I've said before, mass transit is the best "social program" that can be implemented to raise the position of the poor and under-privileged.  It enables people to get to work at low cost, which is often a prohibition to finding work in the first place.  As such, I have a hard time with Ehrlich's mass transit position (at least how it is presented in the Sun).  Most of the time these political issues boil down to "I don't want city riff raff being able to make it out to my suburban malaise with a buck fifty in their pocket."  In fact, it is rumored that there was a Georgetown metro stop in DC that was blocked off with cement once the wealthy urbanites gave the "no-no" to the project.  I will be looking into this further to see if the "Light for All" is really just another blue light, but hopefully Ehrlich has a plan for helping more people get to work across this great state.

However, I still like him better than this guy.

WB does not put his peanut butter in the refrigerator, and neither do I (although that would be a better way to distinguish the people PB from the dog PB, which presently is labeled only as "Brodie and Baxter Peanut Butter.  DO NOT EAT.")

Sarah has received her second CSA delivery, while I am still waiting on my first.  Come on Buckland!

Besides that, the bloggers have been a bit sedated this week.  Maybe it is the humidity...or maybe they are smarting over WB's assessment of the blogging process.  I personally disagree with the cartoon...insofar as it suggests there is an evaluation period at all.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

$50 Million Per Tooth!

A $50 Million Civil Rights action has been filed against the Howard County Police in U.S. District Court.  For those unfamiliar with these types of lawsuits, a civil rights action does not have to involve race (although in this case the plaintiff is black), but rather relates to an individual's rights being interfered with under the "color of state law." 

That will explain why damages that really only amount to, at most, a couple hundred thousand dollars are presented as $50 million.

The Howard County police are no strangers to federal court after recently having a case against them dismissed relating to the shooting of a family pet during a SWAT raid.  I'm not going to rush to judgment on the present action, especially since I agree with (while not abiding by) the adage that nothing good happens after midnight.  If this man was minding his own business, as the plaintiff's attorney and her witnesses suggest, then shame on the police, but if he was resisting arrest...well that's just writing a blank check for a police officer to bounce you into compliance.  I don't mean to be coarse, but the first piece of legal advice I bring to people have issues with police is "never ever resist arrest...resist detention with a lawyer."

My prediction (although I was very wrong with the Cattail Creek crew [who I still think settled for pennies on the dollar for what a jury would give them]): This case settles out of court in the next year for some unspecified amount, which will be closer to the couple hundred thousand dollars that this case is worth.

'ello Mr. President (Wednesday Morning Links)

I haven't really taken in much of the analysis from last night's Presidential address, but I feel like he missed the mark.  Energy policy is important, but it is also very political.  I don't think the people of New Orleans wanted their mashed potatoes mixed with their peas last night.  We have an ongoing national catastrophe that should be the focus.  Once resolved, I think the President has free reign to say "Look what we just had to do.  Now, let's get this mess straight."  I would almost compare it to going to a doctor for pneumonia and him saying "Let's change some of your life habits" before doing anything about the pneumonia (or for the HHAP folks: your doctor acting like you life coach, which are clearly two different things).

I don't think President Obama did anything wrong by addressing National Energy Policy, I just think it showed a continued detachment wherein he is all political, all the time.  While that may be the de facto position of the President, it is not what America needs right now.

Links:

There is certainly a lot of anger directed at Ms. Perouty-Leone, the woman who faked cancer to scam her friends out of thousands of dollars, as there should be.  I think the interesting side note is that people will give $12,000 out of their own pocket to help a friend in need.  That generosity, however unmerited by the recipient, should be applauded.  These were very good people that met a woman with no conscience.  It is unlikely they will ever give so openly again.  Very sad.

Howard County police arrest 10 in a "reverse sting" targeting prostitution "Johns" in Laurel.

Sarah has a great post about AP credits and the prospect of three year college programs.  Indiana Jane was a three year college whiz.  I lazily accepted and enjoyed all four.

WB discusses the friendlier NSA polygraph program.  The least painful way to take a poly is to make sure all of the information is out front before they hook you up to the Big Show.  That is probably why the polygraph is so effective at getting out secrets.

Jessie X has been writing all over the place.

Freemarket notes the spending habits of Montgomery and Fairfax Counties.

That's all for today.  I woke up late (again) but that's ok because I will be in a Pretrial Conference in Anne Arundel and get to spend the entire rest of my day in the HoCo.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

No Link Tuesday

I woke up at 3 am with a tremendous headache, which usurped precious sleep time.  This then messed up my posting schedule and, hence, no links for you.  I will try to make up for it with a post later today, but I'm still in "catch-up" mode at work (along with some very exciting leads in the new practice area I've been working on).  Barring a repeat of last night's leprechaun in the attic, daily links will resume tomorrow.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

So Nice They Countied It Thrice

Laurel.  It doesn't even sound nice.  The word rolls off your tongue and falls immediately to the floor in a wet heap.  Don't get me wrong, historic Laurel is a great place and I have many fond memories of going to a dinner theatre there as a child for an interactive performance of the Christmas Carol every December.  However, I also remember interning the with HoCo State's Attorney and quickly realizing that one out of every 3 violent crimes occurring in our county had a Laurel zip code.  It was so frequent that the Ann Arundel SA and the HoCo SA would debate who had jurisdiction like a game of hot potato (I worked on a case in which a body is presumed to have rolled down a hill from Anne Arundel into Howard...seriously).

This morning I got up a little early to check out our flight itinerary and stumbled across this article about human trafficking busts on the AA side of that proud city of Laurel.  The truth is that this isn't Anne Arundel's problem alone.  It may just be that the AA police are better at rooting these issues out.  You'll note the creation of a task force, which in government parlance means one of two things: tremendous focus or tremendous interest in placating interest groups.  In this case it is clearly the former.  I've written a law review article on Human Trafficking that I never submitted for publication, which addresses this exact issue (i.e., how legislation can be crafted to address local trafficking in persons).  If I can dig it up from about two computers ago, I will try to post some of it.  I wonder if this is on the radar with our gubment in light of the fact that the problem is taking place in a locality that does not start with C and end with olumbia.

I will be back in the HoCo tomorrow.  To be completely honest, I miss it...or maybe I just miss my dogs.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tom D'Asto Sets His Spikes

I know, I know.  You all are thinking "What is this crazy guy doing?  It is 8:30 am in the Dome-in-e-can Re-puube-lick, shouldn't he be halfway through a bottle of rum by now?  But instead he's posting on his silly website?"  Yes, I am, dear reader.  Yes, I am.

I just wanted to let you all know that Tom D'Asto's website appears to be up and running for your consumption and criticism.  I haven't had a chance to do much more than notice it is up.  For reasons unbeknownst to me, the other GOP candidate for District 4 is off the HoCo GOP website and it appears Tom has a clear shot to get the coveted Republican slot for the District 4 council race.  Best wishes to Tom and his campaign team as they embark on their door knocking, sign waving, and fund gathering.

(FYI: Spelling errors may be slightly elevated while posting in the DR as my spell check has evidently realized that it is in lengua espanola and believes all of my words are spelled incorrectly.)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Hola! Como Esta?

(Note: Upside down question mark not available)

Luck/Fate would have it that the resort we are staying at just started wireless access on June 7th, and will start charging for access on June 14th (no joke).  So I am happy to report that I will be able to check in from afar.

We are having a great time and besides a brief issue with Nationale Presidente beer not getting along with my stomach, this has been a great three days.  I feel a little lazy "doing nothing" but I've read some great...books and have plenty more vacation to go.  The Dominicans are a little pushy, but as soon as you get over your aversion to "being sold" it becomes a bit of fun and games.

(CORNY ALERT) The best part about vacations like this is you get a chance to reflect on why you are so blessed to be with the person you married to.  I'm having a great time, amigos.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Vacationy (Friday) Links

I am now hours, not days, from my secret vacation (secret from my wife, I know all and see all [and have dealt with all annoying airline customer service reps]).  I am still hopeful that there is internet access wherever I go, but otherwise will be working on the next great novel of the 21st century (or a legal thriller featuring a protagonist who figures out something secret and tries to expose the secret before being killed).

I think we found out something interesting about the HoCo blogosphere yesterday: only one thing is more controversial than Columbia redevelopment and that is the ability to comment anonymously.  One of my commenters made a good counter-point to my earlier post about the post-Disqus comments being "more developed" by saying "such as?"  I guess I feel like at the very least, the conversation has been maintained while thinning out some of the riff raff comments.  I insisted repeatedly that you can still function anonymously with the new comment mechanism, but something about it seems to scare off the people that just want to throw stones without any additional argument.  Still boils down to the somewhat rude, but true, response to those that take issue with the way a blog is run: start your own.  I will be your first reader.

LINKS (with news stories for your pleasure)...(stared at the parenthetical for a little while before deciding it stays.  Vacation time allows for some tom-foolery):

The Educational Association came out with endorsements...and they are mostly blue.  Friend of the blog David Proudfoot got a nod, which is great to see for a political newcomer.  However, for the party affiliated candidates, I think the Association needs to consider its credibility.  Going all one party (not even all incumbents, since they didn't endorse Greg Fox) suggests that this is just a sham organization that is a branch of the Democratic Central Committee.  That's fine, but don't expect voters to care too much about what you say.  They may be overwhelmingly Dem registered, but they don't like this kind of make-pretend deliberation.

Call me old fashioned, but I'm pretty sure Mad Max had the right solution for how to solve the dirt bike problem.

Now the City Fire and Police Unions say that Baltimore city knowingly underfunded pension plans over the past decade.  There's been some really great discussion about the Baltimore City government on this site over the past week (which I have truly appreciated and enjoyed).  I think the unions set the gubment up on this one.  On the front end, they require higher wages and larger numbers.  This puts a stress on finances and requires hard budget choices, which may have paid the minimum into pension plans in the hope that there is a strong return on investment (not necessarily against recommendations, but just not to the full recommendation of the financial advisers).  Now at the back end these same unions are saying "HEY!  What did you do with our money?"  And even worse, now there are more of "them" to pay pensions to...because they asked for more numbers.  (Happy now, Trevor?)

Looks like all those fake O'Malley and Ehrlich Twitter feeds may get a little quieter now that the Board of Elections has ruled that those accounts run by a candidate's campaign need to have endorsement lines.  I never followed these garbage pipes, but for those that do, please let me know if one goes to radio silence.

Note to Parents: If you gave your child a Shrek drinking glass from McDonald's...get it back.  May I suggest replacing it with a fine Dora or Diego glass from Target?


It begins.

There was some chatter yesterday about Jay Hancock calling Columbia the least bohemian city in the United States.  This disturbed me only as much as I met an awesome guy named Richard at the hoco blog party and he is considering a move to HoCo.  This is one individual who could bring a good deal to the county's art scene and I hope he makes the leap.  Besides being slightly concerned that Richard may be turned off by an article like Mr. Hancocks...I noticed that Jay Hancock may just be the least bohemian blogger in the United States.  He writes about FINANCE and ENERGY RATES.  Has he met Damon Foreman?  I'm not saying the man is wrong, but I have a hard time taking him seriously.

Grilling week with HowChow goes to the Mexican Market.

Wordbones touches on Mr. Hancock's idea of bohemian.

Sarah talks about the compulsion of elder co-workers and colleagues to sometimes point out that one among them is younger.  Not only have I heard "kiddo" but also "you probably weren't even born when..." or "I bet you don't even know who...is."  I wouldn't mind this so much if it were appropriate for me to respond with pending retirement dates or questions about how Fred Flintstone was as a neighbor.  The bigger problem is that most of the time, whether acknowledged or not, these comments are meant to be demeaning.  "You are young and inexperienced.  I am old and wise."  I like to have that decided on the court.  The good thing for me is that with my profession, we normally get to do just that.

Frank Hecker develops a comment "moderation" policy (although generally promises not to moderate).  I've stayed away from these policies mostly because I'm lazy.  I had a commenter the other day that "squatted" (i.e., posted an unrelated subject just to have himself heard), but that comment ended up stirring up some chatter, which is the entire purpose of the blog in the first place.  It pisses me off, but I am but a steward.

Yesterday, I attended a planning meeting for the first Sober House in Howard County (similar, but not the same as, Oxford Houses).  I've mentioned before that we have a tragic void of available housing for the recently homeless, which has forced many to live in the woods.  This is especially troubling for those trying to remain sober, since the culture of the woods is not conducive to recovery.  As an individual I will leave unnamed once said at one of our meetings "No one gets their life back on track out of a tent."  We are looking for help, and if any of you are experienced in real estate or have property that you may be willing to lend to the project (we would be paying rent), please contact me

I have a deposition down in DC today, but I may get a chance to post again a little later.  If I don't have internet next week, consider this your "Be Back in Five Minutes" sign.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Case for Anonymous Commenters

Hayduke posted this video on his Facebook site, and I thought it would be worth sharing, especially in light of Blogger Sensai WB putting the axe on the Anonymous:
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The Case for Anonymous commenters boils down to this: You get more "stuff."  By removing accountability from the speaker, the speaker is free to say whatever he or she wishes with no consequences to concern themselves with, other than the emotional effect their words may have on others.

There are certainly forums and websites in which more "stuff" is a good objective.  Link aggregators like Fark or Slickdeals feed off of additional content.  As far as I know, those sites don't allow unadulterated Anonymity, but you could see how it may be useful there.  For forums such as a local blog, I don't really think that purpose is served by pure anonymity.  We don't need more "stuff."  If anything, we are better served by identities that can post an argument, have that argument addressed, and respond in turn.  How ridiculous is it that these identities boil down to times (i.e. Anon 2:57 p.m.).  As Frank put it yesterday, no matter what blanket of security you may believe Anonymity offers, if someone wants to know who you are badly enough, they are just as likely to use an I.P. address as a moniker.  The only difference is that monikers foster conversation while anonymity detracts and muddies the water.

That is my two cents.  I think a bigger issue is one of trust after some of those who used monikers were outed by various blog hosts.  Should that ever happen again, you can expect a strong response on these pages.

After-Party (Thursday Links)

I had a great time at the HoCo-Blog party at Pure Wine Cafe.  With full disclosure, I had previously had a bad experience at PWC.  It was about a week after the open, and I know now that my sample size was misleading.  Last night I had some fantastic small plates (courtesy of Frank Hecker & PWC hospitality), most notably the chorizo skewers, as well as some amazing Spanish wines.  Those that read often know that I hate small plates.  Not last night.  PWC definitely gets my renewed thumbs up and I will be taking Jane there in the near future. 

I don't really think one type of personality makes up the blogging community (which is similar to saying that there isn't one type of personality that writes an e-mail or maintains a Facebook account).  There were a million conversations going on last night, but one that I heard on the periphery was the difference/value between deliberative long posts and short daily posts (such a my own).  This site wasn't necessarily used as an example, but the daily short, typo-filled, surface level posts are HoCo Rising's bread and butter ("Bob Dole likes bananas").  I enjoy the deliberative long posts, and enjoy writing them, but most of the time those are more spontaneous and certainly not something that anyone could keep up on a daily basis.  Daily posts are essential to maintain the conversation and give some reliability to the reader.  Maybe I'm looking too much into this, but I definitely found that to be an interesting discussion.

Not surprisingly, Columbia redevelopment and the District 4 race came up.  I am an admitted outsider on these issues.  There are other bloggers that are much more knowledgeable about Columbia's issues/politics than myself, but to a certain extent I think that helps me digest the news with the reader rather than explain it to you.  We all wear the beanie together.

Anyway, let's get down to my short shallow posts (just blogs today):

Wordbones has taken his Anonymous commenters out to the woodshed.  This was obviously a hot topic for discussion at the blog party.  Whatever shelter may be gained from Anonymity, it comes at a price to the others who want to play in the pool.  We want openness in our discussions, but that openness can be stifled just as much by cowardly snipes as it can be by disallowing the shadowy Anonymi.  I've found that since switching to Disqus, the amount of comments has fallen dramatically, but the quality of the comments has risen.  People take pride in their name, even if it is a pseudonym.

Sarah is excited about state sponsored birth control...that should get some comments flowing, especially the word "free."

HowChow wants Halal kabobs even though he has no idea what kind of meat goes into it.  Scrapple anyone?

Frank Hecker had a good time at the blog-tale party as well (and was the co-host with Jessie).

I may get around to some news stories today, and I definitely feel like these links are "missing something" without the news aspect.  I am on vacation starting Saturday and have no lined up a guest blogger.  I plan to bring the laptop with me, but will not be "holding myself" to the daily posts as I do during my regular routine.  Also, I would just hate to make you all jealous!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

It's The Geography, Stupid

Sarah's post about her love affair with Columbia made me reflect on what this "city" represents geographically.  I think that many people, especially those that have built their careers in this town, get lost in  self-reference and the importance of what is nearby while ignoring that most of their county-men (like that?) work (and will always work) 30-40 miles away.  Before trapsing into the rhetoric any further, I just want to present one simple question: Is Columbia just an out-post?

Sarah's reason for moving to Columbia was similar to my own (and that of a thousand other young couples).  Her husband worked near DC and she worked in Baltimore.  My wife worked at UMD and I worked in Baltimore (then DC, then Baltimore again).  We "split the difference" and, well, get yourself a map.  Columbia has many attractive qualities, but number one among them is its location along 95 between two metropolitan job-centers.

I know that these words are like nails on chalkboard to many who wish to make a "there there" and dream of Columbia being a hot-spot in and of itself, but I think (again, in our own self-reference) we are ignoring the fact that Columbia's success, and the wealth of our county, can be attributed more to geography than anything special about the manner in which town centers and grocery stores were situated amongst townhouses.  With this acknowledgement is the risk that by disturbing "The Retreat," as it were, of a "suburban malaise" for those who work in cities, you may disturb our most valuable resource: the ability to get away.

Howard County's population has increased 13.7% over the past nine years.  Montgomery County, that shiny city on the hill that Delegate Pendergrass aspires to replicate, has increased 11.3%.  Maryland on the whole has only increased by 7.6%.  So while our town/city/metropolis may be decaying and our Master Plan requires new focus and new vision...people are moving here at a steady click, and, to quote Braveheart, "always have."

I know that HoCo is not Columbia and vice versa.  For all we know, Fulton may be experiencing the biggest population boom of the 21st Century.  However, while I am cautiously optimistic that the motivations at play will result in a positive new future for Columbia, I almost feel ridiculous in saying "It's the geography, stupid."  Let's not mess that up.

Gonna Be a Party Ya'll (Wednesday Links)

Months back when I first exposed myself...ahem...gave up my secret identity to Jessie X, she suggested that we have a hocoblogs party.  I was still getting used to the "passionate voices" that this type of forum stirs up, and was not yet ready for anyone to know who I was, or to interact with those who would otherwise call me a "Snarkapotamus" (still love it) or say that I "make them sick."  That's all over now and I'm here to party.

Tonight, Frank Hecker and Jessie X will be hosting a hocoblogs party at Pure Wine Cafe in Old Ellicott City (right under the light in the middle of the hill).  This is not just for bloggers and all are welcome.

Link time:

When I first heard of the Baltimore Grand Prix, I thought it sounded interesting, but probably wouldn't be anything I attended.  Looks like others may share my view.

Maybe it is just me, and maybe I don't understand the whole situation, but when fire companies are closing down (as they are in Baltimore), I think you have the OK to raise taxes.  Sure, other government programs should be reviewed for cuts, and all frivolities should be sought out and executed on the public square, BUT if those cuts don't materialize, raise taxes and take the public scorn.  Baltimore has itself a history with fires.

Not sure how many people noticed, but Baltimore became a little more dangerous for bad guys over the weekend.  I say that in terms that all Baltimoreans understand.  When there is a shooting in Bmore, no one says "Well I am cancelling my trip to Camden Yards.  That city is just too dangerous."  Instead they think to themselves, "As long as I stay out of areas with blue lights, I will be fine.  The O's on the other hand..."  So while the increased shooting is concerning in a "no man is an island" and "the bell tolls for thee" type way, it doesn't make me rethink my 7-6 work day.

The fact that a felon lobbyist exists is enough to make you angry.  The felon lobbyist saying he will sue if he is not permitted to lobby is infuriating.

Frank Hecker has another great post, this one a follow-up to his earlier discussion of a "sense of place" in Howard County.  As a home-town boy, my opinion is skewed on these discussions.  Everyone thinks their home-town has a "sense of place."  I have so many fond memories all over this plot of suburbia that it almost seems to radiate nostalgia and personal history.  I also am very skeptical when people use the new age type language such as a "sense of place."  Makes me check my wallet placement.  Most of the time when people throw around those terms, there's some sort of sleight of hand going on.  I certainly do not suggest that Frank is up to anything, and merely think he is digesting the phrase and applying it to our habitat, but I do think that whomever first talked about a "sense of place" was trying to get a sense of what kind of place he could trick a group of yokels into buying.

Sarah shares her thoughts on Columbia with a healthy skepticism that is so important in these free-wheeling days of "New Columbia."

HowChow says it is grilling week at the Asian SuperMarket.  I just realized that there was not a Trolling post yesterday.  If that is an indication of a lack of submissions, you people better get on it.

Freemarket does the math on HoCo Solar Panels...man do they hate it when he does the math.

Wordbones will not be at the party tonight, and leaves some cryptic message about cruising around with Bob's

Jessie X supports Mary Kay.

There are becoming too many blogs for me to update everyone in 30 minutes...or maybe I should just stop looking up news articles...or get up earlier (sigh).  Have a good one and enjoy the rest of your holiday-amputated-work-week.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Late Tuesday Links

As everyone is adjusting uncomfortably to the way work clothes interact with sunburns, let's do a quick round of links:

Shane Pendergrass can't wait until Howard County can grow up to be more like its big brother Montgomery, whereas Marc Norman expresses concerns that HoCo is going to end up looking more like its delinquent cousin in Baltimore Cownie.  I think comparisons fall too easily into the polemics of this debate.  One thing is certain: Howard County will be different.  If you like the way it is now, you may want to check out some tourism brochures from some other venues.  Whether you agree with/believe him or not, even Alan Klein has said that Howard County needs to change and needs to develop.  An interesting note at the bottom of the article seems to suggest that property values and traffic congestion are at odds with one another:

It may sound nice, McLaughlin warned, but jobs without homes for those workers just means more commuter traffic and congestion, she said. Because of Howard's central location, high-paying professional jobs "tend to concentrate," McLaughlin said. But if housing doesn't keep up, prices in the county will rise and those workers jam highways as commuters.


"Where are those people going to live?" she said. "If they live in Pennsylvania, they make people in both Howard County and Maryland crabby [by commuting]. That's why I think it's important to continue sustainable development," she said, both from an environmental and congestion standpoint.

So what you're saying is...we don't want housing prices to rise?  But I own a house...
 
The Wine Shipping study has begun.  The only problem is that the only people invited to the class are those against direct shipping.  Maryland's brand of democracy -- gotta love it.
 
Yesterday, Jane tricked me into going to Artie's across from St. Louis Church on Route 108.  Never again.  What kind of self-respecting Maryland ice cream shop does not have malt?  This tragedy was driven home when I noticed the Kendall's Snowball shack was open on our way back to Ellicott City.  (HowChow covers Snowballs here).
 
Wordbones stayed home for the weekend (so did I) and also visited the Baltimore National Cemetery.
 
Sarah is murried!  Looks like it was a fantastic event (and she gets big props for having Resurrection Ale at the reception).
 
That's all I have for today.  The biggest problem with three day weekends (blasphemy!) is having to go from 0 to 60 right back into word mode.  It is very bad for the engine.