No new zesty topicality on Tuesday and Wednesday so MM and the whole 53 family can enjoy the holiday. And so yours can, too!
More new stuff for the 2nd. Happy New Year, True Believers!!!
First off, a happy birthday to two wonderful Howard F'ing County bloggers, Annie Rie and HoCoHouseHon!
It's time to look back and look at what happened in 2013 and wonder what the hell exactly does it all mean? My conclusion: 2013 on the whole, didn't mean very much.
Oh, there were definitely some watershed events, on all fronts. In the video I never even mention the Ravens' Super Bowl victory. Or my broken ankle from the spring. Many other specific events are mentioned therein. And I say "um" way too much.
But hey, enough of my yappin'! Here you go. Enjoy!
Happy National Pepper Pot Day! Let's be careful out there.
There is yet another gathering of Howard County bloggers and their readers next month. I like that they're coming together more frequently! However, this blog party isn't the brainchild of good ol'MM or any of the True Believers.
No, this get-together of Howard County bloggers-- and their readers-- comes to you courtesy of Jessie and the fine crew who brings us hocoblogs. And she has put together quite an event for us all on Wednesday, January 15 at Alexandra's restaurant in Turf Valley. You can sign up for the fun here. I am going, and you should too!
And I'm not being facetious in giving Jessie props (heh heh, I almost wrote "crops"-- if only!) for doing work to get this together. It looks like it will be a really nice time. And I haven't been to Alexandra's in a few months' worth of Sundays so I am looking forward to checking the place out.
I look forward to seeing the attendee list come together on Eventbrite to to seeing many blog compadres at the hootinanny!
And now, for the words that will make the entire Howard County Blogocracy shudder, possibly in ecstacy or delight, I'd like to think in much more disturbed tones.
Marshmallow Man TV. Best of 2013 edition. Sunday. Dig it.
And let's be careful out there.
Crime outbreak in Laurel! Thank God most of it isn't in Howard County. Because nothing bad ever happens in Howard County.
So a guy wearing a "fake Santa beard" robbed the PNC Bank in Laurel several days ago. Well, thank goodness it wasn't a real Santa beard! Because Santa would take this loser's gifts away for life. Kevin Rector had the unfortunate task of writing this article about it. Not sure why he just didn't take the option of applying a melon baller to his tongue.
However, Fox News's favorite high-functioning moron, Megyn Kelly, and her sycophants must be thrilled. Why? Well, look at the picture! Santa who robs banks is black! The real Santa, therefore, would never rob a bank. Because we have established through the "fake Santa beard" that this fake beard equals black guy wearing Santa beard equals black Santa equals not real Santa. Therefore, Santa must be white, correct? And is "Megyn" the longest word in which Y is a vowel?
So now we have established that Santa is unequivocally white, correct!?
Silly, silly, Megyn White and her followers. Santa knows no color. No white, black, brown, yellow, red, green, blue or polka dotted. Santa is simply the spirit of the season. And the spirit of the season isn't to be a jackass and rob a bank wearing a cheesy "fake" beard.
Let's be careful out there.
Good ol'MM is back to run through the tape of 2013 and to bring the rock into 2014! In that vein do I wish a Happy Boxing Day to you all! And also, the first day of Kwanzaa.
What, you've never heard of Boxing Day, you say? Well, Boxing Day, December 26, is generally a holiday that's observed in the nations of the British Commonwealth. It's a thing in the UK, Canada, and Australia, for example, but not a thing in the US. Although, at my last job my department always closed on Boxing Day. Pretty much to give everyone an extra day off.
I was suprised to see that some states observe December 26 as a holiday, and starting in 2014, or neighbor to the south, the Commonwealth of Virginia, will as well. The states listed as observing a holiday on the 26th could hardly be characterized as the refuges of Anglophiles.
On the other hand, December 26 is also the first day of Kwanzaa, the celebration of African American heritage and culture. But none of these states are recognizing December 26 as the first day of Kwanzaa, simply as the day after Christmas.
Given as so many people travel for Christmas as travel back the day after, I'm wondering if making December 26 a state holiday isn't a good idea as well. Further, if Maryland decides to go this route I would be in favor of Maryland nutting up and making the day stand for something. Not just the Day after Christmas. Call it the first day of Kwanzaa, why not? Kwanzaa is a secular holiday and I'd favor the state recognizing it as such.
I can remember those halcyon days when all December 26 represented was the day you griped about the stuff you got and how glad you were that Christmas was over. Now some states are placing it in some regard as a holiday. Let's just not make it a public holiday, but let's give it some meaning in Maryland. And an opportunity to recognize African American heritage sounds like a good enough reason for me.
Again,happy Boxing Day!!! And happy first day of Kwanzaa. Let's be careful out there.
Howdy-do, True Believers! Hope all your plans for the late December holiday are complete.
So that was ridiculous. Y'see, I really don't care what people call the end of year. I have been wished Happy Hannukah, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year at this time of year. (Note, all but option A apply to me) I take all of these things in the spirit in wish they were intended; that is, to wish me health, peace and happiness. Not to make a judgment on my religion or my faith. Because if it were that, probably wishing me Happy Festivus would be the best thing to do.
Therefore, for me, I find this entire "War on Christmas" thing the right-wingers pull to be a bunch of dooky-eating malarkey. Who out there is trying to eliminate Christmas, exactly? Talking about public buildings and governments? Hello! These are public buildings and governments!!! Not organizations that have ever been intended to place one religious tradition over another.
And as the Founding Fathers taught us (well, me) in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, we are all people under God, although we may be of different faiths. Back then they were referring to such radically different faiths (tongue in cheek here) as Quakers, Methodists, Presbyterians, and Lutherans. I am sure that today, they would be bringing Jews, Buddhists, Hindi, and all sorts of others under that same umbrella. Regardless, the intent is the same. The umbrella was meant to cover all.
Recently, to be pleasant, I've been wishing people "a nice Christmastime". For me, that indicates my personal belief while wishing the spirit of the season upon all. And so far no one has looked with nose out of joint or appearance of constipation at me.
Oh, and if we're going to have a War on Christmas, Tea Party Knuckledraggers (and that means all Tea Party sympathizers), then how about if you go to war with these asinine corporations who are forcing their employees to work at stores that are open around the clock? Isn't this time a time to slow down, take stock of the year gone by, prepare for the year ahead, and devote time to family and friends? Or maybe you think Jesus meant for us to shop for stocking stuffers at 3am.
After today, I am taking a break for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. New zesty topicality comes your way on December 26th! Hope you all have a great Christmastime.
And let's be careful out there.
Last week the Governor's Salary Commission returned their recommendations regarding salaries for many state elected officials. Among other things, they recommended the next Governor's salary be raised over time to $180,000 and that state legislators make over $50K for the first time ever. You can read much more about it here.
Hard to believe that it's been nine years since there have been pay increases amongst our state elected officials. But indeed that is the case!
So, OK. Yes, the Governor is normally independently wealthy and who knows, maybe doesn't need the money. And receives many more trappings of office-- free house, police protection, large office, etc. And I understand that the General Assembly is "only" in session from January through mid-April. But if anyone in their right mind things that serving in the Assembly is truly a part-time job-- well, then I would suggest you're not in your right mind.
These are good ideas and deserve support. For me, the key thing is this. It is essential to pay elected officials at the "entry level" of offices-- State Delegate would qualify-- a decent salary. Not so much as it would easily replace a full-time salary for an attorney, businessman, physician (ahem!) or other professional person, but would provide a good supplement and a recognition of the time they spend in their job. My guess is, at $50,000 per year, dividing that salary up on a per hour basis, the citizens of the state are still getting a bargain.
And in order to encourage the officials on this level to seek higher office-- well, salaries have to increase up the ladder. And so the increase in the Governor's salary is not a problem to me. And it shouldn't be to Maryland residents. I mean, hell, the top-paid state employee is Maryland football coach Randy Edsall, and his teams generally suck. And he makes two million bucks a year, so says the Washington Post.
I'm sure the "government watchdog" Tea Party types will get all sour at this sort of point of view. Fine with that. If you want to attract good, quality people to serve, pay them. No one would take a job that's thankless and total service without being fairly compensated. And these recommendations are fairness.
Happy National Date Nut Bread Day! Let's be careful out there.
Why is it that I'm waking up 4 days before Christmas 2013 and it's starting to look to me like 1994? Because that's the feeling I'm starting to get a nagging feeling of, politically. Nationally, serious levels of distrust and disillusionment with the current system. Executive and legislative levels alike. Statewide, a very contentious Democratic primary race where none of the major candidates have exactly leapt out and captured the state's imagination.
And locally, land use is starting to become an issue of import in the local political races. I mean, they always are, but with the entry of Lisa Markovitz into the County Council 1 Democratic Primary, issues become ones of process as well as of policy and product. And that's a dangerous mix. You can read more about her entry into the field here.
My belief is that it's human nature to be more negative than positive. Positive takes work because it yields such greater rewards. And in the context of negativity, there is no more primal, easily tapped, deeper running emotion than fear. And it's half-brother, suspicion.
And to me, that's what people like the Citizens Working to F(ix) Howard County, of which Ms. Markovitz has been a big part, do. They have no evidence of anything being done wrong or inappropriate, but they point out perceived inconsistencies and suggest. In an attempt to bring suspicion. Then fear.
So what would a political campaign by such a person look like? Last we saw of it, Susan Gray was running for County Executive in 1994. John Taylor engaged in some of it when he ran for County Council, but I feel that John got a real wake up call into how politics works during his campaigns and that he realized he had to stand for something in order to win the public trust.
I am hopeful that Lisa Markovitz's campaign takes that latter tack. It is perfectly OK to deal in facts in a political campaign. Opinions too. But not in wild-eyed speculation and conspiracy theories. People deserve better than that from their candidates as they work to secure their trust and their vote. And while I can't speak for Ms. Markovitz personally yet, the organizations she works with have had many recent problems in that regard.
Happy Winter Solstice! Enjoy the 65 degrees. And let's be careful out there.
In case you missed week 1 of Operation Save Second Chance, the work has just begun! There aere other activities and things to do around saving Oakland Mills's local watering hole and gathering place, and you can read all about it here. There are petitions to sign, letters to write, and things to do!
But wait! There's more! Luke LaVoie brings us goodness in local journalism through this article about the whole lease nonrenewal/no reasons why/don't close it because it's important/ oh crap now what thing.
For those playing at home who feel the free market can do no wrong-- here's a case where it's done wrong. Cedar Property (who I had understood was to have been in Oakland Mills this week) could care two doo-doos less about one merchant in one property that they own. Always have been that way, always will be.
But we can make the process for them undigestible, and through this way make it such a big PR blunder for them to drop Second Chance that they won't.
And thus the people power behind this drive to save Second Chance. It's important to support local businesses, and so please make it a point to hit Second Chance, home to the last two Howard County Blog Parties, between 5 and 7:30 Saturday evening. And if you can't make it between those times, the website lists their operating hours. Go anyway!
And let's be careful out there.