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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Rudy's Mediterranean Restaurant

     With all the restaurant choices in Howard County it is easy to forget about one of our unique ethnic restaurants that are worth a regular visit.  

     One of these restaurants is Rudy's Mediterranean Restaurant in Gateway Park.   It has been a while since I had visited and noticed quickly the expansion in its space.  It is now more than double it's original space.  This is one of the few ethnic restaurants that is open for breakfast although its breakfast offerings are mostly American standards.  What makes this restaurant truly worth a visit is it's Greek and Turkish offerings at lunch and dinner. 

   Above is the lahmacun, a very thin hand tossed dough with spicy ground lamb, tomatoes and onion.

    Above is the  chicken pide made of sauteed chicken breast, tomatoes, base of kasar cheese, green and red peppers.

     The seafood entrees are very good.  Above is the salmon.

Rudy's Mediterranean Grill & Diner - Columbia, MD, United States. Love Shrimp Kebab

   Above is the shrimp kabob.

 I would give everything 4 out of 5 stars.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Patuxent Trail to be upgraded


   Anyone using the Patuxent Trail from Guilford Road to Vollmerhausen knows that this dirt section is often difficult to use in inclement weather.  Now we can look forward to having that section paved and becoming more usable for bikes and runners by 2018.  Here is the information on this development.

       FIRN (Foreign-born Information and Referral Network) is looking for individuals and organizations to help support families in need this thanksgiving and holiday season. Almost 100 families in Howard County apply for this program and we need your help! A simple gift can really make a difference. Adopt a Family Bridging Cultures Building Communities.
      Please contact Kristin Lilly: 443-276-3166 To participate or for more information Foreign-born Information and Referral Network Help those in your community this holiday.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

United Way's Thanksgiving Harvest of Plenty

    With Thanksgiving just around the corner the United Way of Central Maryland is once again working to provide Thanksgiving meals to residents of our area.  Last year this effort provided meals to 304 families in Howard County.  Each $20 donation provides a meal to a family.  Here is the link to make a donation.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Explore Wilde Lake this Thursday

Last Ned Tillman led walk is this Thursday.  Here is the info:
"Our last walk of the season sponsored by the Columbia Association will start at 10 am on October 29th, 2015 at the boat house off of Hyla Brook Road on the north side of Wilde Lake. Come and bring a friend and discover some of the wonders of the first lake in Columbia that you might not have seen before. We will discuss and explore some of the key features of the 19th century homesteads and discuss the history of this area as well as the current ecology of the lake and surrounding forests. We hope to see some wildlife like we have been treated to on our earlier walks around Lake Elkhorn, Jackson Pond, and Lake Kittamaqundi- aerial displays by an osprey and a kingfisher.
What is the origin of the Columbia name? When was the Columbia Turnpike built that connected Lower Ellicott Mills with Georgetown? Who were the Ridgeleys, Morris', Tabbs, Gaithers, Dorseys? What is the history of Oakland Manor and Oliver Carriage House? What are the challenges faced by this lake and this community. What can we do to ensure its future? It is a very small watershed, so if any of our lakes can be restored and maintained - this could be a model for others. Its future is largely up to the wisdom and actions of the residents of this community.
wl 1We will also talk about the swans that once lived here as a special project of the Rouses. We will see one of the largest white oaks in Maryland and a variety of other trees, shrubs, vines and wildlife.
Come for the camaraderie, come for the insights, come for the fun of taking a walk on a beautiful fall day.  Leave inspired to add walking to your agenda every day of your life.
Take-a-way: Be sure to put this date and time on your calendar. Many of the attendees of the previous walks left inspired to be better stewards of our open spaces."
     This time of the year we should be helping Howard County keep our storm drains clear.


Monday, October 26, 2015

Symphony of Lights cancelled this year

     We always knew that the holidays were coming soon when we watched the lights going up in Symphony Woods.  This year it is hard not to notice the changes occurring in that area with all the construction equipment.  The area is being prepared for next year's Crescent development.  Here is the information on the cancellation of this year's Symphony of Lights.

"The annual Symphony of Lights, a holiday tradition in Columbia, will not happen this year, organizers announced.  For 21 years, the Howard Hospital Foundation has put on the light display nearMerriweather Post Pavilion in Symphony Woods.  The arrangement of lights typically went up in late November and ran through early January, with visitors traveling by foot or by vehicle through the 1.4-mile wonderland. All activities associated with the light show—including the Dazzle Dash walk/run—are canceled for 2015, organizers said. 

“Symphony of Lights festivities will be postponed until fall 2016 to allow for the redevelopment of Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods,” according to a statement from Symphony of Lights. In September, project leaders and elected officials broke ground at Symphony Woods for the Chrysalis amphitheater. As the area around Merriweather is updated, so too will Symphony of Lights get a new look. Its 250,000 bulbs will be replaced with LEDs that are more cost-effective and sustainable, and organizers promise 2016’s show will be “brighter and better than ever.”

Over the past 21 years. the Howard Hospital Foundation has raised money by charging admission to Symphony of Lights for Howard County General Hospital. Without the attraction, the foundation is encouraging people to sponsor a bulb for $10."


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Jolly Pig for lunch

     Yesterday I finally had a chance to try some tacos from the Jolly Pig food truck.  While dropping off a relative at APL around lunch time I noticed the food truck parked in the parking lot.  Apparently APL has started inviting a variety of food trucks to the spot each day.  I had read the reviews on HowChow about the Jolly Pig and decided to give them a try.  The first problem was making a decision on which taco to try.

The choices came down to the Korean BBQ taco with Korean pulled pork with spicy Korean BBQ sauce, scallions and Asian slaw and Cheri-aki with dried cranberries and pineapple bits.  The Korean BBQ was mildly spicy and the Cheri-aki was almost like a dessert taco.  For $10 for the 2 tacos it made a great lunch.  Here is their schedule:

 Lunch 11am until 2pm
Monday- off
Tuesday- roaming
Wednesday's- 6514 Meadowridge Rd, Elkridge
Thursday's- Annapolis Junction
Friday's- Applied Physics Lab, Laurel

     The truck is not in the main APL campus but take a right at the first red light on Johns Hopkins Rd at Montpelier and go down until you see the truck on the left.


Friday, October 23, 2015

Bagel Bin in Kings Contrivance is closed

   Doing walks along the Patuxent Trail to the Bagel Bin in Kings Contrivance was one of my favorite Fall and Winter walks.  To my surprise yesterday I found out that the Bagel Bin there was closed for good.  It isn't surprising when you couldn't but help noticing how the condition of the bathrooms there had been deteriorating.  Seemed that the owner wasn't making enough money to maintain the condition of the place.  As the only Bagel Bin that didn't make their bagels at the location, because of their small size, the bagels did seem less fresh.  Still it leaves me with just McD's for breakfast after a walk and I am not a fan of McD's.  Would like to have some other place for breakfast in that location.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Busy Saturday this weekend

   You can always count on the months of May and October to be busy months for organizational events.  This Saturday seems to be one of those days with two major events in Howard County.  The Columbia Association is holding an open house at its new location on Hillside Court in Columbia.  This is near the MVA Emissions Testing location.  Here is the info on this event:

   "Columbia Association will be offering tours of sections of its new headquarters building, including a special exhibit on display at Columbia Archives.  CA’s Open House will take place on Saturday, Oct. 24, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 6310 Hillside Court, located off Stevens Forest Road near the county vehicle emissions inspection station. Four tours will be offered during the day at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.  Refreshments and giveaways will be available throughout the day. In addition, the first 100 CA members to come to the Open House will receive a free guest pass on their account. Anyone who signs up for a new annual CA membership during the Open House will receive one free month."

For more information, please contact Erin McPhail at 410-423-1891 or

   The Howard County Library will be celebrating its 75th anniversary this Saturday at the Miller Library.  Here is that info:

     "Join us for CELEBRATE 75!, a culminating celebration of Howard County Library System's 75th Diamond Anniversary. Activities begin at 10 am with an Opening Ceremony and the induction of middle school students as Chapters-of-Our-Lives Time Capsule Guardians. At 11 am, visit the HiTech Showcase that features our "technology petting zoo." Experience displays, demos, and presentations about such cutting-edge technologies as 3D printers, augmented reality applications, and a Nao Robot (watch the video!). In addition, students from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine will show how paramagnetic nanoparticles are being used to train a person's own immune system to find and fight cancer.
     Grammy Award-winning musician and author Barry Louis Polisar performs at11:30. A pioneer in the world of books and music for children, his unique songs and stories are heard around the world. CDs and books available for purchase and signing. A variety of fun crafts and activities will be featured for all ages. Poe, the Baltimore Ravens' mascot will also be on-hand to add to the day's spirited festivities."

Schedule and additional details at

HCLS MILLER BRANCH (410.313.1950)
Saturday, October 24
10 am - 2 pm


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Back to the Future Day!!


    Who doesn't remember the 1985 movie "Back to the Future."  Hard to believe it has been 30 years.  The date in the movie to which the characters traveled was today's date October 21, 2015.   Here are some of the items from the movie that were supposed to be available today.  See how accurate the predictions in the movie were.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Columbia's "liberal" belief system

   After watching the Republican and Democratic candidate debates I couldn't help but notice how much more anger seems to exist among Republicans.  I know that conservatives are losing most of the social debates these days and I guess that leads to their anger. Gays aren't going back in closet, health care reform is here to stay and immigrants (legal and illegal) aren't going home. Change is always happening.  You can adjust and accept it or remain rigid and angry.    The country is becoming more diverse, secular and accepting of different lifestyles.  Conservatives will always lose in the long run.
     I am not surprised that Democrats have stopped calling themselves "liberal" after Republicans have demonized the word.  The Democrat candidates seem to have only reluctantly used the word "progressive."  Bernie Sanders is even willing to go farther and explains his political philosophy this way:
    "I consider myself a social democrat, yes. And for me, what social democracy simply means is a system that leaves room for small enterprises and individual liberty but also recognizes the fact that we’re all part of a larger community, and what hurts any one group of us eventually hurts us all. So there are some things we don’t leave to the so-called free market. We don’t want people going hungry or suffering from sickness or at the bottom of the ladder in educational attainments because they can’t afford them — especially when in economic downturns millions of us lose jobs through no fault of our own. So we tax ourselves to put money into a common kitty to make sure those things don’t happen and we’re all the better off for it. In other words we agree to bear each others’ burdens and make others’ suffering our concern, bound in “brotherly affection.” A far cry from the virtues of unrestricted and unregulated winner-take-all competition."
     Bringing it back to Columbia we are lucky to live in a community that was founded on the liberal ideals of the 1960's.  Ecumenical religious philosophy, HMO for health care and an integrated housing plan.  While each of these have changed over the years and not been totally successful the principles still guide our development today.  This has led to a healthy community that is regularly selected as a best community in which to live.  Liberalism is the direction of future and always has been. The "past" you long for "ain't" coming back. Jim Rouse addresses our philosophy well in a video he did a number of years ago.
    I have never really been impressed with Gov. O'Malley's campaign but he did a very good closing statement at the debate.

    Remember when you wanted to explain something that was easy to do by saying "It doesn't take a brain surgeon to........."  After listening to brain surgeon Ben Carson explain things in the debates I think we need to come up with a different vocation to use in that phrase.


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Within Reach Festival in Downtown Columbia today

"This Saturday, Oct. 17, from 4 to 10 p.m. the Downtown Columbia Lakefront will come alive with music, gourmet festival food and craft beer for the Within Reach Festival.

The Bacardi stage, booked by one of D.C.’s hottest music venues The Hamilton, will host national touring acts Flow Tribe, The Alternate Routes, Justin & the B-Sides, The Walking Sticks and Swampcandy.

Some of Maryland’s finest craft breweries will be on hand selling their top picks including Heavy Seas, Denizens, Full Tilt, Jailbreak and Manor Hill Brewing. Attendees can indulge in a full glass or have a splash of them all with a flight that includes a taste from each brewery.

Chef Spike Mendelsohn, “Top Chef” contestant and co-owner of D.C. staples including BĂ©arnaise and Good Stuff Eatery, will be cooking up special burger recipes for the festival. Food trucks and sponsor restaurants, including Clyde’s, will also be selling food. Mixologist Gina Chersevani, wine guru Tony Foreman, Clyde’s corporate chef Brian Stickel and pastry chef Travis Marley will also be in attendance.

WHAT: Within Reach Festival – music, food, beer and more

WHEN: Saturday, Oct. 17, from 4 to 10 p.m.

WHERE: Downtown Columbia Lakefront in the American City Parking Lot
Located adjacent to 10227 Wincopin Circle, Columbia, Maryland."


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Come explore River Hill's natural side


    We all know River Hill as the Columbia Village with the highest median income but you may not know that this Village has some of the most well preserved natural areas in Columbia.  This is thanks to the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area.  To explore this area the Columbia Association is sponsoring a 90 minute walk led by Ned Tillman this Thursday at 10 am.  For information on this walk click here.


Monday, October 12, 2015

Notes from the road

    Regular readers of this blog may have noticed the slow down in posts the last month.  My break was due to a vacation out West to visit a few national parks.  Visiting other states always gives me opportunities to compare life outside of our "Columbia bubble."  Here are a few observations and some photos of the scenery of the parks.
    The first thing I notice being away from Howard County is how the diversity we live with here is the exception in much of our nation.  In much of our country we are segregated by race, income and political beliefs.  It was telling that you saw so few minorities in our national parks.  What minorities you did see were foreign visitors.  Interestingly in Yellowstone the visitors were Asian, mostly Chinese.  In Zion and the Grand Canyon they seemed to be German from the language I heard spoken.
     I have never noticed the frequency of trains like in the Mid West.  Before my trip to the West I spent a week in Indiana and Illinois.  Everywhere I stayed you could hear trains at night.  I know we have trains here but I was amazed at the number of trains that travel in the Mid West.   The image below shows how Chicago is a hub of railroads in this area.

     Where these rail lines were developed as a way for farmers to get their crops and livestock to market they now seem to be used to transport oil from the Upper Plains.  I watched a number of trains at railroad crossings and they had hundreds of cars transporting crude oil.  I didn't realize this transition until I saw it in person.
      After being in the desert terrain of the Southwest for 3 weeks the greenery of Maryland is  startling on my return.  Trees, grass and vegetation so plentiful in our neighborhoods starts to take on a new beauty after being surrounded with rocks and sand for 3 weeks.   We don't realize the value of this vegetation until you see how their lack can impact communities.  We visited Colorado City and saw the bridge, shown below, where one week before people were swept away to their deaths in a flash flood.

    Finally you can't help but notice the reality of guns in the West.  It wasn't unusual in some of the small towns to see people carrying guns around their waist.  I saw one guy with a t-shirt that showed a picture of the Statue of Liberty holding an rifle and the words underneath "From my cold dead hands."  The clincher was the sign on the Dick's Sporting Goods store in Salt Lake City that is shown in the picture below.

    I doubt that Dick's in Columbia would have to put up this sign!

    Now for some of the scenery of the Southwest from some pictures I took.

     What took us to Colorado City was to see what the town of FLDS members was like.  If you are unfamiliar with this radical breakaway sect of the Mormon Church here is some info.  The pictures below show how they are a walled town to keep the gawkers like us away.

Happy Columbus Day

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Saturday activities

Looking for something to do today?  Here are a couple of things to consider:

 "Looking for something to do with the little ones Saturday morning? Head down to Robinson Nature Center for a pair of cool programs! We explore the fascinating changes that occur during the fall in our parent/child Lil' Acorns Fall Romp from 10-11:30. At 11, we explore the Andromeda galaxy in our NatureSphere digital planetarium!

Register Online:
Lil' Acorns Fall Romp:…/Activity_Search/48682
Star Storytelling:…/Activity_Search/48584 


3rd Annual
E L L I C O T T C I T Y 2015

Celebrate and Explore Local Art

Saturday Oct 10th, 12-6 pm

Along Main Street, Historic Ellicott City Maryland 21043

Ellicott City Artwalk 2015, the signature event of the Ellicott City Arts Coalition (ECAC), is free and open to all. Now in its third year, Ellicott City ArtWalk 2015 has over 20 participating artists' studios, galleries, and retail venues.

Meet the Artists, Tour Studios and Galleries,
View Live Art Demos, Shop & Support Local Art!

Many kinds of art on will be on display, including fine oil and watercolor paintings, metal and wood sculpture, mixed media, artistic jewelry, ceramics, and photography. Meet and greet the artists, tour their working spaces, watch demonstrations, and purchase works large and small.

Stroll Historic Ellicott City, where charming shops, restaurants, and river views enhance the ArtWalk experience.

Easy park-and ride with the free circulating ArtWalk Trolley!

More information on the Ellicott City Arts Coalition, ArtWalk artists and venues:


Monday, October 5, 2015

Howard County as an "outlier"

     The recent proposed rule by HUD that would group Howard County with other Baltimore Metro jurisdictions in determining subsidized rents for our County points out a reality that we are not like other Baltimore Metro jurisdictions.  With the third highest median income in the Country Howard County shares more in common with jurisdictions in the Washington DC Metro area than we do with Baltimore.  The median income in Baltimore County is $42,000 less than Howard County and Baltimore City's median income is $70,000 less than Howard County.  The average rent for a 3 bedroom unit in Howard County is over $2100.  In Baltimore City the average rent for a 3 bedroom unity is $1370 and that includes rents in the in the center city that drives up the average.  Outside of the center city the rents are substantially lower.
      I know when I read any report that gives statistics for the Baltimore Metro area I always seem to find that Howard County is an "outlier" in those reports.  Comparing Howard County to other jurisdictions in the Baltimore area shows how different we are.  We maybe geographically close but in almost every other way we seem to diverge from the rest of the area.  In many ways this divergence doesn't carry an public policy implications but it does in the case of the promotion of affordable housing in our County.  Nothing will limit the supply of affordable housing for those families with vouchers than to group us with the rest of the Baltimore Metro area.  Someone needs to tell the folks at HUD about this reality.  Fortunately our elected officials have been active in responding to this proposed HUD regulation.  Time will tell whether the proposed rule will be changed to continue to provide County housing opportunities to families with vouchers.

    Wisely HUD has seen the error of their ways.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Would you say that to my face?

All the "flame throwers" and anonymous posters should attend this symposium

Choose Civility Symposium
And Other Questions of Online Citizenship
October 8, 2015
social media
Join us as we explore what it means to be a good digital citizen and what impact our online presence has on our off-line reputation. How and why do our online and offline personas differ? Could our online personas benefit from more deliberate thought about how we portray ourselves and interact with others? What role, if any, should civility play in our online personas?
Learn how social media users of all ages can cultivate and demonstrate digital civility, appropriate communication, and personal responsibility when using social media platforms.
NPR’s Korva Coleman moderates a panel of national experts, including Tech Parenting expert Denise Lisi DeRosa; Towson University Professor Andrew Reiner; and Mike Ribble, Digital Citizenship expert.
Thursday, October 8, 2015
6:15 – 7 pm    Reception
7 – 8:30 pm    Symposium
Howard County Library System, Miller Branch
9421 Frederick Road in Ellicott City
Follow the conversation online using #HoCoCivil.
Event Partners:
The Business Monthly; Friends of Howard County Library System; Nicodemus Communications Group; Henry and Nancy Yee.
Baltimore Sun Media Group, Columbia Association, Howard Community College, Howard County Economic Development Authority, Howard County Public School System, and Voices for Change.