Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New Bailout Needed

This is just great. First the Congress thinks they need to bail out Wall Street and Main Street. Now, according to rumors, the Congress is going to have to bail out The View.

The rumor mill is circulating a story that conservative leaning Elizabeth Hasselbeck is so tired of being picked on by her ignorant liberal co-hosts that she is considering leaving the show. This would be a travesty! Hasselbeck is most often credited with driving Rosie O'Donnell off of the show, a move that received critical acclaim from around the world.

First of all, the other hosts, Whoopi Goldberg, the idiot that got upset when she heard Nieman Marcus was going under because of the credit crisis (Whoopi - that's Lehman Brothers!), and Joy Behar, who routinely attacks Catholics, white people, and implied Rumsfeld was like Hitler, are so left-leaning that if Hasselbeck left the show, they would fall over.

No one has ever claimed that The View is a balanced program. But I think it's reasonable for the Federal Reserve to initiate a government take-over of the show and replace current management with a more balanced pulpit. I would have to say that this is a bailout that most Americans would probably support.


I just looked at the blog and saw that my advertisement was from Wachovia. Sure. I'd put my money there right now. Everything is fine, right?

Economic Bailout Package

I haven't written in a while, but I have been busy. The work at my paying job has picked up, which is good when you see the economy melting down before your eyes. And family life is as busy as always. Soccer practice continues to occupy several days a week of my time and I was able to squeeze in the collapse of the Ravens last night on Monday Night Football.

So what has been occupying my thoughts for the past week or so is the crisis on Wall Street. I have watched my stocks tumble 10-30% in a short amount of time. I have not sold anything, so I haven't lost any money. As any good money manager will tell you, you haven't lost any money in the stock market unless you sell. When you sell, you've solidified your loss.

I have watched institution after institution collapse in terms of stock price and in name. It seems that the mere mention by the media that a company poised for collapse causes said company to collapse. In a short amount of time we have lost Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, Washington Mutual (WaMu), Wachovia, and AIG. What would normally be a major headline for each company has become second page news given what it happening everywhere else.

The Congress continues to bicker about providing an economic bailout to rescue Wall Street and Main Street. Each round continues to fail and each party blames the other for the failure. However, the average Joe, while not having a great understanding of what is going on, does understand that his family is the one that is going to pay for it.

With the economy sliding into recession, by whatever definition you want to use, the government continues to print more money to devalue the currency, making our hard-earned dollars worth less. The government continues to borrow money from China and the Middle East, giving them more leverage over our economy and our future. And as the proverbial slap in the face, we are told by the government that the foundations of our economy are strong and that inflation is in check. Meanwhile, we are watching our retirement plans dwindle in value. Our salaries are rising at 3-4% per year if we are lucky. Yet we're paying 100% more for gas than we were several years ago and $100 doesn't go that far at the grocery store anymore. If inflation is in check, then why does everything cost more?

Americans are tired of the lies. The President lies to us. The Congress lies to us. The media lies to us. The 2 major candidates for Presidency lie to us. Wall Street lies to us. We are tired of the lies. We want the truth.

Explain this economic crisis to us. If a bailout is needed, let's pass one that doesn't have riders giving subsidies to farmers in South Dakota. Pass a bill that does not just give a handout to Wall Street to provide more cheap credit, which will cause more people to go out and buy homes they can't afford. Do not pass a bill that makes United States Government the largest financial firm in the country. Do not try to over-regulate the market and artificially inflate the housing market, the credit market, and the stock market. Do not pass a bill that you know will only make things worse in the long run.

We are not stupid. Stop treating citizens as if we are. As for the voters, it is time we wake up. Why are our Senators and Congressmen in office for 20, 30 years? We holler for change, then vote for the same bozos every election. Steny Hoyer has been in office since 1981 - that's 27 years. Barbara Mikulski has been in Congress since 1976 - 32 years!

I urge you to contact your elected leaders - Senators, Congressmen, and tell them what you think. And let me tell you - they are pretty tricky. I wanted to contact the other Congressmen in Maryland, but they hide their email addresses and the only way to email them is to complete a online form and lie about your information. Otherwise, it directs you to the Congressman in your district. I want all Congressmen to hear what I have to say, but they make it so that you can't tell them.

If you want change, it will not come in the form of incumbents. I don't care who your party is. If you're a Republican, perhaps it is time for vote for a Democrat. If you are a Democrat, perhaps it is time to vote for a Republican. If you want change, DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT! Otherwise, sit back and expect things to continue the way they are.

Monday, September 22, 2008


We'll be hearing this term a lot in the near future. And we're not talking about the great new fleece jackets on sale at Old Navy. We're talking about the government screwing the little man. And why is the government screwing the little man? Because he can. And because I think he's gay.

I recently finished reading Fleeced by Dick Morris, President Clinton's former adviser of 20 years who turned on him when Clinton went nuts with his nuts. Dick Morris is now very anti-Clinton.

Morris talks about all the ways that the government is ruining our future and how Barack Obama is going to make it worse. I would agree that Obama would make it worse, though I would also say that McCain is probably going to make it worse, too.

Morris fills us with chapter after chapter of examples of fleecing. One example of the ways that Americans are being fleeced is national security. Democrats want to tear down the security precautions that the Bush Administration has put in place. Meanwhile, Bush pretty much doesn't want you to have any civil liberties in order to protect your civil liberties. Fleeced.

Another is the way teachers are treated. First, they get no raises based on how well they perform. Suck-ass teachers get the same raises as the really great teachers that inspire our children. Teachers, like my daughter's teacher last year, who surf the Internet and Facebook their friends while the kids work on handouts, get the same raises as my dad did when he brought work home every night for 20 years before he finally got burned out. It doesn't matter how good you are. Your raise is not tied to your abilities or your performance. Performance reviews are not needed. Your hired. Unless give a hand-job to one of your students, you're pretty much set for life. It's not about the children. Fleeced.

Another way teachers are screwed is their retirement plan. Most school districts only offer variable annuity plans. These plans usually require fees (loads) to make contributions and they are stuffed with death benefits that will allow an insurance-like payment when the teachers retire. The problem here is that these fees can add up to 5-12% per year. A decent fund returns about 10% per year. Subtract out your fees and you barely make any money. If it's a bad year, you lost even more money than the average person. If teachers would be allowed to invest in low-cost, no-load mutual fund 403(b)'s or 401(k)'s, they would have a lot more money for retirement. But it's not about their retirement. Fleeced.

To add insult to injury, the unions usually get a kick-back from the investment companies to offer their plans to their members. So the unions don't really give a shit if the retirement plan that is offered is not the best plan available. As long as they get their money, screw the union members!!! It's about the union, not the members. Fleeced.

In the chapter Teachers Are Leaving -Too Much Stress, Too Little Pay, Morris quoted a former president of the New York Federation of Teachers union as saying, "when school children start paying union dues, that's when I'll start representing the interests of school children." We can see that no one really has our children's interests at heart. Fleeced.

And let's not get started on the sub prime mortgage mess. People that shouldn't have qualified for loans were getting loans for houses lenders knew the borrowers couldn't afford. Lot's of people lost money. Some people made some big money. But who would they be? Now these lenders are getting hammered in the market. Where did the money go? Money doesn't just disappear. Money is transferred. It's not about responsible lending. It's about making money. Screw the little people. Fleeced.

A trail of blood was left my Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, and now AIG. The government is bailing them out. And it's costing billions. Or is it trillions? At least that's what the media is telling us. I think it will actually cost Gagillions with a capital G. Gah-jillions. And who's paying for it? We are. the tax-payers. And what's worse is that we're being told that the situation would be worse if government didn't bail them out. At this rate, we'll be paying 125% taxes under an Obama administration.

Again - who's to blame? A friend of mine asked the question - why was Congress so eager to launch investigations into steroids abuse in Major League Baseball, but reticent when it comes to investigating this financial fraud? Hmmm. Good point.

I think the answer is easy. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens aren't giving Congress millions of dollars in campaign contributions. If Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi were showered with greenbacks from outfielders, the steroids investigation would never have lifted off the ground.

Who has our nation's best interest at heart? It's not Bush. It's not Congress. It's not the Senate. It ain't Obama or McCain. And it sure as hell is not Wall Street. This election will be the biggest screwing Americans will have had to endure since Doogie Howser was taken off of the air.

But I do recommend this book. I read it in like 10 days. It's a quick read (even by my standards).

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Carrolltown Center

People always bitch about how they have no real say in politics or the government. To a degree, this is true. Martin O'Malley and the Maryland General Assembly will continue to do what's in their political careers' best interests rather than what's best for the people. But there are things that you can do to make a difference. Tonight is one of those times.

If you live in Eldersburg, Maryland, then you are familiar with that dump in the middle of the Liberty Road. The dump is named the Carrolltown Center. None of us shop there. We drive to Westminster or Columbia. No, this dump is reserved for the residents of Randallstown.

As I have mentioned before, Black Oak wants to tear that shit-hole down and replace it with something nice. Sears Holding Company, the owner of K-Mart, seems to prefer Carrolltown Center as an absolute shit-hole. And can you blame them? Cheap rent. Plenty of hons and thugs from Randallstown to make it worth keeping.

The problem, as I have also mentioned, is that this shit-hole shopping center does not serve the local residents. If this shit-hole was in Randallstown, no one would give a rat's-ass. But it's in Eldersburg, an upscale community. They wouldn't build a Nautica store or a Wegman's in Randallstown. Why? It doesn't fit the demographics. Then why are subject to shit-crap stores?

So the tug-of-war continues. Sears doesn't want to negotiate. Black Oak can't tear down the crap stores. And in the meantime the stores are not being upkept and it's looking worse and worse. Now we get to look at white-trash flea-markets on weekends and the occasional hot-rod show.

If I was looking for a new home and saw that, I would immediately drop the price I would expect to pay for a house in Eldersburg. Why would anyone want to live near that shit-hole? I would think that the people of Eldersburg don't give a crap for their town if this shit-hole shopping center was right in the middle of town.

This evening, the Freedom Area Citizen Council will be holding their monthly meeting at the South Carroll Senior and Community Center, 5645 Bartholow Road at 7:30pm (Thursday, September 18th). At this meeting, there will be a petition requesting a compromise between Sears, the owner of K-Mart, which in total disrepair, and Black Oak Associates, the owner of the Carrolltown Center Eyesore.

So get out there and attend that meeting and sign the petition. Let your voice be heard. Tell them you are not pleased.

And if you REALLY want to heard, contact Black Oak:

Black Oak Associates
10055 Red Run Blvd.
Suite 130
Owings Mills, MD 21117
Phone - (410) 356-5820
Fax - (410) 356-5822

And contact Sears:

Sears Holdings Corporation
3333 Beverly Road
Hoffman Estates, IL 60179
(847) 286-2500

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dan Rodricks, Idiot Liberal

As we get closer to election day, the loonies are starting to come out of the woods. Unfortunately, many of them are employed by the Baltimore Sun.

Dan Rodricks, known for his many radio show failures in addition to his abysmal television attempt, is no different. Most intelligent people see him for what he is, a confused middle-aged overweight man who tries to be a mouth-piece of the liberal media and their agenda. Fortunately, most of us can see right through his blithering ideology and we just laugh at him.

On Monday, Rodricks jumped on the racism bandwagon and accused white middle America of being a bunch of bigots. You know the white middle class that I'm talking about - the ones that have guns and are religious. The ones that want to protect the lives of unborn children. The ones who ALSO believe in free speech, even if is hatred filled diatribes by Rosie O'Donnell and Kanye West.

So Rodricks is telling us how bad we are. He quotes a fictional friend as saying,

"What else explains why this is even a close race?" a friend, who is black, said over lunch the other day. "After eight years of Bush, with the war, with the gas prices, with the economy going the way it is, what else would explain why John McCain is even close to Barack Obama in the polls?"

Oh, I don't know, perhaps it's Senator Obama's near-socialist views that turn me off and not his skin color. Like Obama's plan to destroy the middle class by increasing taxes on the "wealthy", which includes the middle class, in order to save the middle class. And his plan to federalize educational curriculum. And his plan to over-regulate Wall Street. And his plan to run from terrorists, even the harmless ones in Iran that may or may not have nuclear weapons programs.

It's all about the rhetoric and your perspective. If you're in a household that makes $40k per year, you would consider a family that makes $250K a rich family. If you're in a household that makes $250k per year, you probably consider yourself middle class. These people work like everyone else, pay college tuition, buy groceries, pay the mortgage, the cell phone bill, have kids in soccer, are active in the PTA, and shop at BJ's just like everyone else.

But Obama wants to penalize them. 'It's only fair' he's been quoted as saying. Fair? To whom? The people at the IRS who collect the money and hand it over to Congress to spend?

So when Dan Rodricks tells me that I'm a bigot because I won't vote for Obama, I get mad. I wouldn't vote for Obama if he was a old white man and his name was John Kerry. To borrow the phrase, you can put lipstick on a liberal, but he's still a liberal.

And I've also heard interviews on television and on the radio of African-Americans who say they will vote for Obama because he is black. So if I am a racist for voting for McCain and he happens to be white, are these people not racists for voting for Obama because he's black? At least I can list philosophical differences for not voting for Obama.

If a black candidate got up on the platform and called for protecting gun rights, protecting the rights of unborn children, lowering taxes on a true middle class, and curbing illegal immigration, you can damn well bet he would get my vote. But until that time, I will not vote for someone just because he has some trait that he has no control over, like the color of his skin.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ike's Gas

What in the H-E-double hockey stick is up with gas prices this week? Unless you've had your face glued to Obama's Facebook page for the past week, you know that hurricane Ike tore across the Gulf of Mexico and slammed into Texas, sending thousands of Americans and millions of illegal aliens scurrying across the state seeking shelter.

However, as Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) said, the Texas oil and gas industry "dodged a bullet" and "some of those refineries are actually back in operation". However, this has not stopped the local gas stations from raising prices, despite that the price of oil has slid to under $92 a barrel. CNN is reporting that some states saw prices rise as much as 15 to 20 cents per gallon in southern states. There are even a few instances of stations raising prices to $6 and $7 per gallon. Opportunists? Indeed. Gaugers? Most likely.

Take the Sunoco and BP stations in Eldersburg, Maryland. The day before Ike hit land, both stations, along with the Exxon, were at $3.459 per gallon. The next day, while Exxon had raised prices to $3.499, Sunoco and BP raised prices to $3.719. Hello! Twenty-two cents per gallon. Guess which 2 stations had no customers? To fill up my gas guzzling minivan at 18 gallons, it would have cost me $4 more. That's enough to buy several NoBama bumper stickers.

We are now several days removed from the storm. Oil prices continue to fall. Refineries continue to come back on-line. However, the price of gasoline in Carroll County continues to stay at high levels. Prices in Westminster are generally at the $3.70 point.

Why you ask? People are emotional and will take advantage of the common man at every opportunity. The simple answer is because prices rise faster than they fall. It's sort of like the opposite of Martin O'Malley's popularity. It plummeted when he decided to gauge Maryland residents with unnecessary taxes that he could use for pet projects. However, he has mostly kept his head in the sand for the past couple of months (which is a good thing), but his popularity still remains comparatively low, much lower than Governor Ehrlich's popularity ever was.

I suspect that his popularity will rise dramatically when he announces that he's not going to run for Governor again, but will instead focus on being featured on Project Runway.

Like Hurricane Ike in Texas, O'Malley has already done the damage, come in and created havoc and weakened our state. But unlike Ike, O'Malley's going to stick around for a bit longer. So no matter how much you prepare, no amount of boarding up your windows or evacuating to higher ground will save you. You will still suffer the consequences of Hurricane O'Malley.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bob And Tom???

So if you like listening to the morning show on the radio, especially on 100.7 The Bay, you have certainly been disappointed. What was once Chris Emry and Michael Filapelli, they axed Emry and we were left with the "not quite as funny, but certainly enthusiastic" Filapelli and the "I'm trying my hardest to be funny, but I lack a large vocabulary and general understanding of my surroundings" Meredith Marx. Now the station has switched over to Bob and Tom.

Who are Bob and Tom? They are a syndicated talk show (no music) out of Indianapolis. Yes, that's Indianapolis, the city that stole the Baltimore Colts. Yes, the hypocrisy, I realize that, but this isn't your blog, so shut-up. So Bob and Tom are these 2 old guys, probably in their mid 50's, I think. They're really old. Super old. Their website said they've been together for 30 years. You know that's old. But I think they're trying to pass themselves off as "hip-old".

What are they like? Think Steve Rouse, but even less funny. Think not funny at all. However, they think they're funny. They think they're hysterical. Listen for 5 minutes and you'll hear their smoker-laughs running constantly. I can only imagine that there's an oxygen tank in the studio so that they can catch their breath from laughing at each other.

And there's some un-funny old chick cackling at herself, too. And she contributes sweet nothings. Mostly nothings. Maybe salty nothings. What I'm trying to say is she ain't funny. And when they pretend to be callers to the show, yeah, those aren't funny either. In fact, they are so not so funny that they make Rush Limbaugh seem like Mitch Hedburg.

I can't stand this anymore. I can only get 3 stations at work - WBJC, the classical music station, Jack FM, which is fine except that every other song is some crap like, "Lady In Red" or "Bad Boys" by Gloria Estafan and the Miami Sound Machine. Needless to say, my iPod is getting quite a workout lately.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Still Ehrlich's Fault

Nearly 2 years after he left office, former Republican Governor Bob Ehrlich is still being blamed for the state's problems by current far-left liberal Governor, Martin O'Malley.

O'Malley, who intentionally never accepts responsibilities for his administration's numerous failures, took a shot a Ehrlich when asked about the state's current $432 million budget shortfall. Economists blame the general economic slowdown across the country in addition to the 20% sales tax increase endorsed by O'Malley as the reason for the consumer spending decrease and thus, decrease in collected tax revenue.

O'Malley creatively said that he asked "the people of Maryland to play a role in the solution", which means much higher taxes, mostly at the expense of the working poor and the middle class. His phrase can be reworded, "Please take a role in solving my spending problem by allowing me to steal and waste more of your hard earned money. Oh, wait. I don't have to ask you, I'm just going to do it and pretend that we are working together to build the future. You'll believe that BS, because I'm the pretty Democrat Governor!"

He pointed out that under his tyranny, the state's budget increased by "less than 4 percent annually– less than the Spending Affordability Guidelines set by the General Assembly– compared to 22 percent in the last two years of our Republican predecessors.” However, he failed to mention that almost all of that increase in spending under Ehrlich was the result of mandatory funding requirements, such as for health insurance and the school-funding based Thornton bill, both of which were pushed through by the tax-and-spend-happy liberals in the Maryland General Assembly. Remember their slogan: "Welcome to Maryland. What's in your wallet?"

Let's continue to point out that although O'Malley criticized Ehrlich for not fully funding Thorton (Ehrlich only funded the mandatory requirements, not all of the recommended funding requirements), O'Malley himself has failed to do the same thing - much to the joy of the tax-paying citizens who are now struggling to make ends meet.

O'Malley's apathy and "pass the buck" view on responsibility is not new. We saw this early on in his administration when he shruggingly said there was nothing he could do to stop the electric rate increase, this after fighting tooth and nail claiming he was going to stop it. And to rub salt in the wound, he allowed the rates to increase several more times, thus continuing to allow the deterioration of the standard of living of almost all Marylanders. But it's okay, 'cuz it's still Ehrlich's fault.

And now O'Malley is pushing hard to get the slots referendum passed so that he'll have more money to spend. More money. Our money. To Spend. And Spend. And Spend.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Phone Calls

On Saturday during the big rain storm I got a phone call that went like this:

"Hello, Mr. Oakley. This is Hapless Phone Representative from the Baltimore Sun. We see that you haven't subscribed to The Sun in several years and we really miss you."
"No you don't."
"Well, we miss your money. And that's why I'm calling you today to present you with some great discounted..."
"No thanks."
"You say that with such conviction. Any reason why?"
"You mean other than teh fact that The Sun is a one-sided liberal propaganda machine? How about the scathing article written last week by Susan Reimer ripping apart Republican Sarah Palin?"
"You have a nice day, sir." Click.

I thought for sure he'd like to have a debate or some kind of conversation with me. Perhaps he's heard that a lot this week. It must be tough working for a company that is so divisive.

Now what bugs me the most is that I am on the Federal Do Not Call List and I think The Sun has violated this law by calling me. I mean, it's been several years since I've done business with them. Can I turn them in for this? Perhaps if they promise to fire Susan Reimer, I'll let them off easy.

And speaking of Do Not Call Lists, I donate blood for the Red Cross 4 times per year. And I donate fairly regularly. I've donated about 35 times in my life. They come to where I work making it really easy for me. And I get out of work for an hour and a half. How great is that?

So regardless of the fact that I donate 4 times per year, the Red Cross calls my house 300 times per year asking me to donate. They'll call me the day after I donate and cry that they're extremely low on my blood type. I tell them, "At the moment, so am I!"

I have called them repeatedly and asked them to stop calling me. I will continue to donate, but they have to stop calling. The calls did stop for a while. Then last month they started calling again. And they don't really call me. I'm at work. They call my wife at home. And she hollers at me that the Red Cross keeps calling when I'm not home. Yes, that's totally my fault.

So, Red Cross, if you continue to call my house, I will be forced to ask you again to stop calling me again.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Chris Emry Has Been Found

If you are a fan of Chris Emry, you'll be happy to know that he's back on the radio. He's going by the name of Emry on 94.7 The Globe, the classic rock radio station in Washington, D.C. It's a classic rock station, his forte'. I heard him at 7:30 in the evening. So it seems like he got the later shift. And the shaft.

Susan Reimer is the Devil's Pawn

Everyone knows that Satan is a Democrat. I mean, do you think the devil would have ended slavery? No, it was a Republican with a stove pipe hat. And now it appears that the Prince of Darkness has a pawn at The Sun.

If you missed it, Sun columnist Susan Reimer wrote an article shredding Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. It's no secret that the Baltimore Sun is a liberal propaganda tabloid. Who was the last Republican presidential candidate that they endorsed? I think they even endorsed Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis, 2 of the worst bumbling liberals in several generations.

To begin, she titled her hate-crime column "A Woman - But Why This One?". She says that Palin is "an utterly unqualified woman."

She also says, "Does McCain think we will be so grateful for a skirt on the ticket that we won't notice that she's anti-abortion, a member of the NRA and thinks creationism should be taught alongside evolution?" Gasp!!! A Republican that believes these things? She ought to be shot! I've never heard of a Republican that's Pro-Life and Pro-Second Amendment! Perhaps if Palin aborted her babies, Reimer would like her more.

She says that "his selection of Palin is insulting". And probably the worst hate-crime statement in the article: "You want to look good to the evangelicals? Choose a running mate with a Down syndrome child." Satan is salivating in the bastions of fire in the netherworld.

Another hate-filled paragraph: "A woman who made the decision to carry to term a baby she knew to be developmentally disabled." She claims this was not an endorsement of abortion. Okay, then what was it? Even my liberal pro-abortion friends were appalled by this statement.

Then Reimer tries to be funny: "She won't be able to hold her own against Joe Biden in a vice presidential debate. But wait until the swimsuit portion of the competition." Well, only if Biden decides NOT to wear the t-back Speedo.

Reimer then followed up her anti-Christian, anti-child article with a rebuttal. This is her chance to redeem herself. Explain the misinterpretations. She says she got 8,200 comments to the article, 50 calls, 700 emails, and the article received 316,000 hits. She got calls from shock jocks and news shows to come on their show and attempt to defend her hatred.

She then attacked her readers. She said responses "were beyond the bounds of decency" and "So much pent-up anger, so much barely concealed hate was released in those e-mails and those postings. I wonder where next they will find a vent."

Clueless. Absoultely clueless. And The Sun wonders why their readership continues to dip further and further. They wonder why they are mocked. The wonder why people say they have no credibility. When you hire hacks to write articles the spew hatred, this is one reason why people don't like you.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Republican Convention

So, the Democrats have their convention and all went well. Shallow speeches of non-specific change permeated the air of the convention center in Denver. Promises were made to not continuing the status quo, as every political party has done since the beginning of elections. This time it's different. Sure. We believe you. And in the streets of Denver? Calm. Quiet. Some enthusiasm. It was a great event for the Democrats.

Now on to Minneapolis-St.Paul. (the convention is actually in St. Paul, not Minneapolis) The Republicans have gathered under the ominous cloud of Hurricane Gustav and is threatens Louisiana. This time New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is not promising space ships to come rescue everyone. He actually told residents to get the hell out of the city so that he could do the looting himself. (He didn't really say this.)

Outside of the convention, rowdy protesters gather in force. People are yelling, "Anarchy rules!" Obviously these are clueless people. Can we call them Oxymorons?

Some are dressed in costumes and many are disobeying police orders. One person even claims to have seen Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley running around in a cat costume flinging bottles and screaming, "Save our alabaster cities!" Onlookers turned to each other asking, "What's an alabaster city?"

The protesting is allowed on the sidewalks, but they are instructed to stay out of the streets. Of course they storm the streets and the police are forced to use tear gas and percussion grenades and people are arrested. Still, a fire was started. Windows were smashed. And tires were punctured. Did they make their point? Probably not. Only a dozen or so have been arrested since the convention started, a great show of restraint by the police.

And at 98 Rock, the very liberal rock radio station here in Baltimore, there were calls by some staff to start a fight with the police if they police start pushing the protesters around. The morning show continues to embarrass us.

Now why is it that conservatives can maintain dignity and respectability during the Democratic Convention, yet the loony liberals come out in droves and threaten to storm the convention and raise general havoc through the streets of Minneapolis-St. Paul? Are they just looking for an excuse to raise hell? I fully expect to see footage of the events on America's Funniest Home Videos.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Trip to Gettysburg

With a four day weekend, I made sure it was action-packed. While the kids were at school on Friday, I began with a stunning marathon of reading and a DVD movie, I could hardly contain my excitement. Oh, and I did a little cleaning. If you worked on Friday, I know you're jealous.

Saturday we planned on going to my SIL's for steamed crabs. She asked us to come early so that the kids could play together. My nephew is always begging for the kids to come over and play. I borought the Darjeeling Limited thinking that my almost 16 year-old niece would want to watch it. Instead, she wanted to watch Instant-Runway (I think), and then some other garbage. What is with kids these days? Doesn't anyone want to watch reruns of the Rockford Files anymore? What's with all this "reality" crap? I broke ranks and went downstairs in the basement and took a nap. I needed one anyway.

The crabs were good. I engorged myself. I think I ate a dozen. I'm still suffering the side-effects of that one. In fact, anyone that's within a 6 foot vicinity of me is still suffering, too. Dear God! There went another one.

Sunday we spent at home. My wife did the laundry and I spent most of the morning trying to finish my book on Oppenheimer. I did finish it. But apparently my digital mind-reading phasers must be on the fritz because later that day she hollered at me for sitting around reading all day rather than helping her. "Why didn't you just ask me to help you?" "You know there's work to be done!" "There's also 65 more pages of Oppenheimer that need to get read. Just tell me these things!"

At the end of the day I suggested that we go somewhere on Monday. At first she brought up Gettysburg. (I didn't even bring it up. The hypnosis must still be working!) She then suggested Hapersferry, WV, which was fine. After searching on the Internet for things to see and do, she changed her mind and went back to Gettysburg.

We left around 9am and strolled into Gettysburg around 10-ish. A new Gettysburg visitors' center and museum just opened to take the place of the perfectly fine Gettysburg visitors' center and museum 2 blocks away. Just our luck. A tour bus from a senior center pulled up as we were walking to door. Again, we'll be jockying for position with the Rascals. The museum was nice, but a bit narrow and when you add a couple hundred Mildred's, Ethyl's, and Herbert's, it was a very claustrophobic.

At one point my 6 year-old son points to a portrait on the wall and asks, "Is that Thomas Jefferson?" You can only image the pride in my heart. I even felt the wetness of a tear in the corner of my eye. At another point, my daughter asks, "What houses have we visited so far this year?", to which my son quickly responded, "James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington." He's already smarter than the average American.

We finished the tour and strolled through the bookstore and gift shop. My daughter picked up her usual souvenir spoon. My son was torn between the miniature parrot gun and the Cavalry hat, but that didn't stop him from asking about every other item in the entire gift shop. "Ooo! Can I get this, too?!!!" He decided on the parrot gun. (No, it has nothing to do with parrots). I found some books that I wanted - four to be sure. And my daughter coaxed me into getting some crafty sign that said something like, "Great kids always have wonderful mothers." Is this to mean they have absentee fathers? What's the deal?

After the museum we toured the battlefield. I've been there before and I think we were there last year. I think we've toured a different section each time. This time we were on the south side of Cemetary Ridge. The Minnesota and Pennsylvania militias each have impressive monuments there. We even went up in the Pennsylvania Monument, which has a small metal spiral staircase, which totally freaked out my son and wife. My daughter, on the other hand, thought it would be funny to lean over the side when we got to the top. My wife's heart was racing and her legs were jelly. She said she couldn't walk right for 1/2 an hour. We broke for lunch at Pizza Hut and downed the best Pizza Hut pizza we've had in years.

After lunch we headed over to the Gettysburg Outlets, the most exciting part of our trip. I spotted a Civil War store there and my son and I browsed. The patron of the store was a bit fancy, to say the least. However, he was in dire need of some free advise on how to dress - even from a straight guy. What's that new show on Fox? Straight Eye for the Queer Guy? After leaving the store my son commented how funny the guy was dressed. He had on bright yellow short-shorts (who wears short-shorts?), a turquoise 1/2 sleeve shirt, turquoise socks pulled all the way up the calves, and turquoise Crocs. Oh, and the 70's Freddie Mercury mustache. Super fancy. And this in a store that sells Conferderate flags and bomb shell fragments. Based on this experience, I fully expected to see an overweight biker dude working at Limited Too.

My son was begging me to get something. I decided against the Confederate Flag hat and the framed calendar pages. We did spot some authentic ammunition. Each was labeled: grape shot, bullets, musket balls, and dropped shot. I asked him was dropped shot was. In the most condescending tone, "(sigh), it's ammunition that they drop as they are marching." Well, duh!!! Okay, I thought maybe it had to do with the production process or something, but I'm just a dumb old tourist in a non-offending outfit.

So I got my son a regular old bullet. It was $3.18. I handed the guy a $5. Then before I could get change, he had already rung it up. $1.82 in change. I handed him the quarter and told him this would help save some of his change. Here's how it transpired:

"(sigh!) 5-25?"
"Yes." (long pause - he's just standing there staring at the cash register) "that's 2-0-7 in change." "Let's see.....25......"
"5-25 minus 3-18 is 2-0-7."
"(Sigh), (with nose scrunched up and the condescending voice), if you say so!"

In fact I do say so you dumb asshole. I shouldn't be mean. If he's was any smarter he wouldn't be working at the cash register, right?

Other highlights of the shopping included snagging 2 Nautica collared shirts for $14 a piece and some hot chick in a really short dress crouching down facing me split-leg, right next to my son to look at something on the bottom shelf. I mean, I had to keep an eye on my son, right? And it's not my fault she unabashedly showed me a clear shot to the moon and back, right? Perhaps she was hitting on my son. He is a good looking kid. Though I should probably be worried if hot girls in the early 20's are already hitting on him.

After about 3 hours we head home. On the way home after Littlestown and across the Maryland line we pass Charles Carroll High School, which is now Charles Carroll Elementary School. I convinced my wife to stop so I could take a couple pictures of it. She said it was like giving crack to a drug addict. Please. Just because I'm documenting history. I'll be the last one laughing when I write a book on the history of high schools in Carroll County and sign a million dollar book deal. Anyway, I didn't know there was an old high school up there. That makes 5 former high schools in Carroll County that I am aware of - Taneytown HS, Charles Carroll HS, Sykesville HS, Manchester HS, and the old Robert Moton HS for Negros in Westminster. Does anyone know anything about any of these schools?

How was your weekend?

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