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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Visual proof that rain gardens work

      My neighbors have recently had a contractor adding an addition to their home and the trucks have been using the access way shown below to get to the work site.  After one of our heavy rains last week they put up this barrier to try and stop the stormwater runoff.


     As you can see below the barrier was not enough to stop the soil from the work site below from ending up in the road and going into the storm drain.



The brown stream ran all the way down our street and into the storm drain and then I guess to Lake Elkhorn.



On the other side of my house our rain garden was able to absorb the heavy rain without having any soil entering the street.


     Once again to learn about how you can have the Columbia Association install a rain garden in your yard and pay for 3/4 of the cost listen to this video from John McCoy.   The final cost of the garden is reduced by another $250 in a check you can receive from Howard County for installing a rain garden.
#hocoblogs

Monday, June 29, 2015

So you thought "liberalism" was dead?

      With the two Supreme Court decisions last week social conservatives are fearful that our Country is "going to Hell in a handbasket" according to my conservative Facebook friends.  I feel like I should send them this link but I doubt it will soothe their feelings.  Being a social conservative is like rooting for the Chicago Cubs--eventually you have to get used to losing.  Social progress always moves in the direction of social liberal causes.  Each generation becomes more liberal in their views of social policy.  Oh sure there will always be a conservative backlash that may seem to be driving the social agenda but that backlash is only temporary in its impact.  The recent impact of the Tea Party has already begun to wane everywhere except with Republican Party Presidential candidates.   It was only 11 years ago that the Republicans pushed anti gay referendums in swing states to bring out conservative voters to reelect George Bush in the general election.  Now that only only plays in the Republican primaries as the moderate independent vote has moved to support gay rights in the general election.    
     I know that conservatives discount the liberalism of the young as being temporary and that young people will turn more conservative as they age.  While this maybe true in some people I would ask if you can name one social issue that is moving in the politically conservative direction?  Conservative Nebraska just did away with their death penalty.  States are slowly enacting "death with dignity laws."   States are re-looking at mandatory sentencing.  The use of small quantities of marijuana are being decriminalized.   Even with the pro life/pro choice question the liberal pro choice stance has recently moved ahead.
    "The arc of the moral universal is long but it bends toward justice"  Comforting words for liberals.


Friday, June 26, 2015

One small step for Howard County, one giant leap for bikers

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   When Columbia was planned almost 50 years ago roads were designed for cars and the bike paths were for bikers.  There wasn't any consideration of how the bike paths should connect with the road system.  We now have seen how moving ahead biking can now be linked with both the bike paths and our roads.
    I recently watched as Homespun Drive near my house was re-blacktopped.  The thought occurred to me that this was another opportunity to create a bike lane on this road with little additional cost.   When the lines were painted on the new surface it seemed that another opportunity was lost as it seemed that the lines had just created a parking lane on the road.  Yesterday to my surprise the symbol for a bike lane had been painted on the road.  This pattern will hopefully be duplicated on many of our roads as they are resurfaced.  A small step but the right one to make this a bike friendly community.

#hocoblogs  

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Tipping etiquette

     

     Once again I return to the topic of tipping.  You don't tip fast food workers or places like Panera where you pick up your own food and bus your own plates and silverware.  I never tipped at La Madeline even though they bring your food and bus your table.   Just seemed confusing when one person takes your order, another brings the food and a third person buses the table after you leave.  Last week I noticed a table that hadn't been bused yet and there was a couple of dollars on the table.  Needless to stay I left a tip too on this trip.  I will plan on tipping there in the future too.
     When I travel I usually don't need help carrying my luggage to my room but I let a porter carry my bags if they grab them when I check in.  I always heard you tip $1 for each bag but maybe that is cheap.  How much am I supposed to tip the housekeeping staff at hotels?  $5 a day? $10 a day?  What about the days they make up the bed but don't change the sheets or vacuum?  Hotels now seem to only give you new towels when you request them.  I like how they frame this new towel policy because of environmental reasons of going "green" when we all know it's to save them money.
    I think tipping is out of date as a way of paying low wage service workers.  I am sure that the workers would prefer a higher minimum wage and not rely on the generosity of the general public.  I really would also prefer to have the cost of the help raised to $10 or $15 an hour and pass the cost on to me in my bill.
    Believe me most of us are cheap when it comes to paying others.   We may feel we are underpaid but we often take advantage of service workers when we tip.

P.S.
    French words like "etiquette" in the title of today's blog always stump me on spelling.  Thank goodness for spell check and Google.  Let's Americanize the word to "edicut."

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

HoCo Library's "Be Book Smart" summer program

     The HoCo Library's summer reading program has partnered with Macy's to help more kids get reading material this year.  Here is how you can help the effort:

      "Did you know that children in low-income families tend to lose up to three months of reading skills when school is out? Howard County Library System (HCLS), RIF and Macy’s are teaming up again this summer to help get books to the children who need them most.

As a local partner for the Be Book Smart campaign, we are able to give each of our youngest age readers (infant to age 5) a book for completing summer reading activities.

But we can't do it without you.

When you give $3 at your local Macy’s from June 21 – July 12, you’ll get $10 off a purchase of $30 PLUS 20% or 15% off storewide!* Macy’s will donate 100% of every $3 towards books for participants in HCLS' Summer Reading Clubs.

Be Book Smart this summer and join us to support children’s education and save big!

Learn more at www.macys.com/RIF

Happy Reading – and Shopping!"

#hocoblogs

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Sharing our paths with our four legged friends



     The other day running ( OK, maybe I should admit to slow jogging) along the Patuxent Trail toward Kings Contrivance I was once again reminded how our path system has multiple users.  A snapping turtle was slowly moving alone the path.  I assumed it was easier travelling the path then the heavy brush along the path.

 

     I have become familiar with the family of deer that frequently use the path behind my house on their evening travels from Lake Elkhorn to their evening sleeping grounds off Oakland Mills Road.



     Recently this family has included a couple of young fawns.  One of which got caught behind our neighbor's fence and it took some prolonged coaching from the mother to get the fawn over the fence and back on the path.
     I keep thinking of the planning groups that Rouse brought together to plan the different aspects of our community.  I bet the discussion of the path system as a way for children to walk to school and residents to get to village centers never included the benefit to our local animal population.  An example of good unintended consequences.  I am sure the animals would salute Jim Rouse if they could.

#hocoblogs

Monday, June 22, 2015

A common thread

     The latest shooting in Charleston South Carolina can be viewed in many contexts.  Racism, guns and mental health seem to be the most frequently mentioned.  I will leave out the faith context as being irrelevant to this situation.   The context in which I view this violent mass shooting and our too frequent mass shootings is young men with anger and hostility that plays out in violent outbursts.  We saw this play out in our own community in the past with the shooting at the Columbia Mall.  Young women have mental health issues, have anger, hatred and access to guns but these mass shooting seem limited to young men and not to young women with the same issues.
   Is it too simple to explain it as too much testosterone?  Aggression does seem linked in some ways to testosterone but how much of the influence comes from the culture in which boys are raised?  Haven't we all heard boys being told to "be a man" and "stop whining and crying."  When boys don't act out their feelings when young it is translated to "being a sissy."  We shouldn't be surprised when these repressed feelings are transferred to larger groups of the population that are convenient, vulnerable targets.
    The best description of this issue was in a TED talk from former Baltimore Colt Joe Ehrmann.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The planned community that never happened



   As Columbia gets ready to celebrate our 50th Anniversary in 2017 it is always interesting to look at other planned communities around the country.  The 1960's and 1970's were a time of urban renewal and planned communities.  This was a response to the concern that the unplanned suburban sprawl that happened in the 1950's was not the way for new housing growth.  Developers were more interested in packing as many homes into available land without concern for the quality of life in these new communities.  Congestion and visual blight were the feared outcomes.
     Some communities such as Columbia had visionary developers who saw a better path to having sustainable growth with built in features that reflected the needs of their residences.  One of these planned communities never developed as their visionary leader wanted.  The place was EPCOT.  What it not realized that Walt Disney's original plan for a development in Florida was to design a "community for the future."   The picture above is one rendition of what that EPCOT community would look like.  The design was one of a wheel with spokes out from the urban hub in the center.  Residents of EPCOT would be limited to those working in the community.
       Walt Disney had a hard time selling the idea of EPCOT to his corporate board who saw this experimental city as a huge risk financially.  They only accepted the idea of a modified idea for EPCOT after Disney agreed to first build a second, larger Disneyland as part of the plans for the Florida site.  Further the EPCOT community would take on an educational/amusement direction instead of being a real community with residents living there.  The World Showcase section was added to be a permanent World's Fair addition.  For a look at the plans for EPCOT that were discarded in favor of what we have today here is the link to Disney's original plan.   As visionary as Disney was he was never able to bring his vision to reality.   His death in 1966 was probably the main reason that his vision was stillborn.  Fortunately for us Rouse lived long enough to bring his vision to fruition.  Visionaries are never able to bring all aspects of their vision to fruition but without a vision communities can quickly fall into a "cookie cutter " reality.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Pink Flamingos

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     Somehow I find it amusing when my neighbors do something so "un" Columbian like putting pink flamingos in their yards.  The neighbors seem to move the flamingos around in some kind of game.

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As much as I don't mind having some architectural standards that keep our neighborhoods from the "odd" home I do enjoy the occasional protest of the uniformity.

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     What really annoys me is how some bank can let a foreclosed property decline into disrepair around the corner from the flamingo homes and no one seems to be able to force the bank to sell the house to someone who will live in and take care of the property.


   This property has been abandoned for almost 2 years and has had holes in the roof in the past that let the rain into the interior and caused the ceiling to collapse in the dining room.

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    Broken windows have been replaced a couple of times.  My question is why a bank doesn't seem to have any interest in getting rid of this home that doesn't enhance our neighborhood.

#hocoblogs

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Red light cameras in Columbia

   

    Red light and speeding cameras have always remained controversial with many stories about the problem of accuracy of these cameras.  Most of the controversy on accuracy has been directed at the speed cameras that have to frequently be recalculated.  Not as much controversy over the accuracy of red light cameras.


     Bringing the issue of red light cameras to a local focus one only has to drive roads around Howard County to see how many drivers still run red lights.  One of the worst offending intersections in Columbia is the intersection at Brokenland Parkway and Snowden River Parkway pictured above.  Like many other intersections in Columbia the wait time for the light cycle is longer than most because of the number of left turn arrows that are needed in this intersection.   I frequently sit at this intersection when getting off of Route 32 onto northbound Brokenland Parkway.  This intersection was not designed for the amount of traffic coming through this intersection, especially at rush hour.  The situation go worse when Route 100 was completed and many drivers started using Snowden River to connect out to Route 32.  I once heard some talk about a redesign of this intersection but nothing has changed it yet.   It is not unusual to see 4 or 5 cars coming through this intersection making the left turn onto Snowden River on the red light.  Drivers know that once a string of cars makes that left turn the traffic on Brokenland can't start until all the red light runners are through the intersection.


     The most dangerous intersections for red light runners in my opinion is still the Route 175 intersections.   Years ago the mother of a classmate of one of my daughters was killed at the intersection of 175 and Thunderhill Rd. pictured above.   A truck came through this intersection on the red light and plowed into the driver side of this woman's car.  Her view of the intersection had been obscured by the large vehicle to her left.  My rule has always been if you can't see the traffic coming into an intersection because of a large vehicle, like a truck, don't enter the intersection especially if that vehicle doesn't start into the intersection on the green.   I have frequently seen speeding vehicles come through that intersection at 55 or 60 miles an hour and unfortunately some of the time after I have the green light.   Drivers frequently reach interstate highway speeds on Route 175 even though it has a number of congested intersections.   It is not hard to see that those most likely to speed on 175 are also the most likely to run a red light.  Unfortunately I don't if any of these intersections on 175 have red light cameras. .

#hocoblogs

Monday, June 15, 2015

Kittamaqundi Lakefront Summer events start this week




 





    Columbia Association’s (CA) free weekly Lakefront Wednesdays Lunchtime Concert Series begins June 17 with the first of nine performances at Lake Kittamaqundi in Downtown Columbia.

     The concerts are held every Wednesday from noon to 2 p.m. This year’s performers include series favorites and popular local musicians from a wide variety of musical styles, including Americana, blues, electro-acoustic, funk, R&B, reggae, rock, soul and more. In addition to great live music, guests who sign in each week at the welcome tent will receive free cold beverages and will be eligible to win a weekly raffle.

This year’s lunch time schedule of performers includes:
June 17: Ted Garber (rock/blues/Americana)
June 24: Angela Sheik (electro-acoustic)
July 1: Automatic Slim (blues)
July 8: Unity Reggae Band (reggae)
July 15: Damon Foreman (rock/funk)
July 22: Jordan Mills (various genres)
July 29: Janice B (R&B/soul)
August 5: Cara Kelly and The Tell Tale (various genres)
August 12: Steve Tove (tropical rock)

   In addition the Lakefront hosts many free evening concerts and movies.  Evening events start at 7:30 Monday thru Saturday and 6:30 on Sunday.  Here is a list of this Summer's free events at the Lakefront.

#hocoblogs

Friday, June 12, 2015

Cheesy mushroom potato casserole

Hungry? This Creamy And Cheesy Mushroom Potato Casserole Will Make Your Mouth Water

     Thanks to Nancy McCord for this recipe.  I tried the dish this week and it was very good.  I did add some cut up chicken breasts to the recipe but it would be good just the way the original recipe was made.  Here is the recipe.

Cheesy Mushroom Potato Casserole

Serves 6-8
Ingredients
  • pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
    1 pound assorted mushrooms, scrubbed clean and roughly chopped
    1 (10.75 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
    1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated
    1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
    1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock
    1/3 cup dry white wine
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    2 shallots, minced
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
    1/2 teaspoon fresh sage leaves, chopped
    kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Directions
Preheat oven to 375º F and lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with butter
 or non-stick spray.

Heat butter and olive oil in a large pan or skillet and sauté mushrooms and
 shallots until softened and tender. 3-5 minutes.

Add minced garlic, thyme and sage, season with salt and pepper, and cook for another 1
minute, or until fragrant.

Pour in white wine and cook for another 3 minutes, or until liquid has mostly evaporated.
Remove from heat and set aside.

Arrange 1 layer of potato slices on the bottom, then add a layer of sautéed mushrooms.
Repeat with remaining vegetable layers.

In a small bowl, whisk the chicken stock into the cream of mushroom soup, 
then pour mixture over the mushrooms and potatoes, tapping the baking dish 
against the counter to make sure the liquid gets in between the vegetables.

Sprinkle the cheeses over the top, cover with aluminum foil and place baking dish in oven.
Bake for 40 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before serving.
Recipe adapted from the New York Times
#hocofood

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Open Streets event Saturday June 13th




    The Horizon Foundation is sponsoring an event tomorrow to highlight the need for alternative methods of getting around our community than driving a car.  Here is the information on the event:


"Open Streets: What You Need To Know

Bike lanes and sidewalks have come a long way in the last few years, and you can come see and experience new approaches to encouraging healthy transportation options like walking and cycling. The event will temporarily take over a lane of the Little Patuxent Parkway “Loop” in Clary’s Forest and reserve it for people-powered transportation. 

Date: Saturday, June 13, 2015
Time: 10 a.m. — 2 p.m..
Location: Little Patuxent Parkway “Loop” in Clary’s Forest
Parking: Swansfield Elementary School, 5610 Cedar Lane, Columbia
Event Contact: Ian Kennedy, ikennedy@thehorizonfoundation.org

Opening Ceremony with special guests at 10 a.m. at Swansfield, followed by.... a parade (!!) to the Loop!

By the Numbers:

Activity areas: Seven
Bicycle/Pedestrian facility demonstrations: Six
Water stations: Five
Face painters: Four
Food trucks: Three
Bike Repair Stops: Two
Balloon arches: One
On-site volunteers to provide assistance: More than 70
Items to give away: hundreds
Opportunities for fun: countless
Mileage: 2.6, if you start/finish at Swansfield Elementary School (The Loop is 1.7 miles)
Time Commitment: As long or as short as you’d like. Most people can comfortably cover three miles in 30 minutes on a bike or an hour walking. If you want to take a leisurely pace and enjoy the many activities, plan on spending up to two hours at the event.

And if Open Streets alone aren’t enough to get you excited, there will be tons of fun activities as well! Zumba classes, a climbing wall, and bike trick demonstrations by Schwinny can be found around the Loop. Got kids? There will also be face painting, chalk painting, and scavenger hunts. Kids competing in the scavenger hunts may win some great prizes!

Things to remember:

Wear sunscreen! While there are ample opportunities to rest in the shade, plan on getting lots of sun.

Bring your water bottle! We’ll have plenty of water stations along the route to re-fill your bottles.

Need a kids bike? Thanks to Race Pace Bicycles, we’ll have a few kid-sized bikes for the little ones to try out.

Bring your appetite (and your wallet)! Several food trucks, including Roving Radish, Up-Slide-Down Dave, Kona Ice, and Madam BBQ will be serving delicious food throughout the Loop.

Show us your smile! Share your pictures on social media by tagging or posting to the Open Streets Howard CountyFacebook page or by using #OpenStreetsHC on Twitter or Instagram.

Want to learn more about the initiative? Like us on Facebook or sign up for updates by texting OPENSTREETS to 22828."



#hocoblogs  #hocoevents

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Going carless in Columbia

   

      When we first moved to Columbia we were childless and with my wife taking the commuter bus to DC every day we decided to try and live with just one car.  Columbia with its bike paths and convenient shopping just a half a mile away seemed like the ideal community to walk and bike if you didn't have a car at your disposal.    We did this for a few years until my wife started to do in home day care and needed a car to be licensed.
     I was reminded of the convenience of Columbia the past few days with one of our vehicles not in running order for 5 days.   Being retired makes it easier for me but my wife still needs a car for her part time work.  Walking a mile and a half to the Supreme Sports Club to swim, a half mile to the Giant and using my bike on a bike path to a meeting four miles away was really a pleasant change. Of course the beautiful late Spring weather made it easier to be carless the past few days.  Somehow it does seem silly to drive to the Supreme Sports Club to exercise and then drive home.  Maybe a walk there and back would be just as healthy and less polluting.
    So with my vehicle back will I revert back to my past driving habits?  I hope to take a middle ground and walk and bike more frequently for short trips but still probably drive for trips over 5 miles.  Time will tell but maybe the past few days have shown me a different way that keeps more with the spirit of Columbia having easy alternative ways to get around.

#hocoblogs
   

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Tropical Columbia?

      My idea of a great yard is one like you see below in Key West, Florida.  No grass to be seen. Needless to say we don't have the climate to have a yard like the one below.

  
  But ever since I saw the banana trees shown below growing in Kings Contrivance I have been intrigued by the idea of having some tropical plants in my yard.  These trees have survived the past two cold winters.


      With this goal in mind I have started my own little tropical garden in my yard this year with a palm tree shown below.

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                                               and the banana tree shown below.

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   Not much to look at yet but this cold hearty banana tree has already grown a foot in the past two weeks.  The secret to growing these in our climate is to use a lot of mulch over the root ball in the cold winter months to keep the trees alive.  Both trees are supposed to survive temperatures down to zero if mulched well.  This winter will tell.  If they survive I plan of buying some more next year.  No need to travel 1500 miles to enjoy a tropical look.  This is where I have brought these hardy trees

#hocoblogs

Monday, June 8, 2015

The sad state of healthcare in America

     I recently donate money to pay for medical expenses for a local friend who had a freak accident a few weeks ago.  He is a self employed person with a high deductible policy.  The goal was to raise a substantial amount for medical costs that have already been accumulated.  Fortunately this person is well known in a variety of communities so over the amount has been raised.  It probably wouldn't work to well for someone less connected in their community
     This got me thinking about how often GoFundMe  is used to pay for medical costs.  I was surprised to find that there are now over 200,000 people are using this approach to pay for medical bills.  In most of these cases the people have medical insurance but the gaps in coverage are substantial.  Most have the popular high deductible policies.  These are great to hold down the monthly premiums  and great for employers wanting to control their health insurance costs but are practically worthless for most medical expenses.
      For many people filing for bankruptcy is the only solution to get out of a debt for medical bills.  I know of one young family that had to give up their home, move in with in-laws and file for bankruptcy to cover the medical costs of one of their children who has a serious illness.  It is estimated the this happens to 1.7 million Americans every year.
      OK so we must be getting something good out of our health care system to balance out this situation, right?  I wish there was a silver lining in this story but once again the US healthcare system is ranked last in quality and affordability and performance among 11 other countries with modern medical care.  When a political candidate tells you that we have the best medical system in the world and that is why people from all over the world come here for medical care you can be sure that it is someone with a ton of money to afford care in the US.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Comiccon at the Miller Library


     The HoCo Library's Comiccon at the Miller Library was a great success yesterday.

#hocoevents

Friday, June 5, 2015

Pick your own time at Larriland

     After enduring another winter with fruits and vegetables picked too early to have much flavor we are fortunately now able to look forward to once again going out to Larriland Farms in Lisbon to pick fruits and vegetables that taste the way they were meant to taste.


     Right now strawberries are in season and the other berries like blueberries and raspberries soon to follow.  Even though it seems like every year there are fewer pick your own farms in Howard County (remember convenient Dunteachin and Sewells?) no one compares in selection to Larriland.
   



   A trip to Larriland might also be timed to try the food, like the breakfast tower at the Town Grill in the Citgo gas station that had been getting some good local reviews.

P.S.
     For those of us not wanting to travel out to Lisbon to pick your own Columbia has another source of pick your own fruit right now.



     Mulberries are now ripening all over Columbia.  You can easily identify the trees because the falling fruit from these trees are now staining many of our sidewalks.  You may need a latter to pick this fruit but it can make a nice dessert.   Here is one recipe.

#hocoblogs

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Comiccon at Miller Library


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      If you have a person in your family under the age of 35 you maybe aware of how these comic book events are now big business that involve books, magazines, movies and toys.  The Howard County library gets into this craze with its first Comiccon event at the Miller Library this Saturday June 6th from 10:30 to 3:30.  As someone who has grandsons who are Superman, Star Wars and Spiderman enthusiasts I have become aware of this whole world.  If it can lead to a life of reading, with hopefully more diversity of material, this is a positive development.

P.S.
     If you attend this event in the afternoon stop by the Friends of the Library table I will be manning and join the Friends.

#hocoblogs

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Maryland's step child political existance

     

      We in Maryland are used to being ignored in Presidential races.  Maryland's not seen as a state "in play" as a fairly safe Democrat state.  No one likes being ignored but it just goes with having the Electoral College used to elect the President.  For this reason our elected statewide officials (minus Agnew) are not seen as potential Vice President choices either.  We are not Florida or Ohio as much as we would like that attention from Presidential candidates.  Of course once you are elected President Maryland makes a nice location to hold an event to highlight a political program because we are so close to DC.  The President can be here for the event and be home for dinner.
     Maybe this year will be different with our two past Governors both taking a Presidential run.  With former Gov. O'Malley already announced and former Gov. Erhlich considering a run at least the rest of the Country will get a chance to learn a little more about Maryland, for good and bad, than in the past election years.  It is telling that Gov. O'Malley quickly left for New Hampshire and Iowa after symbolically announcing in Baltimore.   Of course it would probably be a major miracle for either one to get the nomination and win the election and become the first Marylander to become President.   Maryland is like a middle child caught between our larger siblings of Pennsylvania to the North and Virginia to the South.  In Colonial days we may have had the Carrolls but never really had a leader of the status of a Franklin, Adams, Washington or Jefferson.  In the Civil War we couldn't decide if we were Union or Confederate.  We have the Chesapeake Bay (even if we share it with Virginia) and our claim to fame still seems to be mostly about blue crabs.


P.S.
    Something else that has bothered me is that a state like Maryland gets overlooked in primary season.  We usually have our primary too late to have any impact on the eventual outcome.  Maryland, along with a few other states, has been called "America in miniature."  Wouldn't Maryland (60% white, 30% African American, 9% Hispanic, 6% Asian)  be a more representative state to hold one of the early primaries than less diverse states like Iowa (92% white. 5% Hispanic, 3% African American) and New Hampshire (94%white, 1.5% African American, 2% Asian, 3% Hispanic)?  Of course with our large Federal employee population we would be less receptive to the bashing of the Federal Government that is so popular today.

P.S.1
    On a more local level Howard County has played a similar step child role in Maryland.  We have become used to being carved up in a way that met the needs of Baltimore elected officials looking for Democrat votes in their districts.  We seem to have been able to have our Delegates and Senators representing big chunks of Howard County but we have not been able to have a Howard Countian represent us in Congress.  Someday it might be nice for Howard County to become large enough to have our own Congressperson.  Having a path to Congress for one of our local officials might be a nice thought.  Congress could use more of our Howard County elected officials.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Hi Ho, Hi Ho its off to work you go

      Another Monday and for many it is the beginning of another work week.  Are people caught in the trap that you don't have any choice in doing this every week to pay for all the conveniences we have come to expect in our lives?  Time is money, isn't it?  We have all heard the expression that no one on their deathbed ever said they wished they had worked more.  Even if you like your job have you misdirected your priority for money over more meaningful ways to spend our time?  These are just some of the points made in an interesting article I read recently.
    Here is just a quick excerpt but I encourage you to read the whole article.

   "The ultimate tool for corporations to sustain a culture of this sort is to develop the 40-hour workweek as the normal lifestyle. Under these working conditions people have to build a life in the evenings and on weekends. This arrangement makes us naturally more inclined to spend heavily on entertainment and conveniences because our free time is so scarce.
    I’ve only been back at work for a few days, but already I’m noticing that the more wholesome activities are quickly dropping out of my life: walking, exercising, reading, meditating, and extra writing.
   The one conspicuous similarity between these activities is that they cost little or no money, but they take time.

    Suddenly I have a lot more money and a lot less time, which means I have a lot more in common with the typical working North American than I did a few months ago. While I was abroad I wouldn’t have thought twice about spending the day wandering through a national park or reading my book on the beach for a few hours. Now that kind of stuff feels like it’s out of the question. Doing either one would take most of one of my precious weekend days!"

P.S.
    Notice the biggest part of the pie.

Time use on an average work day for employed persons ages 25 to 54 with children