22 December, 2009
Many of us live in neighborhoods where we know some of our neighbors and some of us live in neighborhoods where we know all of our neighbors.
But if you want to know who the good ones are, and by default know who the bad ones are, just wait for a blizzard like this.
Sunday morning met my street with the saem problems that the rest of the city had. Damn near 2 feet of snow and nothing but a shovel and a few good neighbors to remove it all. So we got to work. Six of so able bodied menfolk outside taking to the street like we do this for a living. Luckily my car and my Suesue's car were parked together so it made digging easier. It would have been nice to have them parked in front of our house but hoopty van up the street decided to take my spot the night before.
Meanwhile, I parked my car across the street and there was an empty space behind hoopty van that we designated as the snow pile. It had to go somewhere so I sacrificed another space in front of our house for a snow pile.
Did hoopty van dude come out to help dig out? No. Did he get out to shovel off his sidewalk so people could walk up the street? No. Did he let the kindness of good neighbors dig him out so he could get his hoopty van ass out of my spot? Yes.
Fortunately, on Monday I didn't have to go into work so I did some shopping. Hoopty van was gone but in his spot (my spot, really. It's in front of my house, he has his own damn space) he put an orange cone and piece of plywood down in the space to indicate that this was his reserved spot.
Did you dig this spot out? NO.
Is this your parking space? NO.
Do you have any right to this space on any other day? NO.
Are you a bad neighbor who doesn't shovel anything or clear his walkway? YES (I had to give him one).
I could only hope to get back home before he returned but no good. He returned to the same spot that he "reserved" for his own velvet Elvis seat covered, ugly ass gas guzzling Ro-Fo coffe cup littered, pain in my ass 'cause he don'e shovel shit, hoopty van.
Get some salt on your sidewalk, asshole! And clean up the shit in the front sidewalk area from your yappy-ass dog too. The snow's not gonna bury it forever.
Did you see all the snow that we got?
Of course you saw all the snow we got! It was steady rockin' all night long.
Oh, and did you finally get your car dug out of the street? Yea? Well good for you.
Sunday morning there were about 6 able bodied menfolk neighbors out shoveling out our 1 block street in Hampden. We were all responsable for digging out multiple cars on the street: our car and our spouse/girlfriend/old lady/grama/ etc.
So we got to work. Shovel shovel shovel and a snow blower ta boot (thanks neighbor dude down the street).
Fortunately nobody dropped dead from a heart attack and we had a laugh here and there as the day went by. We are the good neighbors. Dug out our cars, dug out nice neighbor ladies who have no menfolk and dug out the sidewalk. Good for us.
What do we get for this? We get help.
Just when our 1/2 of the street was clear a white BCPW pickup truck turns onto the street to plow.
He drops his blade 6 houses away, scrapes the street untill he gets to the back seat door of my car. He's stuck. So, in the spirit of helping and scoring holiday OT pay what does he do?
He backs up, raises the plow about 6 inches and drives over the snow bank that he just created next to my car. He then drives up the street that we just shovelled (shovelled, mind you, down to the pavement, no snow or ice) he drives over the newly created snow bank and spreades whatever his 6" high plow can spread up the street. BCPW just buried 3 hours of back breaking shoveling.
So like any good ant colony, we get back to work. Who else is going to do it? We live at the top of a One-Way street and this is how everyone is going to get out. So we shovel.
17 November, 2009
Silverdome Sells for a half-mil
From the WSJ:
Pontiac, Mich., reached a deal to sell the 80,000-seat Pontiac Silverdome to an unidentified Canadian buyer for $583,000, about 1% of what it cost to build, the city said Monday.
The city said the buyer planned to convert the former home of the National Football League's Detroit Lions into a soccer facility. A city official declined to release further information until the deal was finalized.
Even though the price was low, getting the stadium into private hands was important for Pontiac's financial health, according to Fred Leeb, the city's emergency manager. "Even I have to admit that the number is lower than I would like," Mr. Leeb said. "But I'm happy that we made the decision. Procrastination was literally costing us millions of dollars."
The Silverdome stadium cost about $55.7 million to build in 1975. The Detroit Lions played there until the 2001 season after which the team left for a new stadium in downtown Detroit.
Pontiac, which has attempted to sell the Silverdome for years, put it on the auction block and offered it for sale to the highest bidder, with no minimum price. As recently as last year, developers offered $17.5 million for the property, which includes the stadium and the surrounding 127 acres. The stadium costs an estimated $1.5 million a year to maintain.
Potential buyers initially submitted bids Thursday. The city chose to invite those bidders to a live auction held Monday.
Did I get this article straight? Last year Pontiac had a bid of over $17Mil and sold it this week for $583,000?
13 November, 2009
“The confirmation of scientists’ suspicions is welcome news both to future explorers who might set up home on the lunar surface and to scientists who hope that the water, in the form of ice accumulated over billions of years, could hold a record of the solar system’s history.”
Now how long has that moon been up there?
And how long have we been exploring space?
And we’re just now discovering what could be water on the moon?
Is there a scientific award category called “Better Late Than Never “ Award?
06 November, 2009
I was living in Port Deposit, MD at this time. You were living in Madison, WI. It had been 3 years since I saw you last. You came to visit for a while when I moved to Waldorf, MD with my then girlfriend.
Before I moved out to MD we were the duo. Inseparable.
Maybe I made some bad decisions along the way. Maybe I followed the wrong person and ended up leaving my family and friends for a new life. The silver lining from all of that was that I am now in Maryland and the rest of my family is as well and doing better for it.
But even in my bad decisions you supported me. It seemed that you were the only one and that’s why you got the invite to visit me in Maryland.
At the time I wish you hadn’t come out. Since moving to Maryland I had become a shell of the man that you once knew. I had given up on pursuing life for myself and was resigned to live in what was to be my new family life.
You had an open invitation to stay as long as you wanted but did not last three weeks. You had to get out and desperately tried to take me with you but I couldn’t get up. Later you would move to Madison with your mother.
I thought you would shine in your new environment. A chemistry wiz without a college degree, you taught PhD candidates how to do their jobs and for that they took your notes and fired you.
Everyone wanted to know what you knew. Everyone wanted to stand next to you and call you their friend. All you wanted was a few true souls and someone who you could share a life with. When I finally broke from my slump and got out on my own I wanted to contact you and tell you the good news. I was free. Alive and well. I wrote you a birthday card in June that never got sent. That's a regret that I will always hold close to me.
When I got the call on November 6th and learned that you had taken your own life I didn’t want to believe it. I wanted to believe it was a prank call. It was real. You took your life away from all of us and moved on to the world that would better suit you.
You had one of the most beautiful minds ever created but it was made for the wrong world. I hope you have found that world that you were looking for. You deserve it. You always have.
You nearly killed many of us and I know that we are not the same now that you are gone. But I could never be mad at you and never will. I forgive you. Rest in Peace, my friend.
02 November, 2009
Sure there were costumes galore, people galore, police presence double galore and Yankee fans interspersed throughout the night dressed as a constant reminder that the Yankees suck. Especially when they win.
So what is an avid Yankee hater to do? Why, give them swine flu, of course.
Fear not, wary citizens. It was not the real H1N1 but a replica of the virus spread throughout Fells Point in sticker form.
I had over 300 stickers of the H1N1 virus and passed out nearly all of them on a trail from Hampden to Fells Point.
Once we hit Broadway and Thames and entered the 98Rock tent we were at ground zero for infection. I say “we” because my Suesue was dressed as the flu vaccine. But by the time I got to the party it was too late for a vaccine so she was just there to add an empty promise of relief and a needle in the ass. Both of which were fun to watch.
Balloon Boy got infected. I’m sure many of you will be pleased to hear that. You’re welcome!
Obama’s Health Care Death Panel also became incubators for the H1N1 virus. What better way to speed up the death process than to contract swine flu at your first meeting with the Death Panel. OK, so maybe Republicans were right. This panel IS going to kill a lot of people. Sorry about that.
Even Soap and Scrubbie got a virus to take home and spread to the family. This just goes to show that you can wash your hands all you want. Hell, you can even BE soap and you’re not safe from the virus.
And as a smart virus I even managed to infect the helpful ladies who were selling me drinks all night. What better way to spread the virus then to infect those who will be handling your food and drink? (hey, the flu has been outsmarting you complex humans for years).
Sorry Baltimore but even your two biggest heroes were infected this weekend. As for the rest of the O’s, I have no reason why they were sick all season. I had nothing to do with that.
This girl, however, I couldn’t seem to get rid of. She’ll always be around whenever I’m looking to have a good time. Get outta the way!! Don’t you have anything better to do?! You ever wonder what's taking so long for the flu vaccine to get out? Blame this bitch.
By 2am we had successfully passed out enough swine flu to put this city down for the count.
From notable figures like Albert Einstien and John Lennon to 1/2 of the Ravens defensive line to even inaanimate objects like Soap and Water this town could be the next sight for a flu epidemic.
Hope you have your sick leave built up.
30 October, 2009
This year I’m going as swine flu for Halloween. Why not? It’s topical. It’s all in the news and it’s scaring America more than any devilish creature from this world or the next.
But what if I really am a human incubator for the dreaded H1N1?
How many people would I come in contact with on an average Halloween night?
How quickly could I spread this agent of terror throughout the land?
Well, lets see.
Tomorrow I will be swine flu and I have 300 viruses on hand to spread.
Actually this virus is a 3x5 sticker of the H1N1 virus. Anyone I come in contact with for more than a few seconds gets a sticker. A handshake gets a sticker.
A hug gets a sticker.
A smooch definitely gets a sticker.
And if I go bobbing for apples at the local elementary school and the whole place gets a sticker.
The possibilities of spreading the virus are endless.
This is one of the joys of being a vector.
So if you’re out on Halloween and you see a sick pig handing out H1N1 you just may get infected.
But there’s no need to panic. My girlfriend will be dressed as the H1N1 vaccine. So just talk to her and you could get the antidote. But probably not. She’s not a people person. She’s just in it for the money.
23 October, 2009
The measure was approved with a majority of Republicans voting against it. The House passed the same bill Oct. 8, also with most Republicans opposed.
The measure would extend the current definition of federal hate crimes -- which covers attacks motivated by race, color, religion or national origin -- to include those based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. It also would make it a federal crime to attack U.S. military personnel because of their service.
Republicans contend that an expansion of the hate crimes definition should not be included in a defense spending bill. The bill allocates $130 billion for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for the fiscal year 2010, which began Oct. 1.
Now here is one of the few times that I can totally agree with Republicans on this matter.
A hate crimes bill should not be passed along with a bill which would allow the Pentagon to spend $130 billion to kill Iraqis and Afghans. That’s a hate crime in itself. In fact the Pentagon should not get $1 to wage war on any sovereign nation.
Here’s what one Rep. Senator has to say on the matter:
"Democrats have done a great disservice to the brave men and women of our Armed Forces today by using them as leverage to pass radical social policy," said House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio after the House passed the bill.
Did he miss the part of the hate crime bill that said it also would make it a federal crime to attack U.S. military personnel because of their service? Radical social policy?
"They engineered this abuse of the legislative process because they had no other way to pass legislation that is unconstitutional and just plain wrong," he said. "Our troops, and their families, deserve better."
But our troops and their families don’t deserve to have the rest of the military discriminate against them.
Can someone help me explain this one?
11 August, 2009
I parked my car a few blocks away from the hall and walked down the hill to Osler Dr. As I came to the corner another man was crossing the street and we came together as I turned the corner. I didn’t know who this person was but he looked like he could be my father or anyone’s father. Since we were side by side and heading in the same direction I figured it would be rude (yet totally typical) to ignore his presence since we were walking in tandem up the sidewalk. I greeted him and made a comment on the hot day and other social banter. As we came up over the hill we were met with throngs of people on either side of Osler St. in what looked like a pitched battle waiting to break out. Signs waving, megaphones chanting, car horns honking and 2 opposing crowds a good 15 feet from tearing each others throats out.
Now I just love playing the rube and this gave me a chance to find out more about my new travel companion. So I asked, surprisingly, “Wow, what’s going on here?” The man answered in a bitterly resigned voice: “The end of the world”
“The end of the world? Really? And it’s happening right here?”
“It’s happening all over this country”
And that’s when I heard the term that would be the buzz word for the rest of the evening:
“Obamacare?” I asked.
“Yea, Obama wants to take our health care away, give it to everyone and water it down for everyone. Ya see, we’re gonna lose what we have now because there’s not enough to go around, and you know who’s gonna pay for it don’t ya?”.
This would be the first of an endless stream of rapid fire opinions and rants that I would encounter the rest of the evening.
At this point we had reached the beginning of the sign-holding, flag-waving crazies on the street. The first sign I came to said “No Gov. Run Health Care!”
I looked at it with my head cocked and said, “My dad has gov. health care. But he’s 65 too. I guess you get a free ride if you can make it in this country and survive to be 65. But he’s a veteran too so he’s always been covered….So is that wrong now?”
My new companero had nothing to say in response but that’s OK, I was entering the jungle and could find blasting conversation anywhere I looked. All I had to do was walk up to someone and they would desperately throw their beliefs of health care on me as if their voice alone was the one that would change the course of the entire debate. It was such a blast.
Now, let me come out and say that I was informed about this event by an email I got from a local MoveOn.org member and, coming up the hill, my support was on the side of change. But after I found myself in the thick of the event I knew that change was the farthest thing from anyone in this maelstrom of media hype.
I became a neutral figure in the debate and chose the role of the observer over that of the warrior.
At one point I got out on the median of the street and took a short video that panned back and forth at both sides of the crowd. You really couldn’t tell who was who if you couldn’t read the signs. Everyone was ugly and intolerant. But some ugly in the name of smaller government and saving their broken health care system while others were ugly in the name of health care reform and president Obama. It really was a great time to be a neutral observer. Sure I side with health care reform but voicing any opinion on this day was only going to raise my stress level and make me lose my voice. I’d still be going home none the wiser in the end. So I let everyone else guckin fonuts.
Unfortunately though, I got tied up in the shit storm for longer than I should have and by the time I got in line for the actual town hall event at 6:10. The line was too long to get in and we were shut out. But I think I would not have gotten in anyway. When I got there at 5:15 the line was half the size it was when I got in it but it wasn’t going anywhere.
Emails and press notes said that the event starts at 7 but never said when the doors opened. By 6pm no one was moving in line.
Oh but the line provided for just as much jack assery. I was standing behind a older lady with a big sign that cited a few lines from Obama’s health reform. It stated that “The gov. will require access to your personal banking information for electronic funds transfer”. NO!! This is the largest breach in private security that I have ever….Wait a minute. Don’t I voluntarily give the gov my bank routing info every year for electronic funds transfer so that they can directly deposit my income tax return into my bank account? Uh, yea. And if big brother were half as menacing as we’d like to believe they would keep my bank info so I wouldn’t have to provide it every year. But are they really that competent? Not hardly. Trust me, I work for the gov. We could care less about you and your personal information. Now Choicepoint, on the other hand. They are the folks who have hundreds of pages on my daily activities and every bank account I ever had. They are the ones who are stockpiling my data for the corporate big brother. That’s the real threat (and also the main funder of the Anti-Obamacare scare and bully tactics…but this is no time to get into actual factual details. Truth has no place in a protest).
And not 30 seconds after reading this sign and chuckling to myself a casual conversation between a solo 19 yr old Towson student and a group of 4 middle age people took some turn for the worse when the young guy, knowing the ways of the world, told a lady “you don’t know what you’re talking about!” and her husband got into the argument and oratorically tore the kid a new one. Without stating his position or any identifiable information about himself the middle age man reversed every argument the kid had and exposed it as rookie assumptions. The kid just got more furious because he was seeing that he was not right. But to his credit he was seeing just that.
I thought the kid was brave. Better to put yourself out there and make your mistakes when you are still young and learn a thing or two from them. And nobody went away in anger. The kid was frustrated and rightly so. Nobody likes to be wrong but it’s a big man to admit when he is. He’ll do just fine. But not today.
Now here’s something interesting. There were 2 police men guarding the line to prevent protesters from aggravating those waiting in line. At 6:40 I saw these police leaving the scene. I assume that they were told that no one else is getting in the building and they assumed their job was over. Not 5 minutes later a wave of people from the Anti-Obamacare mob swarmed up the hill and encircled the line creating a big battle arena. Imagine an after school fight where hundreds of kids gathering around to see a bunch of other kids duke it out. But you never see more then some finger pointing and name calling.
I, however, used this opportunity to walk up past all the swarm and get right to the front of the line only to find out that no one was getting in.
Oh well. I had seen enough already.
Now here's a sight. Ebony and Ivory coming together to disagree and cause a clusterfuck of our democratic system in perfect harmony
This was priceless. Uncle Jesse had real dedication. Sentence structure is not the best but it's not like he sacrificed his pick 'em up truck to make the statement...Oh wait.
Of course FAUX News was there to cover it all and spin it the way you would expect. They didn't need to go far though. This was a FAUX report from heaven. This evening was perfect for a crazy news report.
But after all of this protest I sat there on the hill and shook my head and thought, "I can't believe I'm supporting the government in a public protest! What the hell is happening here!"
That's when I knew that this health care reform was only a dream.
10 August, 2009
Towson University Center for the Arts
Cross Campus Drive and Osler Drive
Towson, MD 21204
Monday, 10 Aug 2009, 5:30 PM
The Freaks Come Out at (the) Right.
Tonight I’m going to a Town Hall meeting that Senator Ben Cardin is hosting at Towson University.
This will be one of those Town hall meetings that you have been seeing on the news and hearing about on NPR. You know the ones. Those health care reform meetings where Right wing nut sacks have been flooding the hall and disrupting the meeting so that nothing can be accomplished.
In the news we see articles like: Huffington Post:
Right Wing S**T Storm Tries to Stop Health Care Reform
Salon.com: Obama wants to kill your grandma
The list goes on and on.
So I am going tonight to see the circus that is the Amerikan political system in action. I hope to see just how crazy it can get. Because there’s a lot at stake here. If we’re not careful we could all lose our health care (that we only have if our employer chooses to help us pay for it) and it could all be given to illegal aliens, our loved ones could be forced on the next midnight train to Middle America where they will be euthanized with cattle prods and the Medicare budget will be diverted into mandatory abortions for all single women without a parent’s or the Pope’s consent. What the hell is going on here? All of this is true! Haven’t you been paying attention?
Nah, me neither.
Only in Amerika are we afraid of health care for all. Even the thought of giving everyone access to health care scares the bejezus out of me. I mean, really. What will come of this nation if everyone had access to the fundamental human right that is quality medical attention?
Giving citizens a license to drive a car on our streets?
Giving citizens the ability to go into business for themselves?
Allowing citizens to represent themselves in court?
If health care is granted to every citizen in this great nation then the rest of the world may look at this as a sign of weakness. The United States is a mighty and fearless enemy to anyone who may disagree with it. After all, if this country won’t even offer medical attention to its own citizens just imagine how easily it would be for it to bomb the hell out of you! Watch out, world.
04 August, 2009
I hate auto repairs. That’s why I leave all of them till the last minute. Well, the last minute is nigh and I need some brake work done.
I’ve gotten two estimates; one from my Saturn dealership and another from Precision tune. I don’t want to go with either one.
First off, a dealership is usually the most expensive place to get auto work done. They were thorough in finding many things wrong with my car but only went halfway in fixing the problem that brought me to them in the first place.
Second, I went to Precision Tune for a “free brake check” and “$14.99 oil change” that they had on their road sign. Well, they checked my brakes and found half of what Saturn did and when they charged me $26 for the $14.99 oil change they stated on the itemized inspection sheet that they checked the gaskets. They dais they were fine. Apparently the pool of oil coming out of one of the spark plug covers does not tip them to the fact that I have a bad gasket. And for the half-ass brake check they did they still quoted me more then the dealership to fix half of the problem.
Argh! So now I’m on my third search for a decent brake job from someone who’s not going to jack me. I’m on my last leg as far as brakes go (how’s that for a mixed metaphor?). But I don’t want to pay more for maintenance than I did for the whole damn car.
Sure, I got a ’98 Saturn and it only cost me $2K but it’s the best money spent for a car. It’s usually trouble free and dependable as all get out. It’s not like I got a lemon, it’s brake work and that is always needed no matter what you drive.
So if anyone can recommend me a decent auto mechanic in the Baltimore area I’d go and check them out. Even better, if you have a brother-in-law who’s a mechanic and does bonus “family” work on the side I’d slide him some cash for some decent side work.
29 July, 2009
Now that it is forefront on my screen I am compelled to use it rather than opening a new Google search (I don't have a Google toolbar or search engine on the work brain).
OK, maybe I shuoldn't use the word compelled. That makes it look like Bing has some power of persuasion. No, it just has the ability and Microsoct pirate muscle to be the easiest and shortest means of a search. But it is not the fastest. Half of all Bing searches have resulted in opening a Google search to find exactly what I am looking for on the first page. Fancy that.
If Bing is taking over the search world then it's doing it the only way Microsoft knows how: by dumping its product on every machine it can and strangling better working products.
Here's an example. Do an Bing search for the word: Walnart
What happens? Bing does the thinking for you and corrects your spelling and searches for "Walmart"
19,300,000 results for Walmart. Wow, that's a lot! But it's not what I'm looking for. Useless.
Oh but there's a feature to search for just for results for Walnart.
Results? 538 results for Walmart.
Now do a Google search for Walnart? What do you get?
Pretty cool 'eh?
27 July, 2009
Like, OMG! I'm almost speachless. I wish Palin was too.
Palin's Resignation: The Edited Version: vanityfair.com
Shared via AddThis
15 July, 2009
So last night was the All-Star game. That’s major League Baseball All-Star for those sports fans who only know All-Star as NFL and NBA.
I believe last night was the first time I sat and watched the All-Star game since I was in elementary school. I think I remember Mike Schmidt , Wade Boggs and George Brett as being my favorite All-Stars of the last game I sat all the way through. Oh and Lance Parrish because I was a die hard 7 yr old Tigers fan.
Well last night was the first time ever that I rooted more for the National League than the American. I’m a Tiger fan by birth and an Oriole fan by inheritance so why Nat League?
You can credit my Suesue for that. She is a St. Louis native and long time Cardinals fan and baseball fan in general. She still feels that childhood excitement whenever she walks through the coliseum-like entrance of a major league ball park. It’s something that takes her back. Being with her at a game brings it back for me as well. That kind of exuberance is electric.
She credits St. Louis and the Cardinal fans for this spirit. She has said it many times before and last night’s All-Star game at Busch Stadium illustrated it: St. Louis is a baseball town. The fans are loyal to their team through and through but are also true baseball fans at heart. Even the announcers stated that the fans were giving their hearts to all of the players and the game itself. Of course their beloved Cards All-Stars received almost as much of an ovation as our -cool as a cucumber- president who not only threw out the first pitch but was bold enough to do it in a White Sox jacket.
The crowd loved him. The crowd loved baseball. And I was there until the final out.
29 June, 2009
Man locked in own home...has a knife...no hostages...And?
I too was 3 blocks away...locked in my home...actual guns in the house...no hostages...Nobody bothered me. Now I feel lonely. What's a guy gotta do to make some news?
Maybe I should announce to the neighborhood that I've locked myself in my house...Maybe that will cause drama.
26 June, 2009
I ask this because I believe MJ is going to be our generation’s Elvis especially now that he is gone. Like generations before who knew where they were when they heard JFK was shot or even now when we remember where we were when we heard about 9-11. Yesterday may be one of those days.
I know I’ve been listening to Michael Jackson since I first started hearing the radio. My first memory; though, of when he became a musical force in my life was way back in the 1st grade.
My sister and I would go grocery shopping once a week with my mom and we were able to get 1 small toy each. Usually it was a Hot Wheels car for me and something small and girlie for my sister. When I started school and had to get up early on a regular basis I was given a clock radio to wake up to. That’s when my musical listening days started. I had it tuned to Foxy 101 coming out of Saginaw, MI in 1980. My grocery shopping toy selections would take a turn after this. Now I wanted records.
This was a time when you could still buy 7” singles for about .99 cents. My sister’s and my record collection would start to flourish with one 7” single per week.
Fast forward three years. I just got the Billie Jean 7” from the grocery store when it came out. Sure, some people were waiting in line at Record Town or some local Mall music shop for this record to drop. I got mine from Meijer music section (Meijer Thrifty Acres represent!).
The next day was show and tell at school. Kids usually brought in their favorite toy or something their family brought back for them from some trip. We usually didn’t pay much attention to what the other kids had, especially if we were waiting to show our stuff.
When it was my turn I didn’t say a word. No intro to my toy and no explanation needed. I walked over to the small classroom record player, turned it on and slid the record out of the jacket and on the turntable. After I turned it up and the music started I just turned around and went back to me seat. But I didn’t just take my seat. I walked tall with a certain strut in my step that no 6 yr old should even know how to do. The madness in the music got to me, you could say.
All eyes were on me as I took my seat. The music played and the classroom was enthralled.
This show and tell was all mine and I was king of all 6 yr olds for a day. This was the first time I felt just how powerful music could be. For a few minutes I was transformed and everyone took notice of the sound.
After that other kids started bringing their favorite records to show and tell and it turned into a small music corner for a short while.
That’s what Michael Jackson did for me and that’s when I became a fan.
04 May, 2009
Page 24 lists possible bike commuter reimbursement possibly equal to that of parking fees.
“…Up to $120 (for 2009) per month of employer provided
transit and vanpool benefits was excludable from gross income. The Senate-passed bill
(Sec. 1251) proposed to increase the monthly exclusion for employer-provided transit, vanpool,
and bicycle commuting benefits to the same level as the exclusion for employer-provided
parking. There was no similar provision in the House bill. ARRA (§1151) includes the text of the
Senate proposal, increasing the benefit for transit, vanpools, and bicycle commuting to $230 per
month. The provision is scheduled to expire at the end of 2010. JCT estimates the cost at $192
million over 10 years.”
07 April, 2009
05 April, 2009
03 April, 2009
Saturday April 4, 2009 6:07 PM
Being a Michigander in MD is not as uncommon as one might think.
My home state has been fueling the economic boom of the 90's and 2K because we've been fleeing the state like we just broke out of Jackson. So here we are better than ever.
It is no surprise to meet fellow MI expats in Baltimore.
So my question here is: Where are we all going to be to see the Michigan State Final Four game?
How could this year be any better? MSU in the Final Four to be played at
Ford Field in Dee-troit.
Gametime is 6:07PM
It would be fun to see where all the UCONN fans found hotel rooms near Ford Field. They better choose wisely, hide their Husky wear and tuck their gold. We're all aiming for them.
On the banks of the Red Cedar
There's a school that's known to all
Its specialty is winning
And those Spartans play good ball
Spartan teams are never beaten,
All through the game they'll fight
Fight for the only colors
Green and White.
I love how school songs have nothing to do with academics.
02 April, 2009
I figure a female artist who's been pro for nearly 20 years would be welcomed in the Hampden business and arts community. Not only is she proposing a tattoo parlor but also a local art gallery.
Oh yea, it's also in the "Obey Your Noodle Master, Hon" building on Falls Rd.
Apparently, that building was featured in a John waters movie as well. Yet it remains empty. Pulp history growing cobwebs. The vacant space should be used.
Well...Read on and see why it's not so easy to get a "competing" shop opened in Hampden.
This is a letter written by my fiend, Ken asking for assistance in signing a petition to allow his girlfriend to move her job from Glen Burnie home to Hampden . I wish I could work 4 blocks from my home. ...
As most of you know, my girlfriend Stacey is trying to move her tattoo shop from Glen Burnie to 3853 Falls Road, Baltimore City, 21211. This will give her room to establish Tattoo Tux's Fine Art Gallery and continue to tattoo in a small studio in the rear of the storefront.
Unfortunately another tattoo shop in the neighborhood has organized a petition to oppose this move and has already collected hundreds of signatures. Now we must do the same.
PLEASE TAKE ONE MINUTE TO SIGN THE BELOW PETITION
Also please FORWARD THIS EMAIL TO ANYONE you know who lives in Funkytown, ESPECIALLY HAMPDEN!
Thanks, Love and Peace,
31 March, 2009
I find it funny that Congressman Cummings wants to contact me but will not receive emails in return…Here's my attempt at appreciation for his office's new embracing of email technology. Yes, the future is here. Soon everyone will be communicating via email. Hard to believe? Well, yea. Here's why...
On Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 8:31 AM, Congressman Elijah Cummings
Congressman Elijah Cummings would like to periodically email you information about legislative issues in Congress vital to you and your family.
Receiving this information by email is a fast and efficient way to learn more about what is going on during these significant times, and will provide you with timely information about news important to you and your family.
Email is part of an ongoing effort to keep voters informed about the latest news and how upcoming issues will affect you. If you would prefer not to receive these email messages, please follow the instructions at the bottom of this message.
Thank you for your time.
Congressman Elijah Cummings, 7th District of Maryland
2235 Rayburn HOB
Washington DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4741
Fax: (202) 225-3178
My email response
Congressman Elijah Cummings;
Thank you for contacting me directly regarding Congressional legislative issues. Often I receive email notifications on certain issues that are dear to me but they always come from an outside party, a PAC or any of the many grassroots organizations in my community who take it upon themselves to be the middlemen in relaying information to me.
I am pleased to be able to receive information directly from the Congressman's office on issues that really are important to me.
As a constituent and loyal supporter of Rep. Cummings I am happy to be able to be treated as such with these emails.
Your message is absolutely correct in that email is the fastest way to keep voters informed.
Welcome to the year 2000. Organizers have been using mass email for years. What took you so long to find your supporters? With any more organization I would begin to think that you are now a Libertarian. I certainly would not hold that against you.
Thank you for the email,
Baltimore residant and proud member of Baltimore County Department of Social Services.
Please remember our most at-risk citizens when the resources are being handed out.
Now here is the response to my appreciation.
This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification
Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:
Technical details of permanent failure:
Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the recipient domain. We recommend contacting the other email provider for further information about the cause of this error. The error that the other server returned was: 550 550 5.7.1 Unable to deliver to
19 March, 2009
Our intention to focus on the city first and foremost stems from our own organizing experience, and a recognition that the city is very often the terrain on which we fight, and which we should be fighting for. To take a particularly salient example in Baltimore, it is increasingly the case that labor struggles, especially in the service sector, need to confront not just unfair employers, but structurally disastrous municipal development policies. While the financial crisis plays out in the national news and in the spectacle of legislative action, it is at the level of the urban community where foreclosures can be directly challenged and the right to a non-capitalist relation to housing can be fought for. Our right to an autonomous culture, to our freedom to dissent, to public spaces and to public education all hinge increasingly on our relation to the cities in which we live and to the people and forces in control of them. And our cities offer some truly inspiring and creative examples of resistance - from the community garden to the neighborhood assembly.
18 March, 2009
March 27th-29th, 2009
The city has emerged in recent years as an indispensable concept for many of the struggles for social justice we are all engaged in - it's a place where theory meets practice, where the neighborhood organizes against global capitalism, where unequal divisions based on race and class can be mapped out block by block and contested, where the micropolitics of gender and sexual orientation are subject to metropolitan rearticulation, where every corner is a potential site of resistance and every vacant lot a commons to be reclaimed, and, most importantly, a place where all our diverse struggles and strategies have a chance of coming together into something greater. In cities everywhere, new social movements are coming into being, hidden histories and herstories are being uncovered, and unanticipated futures are being imagined and built - but so much of this knowledge remains, so to speak, at street-level. We need a space to gather and share our stories, our ideas and analysis, a space to come together and rethink the city from below.To that end, a group of activists and organizers, including Red Emma's, the Indypendent Reader, The Baltimore Development Cooperative, campbaltimore, and the Campaign for a Better Baltimore are calling for a conference called The City From Below, to take place in Baltimore during the weekend of March 27th-29th, 2009 at 2640, a grassroots community center and events venue.
Our intention to focus on the city first and foremost stems from our own organizing experience, and a recognition that the city is very often the terrain on which we fight, and which we should be fighting for. To take a particularly salient example from Baltimore, it is increasingly the case that labor struggles, especially in the service sector, need to confront not just unfair employers, but structurally disastrous municipal development policies. While the financial crisis plays out in the national news and in the spectacle of legislative action, it is at the level of the urban community where foreclosures can be directly challenged and the right to a non-capitalist relation to housing can be fought for. Our right to an autonomous culture, to our freedom to dissent, to public spaces and to public education all hinge increasingly on our relation to the cities in which we live and to the people and forces in control of them. And our cities offer some truly inspiring and creative examples of resistance - from the community garden to the neighborhood assembly.
We are committed in organizing this conference to a horizontal framework of participation, one which allows us to concretely engage with and support ongoing social justice struggles. What we envision is a conference which isn't just about academics and other researchers talking to each other and at a passive audience, but one where some of the most inspiring campaigns and projects on the frontlines of the fight for the right to the city (community anti-gentrification groups, transit rights activists, tenant unions, alternative development advocates, sex worker's rights advocates, prison reform groups) will not just be represented, but will concretely benefit from the alliances they build and the knowledge they gain by attending.At the same time, we also want to productively engage those within the academic system, as well as artists, journalists, and other researchers. It is a mistake to think that people who spend their lives working on urban geography and sociology, in urban planning, or on the history of cities have nothing to offer to our struggles. At the same time, we recognize that too often the way in which academics engage activists, if they do so at all, is to talk at them. We are envisioning something much different, closer to the notion of "accompaniment". We want academics and activists to talk to each other, to listen to each other, and to offer what they each are best able to. Concretely, we're hoping to facilitate this kind of dynamic by planning as much of the conference as possible as panels involving both scholars and organizers.
THEMES TO BE CONSIDERED
Policing and incarceration
Tenants rights/housing as a right
Urban worker's rights
Reclaiming public space
The right to the city
Squatting/Contesting Property Rights
Please share with us your proposal for workshops or presentations. We hope to host 15-25 sessions with a mixture of formats and welcome proposals from groups and individuals. The conference is geared towards discussion and participation. People are welcome to bring papers andother resources with them, but this conference is not oriented to the presentation of papers. There will be 50 and 110 minute sessions. We welcome self-organized workshops but will also work to incorporate individual proposals into panels with others. In your proposal please indicate how your proposal relates to the themes of the conference, expected participants, organizing partners and session format (training, panel, open discussion, video, etc.) and how long the session will be. We are especially interested in proposals which combine critique of the urban environment with discussions of new strategies for its reclamation.Please get proposals to us no later than the 30th of January, but preferably before January 1st.
Please send proposals to:
cityfrombelow -at- redemmas.org
Email is preferred, but you can also send a proposal to:
City from Belowc/o Red Emma's800 St Paul St.Baltimore MD 21202
22 February, 2009
02 February, 2009
With all the accolades given to Day 1 of the Aural States Fest it was actually Day 2 that I was waiting for. It was only at the last hour that I decided to go to the first night out of respect for Alex Mudge and the rest of Aural States for tacking on a second night and allowing another fine example of why Aural States is the City Paper’s best music blog of 2008. (http://auralstates.com/2008/10/thanks-city-paper-baltimore.html ) Not only do they cover some of the best local talent but now they bring it all together.
Day 2 was something old and something new but entirely fresh.
First off was the space. The 3rd floor of the Whole Gallery was the very best space I have been to for an all night party in this city (Paradox is not included because it is out of this world). The space was a huge industrial era floor turned into loft space with the majority of the area a great open area with excellent wood floors for dancing. But this was also someone’s home that we were partying in so they deserve a big thanks for inviting us in and sharing their awesome space. Big shouts to Edward, Jessie and the 3rd floor family for opening their home to us. It was the best decorated space I’ve been to in a while. The revolving mirror monolith in the middle of the floor was a great touch.
Another great touch was more free coffee from Zekes. Whoever thought of giving party goers coffee in the wee hours is a genius! (just don’t spill it on yourself) This kept people moving a bit longer into the evening without the need for any greater stimulants.
The Music: Garret McIndoe, product of B-more but hailing now from Brooklyn, opened the night around 10pm. Doors opened at 9ish and the place was already in party mode when he went on. I heard some fun B-more club and some classicks from way back…and then lost a contact lens and had to swerve 25 blocks home to grab another eye. When I returned he had just finished. Sorry Garret. Come back and do it again sometime?
Next up was Craig Sopo of the Bmore-Electro crew with a nice long 2 ½ hour set of techno, acid, Detroit classicks and whatever else he wanted to throw down. It’s always nice to see vinyl still being used in DJ sets these days and even though he was using a laptop with Serrato, Sopo is one of those wax taxin’ DJ’s who keeps one foot firmly planted in the music’s roots. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a techno bill of Detroit and NYC Dj’s with Sopo’s name somewhere in the middle.
Now, I grew up in a time and place before set lists were posted up on music forums and anyone could Google or do a discoggs search for anything and find it. When I was coming up the only place you heard these tunes was at the party and if you didn’t know the record you’d ask someone next to you. If they didn’t know then you were out of luck for the time. You just go with the flow and remember the sound because you’ll likely hear it again next week. Good records don’t go away and I appreciate a DJ who’s kept theirs.
So that was the old as far as music technology goes and the new in terms of talent in this area.
Another old/new example of the night was CEX- Ryan Kidwell. Baltimore may consider him old since he put out his first album in 1998. I have to admit, being a Baltimore resident only 2 years I have read the name before but have never seen him perform. So this was new for me.
A little Wiki search told me that this guy formed Tigerbeat6 with Miguel Depedro of Kid606. Although I’ve not heard anything from either of these two I do remember reading and hearing rants about GirlTalk and people saying that these were the groups who came way before him and what they did 10 years ago still holds up better than his work. So yea, I’ve got my own homework to do here now. Ryan, that was you? I never knew. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cex) Thank you Aural States.
So there he was with trusty laptop and soundboard cranking out sounds for the next 2 plus hours. Now, I always have trouble with laptop sets because I can’t tell if someone’s really mixing and making or if they’re just pushing play. But there was a look and feel of sounds being born and decaying, melding together and totally standing alone. I can’t get into production and arrangement because that’s not my thing. I’m a final product guy and CEX pushed his product for a good 2 plus hours. The sounds and scenes changed with the time of the evening as I noticed slower interludes to give wary dancers a minute to stop and catch their breath before something completely different came up and moved their feet again. But the theme I got from the set was a continual push of sounds. Not too fast to wear you out but just enough to keep one going for it.
Big thanks to Cex for what seemed like a long overdue set. Now that my ears are open I hope to hear more from him in the future.
On a closing note I was a bit disappointed that the 2nd night of Aural States Fest was not mentioned in 2 different radio interviews (WYPR) with both Greg Szeto and Alex Mudge. And when I say not mentioned it is no fault of Aural States but either timing or "editing" from the station. Metromix pumped Day 1 on their Friday things to do front page but was using way outdated info for day 2 and even got the venue wrong. It just seemed like Day 2 got buried, censored or both.
But once I got to the place, saw the awesome venue and the people already starting to fill it I was made aware that what was happening was, in essence, the true spirit of the underground. The advertisement wasn’t there but the people were, the flashy camera men and scene hogs were not there but those who knew or wanted to know were. Day 2 (or the party as we called it) has been going on for years without the support from major or even minor media outlets. Support comes from where it is needed. When you get the Deep Sugar crew to come out to your event, in numbers mind you, then you know you're reaching the right people. For some of us that was like having the godfather walk through your party. There were, however, many new faces that I don’t normally see out at these events and was pleased to meet so many diverse folks who came for the same thing: to dance and holler at a DJ who’s crankin’ it out!
Evening 1 was at Sonar and Talking Head Club this past Friday night and the place was packed by 8pm. I thought I was getting there early to score some rad door prizes but the gear was gone even by then and the Talking Head was already standing room only.
This was one of those evenings that very well could have been everything to everyone. There was something for all. Acoustic and electronic, heartbreak and hardcore.
If Aural States' mission was to bring the same local talent from the far reaching corners of the mind as well as the city together for 2 nights then they nailed it.
In doing this they also brought people from these various places and "scenes" together to create one big party and one big scene.
One of the all encompassing highlights of the two evenings was this diversity coming together and hearing each other's favorite music and digging it.
I think of every person I talked to that night each one was there to hear an entirely different band but stuck around to hear other bands who kept their interest and energy as well if not more.
Although I've been reading about these bands for the past 8 months through the Aural States blog I just haven't been out to hear them. Not only did I get the chance to hear them all (for the first time, mind you) but every single band I did see looked as if they were having the performance of a lifetime. The energy on stage was mirrored by the energy in the audience and every band was really going for it. I have a deep respect for anyone who can get on stage, play their music and pour themselves fully into it...and not have it suck.
Of the first night let me personally shout out those who I saw in the Talking Head:
Can not Be Stopped.
These folks poured it out and rocked the house. If there was more room I'm sure the place woulda been a mad house!
At the Sonar stage (unfortunately, set changes took a long time here and I spent most time in TH because that's where the sound was)
2 completely different sounds that I would not expect on the same bill but so happy I heard them. Special thanks to Wye Oak for taking me from the Talking Head where I just finished rocking out to what seemed like high school angst of 15 years gone to standing alone and trying to hide tears of the pain of real life that I've endured since...but believing in the hope of tomorrow.
Oh and btw, there's already a dowlnoad of the Wye Oak set out on the Aural States blog. They even take care of me after the party. Thanks guys and girls at Aural Sates. I hear that there are more downloads on the way.
And that was just Day 1.
More on Day 2 Later.
Sorry, this is not a review of the individual bands or an assesment of their sounds and talent but a recollection of the spirit that they all brought out in me. I hope others felt the same. I know a lot of them were showing it.
Let me also say that i am in no way affiliated with Aural States. I just like to promote what I love.
30 January, 2009
Well this week was the only time in my 2 years that I was thinking of hitting up the salt boxes.
I've had a bag of rock salt in the basement. I think I've had 25 lbs of it for about 4 years. But it got hit the first ice this year. So I grabbed a good 5 gallon bucket, small spade shovel and hit up about 4 lbs out in Mt. Washington when I was at the tavern on Tues. Next night closer to home in Hampden on Hickory street next to the Super(not-so)Fresh.
Tonight when I go out to Aural States Fest at Sonar (plug)I'll pick another bucket.
You can really tell who your good neighbors are...and conversely, your other neighbors. Let's all be good neighbors. Go get some salt if your area is still got ice. We did need a lot to get rid of all of it this time.
23 January, 2009
A job that nets me $29,000 a year. I'm paying how much money to insure this salary?
What else do you do? Health care?
An otherwise human right in any other western nation is sparingly doled out to us at an exorbitant rate. I'm paying for crumbs wrapped in honor. The pride of keeping a job which I struggle so hard not to identify myself with.
If I got fired from this job I'd collect 27 weeks of freedom and still bring home 75% of my net earnings. 80% if I drop my union dues.
I'm as anti-big business and pro worker as I can be for a cushy 30-something with a dead end job but when I look realistically at it all...Someone help me here.
Am I wrong?
07 January, 2009
Man! I too am looking to rent a room in my house. Not the whole house but a room. But c'mon people! $50,000 for your home? Even $10,000 for a home in Baltimore? What happened to the camaradarie of the campaign and the election? You folks are already tarnishing the event with your greed. My room goes for $125/night. $500 for the whole 4 day deal.(no I won't charge for your Wed morning departure)
Sure this is Amerika and people can charge whatever they want...and kill the spirit in the process.
This reminds me of the March on Washington in '63 (not like I was there)when MLK gave his speach. Tens of thousands of people came from all over the nation to witness that. Ever wonder how many black folk were allowed to stay in hotels in the DC/VA area? Probably none. They had to rely on the kindness of family and usually strangers to give them a safe place to stay. Kindness that was freely given in a time of struggle. I guess that struggle is over now 'eh?
Yes, times have changed and anyone can stay in a hotel now and be safe. But people are coming in droves only to find themselves hampered by outrageous lodging costs.
I suppose I should feel niave for thinking that the spirit of unity had any chance of survival when we saw how much money we could make.
I hope you and the other 27 pages of homes for rent in the Baltimore area alone get what you want.
05 January, 2009
Come to Baltimore for the Obama Inauguration and celebrate MLK Day with a Deep House party with Deep Sugar at Paradox on Sunday 1/18/09.
This party will be from 10:00pm to 6:00am (or until we drag your ass out of the club).
Your hosts will be there until the sun comes up so if you take the room and you come to party you will be expected to stick around…or deal with Baltimore cabs.
Baltimore City Paper named Deep Sugar Best Dance Night 2008.
When you see the event you’d be hard pressed to find a better monthly event.
But enough about the party. Here is what the rest of the package includes:
1 room for rent with 1 twin bed and cot/floor space if needed.
Room is $100/day Sat-Wed morning. Meals and any side trip transportation are not included but a proper host would treat a proper guest with certain amenities.
Travel planning to and from DC including Metro rail and car trip to Metro including up to date travel tips and changes. There will be changes made weekly. Expect it.
Also included is Commemorative Obama/ DC Metro Smart Trip subway pass.
Deep Sugar MIL/Obama Party Sun night 10pm-6am. Experience one of the most legendary house clubs on the east coast. Tour busses from Shelter in NYC come to Baltimore monthly exclusively for this rare club night. Bring your dancing shoes.
Pick up tours of Baltimore and kitschy Hampden http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hampden,_Baltimore
Stay out of the fray until you need to be there.
If you are flying you can take the Baltimore light rail from BWI airport to within block of the house. Arriving and leaving will be a snap.
Plenty of street parking if you are driving.
WHAT TO BRING:
*Warm outdoor gear
* Dancing shoes
* Historic smiles
Your “Yes We Can” Attitude, not your “I’m not close enough to see anything, this sucks and I’m cold” attitude. That attitude is so 2008.
Your love for dogs, we have 2 standard poodles.
More about your hosts: Lovely couple in their late 30’s with 2 standard poodles and 1 guest room for you. A friendly and engaging neighborhood where pub crawls are within walking distance (2 pubs within actual crawling distance for the veterans).
Payment will be made in full upon arrival.
Come enjoy our home/city/house party.Time is running out on accommodations for the Inaugural weekend. Do you have your plans made yet? Are you looking for something a bit off the beaten path? Do you like house music?