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Friday, October 19, 2018

Adopt a Howard County family for the Holidays

 As the Holiday Season once again approached many of us think about how we can
give back to our community. I have one way for you to consider.
(Foreign Information and Referral Network) will match you with a family
and they will send you the donor the information on
the family (names, ages, and genders of the children). Decide whether you want to
adopt the family for Thanksgiving, the Holidays, or both. There is no minimum or
maximum you donate what you feel comfortable doing. Donations can be delivered
to FIRN (5999 Harpers Farm Road, Suite E-200, Columbia, Maryland 21044) by
November 16 for Thanskgiving and December 11 for the Holidays. Interested?
Have Questions? Contact Meredith Hochman at
Thanks for your support!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Saturday truism

      Poverty exists not because we can't feed the poor but because we can't satisfy the rich

Friday, October 12, 2018

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Opus comes to Merriweather this Saturday

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OPUS MERRIWEATHER is a pioneering art and music festival that transforms the legendary Merriweather Post Pavilion and surrounding Symphony Woods into a surreal theater of discovery, imagination and wonder.
OPUS brings together 25 groundbreaking artists + musicians from over a dozen countries who have exhibited at the world’s leading cultural institutions, such as the Guggenheim, MoMA, Venice Biennale, Barbican Centre, and Park Avenue Armory. For one night only, you can experience their work in a mesmerizing theater of the forest.
OPUS is open to all ages, one night only . Enjoy the immersive art and music festival and feast at our new and improved Culinary Village.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Pyrrhic victories

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     This weekend many liberals like myself will feel like we did the morning after Trump's election.  We lost the presidency and now we feel like we have lost the Supreme Court the second branch of government.  My reaction was comforted when I remembered the impact of Pyrrhic victories.
      So as most conservative Republicans now feel they can undo many progressive measures they maybe celebrating prematurely.  Future elections may move the needle in the other direction.  For every action there is an equal opposite reaction.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Everything you didn't know about private school parties

   Since Trump has come on the political scene we have had to learn more about sexual behaviors than most of us cared to know.  So it might not be surprising that his appointee to the Supreme Court has introduced us to some fairly extreme juvenile behaviors practiced by students at private schools.  Boofing and the Devil's Triangle are now terms that has many of searching the Urban Dictionary for an explanation.  Kavanaugh's efforts to clean up the meanings certainly leads one to question his honesty.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Columbia Association cutting down local Ash trees

      Disease has taken a toll on our ash trees locally.  The Columbia Association has started to cut ash trees down.  The Emerald Ash Borer is the cause of the problem.

The areas impacted by this problem are many in Columbia.  These pictures were taken along the path that parallels Dobbin Rd.  

Trees around Lake Elkhorn are also affected.


Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Got my Presidential alert--Oh nuts!!

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Silly me I thought maybe he was calling it quits.  Now that should be what was announced.

LA Mart to move into Weis old location in Oakland Mills Village Center

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LA Mart announced its 4th location in the space in Oakland Mills Village Center where the Weis store was.  LA Mart is an international grocer with foods from around the World.  Hope it lasts longer than the one that was in the Long Reach Village Center.  Plan to open is Spring of 2019. Dunkin Donuts is also mentioned as taking the space next to the Mart.


Friday, September 28, 2018

Butterflies at Audubon Gardens in Mt. Airy

  I had a great visit to the Audubon Gardens to photograph butterflies (and one closeup of a fly!) today.  There were some tagged butterflies in the bottom picture.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Where is the red line for adolescent impulse control?

    I hesitate to get into the Kavanaugh hearing controversy but many of the questions being raised deal with what you can expect from adolescent boys especially when they have been drinking.  Boys will be boys.  The statement seem to assume that immature drunk hormone fueled boys should somehow be excused for their excessively violent behavior.  The question becomes where is the red line for what would we accept? Should we be accepting if someone beats their girl friend in a drunken state?  Forcing yourself on someone against their will is an act of violence just as much as beating them.  Like most men who do this they are never charged or have a criminal record.
      A couple of points to remember in this "his said/she said" situation.  Christine Ford's therapist has valided that she had this situation happen to her and Dr. Ford has passed a polygraph test.  Will Kavanaugh take a polygraph test? Don't hold your breath.

      The Republicans didn't need to be dealing with another situation that could driving away women before the mid term election.  Comes with the territory of having a leader who acknowledges being able to assault women because he was a celebrity.  Giving up the high moral ground can hurt you on election day.

P.S. 1
     So the Republicans are upset with the Democrats trying to delay a vote on confirmation.  I seem to remember a Republican 10 month delay on filling this Court seat.

Friday, September 21, 2018


Image result for bridges to housing stability

    Even in Howard County many people struggle to afford housing.  One organization has been working to insure that people of all economic means can afford to live in Howard County.  Now it is our turn to support Bridges in this endeavor.

 Tino's Italian Bistro & Wine Bar 8775 Centre Park Drive Columbia, MD 21045

    A night of excellence including a gourmet four-course meal, several intriguing auction items, and premiere Orin Swift wine tasting. Proceeds from this event will support Bridges to Housing Stability whose mission is to provide a path to self sufficiency through housing solutions and advocacy to prevent and end homelessness in Howard County.

     Sponsored by The Howard Hughes Corporation. 

Tickets are $65. Event & ticket information can be found at
Call or text 240-328-8254 for additional information
   Proceeds from this event will support Bridges to Housing Stability whose mission is to provide a path to self sufficiency through housing solutions and advocacy to prevent and end homelessness in Howard County.

Monday, September 3, 2018

What Labor Day should mean for children today

      The picture above was taken in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania in 1911.  Nanticoke is about 20 miles from where my Grandmother grew up in Pittston, Pennsylvania.  She told me about boys going off to work in the mines when she was going off to school. Child labor laws weren't passed until 1916 when she was 9 years old.  The laws outlawing child labor and work place safety weren't changed because of benevolent business owners but from the work of labor organizers and child advocates.  The 40 hour work week, health care benefits, paid vacations and sick leave were all first negotiated by unions.  Today union busting advocates maybe prefer to go back to an earlier time.  Today is a good time to look at the picture above and say a thank you to unions that our children today don't have to face the reality of the children pictured above in 1911.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Ellicott City choices

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      With two floods within two years that took lives in both cases, addressing the problem with flooding has caused the County to look at significant measures to insure that we won't see the same flooding in the future.  After the first flood it was assumed that we were looking at a rare event that could be managed with some basic water divergent measures.  The second flood caused a much more radical solution with the controversial component of tearing down some historical buildings.  While property damage is concerning the fact that there were lives lost in both floods was probably the precipitating reason a more radical approach was looked at this time.  After the two floods most of us would look at the weather forecast before heading down to Main Street.  Unlike the Patapsco River flooding which gives plenty of time to evacuate, flooding caused by the two tributaries that flow along Main Street can turn deadly in minutes.  Any possible threat of thunderstorms would cause most people to avoid the area and cancel reservations.
     While the causes of the flooding remain controversial (over development and climate change)  for the County come up simply with a water diversion plan this time would have been negligent.   As much as historical preservation is important, the reality is that some of the buildings along Main Street are situated in places that can never be adequately protected from flooding by a water diversion plan. I would hope that the lesson of the two floods is that not endangering lives always trumps endangering buildings.  Main Street Ellicott City has survived other transitions (i.e. retailers moving from Main Street to Route 40 in the 60's and 70's) and there are possible opportunities in the new plan that have the potential to create a new vitality to Main Street.  It is a mistake to be so stuck in what has existed in the past that you miss new, better opportunities in the future.  Change is healthy, even for places like historical Main Street.


Sunday, August 26, 2018

The consequences of ripping children from their parents

  Having any child removed from their parents can damage that relationship in ways that leave lingering impact.  Here is what one mother experienced when she was reunited after having been separated from her son when she sought asylum in the United States.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

When Truth and facts get in the way of making your case

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     I first read George Orwell's books in high school a long time ago.  Animal Farm and 1984 have always been on my best books list.  We are now living in a time where what Orwell wrote about is being seen in our news.  When truth and facts are as seen as relative you know that what Orwell wrote in the 1940's is relevant today.

    Am I the only one who finds it strange to hear a President admit to playing off a porn star as OK because it wasn't from campaign funds.  Elect a reality show actor and we shouldn't be surprised we get to watch a reality show every night on the news.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Real reason military parade was cancelled

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     Rumor has it that Trump's military parade was cancelled after Pentagon officials explained to Trump that marching down Pennsylvania Ave. might cause bone spurs in some soldiers feet.


Friday, August 17, 2018

The corpse at every funeral, the bride at every wedding

  Nothing like defining yourself as a narcissist than what Trump did yesterday with Aretha Franklin's death in his Twitter posting.  “.....She worked for me on numerous occasions. She was terrific—Aretha Franklin—on her passing.”  By mentioning that she once worked for him he made her death somehow relevant to him.  Made me remember Alice Roosevelt Longworth's quote about her father Teddy

    The question was did she ever get paid by Trump?

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A summer read to know how vital the Chesapeake Bay is to our local environment


    As Summer ends a good book to read is Ned Tillman's Chesapeake Watershed: A Sense of Place and a Call to Action.  We all understand that much of the water in our State flows to the Chesapeake Bay and we all enjoy the seafood provided by the Bay.  Ned's book shows the dynamic impact that the Bay plays on our State and how we impact the health of the Bay.  Great gift for any Marylander to better understand our State's greatest natural asset.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Now we know who "drains the swamp" and who "swamps the drain"

From the Huffinton Post:
Democratic presidencies dating back to 1970 have produced exactly one criminal conviction from investigations into the administration. Republican presidencies have had a total of 91.
It is worth taking a second to let that sink in: three Democratic presidents. Six Republican presidents. Ninety-one convictions to one.
If you look at criminal indictments, not just convictions, its not a prettier picture: GOP Presidencies had 124 criminal indictments. Democrats had 3. This data comes from a table helpfully shared by PBS.
Yes, you read it correctly: Democrats have less total indictments since 1970 than Donald Trump does since taking office this year. And less convictions: 2-1.
Prison sentences? Also no help: 14 for GOP Presidencies, one for Democratic ones.
You can’t make this kind of stuff up. If you heard it in House of Cards, you wouldn’t believe it.
In fact, for GOP Presidents who served two terms, the smallest number of criminal convictions was 16: a tie between Ronald Reagan and George W Bush. Nixon had 55.
Importantly, the two GOP Presidents with low conviction numbers were Gerald Ford – who was only president for 2 years and cleaned up for Watergate – and Bush Sr, who was a one-term President and was Vice President during Reagan’s terms.
In fact, the GOP Presidencies were so scandal-ridden that each President is associated with a known criminal scandal that has lived through history: Nixon for Watergate, Reagan for Iran Contra, and Bush for Iraq, Katrina, and Valarie Plame.
What all of this means is that we have to stop writing articles talking about how the GOP started to become corrupt sometime in 2015. That’s simply not true. Donald Trump is keeping up with a tried and true pattern of Republican presidencies: scandals and convictions. Indeed, in his 55 convictions, Nixon doesn’t even get any points for his worst criminal act: sabotaging Vietnam peace negotiations in 1968 to get himself elected and costing tens of thousands of American lives.
For Republican presidents, the rot runs deep. You have to go back to Eisenhower to find a GOP President not associated with a crime of historic proportions. And, before him, the last Republican presidents were those of the famously corrupt 1920s. Warren Harding anyone?
To truly change, Republicans have to confront this reality. They haven’t ever been the party of true conservative ethics and restraint. And they never can be, unless they accept that and start new.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Electing the wrong type of businessman

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    So many voters thought it would make sense to vote for a businessman to run our Country.  The problem was we elected the wrong businessman.

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    We have a President who has cheated on 3 wives, doesn't honor contracts, grossly inflates his net worth that he won't release his tax returns to show income, declared bankruptcy 6 times, thinks you bully opponents

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 lives in a garish home that shows his sense of values, set up a phony foundation to benefit him and finally tries to get people to think that reducing taxes on the wealthy makes our Country better off for the middle class.
   If only we could have elected a real billionaire like Warren Buffet who has an unconventional marriage arrangement but is married to his second wife after his first wife died.

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  Is worth around 80 billion dollars that he made without a financial start from his daddy, has pledged giving away all his money, lives in the house he bought in the 1960's

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   Favorite meal is a burger and a diet Coke, and believes his secretary show pay less in taxes than he does.
     So when we see that the budget deficit of the federal government is now rapidly increasing we shouldn't be surprised that Trump would run our Country like one of his bankrupt companies. We have the wrong businessman in the White House.  Where are you Warren?

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Understanding Trump's good friend

   To understand Putin it is good to understand some Russian history.  Maybe Trump has a similar alliance with the evangelical churches.

Another Bucket List checkoff

     There have been a few childhood memories that stay with us our whole lives.  For me seeing Bill Mazeroski hitting a home run in the bottom of the 9th inning of the seventh game of the 1960 World Series to beat the Yankees was one of those memories.  Back in 1960 they played all the World Series games in the daytime.  I remember hurrying home from school to watch the game starting with the 7th inning.  It looked like the game was going into extra innings because Mazeroski was not known as a home run hitter.  To have the game end this way was a shock to everyone.

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These were the Yankees of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris.  Somehow the Pirates won the close games and the Yankees won their games by a lot more runs.

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   When Pittsburgh tore down the old Forbes Field they left the brick section of the field where Mazeroski hit his home run.  On a recent trip to Pittsburgh I had to stop and see this wall as part of reliving that memory.

Now I have to visit the Texas School Book Depository Building in Dallas Texas to relive the most traumatic memory of my childhood

Thursday, August 2, 2018

New pickleball courts open at the Owen Brown Tennis and Racquet Center

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   This Friday August 3rd at 6 pm the Columbia Association has a grand opening of the new pickleball courts at the Owen Brown Tennis and Racquet Center next to the Owen Brown Village Center.  If you haven't tried this sport sweeping the Country come out and try it.  It is a combination of tennis and table tennis.


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Baseball deserves losing its fan base

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    I recently watched a PBS show on Ted Williams.  For those of you who are not baseball fans Ted Williams was one of the greatest baseball players ever.  He played his entire career with the Boston Red Sox.  That is the way it used to work.  Mickey Mantle was always a Yankee, Stan Musial was always a Cardinal and Al Kaline was always a Tiger.  All that changed when Curt Flood challenged the
Major League Reserve Clause in 1969 that prevented players from negotiating with other teams.  The only way players left a team was through a trade.  Team's best players were almost never traded because of fan reaction.  Now players like Cal Ripken playing their entire long career with one team is almost unheard of.  Players now make millions of dollars as a backup player or 20 million a year and bat .150 like Chris Davis.  Rich teams get the best players and teams in smaller cities like Baltimore lose their best players as we are now experiencing.
    So with Baltimore's most popular home raised player, Manny Machado, being traded along with other All Star players, why would Oriole fans be loyal to a team and its players when it is only about money.  I have better things to do with my money than pay for a ticket to an Oriole game.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Grilled Cheese Restaurant opens in Mall

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      If you are a fan of grilled cheese sandwiches the Columbia Mall has a new offering with the Grilled Cheese &Company next to Lord and Taylor.  The location at the Mall has a more limited selection of sandwiches than their other locations.  Here is what you can get at the Mall:

  • Original - American cheese
  • Fresco - mozzarella, provolone, roasted peppers, basil pesto, balsamic glaze
  • Crabby Melt - crab dip featuring sweet claw meat topped with Monterey Jack
  • BCT - bacon, cheddar, tomato
  • Tomato Basil
  • Shoe String Fries
       My favorite homemade grilled cheese is tomato (homegrown) and pineapple with smoked mozzarella.


Monday, July 23, 2018

The sacrifice of one brave Howard County fire fighter

Today Howard County fire fighter Nathan Flynn paid the ultimate price in serving all of us in Howard County.  Very sad day for everyone who appreciates those in our County Government that make Howard County such a good place to live and work.


Global warming seen graphically

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                       Sometimes you just have to see it with your own eyes in a graph.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Howard County fastest growing county in Maryland

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    You only have to drive by Town Center or drive up Route 1 to see how much Howard County is growing.  But did you know that we are the fastest growing county in Maryland?  Here is the report.


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

New breakfast and lunch place--First Watch

Always on the watch for new breakfast places in our area led me last week to First Watch.  It is located across from the Ale House off Dobbin Road in Columbia.  This is the first location in Howard County for this chain.

     It is open from 7 am to 2 pm for breakfast and lunch

   Their lemon ricotta pancakes were different with the lemon curd spooned on the top.

    The Rainbow Fruit Toast was a nice item with a thick piece of sweet bread, yogurt, fruit and nuts.


Monday, July 16, 2018

Collusion in public takes chutzpah

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   So you meet with Putin with no Secretary of State, Director of the CIA or National Security Director.  Just you and a translator or two.  Smells like collusion to me.  Sounds like you only feel comfortable to meet this way to find out what you have to do next to prevent Putin releasing the information he has been using to blackmail you.  You really think that Trump wouldn't sell out our Country to protect himself?   When Russians look to compromise a person they look at someone who is in financial trouble.  This is where they started to compromise Trump in the 1980's when the banks wouldn't finance his buildings because of his bankruptcies and he seems to have turned to Russians interested in places to launder their dirty money.   Just take it from the mouth of Eric Trump  There is a strong possibility that Trump laundered Russian billionaire money. 
    So are you still surprised about the private meeting with Trump's Russian handler Putin?

      Trump fingered the wrong person who stopped more aggressive responses to the Russian hacking before the election.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Bicycle Heaven in Pittsburgh

     Having finished the bike ride into Pittsburgh on the Great Allegheny Path recently, our bike group visited Bicycle Heaven a combination bike store and museum.  The old bikes from the past made for an interesting experience.

There were bikes everywhere you looked!

   It was fun to remember how many bikes of the 1950's were made to resemble the cars of that time.

                                                      Marilyn Monroe bike

           Remember the banana seats?

Girls had pink bikes.  I don't remember blue ones for boys.

Parade bike!

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These are "commuter bikes" that covered all the parts that would get your clothes dirty.  They are now priced each at $48,000 because of their rarity.