24 December, 2008

Christmas 08 and James Brown

If all of our money is taken from us then the only thing we'll have left is each other. We will either side with desperation or with inspiration. I hope the latter prevails and many of us can find each other this holiday season and remember that we still have one other.

As a small gift to one and all I leave you with my all-time favorite song:

James Brown's Funky Christmas-Santa Claus is Definitely Here to Stay

For those of you who may have less money this year than you had last year this one is for you.
For those with small children, struggling to keep Christmas joyous for them, this one is for you.
For all the stresses we go through just to keep it all together for others, this one is for you.

Merry Christmas

11 December, 2008

Need anything from walnart?

Have you ever sent a text message about going to walnart?
-Need anything from walnart?
-Y dog food.

In my T9 function on my cellphone spells "walnart" when I mean Walmart.
Not only has it done this once but it refuses to learn my history of correcting it and typing walmart. Why does my phone refuse to type the word walmart?
I no longer question it. It is walnart to me now. Need anything form walnart? Yea, Pepto Bismol, socks and a tire iron. Got it.

Try it. Does your T9 function know "walmart" or walnart?

07 December, 2008

Baltimore Mayor's Christmas Parade and Pics

Here's some pics of some of my favorite parade folks of the Christmas parade. The Mayor, the Raven's bus, the Lone Ranger and other various visual You know there are tons if you just stand on a corner for a few minutes.

This is only my second year as a Baltimore resident with as many parade visits.
Since my parade perch is only 2 blocks from the house I've been able to score the same spot for the past two years. And I always snap shots of the same parade entries.

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We were all the way at the end of the Ave. at Chestnut and we heard the pipe organ as soon as it turned onto the Avenue from Falls Rd. This seems to be the lead entry and rolls down the street to let the town know that the parade is about to start. Does this happen every year? I liked the idea of a parade cryer.

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Creepy sounding circus music belched out of this pipe organ. If there were 5 or 6 clowns throwing out candy it would have been creeptastic.


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Oh I loved this guy with the pretzels. They were larger than my head. We walked up to Squidfire before coming back to our spot and on our way back this guy was walking down the Avenue selling these huge hot pretzels. I took 7 photos of this guy because he was always around.
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I have about as many photos of the Lone Ranger here. I don't know why but I always make sure I got shots of the masked one. His buddy didn't know that he had to provide his own horse. But he doesn't look like one to miss a parade. The show must go on.
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Suzanne and Kingfish holding down the perch at the Flower Mart. Of course that's only coffee. Hey don't think about taking our spot next year. She's not above shooing you off the step. Scram.


See y'all next year.

05 December, 2008

Hampden's First Fridays Checklist

TGIF Mofos!

Hampden's usually a pretty cool place to be for First Fridays. This monthly event is a relatively new idea in my life and I'm not sure how long or how widespread the event is.

Basically on the first Friday of the month various local shops (in this case Hampden) have a sort of open house which is usually, but not always, catered with wines and cheeses and beers and wraps and coffee and other food and drink. Many shops and have sale specials and such to lure shoppers in while giving everyone a little thank you for supporting them throughout the year (basically guys can crack a beer while holding their lady's purse while she shops).

This month in Hampden I've been told that local artists have banded together to display their works throughout the Avenue. But you'll have to keep your head up to see them.

If you will be walking up the Ave tonight take a look at the street lamps. Every here and there a lamppost will have some sort of art displayed on top. I've also been told that the artist will be hanging around to talk about it. Kinda like a troubadour of the arts, if ya will.

Ooh Ooh! I also saw that the Wine Source will be having free tastings of Baily's Coffee cocktails. So head on in there and get your swill on too.

So here's my First Friday's Checklist for this month:
-Ma Petit Shoes
-Sugar
-Wine Source
-Squidfire
-Red Tree
-Mud and Metal
-Double Dutch
-Atomic Books.


And then after my crew and I are finished plundering the Ave we're heading out to DC the the Gallery in Silver Spring to catch Kevin Saunderson at LODA. who is Kevin Saunderson? Only the greatest techno DJ in the land.
For those who can't make it out to DC here's a little teaser for ya.
http://rapidshare.com/files/104007700/01-kevin_saunderson-the_dj_zone-sat-03-29-2008.mp3


Cheers!

Yep, I'm Getting Furloughed :(

The Gov's taking 2 days from us. It was leaked in the Sun yesterday and confirmed in the Examiner this morning.
Rumor has it that we will have the day after Christmas off and the day after New Years off without pay. More rumor has it that the 2 days pay will be stretched out over 6 mo so it will only be like losing $1.60/day. We'll see about that.

Anyone else getting fired for a few days?
I mean, "furloughed"?

04 December, 2008

Big 3 Bailout. Business as Usual?

I haven't been following the big 3 bailout news very intently but I don't really have to. I'm pretty sure that whoever lines up and asks for billions from the gov is going to get it. Sure there will be debates and scrutiny but everyone's getting paid.
As far as the Big 3 bailout goes (and every other bailout for that matter) it just seems like business as usual but more cash can be handed out now because the bank is being broke wide open.

I grew up in Flint, MI. When I was in high school Flint had 145,000 people and 7 GM plants in Genesee County. We could tell that Grand Blanc was the wealthy part of town because it had the Cadillac plant. Everyone worked for GM or an offshoot of the auto industry. My grandfather moved his family to MI during WWII to work in Flint for Fischer Body, my father worked there at night while going to college to be a GM engineer.

Everybody drove GM cars. Our idea of a foreign car was a Chrysler. It wasn't until I went away to college (MSU, not far away) that I saw many more foreign cars. College girls driving gold Lexus SUV's and many Hondas and Toyotas. many of these kids were from Detroit suburbs. Why weren't they driving GM? Ford? even Chrysler? Did they know something I didn't? Were their minds not owned by the Big 3? This really was confusing, even at 18 yrs old.

That got me to thinking about company towns and the grip they have on the people who live there. A combination of nationalism, pride and wanting to buy what we made kept us buying American cars. My family bought a new or like new car every 4 years. As soon as one was nearly paid off another one was bought.

But it's also these same people who are being put out of work. How are they going to buy GM cars now? Or any cars for that matter.

And now GM has a plan to make themselves better. One of the measures they will take if they get the billions of dollars is to lay off 20,000 workers. That's part of their solution? They've being consistently laying off workers for 25 years and still driving their company into the ground. If anyone looks deeper they will find that GM is not even worth $10 Billion.

But it doesn't matter really. business will continue as planned and there will be no money in the coffers for the people when the real depression hits. Oh it's coming. Why wouldn't it? People are just taking money and that's all that is happening. We are witnessing the largest movement of public money to Private hands that I've ever known. Isn't this what board members do right before their companies go under?

16 November, 2008

A Dogs Life

 
This is Bonzo in his backyard. He's one of the luckiest dogs in Hampden in that he and his brother, Kingfish, have a full yard to run in and play in and holler at all the other dogs passing by. Many other dogs in Hampden have to walk their humans because they don't have yards of their own but these two are like the Stadler and Waldorf of the neighborhood. They give hell to every dog that walks by. I'm sure they tell them about their great yard and that their owners are afforded the luxury of being some of the laziest dog owners in town.
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11 November, 2008

Photo of My Dead Dog

 

This was Kingfish. He served us well. At 4 yrs old this black standard poodle was a pretty good guy. A bit of a meathead but a great companion and loyal to the end.
We did make a pact, you know. We would care for eachother until the end and whoever survived got to eat the other.
So we'll be having hot dogs for the next few weeks. His spirit will do me well.


Ok, OK. He's not really dead, but he might as well be. Lazy varmit.
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Yea, I Still Love Obama. But MoveOn?

OK, so the last entry I wrote about Obama and cash strapped DNC should have been seperated. I was caught up in the idea of reimbursting a campaign. MoveOn is a powerful machine for democratic change and very good at raising money. I'm sure they did well for Obama and I'm sure many of them will land prized seats on the change bus. Good for them. But I'd like to say "mission accomplished" to them if they are going to keep hawking me for $$. It's change I want and we have enough $$ to make that change. Oh wait. Do we? Have the banks and insurance companies swallowed up all our $$ yet? If so why is MoveOn asking ME for $$? Don't they know who has already taken my savings?

Anyway...in a "new president makes good" effort I see on CNN.com that Obama has set up a websight for the country to communicate with the new admin. A transparency that we've never seen before? Check it out for yourself. It's a fairly small site for now but I'm sure it will grow with leaps and bounds. change.gov
Just in time for Veterans Day. Have a look see.

Uh...Wait. Do I Still Love Obama?

Below is an Email I just got from Moveon.org.
If you are on the mailing list then you probably got the same email.
In the past week I've gotten invitations to buy Victory bumper stickers, Posters and now T-shirts...To help repay the DNC. Repay the DNC? For what? For doing their job and running a candidate we would vote for? Wait a min. We donate before the election to support the candidate. We don't pay after to reimburse those who put more in. Who are we paying back? Is someone getting back their investment at our expense?? Does this sound all too familiar or am I already hating our new president? Someone, please tell me I'm wrong!


I've never dealt with MoveOn when they were actually loving a president. This could get ugly.
Here's their letter...

Friend -- In the months and years ahead, we're going to accomplish amazing things together. No president has ever had the support of such a powerful grassroots movement, and Barack and Joe will need you to continue fighting alongside them. But before we take the next step, we need to get our house in order. The Democratic National Committee poured all of its resources into building our successful 50-state field program. And they played a crucial role in helping Barack win in unlikely states like North Carolina and Indiana. We even picked up an electoral vote in Nebraska. The DNC took on considerable debt to make this happen. Make a donation of $30 or more now to help the DNC pay for these efforts, and you'll get a commemorative 2008 Victory T-shirt.
The DNC began building a 50-state organization in 2005. The infrastructure they put in place over the last four years opened up a new batch of battleground states where a Democratic nominee hadn't been competitive for a generation. In the final few months, the DNC went above and beyond to expand our ground efforts and ensure victory. We couldn't have won this election without their support. As we start laying the groundwork for real change, we need to help the DNC recover the resources it took to win. Please make a donation today and get your 2008 Victory T-shirt: http://my.barackobama.com/page/m2/55c13974/506d20f9/9e59ff1/11884a3f/3588423768/VEsF/ This movement for change is just getting started, and we look forward to working with you to bring the change this country needs. Thanks for everything you did to elect Barack and Joe, Obama for America

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07 November, 2008

Why My Thanksgiving is Going to Suck

Well, it's going to slurp more than suck.
So my mother and sister had the great idea of having an alternative meal for TG this year. They're tired of slaving in the kitchen and, really, I can't blame them. So we're doing away with the turkey and all the trim this year. Instead, we're having soup. Fuggin' soup! 3 different types of soup of which I can't remember because, hey, it's fuggin' soup!
I'm going to have to go out for some real food after TG this year. It's on a Thursday so maybe I can give thanks for 1/2 priced burgers at Fraziers.
Does anybody know of any good Thursday dinner specials around town? I feel like I'm going to need some options.

05 November, 2008

Maryland Correctional Enterprises.

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We got some new desks in at work. They all had this in the top drawers.

Breaking Racial Boundries: A White Perspective

Throughout much of this election process I’ve rarely noticed that I will be voting to put an African-American into the White House. It just hasn’t affected me for most of this election. Is it because Obama is not a very black acting person? Is he pandering to the white vote? Or is he genuinely trying to bring many sections of this country together in unity? I am hoping for the latter. But now that the election is over and we do have a Negro; a colored; a black; an afro-American; an African American, an American president-elect I have been starting to see the color line again.
This is not the same line that I may have seen in the past though. No, this is a new line. Maybe the word “line” is not even relevant anymore. Or at least a line made of chalk rather than razor wire. I am hoping this is true.
Maybe we are all getting the chance to cross that line. Many of us are straddling it and want to cross but not sure what to do next. But now we have something to help us that we may have never even though of before. A black president will show us the way.

Speaking from years of white liberal guilt, I have seen myself mature from living in a learned racial fear as a child growing up where work was scarce to going to more integrated colleges and jobs now to a new rung in my journey of self. And now I have seen the highest position in the known universe opened to an African American. This is one example of history NOT repeating itself. This is a new course. A new day for you and I.

For many years I have thought that if racial equality were to be met then it would have to be white people opening up and accepting everyone into the entire process that is America. Did that just happen? It is white folk, after all who are the center of power in racial issues, right?
Well, my paradigm may have just shifted overnight. I welcome this shift though. I know it won’t be easy but I personally have been waiting for something like this to happen. I think many of us white folks have been waiting for more.

I guess I really like the idea of giving up ownership of this racial separation in America. If it was white people who created it I’m not sure white people can stop it or at least not white people alone. We need help. It may be just around the corner.

This thought of mine here is a work in progress. Comments and criticism is warmly welcomed. I hope to touch back on this again and develop it further.

04 November, 2008

Yea I Voted. I Killed the Slots

I was a bit apprehensive about the long lines and all but my election day has turned out pretty good. First off I have the day off. Bonus. Secondly the polling location is 1 block from my house and thirdly it only took 20 minutes to vote and that's including the leisurely stroll up the street.
Now I have the rest of the day to be lazy. I'm going back to sleep. It's bedtime for democracy

03 November, 2008

Gamer's Radical Realization: I Prefer Playing With Myself

Ugh...I don't think I'll ever truly understand the world that capable and mostly sane human beings put themselves in when they enter the World of Warcraft or any other online RPG world. I can't be totally niave though as I spent 2 solid years locked in my parents basement playing AD&D only to surface around 3am for the nightly Taco Bell run. But I was in the midst of real life friends and throughout the course of intense dungeon bashing or mindless capers involving halflings and orcs we would break out into story and "hey did you know?" conversations. How else would I know that my 10th grade English teacher had arieola the size of pepperonis.

Anyway, so yea, I was there. But online gaming that takes up this much time with no one around is different...to me. I had a buddy who I had lost for 4 years to Everquest. It was like watching him insert the cable line into his vein. He was totally sucked in. Too far gone. He's back now so that's cool. But when he was in he would talk about...well, I really don't know what he would talk about because he totally lost me. I do think it was clever for him to play a girl and have all these jockos or pimply faces hitting on him throughout the game. Such an online Boys Don't Cry charade that was. But he did make friends across the country and has kept contact with many of them long after he returned to this plane of existence. I guess that's something he can show.

But what about single player games where it's you and nobody...for hours. I came across an article on Wired about these games. They have a certain plus because now gamers don't have to worry about the human interaction and the unpredictability of these lesser humans. Hmm. Complaining about the human factor in humans? Maybe it's best for you to stay plugged in then. Here's a quote from the article that equates the situation to the Stanford Prison Experiment. Exxageration? Maybe. Absurd? You betcha.

"Because really, who needs people? People suck. I'm joking, of course — but only a bit. The truth is that, in online multiplayer worlds, dealing with the delightfully unpredictable behavior of "real" people can be an absolute chore. Teammates fail to show up for a raid, or they leave everyone waiting for an hour, or they log out in the middle of battle and leave you gored by a howling mob. Have you ever actually tried to play Age of Conan? It's like the Stanford Prison Experiment in there, my friend."

Imagine that. Having to depend on other humans for your entertainment. It's nice to see we have found away around that. Now if we can just convince them to plug this blue wire into their hearts so we can harness their body's energy while they sit there it won't be such a waste of humanity.
http://www.wired.com/gaming/gamingreviews/commentary/games/2008/11/gamesfrontiers_1103

02 November, 2008

I (Heart) Nina Simone.

I've been ripping quite a few CD's to my new computer in the past few weeks so I've had the joy of sifting through and organizing many CD's that have been in unorganized stacks and various musical graveyards all over my house and some even to be found in between the cracks of never ending run-on sentences.

In all of this I am currently ripping my Nina Simone library.
It was in my junior year of college that I came in contact with this lady that would forever make an impact on my musical life. I was returning home from visiting my friend James at Northern Michigan University. He was taking a jazz appreciation class at school the same semester that I was at Michigan State. He gave me a Verve classic CD of Nina Simone Nina Simone

Well, the directions were to give the CD to our friend, Josh, back home. Sorry Josh. You never got that CD. Instead I was introduced to this jazz/blues/soul legend.

Now people ask me what she sang as if she had some radio hit at sometime. I couldn't tell them. I rarely hear her music on the radio. So I did a Google search of her at Billboard Top 40 and they say how many she had. One.

"Raised in a family of eight children, she originally harbored hopes of becoming a classical pianist, studying at New York's prestigious Juilliard School of Music -- a rare position for an African-American woman in the 1950s. Needing to support herself while she studied, she generated income by working as an accompanist and giving piano lessons. Auditioning for a job as a pianist in an Atlantic City nightclub, she was told she had the spot if she would sing as well as play. Almost by accident, she began to carve a reputation as a singer of secular material, though her skills at the piano would serve her well throughout her career. In the late '50s, Simone began recording for the small Bethlehem label (a subsidiary of the vastly important early R&B/rock & roll King label).

In 1959, her version of George Gershwin's "I Loves You Porgy" gave her a Top 20 hit -- which would, amazingly, prove to be the only Top 40 entry of her career. http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/bio/index.jsp?pid=3625

What I have noticed the most about Nina Simone's music is the belief that every person's work that she touched she made better. A majority of her recorded work consisted of standards and covers. Every one better than the original from Gershwin to Dylan. Yes, she does Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen better then they do. Strong words? Of course they are. But hey, listen for yourself in Nina's versions of:

Bob Dylan- The Ballad of Hollis Brown

Leonard Cohen- Suzanne


So there. A legend with nearly 40 years of recordings and only 1 Billboard hit.

27 October, 2008

Wow. Ralph Nader Was in Baltimore? Really?

http://indyreader.org/content/ralph-nader-speaks-2640-space-charles-village-%E2%80%94-eric-imhof-october-9th-2008-audio-tech-erich

So I guess Ralph Nader was in Baltimore at the 2640 Space in St. Paul St.
On Oct. 1st. Damn, Not only did I not hear anything about it but I didn't even know until almost a month later.
Too bad. I've been a Nader supporter (not so much for president though) for a while now.
Where was the news that this event was happening? Did you know? Did you care?
It's nice to hear a voice come out every election cycle to tell us the same thing and always correct in it: No matter who wins this election (2 party election) the people still lose.
In the future can we get some more notice when events like this take place? Please?

23 October, 2008

Allergies: Dr's Fight Peanuts with...Peanuts!

Like OMFG! You guys! Check this out.
So, I was like watching the news tonight, right?
Yea, really, Me? Watch the news? No but really, I was.

So there was this news story about allergies in children being on the rise. Like, they're up 18% in 10 or 20 years. Or something like that, right?

And there's like nothing Dr's can do about it. This is totally unfair. These kids can't eat peanuts. No peanut butter. Nuttin'. Haha, get it?

But check it out. This is where the science part comes in. And health is science too, yea?

Right so now doctors are giving kids a small small dose of peanut so that their immune systems can, like get used to it. Like 1/100th of a peanut.

So they're thinking that soon kids will become less allergic to stuff like this.

This science stuff is cool. I'm so happy I watched the news tonight of all nights. Just imagine. I could've turned on the news any other night and just saw stuff on the war or poor rich people on Wall St. or the 187th murder in the city. OMFG, that reminds me of that Dr. Dre song where Snoop Dogg says "It's like a 187 wit ma dick in yo mouf, bi-otch!". Dude, you know that one. Yea bud.

So anyway. Check the link. Dr's are actually subjecting kids to their allergies. This is news. It's like on the brink of some serious shit.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Allergy/story?id=6097888&page=1"


Imagine if we could subect a small dose of allergin to kids and their immune system would build up a tolerance

22 October, 2008

Adlai Stevenson. Meet Barak Obama:

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1952 Journal photographer William M. Gallagher's picture of Democratic presidential candidate Adlai E. Stevenson (right) and Michigan Gov. G. Mennen Williams would have been just one more picture of a politician until Stevenson crossed his legs, displaying a hole in the sole of his shoe. The flawed shoe was totally out of character for the aristocratic, intellectual Stevenson, who was having difficulty establishing himself as a candidate of the people in his race against Dwight D. Eisenhower. Gallagher’s shot — taken with camera held at arm's length so Stevenson wouldn't realize what was happening — became one of the great political photos of all time and winner of a Pulitzer Prize in 1953. Gallagher was a Journal photographer from 1941 until his death in 1975, at age 52.THE FLINT JOURNAL FILES / WILLIAM M. GALLAGHER

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I believe this photo is for the baby boomers. Great savvy photo.

21 October, 2008

To Pleat or Not to Pleat?

So over here at Daily Breather central there has been discussion about weather it is still OK the wear men's dress slacks with pleats?
What's the problem? Really. DB here is not a slave to fashion so this question is not one to be pondered with any great brain power. But that's just the sort of idea that I like to waste my morning with. So here's the run down on why I don't mind wearing pleated slacks.

1. Hey, they're just as comfortable as any other pants, right?
2. They're cheap as hell! So what if 90% of my work attire comes from various Goodwills around the city and county? Have you seen the huge selection of Jos A. Banks gear at the Goodwill in Fallston? Or the selection in Owings Mills? Score.
3. Sewing pleats in pants show that my tailor took extra time and effort to put them there. There has to be some sort of functionality for that, right? (No, I don't have a tailor but that's not the point here)
4. My mom still buys me slacks with pleats in them. (after writing that I don't feel like this is so much of a good thing)
5. They're still around. Hey, it wasn't a passing fad. I can still find them easily. So pleats are a classic, yea?
6. Nobody laughs at my pants at work. Actually, no one ever comments on my pants. Hmmm.

Here's the reasons why I should not wear pleated pants:
1. My Suesue tells me that I am "woefully out of style" and laughs at me.
2. I'm out of reasons not to wear pleated pants.

So it's 6 of one and 1/6 of a dozen of the other. What's the difference? None here. Pleats win!

20 October, 2008

JD's Smokehouse Pt. III. Make it Stop!

Apparently this has been the week of JD's Smokehouse. I've gone from never being there to being there 3 times in one week. I gotta say, though, that my visit went from great to grumpy.
So Lady and I went to JD's on Sat night to watch the Texas vs. Missouri game and to check the place out on a Sat. night. Sure, why not. I had just spent the afternoon at home watching my alma mattar, Michigan State, get crushed by Ohio State. Let's go out and watch SueSue's alma mattar get crushed by #1 Texas. That would only be fitting.
So here's the run down of the place for Sat. night:

-No room at the bar. We shoulda expected that. Not even upstairs which was fine because they were watching Nascar up there and I don't have the strength to listen to jocko bicker about Nascar. Hell, I thought Sox fans were dipshits.

-No drink specials after 6pm. WTF? Whatever. $2 Natty Bohs then. I can tolerate that. They still didn't have any Hoegardens so it didn't matter. Why does a bartender always try and sell me Magic Hat products when I ask for Belgian Whites? If I wanted to drink Fruit Loop milk I'd go home and eat come Froot Loops and save $5.

-The game was on the big plasma above the bar which was in great view of us but there was barely any sound. Thanks for nothing. It probably wouldn't have mattered though because they had so many people packed in there I couldn't hear anything anyway.

-The DB factor was pretty high but that's what I first heard about this place so I shouldn't expect anything different for a Sat. night. Right?

-On the food tip I tried the original JD Smokehoue brisket sammich. It was decent, not overpriced ($8) and their wings were as good as I remembered. I still haven't tried the mac-n-cheeze wedges though. i hear they're known for that too.

So, in retrospect, after visiting this place 3 times in one week I have decided that Monday nights are the only night worth venturing out to JD's Smokehouse. That's the day with the best specials ($2 drafts and 20 wings for $6 as opposed to 10 wings for $8 on Sat.). And Monday has the fewest people. I'll drink (at the bar) to that.

18 October, 2008

Contractor's Grout Job: Paltry and Pathetic

So hey! Check it out. I just got a new computer and a new camera so I can capture and instantly blog this photo and email it to my landlord to show how their contractor is robbing them. This is the grout job that I had to wait 5 mo for. Nice.
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B-More Electro Is Bringin' It!


Drew Pompa (Blank Artists-Detroit)
More or Less Monthly Techno Party at the Hexagon

I've been living in MD for 7 years now after leaving Michigan like a guy making a jail break. I've been mostly satisfied with my new are and have been able to call Baltimore home for the last 2 of these years. I think I'm going to stay. I like it here.

But one thing that has been hard for me to find out here is quality techno on a semi-reoccuring basis. Coming from MI and spending my college days in undisclosed warehouses in Detroit and Lansing I've been finding it difficult to find similar events in this area.

That's why I've been delighted to find the B-More Electro crew throwing monthly More or Less (M/L) parties in the area.

Now don't get me wrong. Baltimore has a rich electronic music scene (It's no Berlin or Detroit but it's home now) and I could find DJ's spinning every night of the week if I wanted (thank you Shorty's http://www.shortysbaltimore.com/home.html). But like all other music categories "techno" is but one of many genres in the electronic family. And techno is what I am looking for.

Enter B-More Electro (http://www.bmore-electro.com/) These cats have been throwing relatively small monthly events in Baltimore for over a year now and they're growing. They started in the Depot in Station North, had a travelling road show for a few gigs in DC and Talking Head and have found a new home at the Hexagon (http://www.myspace.com/lofisocialclub) which has proved to be the best place yet. The space is just the right size for smaller shows (50-150 people) which is perfect for this event. And it's a BYO! Which means that 6 pack of Natty Boh that you got at home is all you need for the night. Save your loot and bring it with you. This also invokes the spirit of sharing as many bring a few extras for new friends made along the way. Instant kharma

I really enjoy these events for two reasons:

1. The crowd is made up of a loose alliance of local techno Dj's, producers, afficianados and just about anyone who hears the thump pourng out of the Hexagon. The audience is not restricted to those in the know but at it's base is a collection of people who love good techno music. Nothing fancy, no glowsticks, relatively little name dropping, big smiles and people dancing. People are dancing again. And being on the Station North circuit I get a chance to see waves of people come and go throughout the night. Many are impressed with the waves of sound pounding them. Many are dancing, yet some are confused. Yes, this is techno and it's happening here. The crowds are not massive, they're not even at capacity but what the crowd IS is a ground up approach to a real techno music scene on the horizon. If I know Baltimore bandwagons then this may be one on the way. But weather it takes over Artscape or not is not the point. It's techno music at a quality level. That's what I love. It hasn't attracted everyone but what it has done is contact many people who have been hiding in the city and brought them back out into the light. I'm sure they've been here all along but as an outsider to this city it sure has been hard to find them. (Big shouts here to the number of folks I've met who are bringing the sound. You have my support.)

2. The crowd makes a DJ want to come back and play again. Case in point: At the most recent MoL event Drew Pompa returned to Baltimore for a second MoL event and came ready to party. The house was not as packed as the first time he came out but that did nothing to diminish his spirit and enthusiasm. The man came to party and party he did. Fun to watch, great to hear and he kept the energy up all night with a very dense batch of records. Yes! Vinyl. I've seen many DJ's just show up, grab their paycheck and play some half-assed set and leave. But a punk like that would get called out for that in this setting. We know what we want and know when we're not getting it. Bring it!

So Bmore-Electro has another event at the Hexagon on 10/24/08. If you miss it you can probably catch a rewview from Alex over at Auralstates (http://auralstates.com/). You can catch up on older events here as well.

OK, I thnk I've done enough name dropping here. I'm gonna go call famous Dj's now and text other famous people on my blackberry. Catch y'all later.

JD's Smokehouse II: What a Difference a Day Makes

OK OK, so maybe I was a bit overzealous with my praise for JD Smokehouse or maybe I just needed to collect some more data points.
So lady and I went back to JD on Friday for happy hour. This was a bad decision but how was I to know? I was expecting fatty wings and Hoegardens but was met with:
1. No room at the bar
2. No food specials meaning 10 wings for $8. No deal
3. No Hoegarden on tap. With 4 clusters of taps in the bar they had no Hoes. Disappointing.

What a difference a few days makes.
Oh well. I guess I just learned not to waste a Friday happy hour at this place. Nothing ventured nothing gained, 'eh?

17 October, 2008

JD's Smokehouse. What Took Me So Long?

So this past Monday ladyfriend and I went on a small Canton Square pub crawl. We've not spent much time on this block because it always look overcrowded and douchebagged out when we are there. But we beat the crowd on Mon. thanks to the gov. holiday (I already forget which one it was. Who cares!)
The square was pretty much dead. We went to about 3-4 places before entering JD's Smokehouse.
Now I've stayed away from this place because of the "meat market" and "douche nozzle" stories that I've read. I've also been finding that their reviews are not always in keeping with my own (here's to free will).
Holy Shit! I was wrong about this place.
OK OK, so yes, there was a good deal of douchey looking people there but nothing was out of hand. Hey there was a Red Sox game on. You can't keep douchebags away from that. It just doesn't work.
Anyway they had $2 draft specials. On ALL draft beers. So I was sluggin' back $2 Hoegardens, by far the best deal in town on white hoes. One of my fav beers for $2 a pound. SCORE!
And we got 20 wings for $6. Not just wings but big ass wings. Meaty wings. Not the breaded Tyson bullshit you get from the corner bar (that has a fryer in the back).
Damn good wings. And when I say damn good wings I pretty much mean damn good wings. I would slap my mother with one of them if she were there. (Mother dear, if you are reading this please know that I would never slap you with a chicken wing. It's just an expression. I love you)
Maybe it was the suprise of beer and wings being so good in spite of what I've read about the "clientel" or maybe I was already drunk and looking for some life after 3 stops of entertaining the lonely bartender and waiting to leave his dead zone.
Anyway. Why the hell did it take me so long to step into this place? I'd go back fa shao.

30 September, 2008

Did Your Rep Vote to Pass the Bailout? Probably

You think your representatives are voting against this Wall Street bailout?
Look who has voted for and against it.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/trailhead/archive/2008/09/29/the-house-vote-roll-call.aspx

Someone’s not hitting the phones hard enough.

Wayne Gilchrest (R)
Yes
Maryland - 1
Rep. Favored*

Dutch Ruppersberger (D)
Yes
Maryland - 2
Safe Dem.

John Sarbanes (D)
Yes
Maryland - 3
Safe Dem.

Donna Edwards (D)
Yes
Maryland - 4
Safe Dem.

Steny Hoyer (D)
Yes
Maryland - 5
Safe Dem.

Roscoe Bartlett (R)
No
Maryland - 6
Safe Rep.

Elijah Cummings (D)
No
Maryland - 7
Safe Dem.

Chris Van Hollen (D)
Yes
Maryland - 8
Safe Dem.

20 September, 2008

Iraq Veteran PTSD. Or Maybe He's Just Fine.

Anonymous in MD. ...

I watched Jarhead today, its a movie about a marine sniper in the first gulf war. After watching it I realized my hands were aching for the soft curves of a rifle, the weight of a 9mm pistol wasn't at my side. A part of me wants to go back to Iraq to... to be alive again. In the war I was as close to God as anybody could be and I hated every minute of it when I was there, now I wish I were back there. In that dusty dessert I became a beast, a being of hate and power, I could have been death incarnate, I was for some people. In the first three months I was in Iraq I killed and committed atrocities that you only see in movies. After I saw what I had done I told myself I would never take another life again, and I've done good so far. but I carry around a knife everywhere I go and sometimes I pray someone will start something so that I can let the beast out again. I fear that I will hurt people I love, that's why I don't go out and spend alot of time around people, I don't want to hurt anyone anymore. I think I need help in controlling this. They trained me, institutionalized me and now I am partly reprogrammed. The nightmares are starting up again and this time I don't fear them but look forward to them.

05 September, 2008

Pigtown Pooch Pageant Winner '07

OK, for those of you entering the Pigtown Pooch pageant this year here's a look at last year's winner. Meet Kingfish: a 3 yr old standard poodle/pig crossbreed.

Pigtown pooch pageant winner '07

Notice the nipples? Judges love nipples. And really, who doesn't. But noses are another thing. Babydogs refused to keep the little nose on but tried to use his tongue instead. What a meathead
And moms was really pleased to received the grand champion trophy and small bag of doggie treats. And there was much rejoycing (yea!)

Photobucket

Good luck to this years contestants. Woof!

28 July, 2008

Where is B-More's Bloody Squirrel?

So this is not really new news but I've noticed that the bloody squirrel on Mt.Royal is gone. A few weeks before Artscape I noticed that the squirrel on Mt. Royal near the light rail stop was removed. Or maybe it is at large? Will someone let me know if they have a bloody squirell sighting? I always thought that was the best art piece in the city.
Photobucket

26 July, 2008

Baltimore builds Arena to Nowhere.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/baltimore_city/bal-arena0724,0,1841047.story

OK, so most, or some, of you know that the city is going to tear down 1st Mariner Arena in 2010 and build a new one on the sight. But they have no commitment from anyone to use it.
They would like to lure a NBA/NHL team to the arena but isn't this area saturated enough in sports?
Can Baltimore even afford an NBA team? An NHL team? I'd love to see it but don't think it will happen.

But they're gonna have their stadium. Yes sir-ee.

From the Sun:.." Previous state policy called for attracting a franchise before building a sports venue, but city officials said this project would thrive even without a team."

Do you hear the great sucking sound?


Oh but it gets better. Ever hear of the Maryland Stadium Authority?

This coincides with a report I read on city development and Baltimore. Dudes on the board of the MSA have been known to buy up run down railway land or warehouse land and then suggest that the new stadium be built near this old warehouse near the railway.
Then their construction firm gets a contract to rehab the warehouse around the new stadium.

Enough of the pancake pontificating. Back to...oh, where was I?


Oh yes! MSA and $$ and the great sucking sound of publicly funded/privately profitable.
The legend of the upper tier, puppeteer untouchable. (I didn't pen that. )

..."It is impossible to build a building of that size that is privately financed. The state and city have to pick it up," said John Moag, a former chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority who now runs a company that provides consulting to sports leagues and teams."

The sucking continues. As stated above, it's impossible to stop. (If I'm going to get rich than it's impossible for this deal to stop).

I guess I won't be griping, though, when I'm watching WWE Smackdown in a new badass arena. But I'll bitch about it's birth to who ever will listen. Maybe I'll take a sign that reads "RIP 1st Mariner". Or whatever.

24 July, 2008

O's Turn Back the Clock to 1983

O’s turn Back the Clock to 1983

Aw man! I’ve never seen the O’s upper deck so packed as last night. With upper deck tix rolled back to the price they were in 1983 ($5) people came out in droves to see the 1983 World Series champs take the field again.
Being an invasive species, I was not native to Baltimore during the 83 series but I could see how important this night was to many of the longtime fans who were around to bask in the glory days. This was their opportunity to remember. And remember they did.
There were several times during the night that I saw men my dad’s age shedding a tear for their O’s heroes. These men only shed a tear or two during their entire lives and this night was one of those times. They probably let a tear go for Cal’s record breaking game, his induction into the Hall of Fame and at the 83 world series victory. And that’s it!
Photobucket
Cal waving to a stadium standing ovation


It’s times like these that make us all feel like kids again. My girlfriend and I were just talking about the nervous energy that we feel when we walk into a major league baseball stadium and how the atmosphere can be larger than life. It’s a feeling that takes one back to their childhood.
Photobucket
If Cheers was filmed in Baltimore you know this guy would have the lead role. Look at that hair!

Camden Yards is not my childhood baseball stadium (mine was the old Tiger Stadium in Detroit) but I do remember the 83 O’s. They won the series then and my Tigers won in ’84. I was in 3rd grade and baseball was in my blood. And I remember Eddie Murray and how he was such a thorn in the side of my Tigers. That man could swing a bat. I remember being at a Tigers game and when Eddie came up to bat the old Tiger fans would just be angry. They knew he was gonna do something to put our Tigers in a tight spot. They were usually right. Much respect to the O’s and the legacy.
Photobucket
Eddie Murray and Dan Morogiello reliving the dream

So back to the Turn Back the Clock night. I wonder if anyone there realized that all the music played last night was all tunes from 1983? It took me until the 2nd inning to catch on. Madonna: Lucky Star, The Cars: It’s Magic! (Oh! Oh! It’s magic!), Simple Minds: Don’t You Forget About Me, and many more. It was a nice touch and a name-that-tune event.

Oh! Speaking of Oh! The O’s were playing the Blue Jays (who were also in those awesome 80’s powder blue uniforms) so there was a singing of O Canada, right? I never realized how many opportunities a surly O’s fan could have and screaming “OH!!!” during O, Canada. Our national anthem only gives us one big burst but Canada could provide for some sore throats.

What a great game and great night. The rain didn’t dampen our spirits although the game was called. We just bonded further while waiting for the light rail in gail force wind and rain. That truly was a team effort as well.

21 July, 2008

Comment on Dick Chaney and Global Warming

Report Links Cheney Office, Oil Giant to Global Warming Policy Shift

Here's an interesting comment to the article that I lifted from Truthout.org reader. I thought it was comical enough to be repeated but true enough to be worried over.

"One might consider Cheneys connections to the oil industry a conflict of interest. Not so, he never had any interest whatsoever in governing. His only interest is in raping and pillaging the world for profit. "

19 July, 2008

Overheard at Chipotle

I overheard this at Chipotle in Towson

Customer: ...and I'll have a side of corn salsa.

Blond Hon behind the counter: A what?

Customer: A side-a-corn salsa.

Blond Hon: Sorry Hon, I ain't Mexican, I don't understand that.

17 July, 2008

B-More Dog Friendly

I consider myself a pretty lucky dog owner. In my years of living with man’s best friend (but not man’s best cook, that’s why I loves me some SueSue) I’ve been fortunate enough to live near dog parks. I used to have access to a football field sized caged in area with grass,sand and trees for dogs to run unleashed and play.

Last night I was watching the news and heard about Baltimore’s lack of dog parks. There’s one in Canton…Uh…are there anymore? If not then that’s too bad. To bad for our dogs. I have one just down the street from me. Actually it’s the Hopkins lacrosse practice field but it unofficially doubles as a dog park as long as we keep it clean.

Dog parks can be multi-purpose in that they give dogs their much needed exercise, they allow dogs to socialize with other dogs and they let dog owners in the community get together.
Sometimes people can be anti-social but dog parks can often act as a good ice breaker. Dog owners already have one thing in common: they have dogs. It is not unusual to frequent a dog park and know the dogs’names but not their owners but that’s ok because basically it’s the dogs who are bringing their owners out. We become the pets for the duration of the park visit.

Another big perk that a dog park offers is that it allows dogs to reestablish the pack.
There could be 2-20 dogs at a park and if you allow them enough time and freedom they will establish their pack order. Unless they’re trained to fight they rarely do. They do, however, mount eachother if they want to challenge or establish the order and this drives some owners nuts. I say leave the dogs alone. They are establishing the pecking order and don’t care if they embarrass you. They didn’t grow up catholic so get off their backs.
And you could learn something new about your dog if you let them play for a while and see how they interact with other dogs without you humans telling them what to do.

I remember being at a cookout where everyone brought their dogs. About every 30 minutes a new dog would show up (like a doggy Royal Rumble) and the pack order was reestablished. All the dog owners at the party knew about pack animals and pecking order and knew that after the order is established everyone is cool and playtime can continue.

So consider the dogs. Build more dog parks, Baltimore. We should at least have ones in Patterson, Druid Hill and Gwynns Falls. But that would only be a start. The city already has the space.

14 July, 2008

Ms. Venezuela Now Ms. Universe: Friend to All Woodland Creatures.

SueSue

An elated Dayana Mendoza received the crown from her predecessor, Riyo Mori of Japan, and then prepared to meet a gaggle of reporters. Miss Venezuela, 22, was once kidnapped in her homeland and says the experience taught her to remain poised under pressure. It also taught her animal mimicry.

Pictured above, Mendoza shows the audience, one more time, her famous raccoon impression. It was this furry woodland mimicry that won her the Ms. Venezuela crown and ultimately the top honor of Ms. Universe. Mendoza will return to Venezuela to continue her work on public awareness of deforestation and fuzzy little forest creatures. Her voice will be the voice of universal tree huggers and non-animal tested cosmetics.

Budweiser to Become America's Wife Beater.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/bondsNews/idUKN1337955120080714

Yes, it's official. After a few unsuccesful attempts, InBev Corp. has purchased Anhueser-Busch for $52 Billion Dollars!!! (insert Dr. Evil voice here).
InBev is the Belgan maker of Stella Artois and Becks and is now the largest brewer in the world making 25% of the planet's swill. It's just fitting that Anhuseur-Busch be bought out by a company who makes a beer (Stella) that is refereed by Europeans as "Wife Beater" Business folks are pleased by the conglomeration. I'd hate to be in St.Louis right now. Talk about losing your hometown pride. Well, at least you can expect to find a lot more Becks on tap. And I guess you can get more Stella too. I just like calling it wife beater.

11 July, 2008

Obama Sucks and So Do You! Wake UP!

I don’t care if the FISA debate is a week old and no longer relevant (you wish), I can’t stop talking about this one. By now you may have heard (unless your news agency is owed by big telecom) that congress has voted to extend the FISA wiretapping “law” and make it legal for telecom to spy on “terrorists” (have a closer look at the term “terrorist” and you will find yourself in there somewhere) without impunity as well as making it impossible for citizens to sue telecom for invasion of privacy as well as retroactively hold the president not accountable for any wrongdoing in previous wairetappings.
Does this sound legit? Did this really happen? Did Obama vote to pass it? You bet. And not only did the “change we can believe in” vote to pass this bill in a 69-28 Senate vote creating legislation that the American Civil Liberties Union describes as "a Constitutional nightmare," Obama voted to silence debate on the FISA bill. Yes, shortly after they voted to pass the bill they also voted to end debate on the issue. HE VOTED TO KILL DEBATE ON THE ISSUE!

What issue is that? Well, much of it is classified. Then how can we properly vote on it? Uh…uh… Now I’m not versed in congressional voting and whatnot but wouldn’t it be easier to vote on a matter if you knew what it was really about?
No, wait, it would actually be harder because you would have to be burdened with the time it takes to read a bill. Yea, what was I thinking?

But one person who does know about the classified sections of the FISA program is big Wis senator Russ Feingold. Check out what he has to say about it.

Feingold: "I sit on the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, and I am one of the few members of this body who has been fully briefed on the warrantless wiretapping program. And, based on what I know, I can promise that if more information is declassified about the program in the future, as is likely to happen either due to the inspector general report, the election of a new president or simply the passage of time, members of this body will regret that we passed this legislation. I am also familiar with the collection activities that have been conducted under the Protect America Act and will continue under this bill. I invite any of my colleagues who wish to know more about those activities to come speak to me in a classified setting. Publicly, all I can say is that I have serious concerns about how those activities may have impacted the civil liberties of Americans. If we grant these new powers to the government and the effects become known to the American people, we will realize what a mistake it was, of that I am sure."

Classified information? Congress is voting to extend the FISA program but much of the program information is off limits to them. And not only are they voting to pass the bill but they are voting against further discussion of the bill. Obama voted for silencing debate while McCain did not vote at all and Clinton voted to continue debate.
Unfortunately, while Obama once promised to work with Feingold, he wasn't listening when the Wisconsin senator explained to his colleagues that granting retroactive immunity to the telecommunications corporations would effectively block the ability of Congress and the courts to address not just massive corporate wrongdoing but attacks on the privacy rights of Americans (that's you and I).

And if you were listening to NPR this morning in your groggy 6:30am state you would have heard that …”Since Sept. 11, the number of spying warrants approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has more than doubled, according to statistics the Justice Department releases each year.
At the same time, the number of criminal indictments against people associated with Islamist extremist groups has dropped by more than half, according to a recent study by the group Human Rights First.” http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91968094

So what does this mean? It means that they’re just gathering information. That’s probably what they will continue to do for a long time. And what are you gonna do about it? Legally you can do nothing. You just lost those freedoms to protest your information being gathered and potentially used against you. Oh, but if you’re not a terrorist then you have nothing to fear. Define terrorist. Do you like recycling? Do you like animals? Do you shop online? Have you ever traveled outside the US? If you answered yes to any of these than you might be defined as a “terrorist”. But you’ll never know until it’s too late.

07 July, 2008

Watermelon: Nature's Viagra?

Yea, scientists in Texas (we can probably disregard this already. Nothing good comes from Texas) have "discovered" that there is more of the amino acid called citrulline in watermelon then previousley thought. This is some thimgamajig that relaxes and dialates blood vessels like Viagra does. (insert watermelon sex joke here).

Now this is fun. Watermelon season is almost upon us so that must mean that (insert Barry White voice here) "Love is in the air..." Actually, it's in the melons...hehe, that's what she said.

See? Watermelons and sex are fun...kinda sexy too...hehe...melons.

Juggs

Big ole jiggly...well, let's not get off topic here. I was talking about watermelons and sex. Actually, not really. Since I said that the research was done in Texas, where the fuzzy math comes from.

Scientists have already proved that although sex and watermelons can be tons-of-fun it's unproven.

On hearing about the Texas finding, Irwin Goldstein, MD, editor-in-chief of The Journal of Sexual Medicine, was underwhelmed: "Suggesting a man feast on watermelon to boost performance, he says, "would be the equivalent of someone dropping a beer bottle in Minneapolis, where the Mississippi River starts, and hoping to see it make an impact on someone in New Orleans. " -Editor's note (that's me). First of all, I hate to judge but the name Irwin Goldstein and Journal of Sexual Medicine just sounds like some nerdy brainiac went into sexual medicine to "study" the effects. I'm sure there's a Woody Allen movie that parallels this somewhere. Wait, there's probably a dozen. And secondly, the Mississippi river does not start in Minneapolis but quite a bit further north. But what do I know? I'm not a doctor.

Oh well. At least we can have a little humor from it all. And hey, at least they didn't say that watermelon was bad for us. That's a good thing. Because there's nothing I like more in summa-time then a nice big watermelon.

Tip** Jab a bottle of Skyy vodka in the end of the watermelon for a few hours and then watch the sex drive increase. Any volunteers for the research?

http://www.webmd.com/erectile-dysfunction/news/20080701/watermelon-a-natural-viagra

Why I Love Shoplifting

Why I Love Shoplifting.

This is a nice article I lifted from the Crimethinc Ex-Workers' Collective http://www.crimethinc.com It pretty much says what I think without making me write it all out.
How many of us have shoplifted an item that we believed to be too much to pay or just out of sheer protest? And really, what’s wrong with that? Absolutely nothing! Read on…http://www.crimethinc.com/texts/days/shoplifting.php

Now before I make myself out to be a total outlaw let me say that I love to Shoplift from larger corporations because, hey, it serves as a protest against the "high cost of low wages" and there is a separate thrill of it all that many can relate to.

I do not condone shoplifting from smaller local shops or mom & pop stores. It is the mass production widget producers that have cornered the market on our daily lives that I tend to engage in economic sabotage. And think about parking lots. If you could "steal time" and park in a lot or meter and get away before being caught would you really consider that stealing? I have a personal gripe about paying to drive and paying to park. My taxes and speeding tickets pay my way to drive so I hate paying tools. And paying to park? Another rant completely. Sure, I'll do it. But if I can get away without paying to park? You better believe I will.

26 June, 2008

Is Baltimore City Going to be Bottled Water-Free?


Is Baltimore City Going to Be Bottled Water-Free?

If you had told me 20 years ago that the bottled water industry in America would become a multi billion dollar industry I would have laughed at you. I would have said something like “Sell water? Are you crazy? It comes out of the tap for free? Why would I pay a buck for water?” Of course, my voice would have been a bit higher and may have cracked because I would have been 13. But that’s not the point here.
The point here is that cities across the country are rethinking their bottled water contracts and pushing for more dependence on tap water.

The concept of paying for bottled water for city employees with taxpayer money when 99 percent of Americans have access to safe water is another reason mayors are beginning to rethink their water contracts.

Several cities are already on board. Cities like San Francisco (who seems to be leading the charge), San Jose, Miami, Orlando and about 60 other metro areas are kicking the bottle in efforts to save money and reduce the plastic waste that bottled water leaves in its wake (pun!). Even larger cities like NYC, Chicago, Philly and Boston are supporting resolutions to stop buying bottled water for city workers.

It’s about time, I say. I have always had a shaky feeling about buying bottled water. What’s wrong with my tap water? I think it’s fine. But the mass marketing of the bottled water industry has hooked us into believing that bottled water is the answer, and we bought into it. Anyone remember the comic about the PR campaign who successfully sold toxic sludge to America and had them falling in love with it? That’s bottled water.

It’s water! It comes from the tap! It’s OK. Ya don’t believe me? Really now, why should you). The website Tappening has included a list of a few other good reasons to make the switch:
• Water systems that provide tap water have to test for water pathogens that can cause intestinal problems; bottled water companies don't do this.
• City tap water can have no confirmed E. coli or fecal coliform bacteria. FDA bottled water rules include no such prohibition (a certain amount of any type of coliform bacteria is allowed in bottled water).
• City tap water, from surface water, must be filtered and disinfected. In contrast, there are no federal filtration or disinfection requirements for bottled water.
• In one publicized taste test in New York City, conducted by Showtime television, researchers found that 75 percent of participants actually preferred the taste of tap water to bottled water.
• City tap water must meet standards for certain important toxic or cancer-causing chemicals, such as phthalate (a chemical that can leach from plastic, including plastic bottles); some in the industry persuaded the FDA to exempt bottled water from the regulations regarding these chemicals.
• City water systems must issue annual "right to know" reports, telling consumers what is in their water. Bottlers successfully killed a "right to know" requirement for bottled water.
I can’t wait till I don’t have to feel the need to buy water anymore. I will have felt a tiny sense of freedom from bottled water.
http://www.alternet.org/water/89148/?page=1

25 June, 2008

My Views of Universal Healthcare in the US: From a Social Services Perspective

I work for the state of MD Social Services and handle the portion of American healthcare that IS socialized already.
Medicaid.
How is this not socialized? Everyone is covered (who qualify).

My larger point is this:
What if US decided to take a universal approach to healthcare and just expanded the Medicaid program to cover every US citizen.
Have you ever spent an entire day at DSS waiting to be served? Ever been to Social Security?
I'm afraid that this is what universal health care would actually look like in this country. We already can't administer our healthcare properly.
Now add everyone?
That being said, I firmly support the idea of covering every citizen 100%. Now how are we going to do it?

23 June, 2008

Your Service Provider is No More Your Friend Than Your President Is

http://www.truthout.org/article/democrats-legalize-bushs-crimes

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claims that a key positive feature of the new wiretap "compromise" is that the bill reaffirms that the President must follow the law, even though the same bill virtually assures that no one will be held accountable for George W. Bush's violation of the earlier spying law.

So you heard about the new wiretap law passed by congress, right? Basically it lets the Bush administration get away with all the taps that they have already made, allows them to do more in the future, and does not hold internet/telecom service providers accountable for complying with wire taps
Beyond the breathtaking scope of this new authority, the Bush administration also snuck in a clause that granted forward-looking immunity from lawsuits to communications service providers that assisted the spying.
That removed one of the few safeguards against Bush's warrantless wiretaps: the concern among service providers that they might be sued by customers for handing over constitutionally protected information without a warrant.
So basically it’s gov. AND telecom/internet providers teaming up against our freedoms.

In short, the "Protect America Act" made warrantless surveillance legally cost free for a collaborating service provider, tilting the scales even further in favor of the government's spying powers.
And we let it happen. I am among this “we” as I received 3 different emails from public outcry organizations and I just let them go. But now that I see the aftermath I am almost shocked. This was a great erosion of our freedoms of both privacy and ability to air grievances in court.
I wonder how the service providers will act now that they know they have a green light for spying and the protection of the government. Now they too are above the law and we are at the mercy.
You think this doesn’t include you? This law applies not just to terror suspects abroad who might communicate with Americans, but to anyone who is "reasonably believed to be outside the United States" and who might possess "foreign intelligence information," defined as anything that could be useful to U.S. foreign policy.
That means that almost any American engaged in international commerce or dealing with foreign issues - say, a businessman in touch with a foreign subsidiary or a U.S. reporter sending an overseas story back to his newspaper - is vulnerable to warrantless intercepts approved on the say-so of two Bush subordinates, the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. Will this include overseas internet transactions? EBay? Chat lines and message boards? Where do you fit in all of this?
We lost something here. Sadly, we won’t really know what we lost until it is personally used against us. I may have to reconsider that anti-Israeli post I was going to blog about. It may be read by someone in Damascus. If you don’t hear from me for a while you’ll know why. Don’t ask any questions though or you’ll be joining me, wherever I happen to be held.

20 June, 2008

My Crialgslist/Blogger Wish List

Wish list…Not really.

So I was updating my profile on Blogger and came across my “wish list”. What is this? I guess I can just pop in a link of something that I want and you can go to the site a see what it is right? So I thought about what I wanted and decided on this. http://baltimore.craigslist.org/cas/713149986.html
Yea, it’s a Craigslist add for some hot steamy action. Yee-haw!
No there are so many Cl adds out there to chose from. How did I come to this one? Simple. I just entered: Crazy Bitch into the search field and took the first thing that popped up.

But I didn’t think it would be right to put this add up without the poster’s knowledge so I sent her a msg telling her that her add is in my blog. And that’s when the conversation with the bimbo bot began. See for yourself in this exchange of emails.

Your CL Add is on My Blog.
Now now..don't worry, I can explain. It may be intriguing.First of all this is not an answer to your add (which was pretty goodbtw, but sounds too much like a call girl..unless that's what you are,in that case it's perfect)But an explaination of the title of the msg. I was updating my Blog today on Blogger and wanted to update my wish list. I thought of going to CL to put an add on it.HAHA! How did I find you? I searched for "CRAZY BITCH" in the Casual Encounters search and you were #! Woo-Ho!So you're on my wish list now. I don't think any one's ever looked at my wishlist and I didn't even know I had one so hardly anyone will read it...Unless you want them to :) Here's the link to the blog. Find the wishlist in the profile and there you are. Lemmie know if ya want me to take it off and I'll do it. You're pretty anonymous and I think it's cool. Really though. Who are you trying to please here anyway? 'Eh?

N'Joy
http://www.blogger.com/profile/15794608040920777600
Cheers Daily Breather



OK…So I thought it was classy. Here’s her response.

Hey, I just got your email, sorry for the delay getting back to you. I just took some new snap shots and added them to my home page if you want to check it out: http://www.singlecutegirls.com/kelly I have more info about myself there as well. If you like what you see then email me back. If not, no hard feelings :-( i'll let you off the hook.Do you have any pictures of yourself? Please send so I can see what you look like too :-) Hope we can chat soon,
Kelly


…Whatever…So either she’s dumb as…well, something dumber than a typical blond joke, or she’s an automated response. OK, not the first time I’ve flirted with something without a pulse. Let’s see what happens now?

Check me reply…

Bitch please! did you even read my message? I guess you don;t care if I have you on my blog. OK then. It will remain untill I hear otherwise.
Cheers

(note from the editor…Human ladies do not get called “bitch” by the Breather unless they are either being roughed up in a sexually permissive way or they are his current girlfriend who most usually calls the Breather by her pet name for him, “Bitch please!”)

You would think this would be offensive to any lady (even one of the night) but not so much. She must be stunned by my charm because I think I’m winning her over. Check it out…

Ahh, cool so you must have liked my page ;-) I just saw your email in my inbox and got a little exicted I must admit *blush*. I wanted to reply right back to let you know I got your email and I'm online right now if you wanna chat:yahoo messenger or AIM--> nicegirl7820 When you im me make sure you tell me your name incase I don't recognize your screen name. I get a lot of strange people contacting me :-( and if you have a cam have it ready cuz I'd love to see you!Thanks
xoxo
Kelly

Now I'm just seeing how far I can get with the bimbo-bot here. How much dumber can this get?
Stay tuned.

11 June, 2008

Dear Dad.

Dear Dad

Father’s Day has never been then celebratory event that it should be in our family. I think if I had kids of my own I would expect more from Father’s Day. Sorry dad. So this year I plan to make it up to you. Before I do, however, let me take a minute while I have the floor (or desk chair as it may be) and properly thank you for the job that you have done over the years. Yes it has been quite a few years. You have been a father for 35 years and 33 of them have included me.
You have been the sole provider for your family during the entire run through your career as a designing engineer. As you chased your career through the ever shrinking automotive designing world in Flint and Detroit you always found a way to take care of us. You raised us through some of the toughest times in America for the working class, the Reagan and Bush years and you did it with dignity. You were always first to work and last one home because you knew that overtime made the difference between hot dogs and Pizza Hut.
Holy shit, dad! You even took a night job as an unarmed security guard in Flint at the Little Ceasers on Clio and Pearson Rd. in Beecher. I was in 5th grade and didn’t realize at the time that you were defending a useless cause in a war zone. I could not even fathom taking on such a role. Later you would lay awake at night knowing that your youngest son was doing the same thing but he was surviving in Falluja. Just like you made it through Vietnam, your youngest son survived Iraq and has been reunited with his family. I hope that one of these days soon he will open up to you and treat you with the respect that you deserve. You know that he has a lot of pain in his heart that he can not share yet. I don’t understand as much as you do.
Throughout your life you did things by yourself. As an adult you had individual hobbies such as gardening and race walking. We used to gather in poking fun at you while you walked but you persevered. You had to stop accepting 1st place trophies from races because you had no more room for them. Good luck with the Baltimore Marathon this fall. It will be nice to see how many runners you beat. I know it will be a lot.
As alone as you may have felt in your life you were always a family man first and always there for us. Weather you were at work or at school plays it was for us. Through whatever life threw at you there was always a way through it and back to your family. When you had to leave Michigan and take work in Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania it was the first time that you had been away from mom since Vietnam. How did you get your soup heated up?
I’m glad that you made the trip and discovered this area for yourself. Your decision to retire out here has been a benefit for me in so many ways. Like you I don’t want to be far from my family. In 3 years after your move to MD we have the entire family living out here and we are all doing better. Your children don’t have to be stressed with no real jobs in MI as MD looks like the fertile crescent of jobs compared to what we grew up around.

So this year is on me. Come on out to the house, relax, we’ll put some flesh on the grill and SueSue is making her chicken-bacon sammiches. We can just hang out. In fact I’ve created a neighborhood festival in your honor. OK, so everyone else calls it Honfest but they chose this weekend because it’s Father’s Day and they knew you would enjoy it. So come on down, bring the little woman if ya want ( I love you, Mommy) and just relax for the day. We’ll head up to Zissmos and score the cheap beers while people outside are paying $5 a pop. You can live it up and eat more dead flesh on a stick. Then we’ll walk back to the house and laugh the rest of the day away because you know family stories aren’t far away. Mom still has a few stories to embarrass me with.

And next month when your birthday rolls around we’ll take the light rail down to Camden Yard because the Tigers are in town. You’ll like that one even better.
Happy Father’s Day dad. I love you.

09 June, 2008

Starscape '08 Assfact Wrap-Up

Starscape ‘08

This was the 10th anniversary of Starscape, Baltimore’s 16 hour outdoor electronic party held at Ft. Armistead Park in Baltimore. I think that this event is one of those things where you either know about it or you don’t. Some will get while others will just go about their everyday. And that’s OK.
First of all, this was my very first Starscape so I was interested to see how it all played out. I’m not going to Wikki the history or anything to give you a brief history because I wasn’t there for the past so I’ll just give my outsider’s thoughts. This way I can Assfact my way through this post and no one will mind…right?
One observation I can make right off the bat is that for Starscape to be running strong for 10 years now means that someone was doing something right because events like these, long electronic events, rarely have longevity of 10 years anymore. So, to whoever you all are who are keeping this event alive I salute you.
Ft. Armistead Park: I’ve never been to this park but can see it on the map and it looks like the best place in the city to throw a fat party. It’s practically under the Key Bridge on the water and has great views. And really, a party under the bridge, any bridge, is a nice party spot. However, I thought that more of the park would be used but the event was crammed onto a point of the park and 5 stages were overlapping each other so bad that you had to be inside a tent and in front of speakers to prevent bass from other stages from creating a horrible -shoes in the dryer- effect. I thought the space was overused and the sound overlapping was a nightmare.
The Main Stage: Are you fucking kidding me?! This was the only stage that was not overlapped by other sounds but it should have been. I was scratching my head all day wondering why all the talent was in the Buzz tent but all the lame shit was on the main stage. I thought is was a waste of space but later was thankful for the main stage for one reason: It kept everyone who didn’t know much about Baltimore underground out of the Buzz stage and corralled somewhere else. The main stage was a big holding area for people who looked bored or confused. They were probably both.
The Drum and Bass Tent: Being from MI and spending my musical youth in Detroit my like has been techno and house music with almost no other electronic influences. Hey when you have Detroit you don’t need many other electronic influences. So Drum and Bass was never big to me. But in Baltimore the tent was packed all night and people in it seemed to know what they were doing. I give them credit for that. I never went into that tent but could see it very well from my perch that I picked out for the evening. I give those folks credit. They were into what they were into. I can’t hate on that.
The Beach Stage: This was the area with all the great views of the bay and bridge but horrible for sound overlapping. There were 2 stages there actually and I could only hear the music well from the left side of the DJ speakers because the right side blended too much into the live band’s bass drum from the other stage. Other than that it was a good stage with some pretty good DJ’s. It did look a bit wobbly but I only saw one person fall off it. Ouch. I saw some old friends from the older defunct Mosaic club (not the new douche bag hangout that it is today)
http://baltimore.metromix.com/bars-and-clubs/dance_club/mosaic-lounge-harbor/120878/content (yes those are my reviews on the metromix link) and even saw some of Baltimore’s finest bobbing their heads as they walked through. Not bad OT if you’re a Bmore cop.
Buzz Tent: Now this is mostly what I came to hear. This seemed to have the lineup of what the Baltimore in-the-know wanted to hear. This tent had the best sound, best setup and had the best crowd (but that’s biased, the DnB crowd looked legit too). The DJ’s that played this stage brought their A game for sure. I have to shout out Proxxy and Lantern here for an awesome set. They brought the thunder. Literally, the sound got shut down for about 30 min because of an intense lightning storm. But after the rain the duo finished up their set and proved that they could call down the thunder and also blast it away. Thanks guys. They even made the day cooler and a bit more breezy (my girlfriend seems to think she’s a meteorologist now and says that it’s due to the storm blowing the heat away. Don’t listen to her. I know the power of music better than she does). I’m still kicking myself, though, for missing the Krafty Kutz set. I only caught the last 10 min of it which really made me mad that I missed it. I wished I would have missed the entire set because that last 10 min was such a tease. I would pay $$ to hear that again. But I didn’t miss the Charles Feelgood set. I hadn’t heard this cat in a long time and wanted to know if he was still bringin’ it. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever heard him in Baltimore. Hearing a DJ when they’re on the road is one thing but to catch them in their own house should be something different, and it was. He brought back a lot of classics and some records that I’ve never heard of but the local crew was going apeshit so I thought it was more of a Baltimore thing. I’m glad people had their ears on because he was fun to listen to.
It was also nice that the main stage went home after the Disco Biscuits were done “playing”. That just made traffic easier in the end.
So I was walking with my SueSue back to the car after sunrise and we walked back through the beach stage to see the sights one last time before making the 12 min drive back to Hampden (I love not driving an hour to party!). There was another party in progress that I didn’t know about. Where did this come from? The Beach DJ booth was being attacked and there was an all out assault in full swing. What was that? It was Joe Nice! Who is this guy? I don’t know but I want to hear more. NOW! www.myspace.com/joenice This is the way I remember partying. This guy was a showman, a character and one badass DJ. It was a dirty ass grimy house party and I loved it! Have you ever been to a show and heard someone you’ve never heard of before and never expected to hear but were just floored when you heard them? This is the best way to discover new music and in a way that ingrains it in your mind because you instantly love it. Free of hype or any build up because you were not even looking for it in the first place. That’s what this was.
I look back to the imagery of the DJ booth and imagine one of those old cartoon bombs. You know the ones, the big black ball that reads TNT with a lit fuse racing to ignition. Well this DJ booth had that bomb but rather than saying TNT the black shirt read in big white letters, like a warning sign on a bomb, “JOE NICE”. There was no fuse though. The explosion was already in progress! That’s what Joe Nice did for me. Thanks Joe. I hope to hear more from you in the future. Bring it back!
So yea, Starscape was better than I anticipated…musically. In other ways it should have changed its name to Irresponsibility ’08. What a mess of people. I couldn’t tell how many were there for the music and how many were there because they’ve been going there every year to get wasted. Usually, I have no problem with that but if you’re getting in the way of me and the music then you have to move or be moved.

** Here's a bio I scored on Joe Nice for anyone else who wants to be in the know.

JOE NICE
AFFILIATIONS:
DubWar NYC ; GourmetBeats
BALTIMORE, MD - www.myspace.com/joenice

BIO:

Representing Baltimore, JoeNice is universally recognized as the ambassador
of the dubstep sound in North America and one of the purveyors of the sound
worldwide with his upfront selection and skillful mixing. Joe's show on
GourmetBeats.com was the first to feature dubstep in the states and this
platform has spread the dubstep sound on the airwaves, across America and
around the world. JoeNice is the first American-based DJ to play on London
pirate radio, RinseFM. A member of GourmetBeats, resident at a monthly party
in New York City called DubWar, recognized as one of URB's NEXT 100 for
2007, JoeNice is looking to make a difference. Be ready.